Wednesday, July 06, 2011

'Bad' to the Bone

While it's virtually impossible to keep up with every fun thing going on in the city -- I'm still thanking god, or Daryl to be more exact, for my not missing the chat with Lisa Kudrow about "The Comeback" -- I may just have to kill myself for missing last night's special big-screen presentation at the 92Y of the classic TV movie "Bad Ronald," a brilliant film that my brothers and I still make references to 30 years later:

Michael Tully, who presented the film on the eve of the theatrical release of his latest, "Septien," remembers this haunting work perfectly:

"Bad Ronald isn't a 'horror' film, per se. Unless you're a 5-year-old watching television in the mid-1970s, that is. That's how I first encountered it, and I'm still haunted by the experience. Buzz Kulik's ABC Movie of the Week tells the bizarre tale of high school outcast Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby, not just looking but sounding like Matthew Modine), who accidentally kills a girl. His overprotective mother proceeds to build a secret room in their house in order to hide him from the world. That setup works just fine, until Mom dies unexpectedly and a new family moves in ... Though they are very different, one of our primary goals in making 'Septien' was to capture that same '5-year-old-discovering-a-movie-that-he-probably-shouldn't-be-watching' spirit that I felt when I stumbled upon this strangely alluring gem."

My pal Erik was there, of course, as he always found the kid who played Ronald, Scott Jacoby, to be cute in a "teenage Andy Samberg way." (I'm so jealous!!!!!)

The 92nd Street Y in Tribeca is known for some offbeat stuff -- I'll never forget watching "Smithereens" and "Desperately Seeking Susan" with Susan Seidelman there! -- and I see "Summer School" and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" singalong are on the calendar for July. But "Bad Ronald" on the big screen is something that only comes along once in a lifetime, and missing it is enough to make me wanna live out the rest of my life in a secret compartment in someone's home so I never have to face the world again.


bcarter3 said...

Oh, I remember this movie!

And I remember Scott Jacoby. He played the son in "That Certain Summer", which was the first gay-themed network TV movie, back in 1972. His character gradually becomes aware that his father (Hal Holbrook) left his mother (Hope Lange) for a man (Martin Sheen).

And on a not-unrelated note, Jacoby's last listed TV appearances were as Dorothy Zbornak's son on "The Golden Girls".

Anonymous said...

OMG - I totally remember this!! I had no idea of the name of it, but can remember him looking through the peephole and the new teenage girl in the house screaming. I was hooked as a little kid - creepy and scary!

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