Originally called The Last American Preppie and the first appearance of Andrew Clay’s Dice character, Making the Grade has Eddie Keaton (Judd Nelson) and Palmer Woodrow (Dana Olsen) making a deal. The con artist will work with the rich kid to keep him in class at the Hoover Academy, which will keep him in money. In return, Keaton gets paid ten grand — which he owes to Dice — and gets to drive away in a brand new Porsche.
Directed by Dorian Walker (Teen Witch) from a story by Charles Gale (Ernest Scared Stupid) and a screenplay by Gene Quintano (the writer of Comin’ at Ya!, Treasure of the Four Crowns, King Solomon’s Mines and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, three Police Academy movies, Operation Dumbo Drop, Loaded Weapon 1 and Pittsburgh’s second best action movie Sudden Death), this plays like any number of 80s bad kid does good comedies. Of course, it’s all for the love of a good woman, Tracy (Joanna Lee).
But hey look — there’s Ronald Lacey, perhaps better known as Toht, the German soldier who had a coin burned into his hand before his entire face melted right off in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as Gordon Jump and Dan Schneider, who would go from Better Off Dead to creating much of Nickelodeon’s programming before he got canceled.
There was supposed to be a sequel called The Tourista, but it never happened. I think I may be the only person who would have watched that.
For more info about this movie and an interview with Joanna Lee, purchase Austin Trunick’s perfect The Cannon Film Guide Volume 1: 1980-1984.