146. Kindergarten Cop

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Movie: Kindergarten Cop

Release Date: December 21, 1990

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed, Linda Hunt, Richard Tyson, Carroll Baker.

Tag Lines: “As an undercover cop… he’s in a class by himself.”

“An undercover cop in a class by himself.”

“Go ahead, you tell him you didn’t do your homework.”

“He’s the toughest undercover cop in LA. If you’re bad he’ll know it. If you’re hiding something he’ll find out. If you cheat he can tell. Now…”

“It’s a jungle gym out there.”

Relevance: I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I went to college for my Bachelor’s Degree in a small Pennsylvanian town. I don’t think it was technically a “town,” but it was a very teeny tiny city for sure. I mean, there was only one traffic light. Enough said. There also wasn’t a movie theater. The closest one was forty-five minutes away by car, which I did not have at the time. Most of the theatrical new releases during those four years that I saw were over my summer and winter breaks. However, I did not see ‘Kindergarten Cop’ in theaters when it was released during the holiday season of 1990. Ironically, I saw it a few months later in that very teeny tiny city.

During the summer of 1991, I went to visit my then girlfriend (yes, girlfriend) who was working and taking summer classes at said college. One of the activities that was going on the weekend I was there was an “Outdoor Movie Night.” They were going to project ‘Kindergarten Cop’ on the wall of South Hall. It was a drive-in without the car. I was sold. We went to the movie, not expecting much. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I loved the movie so much. I never, ever laughed that much at that school than I did that night watching Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bunch of kindergartners. It was a fun, charming, entertaining popcorn flick. As soon as I saw it, I knew its perfect audience…my mother.

When I got home, I immediately told my mom about the film and said the next time we hit Blockbuster we are definitely renting ‘Kindergarten Cop.’ She always listened to my movie advice because she knew I knew what she liked. But I did get a “The one with Arnold? Really?” when that particular movie was suggested. I said to just trust me, and she did. We ended up watching the movie together very shortly after that conversation. When it was over, she said that I was right again.

The woman laughed out loud the entire movie. Not only did she love Arnold, but she adored all of the kids as well as Linda Hunt, who played the principal of the school. However, Pamela Reed as Phoebe was by far her favorite character. “Not so tough without your car, are ya?” made my mom laugh so hard her whole body shook. The movie became one of her favorites and she watched it over and over again when it was on HBO and eventually bought the VHS for her movie collection.

‘Kindergarten Cop’ was not well received by critics but it did make quite a few bucks at the box office. It remained one of my favorites of Mr. Schwarzenegger and it is a movie that to this day gets quoted over and over again. I mean, everyone has said “It’s not a tumor” at least once in their life, right?

Today’s Thoughts: “My dad’s a gynecologist. He looks at vaginas all day long.”

‘Kindergarten Cop’ is a movie that I own on DVD but not one that I watch regularly. I probably haven’t seen it in its entirety in fifteen years or so. Which is odd, because it is one of my most quoted movies ever. I was very eager to sit down today and watch Arnold tackle his most vicious foes yet, kindergartners.

As I was watching the movie today, my husband walked in the room and said, “It’s not a tumah” in his best Arnold voice. That just proves my point that the movie is iconic even if only for that one classic line. However, for me there is a lot more to this action comedy. Simply put, it’s just a fun, entertaining movie. The acting is pretty decent. Arnold has some pretty decent comic timing, Linda Hunt is feisty, Penelope Ann Miller is beautiful and gives a smart, underrated performance and Pamela Reed is hysterical. The kids are a riot and actually give me a lot of the one-liners that I use quite often. Special shout-out to Miss Angela Bassett. She can be seen as the stewardess early on in the movie in her second film ever. From stewardess to Tina Turner to one of my favorite actresses of all time, it just proves that everyone has got to start somewhere.

As I was getting ready to watch this movie I saw that it made some national headlines a few days ago. Apparently the film was pulled from an outdoor screening because it “is out of step with local and national concerns about overpolicing.” Further down that rabbit hole I saw that the film is also considered “transphobic” due to one of my favorite lines, “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.” Listen, I am a gay, very liberal Democrat, but both of those things made both my eyes roll so far I saw the bald spot on the top of my head. It’s ‘Kindergarten Cop’ for fuck sakes. The cancel culture that we live in these days can get very dangerous if we are not careful. My take on things is that if you don’t like something, don’t watch it. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Oh, except watch ‘Kindergarten Cop.’ You’ll laugh. I promise.

Ways to Watch: Hulu, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Cinemax, Starz, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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