Februrary 17, 2013
Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, and Matt Dillon
My Bodyguard is a movie that is tailor made for a countdown
this. Because here is a movie that was a really big deal to
pretty much any kid who grew up in the early 80's. It was on
all the time, everyone loved it, it was one of those movies that
defined practically an entire generation of kids in America.
then it was replaced by the John Hughes movies in the mid 80's (because
they represented that generation too) and then My Bodyguard just sort
of got forgotten.
Sadly, nowadays it is one of those long lost great movies that
you rarely ever hear about.
My Bodyguard is the story of a kid named Clifford Peache.
Clifford is played by Chris Makepeace and, as I said in my
of Meatballs, Chris Makepeace is one of those actors who really was
sort of a notch above most other child actors. In fact, in my
opinion, he never made a bad movie in his entire career. He
his debut in 1978 in Meatballs, he rocked that movie, and then he
followed it up with My Bodyguard and he rocked that too. And
he worked with Tom Hanks in a TV movie called Mazes and Monsters, and
after that he did a couple of other movies and then he retired.
the way, I should point out that Chris Makepeace was billed way higher
than Tom Hanks in Mazes and Monsters. So that should tell you
something. This guy was one of the greatest child actors who
lived. It is a shame that he just sort of disappeared at some
point in the mid 80's.
So anyway, Clifford Peache is a rich kid who lives in a hotel
(his dad is a hotel manager) and one day he attends a new school in
Chicago. He has been attending private academies most of his
life, but because he and his dad are new in the area, this time they
have decided to put him in a public school. So Clifford goes
public high school for the first time in his life.
And right off the bat, he makes an enemy.
Melvin Moody (played by Matt Dillon) is more or less the school
extortionist. He is the meanest kid in school, not to mention
of the biggest kids in school, and he has set up an agreement with most
of the other kids in high school. They either pay
protection money every day (basically they give him their lunch money),
or he and his thugs will beat the crap out of them.
This is a
time honored tradition around the high school and, quite frankly, all
the kids go along with it. Mostly because they
are scared of
Moody. Let's face it, the kid is a complete sociopath.
Don't fuck with Moody
Well of course Clifford comes to school the first day,
and naturally he runs into Moody. Who is quite
this meek little rich kid who doesn't have any friends.
pulls Clifford aside in the bathroom, and he tells him how things are
going to be run around here. Either you give me your lunch
every day, or my friends and I are going to make your life a
living hell. Your choice. Either pay up or I can't
that you will be safe around here.
Moody staring down his newest victim. Do we have a deal?
Well Clifford isn't necessarily the most streetwise kid you
have ever met. He might be smart, but he really hasn't ever
around a bully before. He goes home and he tells his dad what
happened. And his dad calls the principal. And this
course gets Moody a week in detention.
And since nobody has ever stood up to him before, Moody's officially
places Clifford Peache on the top of his shit list.
Moody informing Clifford that he is going to kill him now
Yes I know it is shocking to see bullying portrayed in a
movie from 1980. Since, you know, the media tells us that
bullying in schools just started last year and that it is a brand new
epidemic now. But I have to tell you, there was
a kid like
Moody in every school I ever went to. You always knew who
were, and you never wanted to get on their bad side. As a boy
particular) you would spend most of your time in school trying
figure out who the Moody was and trying to stay away from him.
remember seeing this movie for the first time when I was a kid and Matt
Dillon just terrified me. He scared me half to death.
by far one of the best bullies I have ever seen in any movie ever.
And by best of course I mean he is horrible. This
EXACTLY what a school bully looked like and acted like in 1980.
It is a shame that so few people have ever seen how good Matt
Dillon is in this role.
I actually didn't want to go to middle school because of Matt Dillon in
Matt Dillon, destroyer of worlds
Okay, so Moody is after Clifford, and Moody starts a reign of terror to
make Clifford's life a living hell.
And this is where the movie actually gets fun.
You see, there is one kid in school who is even more feared then Melvin
Moody. His name is Ricky Linderman and, for lack of a better
term, the kids in school are just absolutely scared shitless of him.
He is just this giant odd hulking figure who walks around
in a green Army jacket and who everyone avoids.
Moody stays away from Ricky Linderman. He is the one kid in
school who is so big and is so scary that not even the school
extortionist will mess with him.
Linderman and his death glare
Why is everyone so frightened of Ricky Linderman? Well for
is because he doesn't talk. He is about half a foot taller
everyone else in school, and he never says a word. He just
in the back of every class and people stay away from him.
Oh yeah, and there are rumors that Linderman once raped a
teacher. And that he once killed a kid.
to say, when there is a seven foot tall rapist murderer in the
back of your class, you do your best to stay away from him.
Well this is where Clifford gets a brilliant idea.
He might not be the most streetwise kid in the world, but he does have
money. And he is kinda smart.
He realizes, "Hey, if Moody is actually afraid of Linderman, what if I
just paid my lunch money to Linderman instead? When if I paid
Linderman to be my bodyguard? Because hey, I'm still out my
money, but at least then I get to pick who my money is going to.
Oh, and also because Moody, fuck you."
And that's how Linderman becomes Clifford's bodyguard
Hey Moody, here's a message from everyone
My Bodyguard is one of those movies that everyone loved when
first came out. It was everywhere. It has got to be
the first PG movies that most kids ever saw on VHS. In fact I
remember HBO even doing a special report based on this movie in 1980,
they called it "Bodyguards: the new trend in schools?"
movie was so popular at the time that news stations actually did
studies to see if kids were really doing this in high schools.
Of course I am not giving away the entire movie. I am only
you the setup. Once Linderman signs on as Clifford's bodyguard, the
movie goes in a direction that you really don't expect it will go.
It is one of those movies that will sort of sneak up on you
surprise you with how touching it is.
It is also a good reminder that the kid that you think is a
badass is sometimes quite the opposite.
One of my favorite movie trios ever
My Bodyguard is a neat little time capsule of what teen movies looked
like in 1980. Everyone knew this movie, and everyone loved
And unfortunately that is exactly what happened to it.
got replaced by a different type of teen movie in the mid 80's and it
permanently turned into a time capsule. Nowadays you wouldn't
even know about it unless somebody recommends it to you. In
I bet there are people like me who grew up in the early 80's
who probably haven't seen it in more than thirty years.
By the way, this was Joan Cusack's first movie
Like I said at the start of my review, if there is one
movie that was tailor made for a countdown like "200 Movies That
Deserve More Love" it is My Bodyguard. This movie should
be ranked right up there along with the John Hughes movies and Fast
Times at Ridgemont High as the best teenage movies of the 80's.
Yet for some reason it isn't. And I don't
I have never met a person who didn't like it.
Even if, yes, most of the Ruth Gordon scenes are kind of annoying.
In my Meatballs review I said you should see Meatballs just because it
is a Chris Makepeace movie, and because Chris Makepeace movies are
awesome. Well the same thing goes for My Bodyguard.
fact, in my opinion, My Bodyguard will always be the ultimate Chris
Not bad for a kid who was Canadian.
He's not your buddy, guy.
My Bodyguard. Featuring the awesome Chris Makepeace, the
underrated Adam Baldwin, about 15% too much Ruth Gordon, and Matt
Dillon as the kid who single handedly nearly scared me out of attending
middle school. I am 38 years old now and I am
still terrified of that guy.
If there is a better candidate for an underloved movie I don't
know what it would be.
Nothing says early 80's like a JOCK t-shirt.
favorite IMDB user reviews about My Bodyguard:
movie - 31 May 2007
rented this movie the other day because I remember it from my
childhood. I was expecting to watch it with my wife (I haven't seen it
since I was about 7) and laugh at the funny clothes, language, and
general definitions of what was "cool" in 1980. In other words, I
wasn't expecting to see a good movie, just watch some nostalgic mystery
science theater 3000 fodder. What I saw totally shocked me...this is a
VERY good movie. Incredibly acted by Makepeace, Baldwin, and Dillon,
this movie is not the stereotypical goofy 80's teen drama. This is a
very well put together film that deserves much more historical acclaim
than it is given. Dillon and Makepeace are dead on in their
stereotypical roles of bully and nerd, but it's Baldwin as the
brooding, misunderstood, mysterious hulk that steals the show. Ricky
Linderman is one of the more interesting movie characters you will ever
come across. Granted, I did also get my dose of 80's humor (the guys
playing basketball in red short-shorts, white knee high socks, and
black shoes is worth the price of the rental alone) but I got something
else I didn't expect...a great hidden gem of a movie!
Terrific Little Film With
Enormous Heart - 2 November 2004
film is an absolute joy. When it came out 24 years ago my friends and I
went to see it about 5-6 times. I've not seen it since and recently
It was like opening a time capsule: everything
was still fresh and true with tremendous performances from a terrific
The standout performance belongs to Adam
Baldwin. 17 when this was filmed, Baldwin's performance is nothing
short of astonishing. His Linderman is classic "tough guy" on the
outside, frightened loner beneath the surface. Properly fearful looking
(the whole school is scared of this guy) Baldwin nonetheless makes it
impossible for you not to feel for this kid and when, out of his
greasy, shapeless clothes and cleaned up and dressed for dinner at the
hotel, his smile and demeanor
Chris Makepeace shines as the
tale's protagonist, Clifford and his persistence in courting friendship
with Linderman is a turning point in the film.
Ruth Gordon is
predictably hilarious as Cliff's grandmother ("Bats, bats!") whether
getting tipsy and flirting with the married guests or dispensing
relationship advice to her grandson ("never hit a woman . . . men think
they want that . . . they don't!" )
One forgets how young Matt Dillon, Joan Cusack were when they started
and both are terrific here.
A terrific little film with enormous heart.
Excellent - 16 December
happened to Chris Makepeace? This kid could act. He
was my hero
growing up. There was nobody I could relate to more. I mean there was
the Terminator, Rocky, Rambo, Conan, and other big muscle heroes. They
did not speak to me. I felt no connection to them. Don't get me wrong I
loved those films...Yes even Rocky 5 ("You knocked him down...why don't
you try knocking' me down?"), but it was the loser weakling portrayed
in My Bodyguard, the kid who could not find a friend at camp in
Meatballs, and the horny teenager in Vamp I felt instantly akin to.
Bodyguard had me searching the hallways of my High School for someone
to protect me. I never found my Adam Baldwin, but this movie taught me
to stick up for myself. There were plenty of Matt Dillon's in my high
school just waiting to steal my lunch money, and mess up the way I
This film had some high drama in it as well. I am not
one of those that likes to write spoilers so I will just say that I had
an unexpected welling of emotion in one scene. If I ever wrote a
script, I would seek out the talents of Chris Makepeace.
A timeless, compelling
and thoughtful movie about facing odds. - 15 April 2005
movie rings true on so many different levels. I find this a real gem
because no matter how many times I watch it I find it compelling and
refreshingly straightforward. Chris Makepeace is cast perfectly as a
reluctant victim of extortion by Matt Dillon's high school band of
thugs. Adam Baldwin relays a sense of pain, anguish, and grief that you
can nearly touch. What can you say about Matt Dillon (Moody)? Anyone
who has ever been bullied will squirm in their seat after watching him
for just ten minutes. This is one of those special movies that will
appeal to so many different people. Haven't we all been to high school?
been bullied at some point? got caught up in ridiculous rumor and
innuendo? if so, then definitely take time to watch this timeless
Excellent teen film
- 13 September 2006
people who have seen Matt Dillon only in more recent films, such as
"Factotum" and "Crash," have missed arguably the best work of the first
phase of his acting career. That I felt so incensed by Melvin Moody,
Dillon's "My Bodyguard" character, tells me what a talent Dillon had
for playing the part of the incorrigible schoolboy who makes physically
weaker students dread every school day.
Though, of all the cast
members Dillon incited me the most -- I wished I could enter the film
so that I could shove Melvin Moody down a flight of stairs -- no actor
left me feeling unmoved. Several actors, in fact, impressed me as much
as did Dillon.
Despite the familiar themes of friendship and
loyalty and the often-employed plot involving campus hoodlums and their
victims, the performances in this movie were thought provoking as well
as entertaining, apparently because this film's writers seemed to make
a point of avoiding uni-faceted characters.
Peache (Ruth Gordon), for example, showed that she also had a capacity
for compassion and kindness, just as sullen, intimidating Ricky
Linderman (Adam Baldwin) became less defensive, even easygoing, given
the right setting. Well-adjusted Clifford Peache (Chris Makepeace), who
spent much time fleeing Melvin Moody and his rowdy friends, too, could
change, turning bold and feisty on a couple of occasions.
contrast, the story doesn't include a scene in which Melvin Moody
reveals a part of himself that, let's say, he would prefer to keep
hidden, such as his cowering in the presence of a verbally and
physically abusive father. Matt Dillon performs so naturally, however,
that the story does not suffer by including a prototypical bully.
One Of Those Movies I
Never Tire Of - 18 July 2005
I was watching the new Fox series, "The Inside" the other night and
marveling at how handsome and young and talented Adam Baldwin still is
and I realized that the film I fell for him in is 25 years old! How
time flies! I saw "My Bodyguard" in the theatre in 1980 with a friend
from high school the very first time her parents allowed her to hang
out with me. They were very protective and thought I was some kind of
hood. I totally was not! I was a good kid who was perceived as nothing
by the real bad kids in my school. I was invisible, for the most part.
But I was bullied a lot from time to time. And during one really bad
year, I did the bullying. You do what you're taught. And there were a
couple of years there where I just couldn't get along with anyone. The
movie meant a lot to me at a time when I probably really needed it.
Baldwin was so completely adorable in this movie that I must've seen it
20 times over the years. I identified with Clifford, of course. But I
just loved Linderman. I've seen most of Adam's stuff. Even some of the
cheesy direct-to-video crap. Well, I was in the video business for a
while, it didn't cost me anything. He's always better than the material
he's given. When they cut him loose, he's great. And it's no harm that
he's extensively easy on the eyes.
I love Tony Bill. He has made
some terrific, very underrated movies in his time. Anyone seen "Five
Corners"? God, I love that movie.
Having been a Ruth Gordon fan
since I first Saw "Harold & Maude" at an art-house when I was a
kid, it was a delight watching her granny-gone-wild act in "My
Bodyguard". Martin Mull was sweetly droll as he tried to curb her as
best he could and be there for his son amid the chaos of them all
living inside his career.
Had anyone ever before seen a family
living in a big-city luxury hotel that the dad's trying to run? What a
delicious touch! How boring would this film be without the hijinks at
the hotel? In fact, all the locations were exceptionally well-utilized.
it scare any of you that I can hear the musical score in my head as I
write this? It really is one of "those" films for me. It stuck with me.
Even though I never owned the score, I remember the music. The
character-driven semi-classical score by Dave Grusin is refreshing. If
you've never seen this film, you owe it to yourself to partake. Most
especially if you were anywhere near the range of 10-20 years old in
1980. And it's finally on DVD!
Outstanding teen movie -
21 December 2003
My Bodyguard was released in the summer of 1980, the teen movie genre
was in its infancy. We would soon be assaulted with countless flicks
about horny teens and their libidos. This film stands above that pack.
Anyone attending high school during this period (as I was) will feel
for Clifford Peache. An outstanding teen movie, it launched the careers
of Joan Cusack, Adam Baldwin, and in a tiny and unfortunately
uncredited role, Jennifer Beals. The adults also shine in their roles
(especially Ruth Gordon, in one of her last screen appearances). The
story holds up and is believable. The one small complaint I have is the
film somehow feels like one of those ABC Afterschool Specials. Anyway,
if you want to see a teen movie before the genre imploded with
vulgarity, rent My Bodyguard. You won't be disappointed.
favorite scene in My Bodyguard:
There are a bunch of good scenes in this movie, including a couple of
gut punches that you don't really see coming and they hit you hard.
The scene where Clifford finds out what happened to
brother (from the teacher) is a particularly good one. And I
remember the bike scene at the lake just absolutely destroyed me when I
was a little kid. That was the first scene in a movie that
taught me how mean people could be in the world.
at the IMDB
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Movies That Deserve More Love