During a party scene, the cool kids listen to this righteous sax solo loop. They like this song so much that during subsequent party scenes they listen to this exact song again.
They also listen to this uncredited Jim Steinman-esque song.
The only music credit is given to Misha Segal.
Interesting Dated References: I seriously cannot believe that up until the mid 80s the drinking age used to be 18 in a lot of states. I understand it was fine drinking at this young of an age during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, because back then we all lived under the banner of personal responsibility and accountability, but as soon as society devolved into the finger-pointing, vacant-consumerist culture of the early 80s, the drinking age should have been raised to 35.
Seriously, imagine drunken 18-year-olds at a bar. How annoying. Thank goodness we’ve blocked their access to alcohol and they now have to find newer and more addictive (but slightly less destructive) drugs to abuse.
Best Line: “Caring is what makes you a man.” — said by man to boy.
Social Context: Contract for Life tells the real-life story of the founding of S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving, or Driving Drunk; now Students Against Destructive Decisions). In 1981, a Massachusetts high school coach named Robert Anastas started the organization after noticing rampant alcohol abuse and related drunk driving accidents in his school. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the organization created education programs for students worldwide and has remained relevant and active today.
On the other hand, and not to slight the organization, Contract for Life: The S.A.D.D. Story has not remained relevant. It’s a super-cheesy, Disney-produced CBS Schoolbreak Special that is saturated with 80s.
Summary: Our after school special opens by introducing us to hockey coach Bob Anastas (played by Stephen Macht). He’s well liked by the kids and looked up to. Later in the locker room, Coach lectures them that they shouldn’t drink during the season.
William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid) plays the rebellious Rick, who is way into pouring gallons of cologne on himself from a giant glass bottle.
After a few more scenes of hockey practice, our focus shifts to David Shaw, the new kid. David has a hectic home life with a distant father and a mom who are too busy to pay much attention to him. This scene is interspersed with shots of the Coach’s idyllic home setting (Loving wife and kids, nice house, etc.).
Then it’s 80s party time. At 80s high school parties, everyone stood around and listened to music with blazing saxophone solos and had conversations. Nobody looked at their phones, did hard drugs, filmed themselves raping someone, or thought they were a really good DJ just because they had a laptop and some music software. The world sucks now.
Suddenly a super-wasted Rick realizes he’s going to be 30 minutes late for the curfew his dad set, and immediately starts speeding through the streets. He crashes and dies.
At the funeral, Rick’s dad blames himself for being too strict about the curfew. A few days later another hockey player named Jimmy drives drunk and ends up in a coma.
Again, I’m not trying to slight the real life situations these events are based upon, but Jimmy has traumatic brain injury and doesn’t even have a scratch on his face. To make matters worse, all the other players stand around his comatose body shouting, “Come on!,” over and over. Jimmy dies the next day.
To commemorate this death, all the kids go out into the woods and get wasted. The weirdo emo hockey player named J.D. keeps insisting everyone listen to Jimmy’s favorite song.
Over the next few days, Coach goes irate at practice, talks to students about preventing drunk driving, and then puts on this nice turtleneck. He and the kids come up with a contract that students and their parents will sign. The gist of it is that if a kid is wasted, he can call his parents and they won’t judge him and will go and pick their child up (assuming they aren’t wasted as well).
Then there’s a final party and a few kids are about to drive drunk. Having just signed the contract with his dad, David calls him for a ride. David’s really taking immediate advantage of the contract. I think I signed a contract like this with my mom back in like 8th grade and all it did was make me more insecure because I never was invited to a single party.
Poster and Box Art: This box looks like an after school special from the 80s, which it is. Also, I always thought it was “Students Against Drunk Driving” but the sticker on the box clearly states “Students against Driving Drunk.”
Availability: I couldn’t even find used VHS on eBay.