Teen Wolf (1985)
You know how you hear people talk about movie stars having “it?” That unnameable, ungraspable something that makes some people big stars and keeps other people small? You know if someone has “it” the first time you see them. And in the mid-1980s, Michael J. Fox definitely had “it.” Cute but not threatening, cool but approachable, able to model adolescence but make awkwardness seem adorable, he was a certain species of perfect. It’s especially true of 1985, his annus mirabilis – imagine, Back to the Future and Teen Wolf coming out in the same year. Imagine being so on top of the world.
In Teen Wolf, Fox (playing Scott Howard) wants to turn into someone else. He’s terrible at basketball; his crush ignores him; he ignores his own friend, Boof, who’s crushing on him in turn. His father lets him in on the family secret (lycanthropy, if you hadn’t guessed) and the movie sets up its message that you don’t have to change to be a winner. Whatever. We, the audience, already knew Fox was special. We didn’t need Stiles to sell us a Teen Wolf t-shirt to know who our hero was.
Support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.