Sometimes you become an adult and realize that you never saw the ‘90s movie Heavyweights as a child. At which point, the only thing to do is to immediately watch the movie, take copious notes, and write about it for Oh My Disney, so that others won’t face the same fate. These are those notes.
The story begins as the last day of school comes to an end. We think any movie that starts with a school bell ringing and papers flying everywhere in the hallway is already a win.
Then we meet Gerry, who is having a really bad day after he misses the bus, can’t throw a baseball over a fence, and walks by a dog that definitely does not like him, all within three minutes. We feel for Gerry, and really want to give him a big hug, or at least ask that lady to move her dog away from Gerry ASAP.
The song “Closer to Free” by the BoDeans plays when Gerry is walking home and it absolutely calls for a short dance break before proceeding with the film.
Gerry then goes to a lemonade stand and guzzles an entire jug of lemonade like a champion—and it’s amazing. The best part is the shocked look on the faces of the girls who are selling the lemonade, but Gerry just gives them a look like, “NBD.”
One might, at this point, take a quick break to look up the actor who plays Gerald “Gerry” Garner, Aaron Schwartz, because he looks so familiar. Schwartz also plays Dave Karp in The Mighty Ducks and we realize he has been in all of our favorite childhood movies and now is our new favorite person.
Gerry gets home to find a man in an oversized suit named Roger Johnson in his parents’ living room. Gerry’s parents want him to go to summer camp and Roger is there to tell him about it. The suit gives away that Roger is not to be trusted. Gerry’s excuse that he can’t go to summer camp is that he has to “hang out.” We are now going to use this excuse to get out of everything we don’t want to do. We’ll see if it works. We also love how Gerry says “I’m not going,” and then the movie immediately cuts to his plane taking off. That’s life, Gerry, but we know it will all work out for you, because you’re Gerry!
Gerry gets an airline pin from the flight attendant. Do they still do that? If so, we will be requesting one on our next flight.
Then Gerry meets Roy played by a young Kenan Thompson. Kenan plays Russ in D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. So far this is turning out to be a The Mighty Ducks reunion and we love it. Gerry and Roy wait with other kids to get picked up by the camp bus. Then the camp bus driver and counselor, Pat Finley, rolls up in a sweet bus that reminds us of field trips back in school. Pat asks if the kids are ready to have the best summer of their lives. The kids are ready, we are ready, everybody’s ready for it.
We take a moment to wonder: how do all of the suitcases stay on top of the bus? Thankfully, the suitcases arrive safely and we see the bus drive into Camp Hope. The camp sign looks cheerful but there are ominous sounds so we get suspicious.
Can we just talk about counselor Tim’s outfit in his first scene? It is a combination of crop top, cut-off jean shorts, socks, and boots—and it is triumphant. We also meet Julie the nurse who seems really cool and probably is the most sensible person in the camp.
Then we meet Josh who is played by Shaun Weiss, who also plays Goldberg in The Mighty Ducks and the subsequent sequels. This is turning out to be the best Mighty Ducks reunion ever and we couldn’t be more excited. Josh is obviously a camp legend. Josh’s first line is “this pleases me.” Us too, Josh.
Gerry is assigned to the Chipmunk Bunk along with Josh and Roy and everyone gives him the nickname “Captain” because of the pin he got on the plane. He looks disappointed by the nickname, but we think he should take it. It could be worse as nicknames go.
Then quite possibly the best scene in the movie happens. We watch in slow motion as the camp kids jump off what is called “The Blob,” a giant inflatable air cushion that launches them into the lake. It looks so fun. We want to do that. Where can we do that?
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara play Harvey and Alice Bushkin, the owners of the camp, and they are adorable. But then they announce they had to declare bankruptcy and everyone is devastated—and so are we because that means we don’t get to see Harvey and Alice anymore. We love Harvey’s last line to the kids, which is, “One word of advice. Never let anyone sign your checks.” That’s good, solid advice right there.
Then the new owner of the camp comes in and it’s none other than Ben Stiller as Tony Perkis who is absolutely insane and crazed about fitness. He’s amazing, but we also know he’s going to be causing some real trouble. Ben Stiller always has such great hair in every movie he does, and we think he should get an award for that.
Tony replaces all of the camp counselors and makes some big changes at the camp (like deflating The Blob and getting rid of the go-karts, which brings tears to our Blob-dream-filled eyes.) One of the new counselors is named Lars and when one of the kids asks him where he is from he replies, “Far away.” We decide by the lack of information he is willing to give that Lars is not to be trusted either.
Tony rides around the camp on a bike in a spandex suit and then immediately picks up his bike and runs, carrying it over his shoulders. He proceeds to do this with a log and various other objects. We’re not quite sure why he does this but we’re super impressed by his ability to pick up random things and run with them. At one point Tony says, “You think I’m crazy? I’m not crazy. I just believe in you.” Big talk from a man who’s running around carrying tree trunks, but it’s pretty inspirational all the same.
Tony arranges a dance for the boys with a nearby girls’ camp and it is so awkward and reminds us of all of our junior high dances. Just when we think no one will ever dance, counselor Tim busts out some crazy arm-flailing dance moves and gets everyone into it. It should be noted that at this point he has changed out of his crop top and cut off shorts and is in evening wear, which consists of pants and a suit jacket. Everyone is finally having a great time until Tony ruins it. We verbally say out loud to the screen, “No, Tony!” and then we realize we aren’t in fact in the movie itself and he can’t hear us.
Tony then takes the kids on a 20-mile hike and things get out of hand. We were with him when he mentioned a hike, until he also added that they would be rock climbing barefoot, and then we were a solid out for that excursion.
The kids figure out a way to imprison Tony and take back the camp. They get a little out of control with it though, and instead throw a huge party. Counselor Tim, once again for the win, runs around a bonfire with chocolate and marshmallows all over his clothes and Pat says, “He looks like a human s’more.” He does, and it’s something we think counselor Tim should be proud of.
Pat gets the kids under control because it’s almost parent’s weekend and they have to get it together to show the parents how horrible Tony is. The parents arrive and everything is going great until Tony breaks out of his cell and shows up looking all kinds of a mess. His hair, however, still looks voluminous. Tony is ousted as camp manager and the kids nominate Pat to take over. Pat is the best choice and we are so happy for him.
Then it’s time for the big relay, where the kids of Camp Hope compete with another camp. In the last part of the relay, Gerry finally gets to drive a go-kart and we don’t think we can get any more excited until Josh pins Gerry’s airline wings on him before he takes off. Single tear for the airline wings (which we really are going to ask for next time we fly.)
After some nail-biting moments, Gerry wins the race and says, “I flew, Pat, I flew.” And we jump up from our seat and clap, even though he can’t hear us. Everyone loves Gerry, Pat, and the whole Camp Hope gang, and so do we.
Even as an adult, we can relate to Gerry’s story. He’s just a kid trying to hang out, but he gets thrown into an adventure and eventually learns what he is truly capable of. Which is, winning at go-kart races, and at life. Thank you, Heavyweights, for being just as great now as you were in the ‘90s. Also, please let us know if The Blob still exists and if we can borrow it.