Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life


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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Release Date:
7th October 2016
92 min
MPAA Rating:
Steve Carr
Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p


Imaginative quiet teenager Rafe Katchadorian is tired of his middle school's obsession with the rules at the expense of any and all creativity. Desperate to shake things up, Rafe and his best friends have come up with a plan: break every single rule in the school and let the students run wild.


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 63%
IMDb Rating 5.7


Alexa Nisenson as Georgia
Andrew Daly as Principal Dwight
Lauren Graham as Jules

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Dave McClain ([email protected]) 9th October, 2016

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. Who can't relate to that sentiment? At school, you have to deal with peer pressure and bullies and, at home, you probably have issues with your siblings and parents who just don't understand. You may be experiencing your first real crush, but not know how to talk to that special someone – or what you're supposed to do after you manage to have a conversation. You're just starting to figure out who you are as a person, but there's still so much that you're not sure about. You're only beginning to make sense out of life, but you lack the life experience and perspective to understand what's important and what's not. You're confused, frustrated and maybe a little bit lost. You just wish you had some… some… control. All this is why the James Patterson novel turned-big-screen-adaptation "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life" (PG, 1:32) is so relatable – and so fun. Rafe Khatchadorian (Griffin Gluck) is having a rough year. His younger brother died of leukemia, his father has left the family, Rafe's often fighting with his even younger sister, Georgia (Alexa Nisenson), and his mother, Jules (Lauren Graham), is struggling with all of this and dating an obnoxious, two-faced, self-centered guy named Carl (Rob Riggle). Rafe deals with all this through the drawings and imaginative worlds he creates in his sketch book – and by acting out in school. In fact, Rafe has been expelled from two different schools and is transferring to the last school who will take him. In his new middle school, he really has only one friend, his partner-in-crime, Leo (Thomas Barbusca). Rafe does get along well with his homeroom teacher, Mr. Teller (Adam Pally), and he hopes that one day he can be more than friends with Jeanne (Isabela Moner), the sweet and socially conscious A.V. Club President. Unfortunately, Rafe's more immediate concerns at school are Miller (Jacob Hopkins), the bully who sits right behind him in class, the school's tough and unreasonable Vice Principal, Ida Stricker (Retta) and the strict disciplinarian and completely kid un-friendly, Principal Dwight (Andy Daly, the principal on TV's "Modern Family"). Principal Dwight only really cares about two things – his school's continued high scores on an annual achievement test known as the B.L.A.A.R. (Base Line Assessment of Academic Readiness) – and his long list of school rules which he enforces on his students without compassion. Dwight is the kind of principal who "welcomes" a new student by pointing out a slew of dress code violations before the new kid even enters the school for the first time – and then destroys that same student's treasured sketch book just because some kids were passing it around during a school assembly. At Leo's urging, Rafe decides to get his revenge on Dwight by destroying the principal's book – his rule book – as in, making it a goal to literally break every rule in the book, but not get caught. What follows is a series of creative and intricate pranks which inhabit their own Facebook page: "Rules Aren't For Everyone". While Rafe is busy with his own brand of "don't try this at home" stunts, he's also dealing with an escalating situation between him and Miller, Rafe's growing feelings for Jeanne and the increasingly serious relationship between his mom and Carl, whom he and his sister unflatteringly call "Bear". "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life" is very enjoyable and surprisingly poignant. While mainly focused on Rafe's complicated family life and his war with his principal, the story works in some subtle criticism of modern trends in education – and an emotional twist near the end that will shock those who haven't read the book. Daly makes a perfect antagonist (effectively supplemented by Retta's, Riggle's and Hopkins' characters), while Moner is fittingly adorable and Gluck and the other actors who play members of the Khatchadorian family create relatable and sympathetic characters. This cast is full of actors many Movie Fans will recognize… and have trouble placing, but they make for a great ensemble. Throughout the movie, there are creative and entertaining animated sequences which bring Rafe's imaginative pen-and-ink creations to life – and his equally imaginative rule-breaking makes for some great (albeit over-the-top) visuals. Realism isn't the main consideration, but a sense of (relatively) harmless fun is – and that we get in spades. This story feels like it's actually being told from the perspective of a middle schooler – and is likely to have a lot of appeal for an audience of the same – and maybe even for their parents… and for the odd movie reviewer who remembers well the trauma of middle school, is happy just to have survived it and would've liked to have been as brave and resourceful as the main characters in this movie. "A-"

Reviewed by subxerogravity 8th October, 2016

I actually thought it was pretty good.

Honestly, It was one of those days when I just wanted to see a movie and anything would do. So I went to see Middle School as it was playing at the time I showed up. I herd of the movie, I did not have low expectations, and did not have any exceptions. So what I got is a very entertaining movie. This genre of movie has never peaked my interest, so I was real surprised how much I actually liked it. It's pretty funny. A lot of good jokes that I generally enough to appeal to a large variety of people. A few laugh out loud moments, and a lot of small ones that really keep the momentum going. This is despite the fact that the cast of characters was pretty generic and mediocre, except for one named Georgia, the little sister of the main character Rafe. Should have been more of her on the screen. Was also surprised at how deep the movie got. It's main plot of letting children be creative individuals did not spark much inside me, but the subplots of dealing with the lost of a family member did hit home, and was delivered perfectly. Plus, there was some cool animation in it, and I'm a sucker for that. Overall Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life was worth the ticket. It makes me feel differently about movies like this overall.

Reviewed by sfgebel3 8th October, 2016

Not What I Expected

James Patterson's series about Rafe Katchadorian's middle school escapades comes to the big screen with "The Worst Years of My Life"–book one in the series. Rafe (Griffin Gluck) transfers to a new school where Principal Dwight (Andy Daly) has a list of rules that has turned student's metaphorical "prison" description into reality. Rafe, with the help of his best friend Leo, make it their mission to break every single one of the rules. This is most definitely a tween movie for the age group that does not fit into full-fledge PG-13 films, but feel they're too old to be entertained by Disney/Pixar animation. Enter the mash-up of the two. We're given live-action that takes the 1985 classic, Real Genius, where students rebel against the authority figure in creative fashion, and combines it with the animated narration of the kid's show, Lizzie McGuire, with Rafe's imagination running wild and bringing his art to life. So why did 26-year-old me see this film? A school that wants to extinguish creativity and forces the creative students to rebel to bring back the art. How could I resist? Admittedly I have no artistic talent with a sketchbook or paint, but I write, and I have a close friend who is the type of artist whose heart ached when she watched the principal throw the sketchbook in a bucket of acid. My heart ached too, but that's because I firmly believe art and creativity belong in all schools. True, I was not the target audience, and those suffering through middle school or even high school are more likely to love this movie, but I still enjoyed it. The various pranks, each one more creative than the last, was awesome to watch. The obvious theme of "anything you can imagine is real" definitely hits home. Even with all the pranks the film still has a very cookie-cutter, Disney Channel vibe with the age-appropriate humor and villains who spout ridiculous rhetoric and act more childish than those watching. At one point Rafe and Leo are trying to determine what rhymes with "suck" and we know what they want to say, but they can't for obvious reasons, but that turns into a dramatic pause that places too much attention on the censored language of the PG rating. While the school bully and mom's boyfriend are just obstacles for Rafe to overcome. Everything is on-the-nose with Rafe's comebacks to the bully, the checklist for rules broken, the payback to Carl the bear of a stepfather, and everything falls into place. Rafe shoots to stardom for his pranks, gets the girl, the friends, and wins–not that we'd expect anything different from this type of movie where the kids are misunderstood and adults are out to get them. However, I will admit that when I saw the film I was surprised by the more serious criticism of standardized testing and "teaching to the test rather than the student". As a teacher I have a mixed relationship with standardized testing. I understand the benefits, for students applying to college, schools needing funding, and states trying to determine how they'll measure comprehension. On the other hand, I also feel focusing so much energy on these tests is problematic for teachers trying to teach the students in a way that is engaging and beneficial. Especially when no two students are alike. It's likely most of the "tween" crowd watching the film were too distracted by the antics to catch that message, but there is another surprise to the film that adds another dimension that is impossible to miss. One that the trailer fails to include in its desire to present this film as another classic school comedy. The film is funny, but definitely not as funny as it leads us to believe.

Reviewed by Eric Gager 8th October, 2016

Worst movie of my life

With all of the good reviews I see, I need to be the one to tell the truth here. I saw this with my twelve year old cousin and I was actually the one who thought it would be a good idea to see this movie. worst hour or so of my life. I'm actually doing it a favor by posting 4 stars instead of 1. About me: I went to middle school, I usually am the person who gives a movie a try before making a decision on whether or not I actually like the movie, and I like the color yellow (not relevant, but whatever). Let's start with the characters. They were all very two dimensional. all except Lauren Graham, who has been very typecast as mothers in her film career (ex. Gilmore Girls, Evan Almighty, and now this), which could make her seem a little 2D at times; and the main character Rafe, who lost his brother and now sees dead people. Most would call that crazy and put him in a mental institution, but this is the movie world. Some two dimensional characters include: the mean principle(s), the conservationist girl whom the main character likes, the evil boyfriend of the single mother, and the goofy best friend. Most kids wouldn't care because the movie is mostly kid humor and won't make any half- witted adult laugh. This cliched movie takes some of the best middle school movies like 'Ramona and Beezus,' and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' and takes a huge dump on them by calling itself a middle school family movie. Why did they need to have the kissing scene at the end? Where was his Mom during this scene? and what the heck with the two dimensional characters? Seriously, the mind of this child is possessed or something. Now that I have made my rant, I'd like to say that during that ending kissing scene my twelve year old cousin slowly turned to me, I returned the gaze, and we both laughed so hard at the cringe that they kicked us out of the theater. NO, we didn't get kicked out. We left willingly.

Reviewed by www.ramascreen.com 7th October, 2016

Fun, adorable, and heartwarming

#MiddleSchoolMovie made me cry. I didn't expect the story to be so sad, but it really was, and it's all in a good way. The film is fun, adorable, heartwarming and it just makes you want to hold your loved ones closer than ever. There needs to be more and more movies like this. The story is quite simple, it's about this young kid named Rafe (Griffin Gluck) who has an active imagination. He loves drawing stuff on his notebook and the characters come to life in this quirky animation which is part of the film's appeal. But Andrew Daly's character, the school principal is anti-creativity, so he's always on Rafe's case. So Rafe strikes back with all kinds of hilarious pranks. But at home, his mom is dating a jerk of a boyfriend who's giving him and his sister a hard time. So all in all, it hasn't been a good school year for Rafe, not to mention his family is still trying to recuperate from a certain tragedy. Without spoiling any important plot points, let me just say that the fun parts are fun and the dramatic parts are truly dramatic, this is not a movie that insults anybody's intelligence just because it's a PG movie for younger viewers. Based on James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts' novel that I haven't read yet, but this film sure motivates me to buy a copy, what I think makes MIDDLE SCHOOL effective is that the comedy aspect isn't mean to get your guard down, and the emotional aspect isn't quickly dropped like some kind of anvil. It also opens your eyes, you realize that even a middle-schooler can go through a lot We sometimes underestimate them, we often forget that those formative years are crucial to a human being and so I think the film does a good job of showing that. Actor Andrew Daly has played this type of douchebag authoritative role before and so has Rob Riggle in a role of a jerk, so both actors are comfortable in their element, they know what they're doing and they got it down to a science. It's absolute pure joy watching them do what they do best even if we may not like their characters. Kudos to all the kid actors as well, especially Griffin Gluck and Alexa Nisenson who seem so effortless in their performances. What other actors may have to learn for years in order to get to that point of exposing their emotions and shedding it for the screen, these kids make it seem like a walk in the park 'cause they wear it on their sleeves. What an incredible talent for such a young age. This movie's got tons of animation as well that will be sure to put a smile on your face. You will come out of the theater a much better person than when you were when you enter in. That's how surprisingly positive and powerful this film is. -- Rama's Screen --