BQB’s Classic Movie Roundup – License to Drive (1988)

“You mustn’t fuck with the department of motor vehicles, Mr. Anderson. We can make your life a living hell.”

Sigh.  Good times.

Every once in awhile I see an old movie on TV that I feel the need to tell my 3.5 readers about.

While “classic” might mean “Oscar caliber” to some people, I’m just going to use the term loosely whenever an older film strikes my eye.


This afternoon, I caught License to Drive, a 1980s comedy starring the decade’s two most popular Coreys, Haim and Feldman, respectively.

I’ve seen this one so many times and I can’t help but watch it again whenever I’m channel surfing and happen to catch it.  No matter what generation you’re from, it really captures the importance of being able to drive and how a license can totally change a teenager’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Les (Corey Haim) lucks out in scoring a date with uber hottie Mercedes (Heather Graham’s breakout role).

He figures it will all work out because his driver’s license exam is that week and he’ll be licensed by the weekend but no, he epically fails and thus a series of terrible events occur.

Not wanting to miss out, Haim defies his father (Richard Masur as a typical angry that my kid is so dumb dad) and swipes his grandfather’s cadillac to take Mercedes out.

You may not realize it, but this movie really combines sights, sounds, and backstory to create a funny experience.

In the beginning, we learn that Les’s grandfather loves his car and that he’s likely to start World War III if so much as a scratch is left on it.  Thus, throughout the movie, from a narrow road in the forest where tree branches swipe against the car, to Mercedes getting drunk and dancing on the hood in her heels, to goons getting mad at Les and trashing the car, to a drunk barfing in it, you, as the viewer, end up cringing with every single scrape, bang and ding.

Corey Feldman of Goonies fame and Michael Manasseri are Les’s buddies, the carefree Dean who eggs Les on to break more and more rules and uber nerd Charles who is afraid of everything.

To top it all off, Les’s mother (Carol Kane) is pregnant and could need a ride to the hospital at any minute which isn’t good seeing as how her son ran off with the family’s only method of transportation.

My favorite part is the scene where Les takes his driver’s test.  We see scenes where his test and his twin sister (family favorite Natalie played by Nina Siemaszko) gets a super nice tester who takes her for a nice, quiet drive through the country while Les gets a super angry tester (James Avery aka Will Smith’s uncle in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air).

When James literally tosses his clipboard out the window and informs Les that if a single drop of his coffee spills its over, you know its going to be funny.

Great movie.  Reminds me of my childhood, being a teenager and overall, simpler times.

Sigh…and it makes me sad that we lost Corey Haim too soon at age 38.  Life sure can be unfair sometimes.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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4 thoughts on “BQB’s Classic Movie Roundup – License to Drive (1988)

  1. This was never one of my faves. All that cringing every time the car got jacked up. I was never one for enjoying other people’s pain.

    • Eh..I mean I read it differently, like with every little thing that happens to the car you can picture his grandfather getting madder and it is sort of relatable as I know I feel like I’ve had stuff happen to me at the worst possible time where its like “what are the odds of this happening?”

      Any rate, it all works out in the end in 1980s fashion.

    • So on another note, I’m thinking about making Undead Man’s Hand the first novel and How the West Was Zombed the second. There are some chapters in Undead that explain what the Legion is and their history and what they are up to and so on.

      I’m not really sure, I just need to work on something else for awhile. I don’t think I have the ability to work on like three books for a couple of years and hope it all works out so rather I need to work on one book a year.

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