I’ve been thinking a bit about the A-Team lately after finding out that the one and only Mr. T now has a twitter account and having just recently found a copy of the recent cinematic re-boot of the franchise in a dump bin for $5. Though I love the original series and enjoyed the recent flick enough, it reminded me of how much I dearly wanted to see some sort of variation on the A-Team cast with teen actors when I was in high school. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my top five favorite Teen A-Teams, those kids you can turn to when the Feds are on your tail because you built that nuclear bomb for the science fair, or the friends you band together with to fend of the communist attack from Russia. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, you can call the Junior A-Team…
When coming up with this list I was thinking of teams consisting of high school aged kids, so there are a couple of teams that should probably be included but didn’t make the cut because they’re more middle school level groups. I still wanted to point to them though because they’re a couple of my favorites…
Honorable Mention #1 – The Monster Squad (1987)
It’s hard not to include The Monster Squad on any list I make simply because it’s, hands down, my favorite film. Seriously, a day doesn’t go by without me thinking about that flick in some form be it queuing up the soundtrack on my iPod, thinking about Horace cocking a shotgun in triumph, or just quoting random lines about the Scary German Guy doing my best impression of the 4 year-old Phoebe. Yeah, I’m a dork, but Math club was already full, and I just got a phone call from Mr. Alucard, so I’ve got some work to do…
Honorable Mention #2 – The Goonies (1985)
If I couldn’t join the ranks of the Monster Squad, as a kid there was nowhere else in the world I would have wanted to be than in Astoria, Oregon in the goon docks hanging out with Mikey, Mouth, Chunk, Data, and heck, even Steph and Brand. Andy would have probably intimidated me to be honest. Unfortunately, for this list three teenaged new inductee Goonies, does not a Teen A-Team make. But I had to mention them anyway.
#5 – The BMX Bandits (1983)
The A-Team isn’t all about action, there’s a good 15% that is all about style. From the badass Van to Mr. T’s accoutrement (pronounced without the last “T” as snootily French as possible), so when compiling this list I wanted to think about a group of teens that not only got the job done, but also looked awesome doing it. The BMX Bandits immediately sprang to mind. Also, since I had to ditch the bike-riding awesomeness from the Goonies and Monster Squad, I wanted to work them in some way. As for the three Bandits, not only do they consistently outwit Australian mobsters, but they have one hell of a business sense when it comes to fencing stolen merchandise to make the money they need for that new bike! Also, they were able to raise an entire BMX army in the flick, which is a sight to behold for sure.
#4 – The Nerd Extraction Team – The Manhattan Project (1986)
The Navy Seals have nothing on the Nerd Assault Squad Extraction Team from The Manhattan Project. Eccles, Saito, Jeffrey, and Moore come off like they might be the villainous science fair competition, but they quickly redeem themselves are they realize what Paul has built and that nerds need to stick together. The sequence where they spring Paul from the clutches of the government in the hotel is some of my favorite moments from that flick. Also, this: “Because life, my dear, is more than just freezing toads.”
#3 – Toy Soldiers (1991)
Do you remember that time when Will Wheaton picked up an Uzi from a hostage-taking terrorist and went out in a phenomenal blaze of glory to help liberate his school from bondage? No, well than you need to see Toy Soldiers. Sean Astin might not have made the list as Mikey from the Goonies, but that didn’t stop me from including him in the number three spot as the leader of a gang of friends at a prep school that are set to free themselves from a terrorist hostage situation. This was one of those films that felt like should have been made in the 80s, but was instead lost in the shuffle of the independent movie boom of the early 90s. The flick also features a great performance from the awesome Keith Coogan of two great babysitting flicks, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Adventures in Babysitting…
#2 – The Wolverines – Red Dawn (1984)
So, some of you may be screaming travesty that I’m listing the Wolverines in the number two spot, but as much as I love this film (like seriously, I need to be alone to watch it), there’s a little bit too much in-fighting in the team to place them in the number one spot. That being said, if the country was being attacked by the cold-war-era Russians from the 80s, I would want no one else by my side other than Jed, Matt, Toni, Danny, Aardvark, Erica, and especially Robert. Fuck that traitor Daryl though.
#1 – The Eagles – Iron Eagle (1986)
When I was coming up with this list I immediately knew who would be at the top and that’s The Eagles from the ridiculously fun Iron Eagle. Teamwork, matching bad ass jackets, a bitchin’ club house, and so many cool b-level kid actors from the 80s that there is just no question who I would call when the shit really started to go down. Featuring Jason Gedrick as Doug Masters (leader of the Eagles), Robbie Rist as Milo (he doesn’t get a fair shake and was awesome in Kidd Video and as the voice of Michaelangelo in the TMNT flicks), Larry B. Scott as Reggie (what awesome team was he not part of in the 80s – Cobra Kai from the Karate Kid, Tri-Lambs from Revenge of the Nerds, SpaceCamp!), Jerry Levine as Tony (Styles from Teen Wolf), Shawnee Smith as Joenie, Heather Haase as Tally, and David Greenlee as Kingsley. I guess you could also include Louis Gossett Jr. as Chappy as well. They’ll steal the aerial photos you’ll need, they’ll locate the surface to air missile installations you’ll need to avoid, they’ll schedule the in-air refuelings you’ll need to make it to the Middle East, and most importantly they’ll get you five minutes on the base to talk to Chappy. Let’s steal an F-14 and go rescue someone’s dad!
Who would your Junior A-Team be?