Recess: School’s Out

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, the last day of school has happened for me. It’s sure been a crazy year. The end of the school always fills you with feelings. It could be happiness, or even sadness. But you can’t deny that it makes you think about the future.

I will be a senior next year, so that means big things for me. So I decided to look at a movie about this kind of thing. A good movie, cuz after …the demon thing, I need this.

So,. Let’s talk about Recess. For all 2 of you who missed it, here’s the skinny. It was a disney cartoon made in 1997. It was about  six elementary school students and their interaction with other classmates and teachers, but mostly about how they spend Recces.

The show was great because it really tapped into what it like to be a kid, and it exaggerated all the things you remember. Plus, it treated recess like a magical time, and the kid had their own society, complete with government and a class structure.

The ideas were clever, it was funny, and the characters were all likable. It was a hit, so of course a movie was made. But instead of sucking, it was awesome and did everything right. So let’s go back to 4th grade, and see how the kids dealt with summer.

This, is Recces: School’s out

The movie opens at some kind of Military base, where some dudes break in. We see a faceless dude in a black suit with his nerdy assistant Fennwick, voiced by Peter Macnicol.

What next sir?”

We establish our base. At a little place called..Third street school”

Feels like a Recces movie to movie! But really, i’ll address that later. First, let’s jump into the parts that do feel like Recess with the opening credits.

It’s the last day at 3rd street, and as you can imagine, all the kids are happy. We see all the recognizable character doing their thing, like that playground king guy and the Ashleys.

Now is a good time to introduce our main character, as we see them doing their thing. There’s TJ (always nice to see someone with my name), the leader,who thankfully is never dull as we’ll see later. We have the token black athlete, Vince, voiced by Tucker from Danny phantom. There is the token fat kid, Mickey, who is actually sort of smart. We got the Tomboy chick, Spinelli, voiced by Pamela Adlon. There’s the new kid, Gus, who is weak and nerdy. And finally, Gretchen, the nerdy chick.

See, Miss Finster, the evil teacher lady voiced by April Winchell, was hiding ice cream from the kids all year, but our gang is able to take out and throw it the other kids. They even go the extra mile by hacking the PA system and using a voice thing to pretend to be Principal Prickley. Yes, his name is meaningful.

recess 1*

But of course, TJ is caught by Prickley. He chews him out for the things he has done all year, and for being a pain in his ass. Believe it or not, Prickley is a major player…and even the heart of the movie. But more on that later.

Before TJ can get punished, the bell rings meaning school’s out yay.

You better do some growing up this summer, young man!”

The kids all head out and think about summer, the ultimate. Only there’s one little problem…everyone will be out. Vince will be at baseball camp, Spinelli will be at wrestling camp, Gretchen will be at space camp, Mickey will be at some choir camp, and Gus will be at Military camp.

The only free kid is TJ. Yes, a summer with his best friends.

Sorry, but we gotta think about our futures”

‘We can’t waste our whole summer just fooling around like kids”

This movie has interesting films, as you can tell. We’ll be exploring them later, but for now I’ll say I feel pretty bad for TJ, given how awesome this group was in the series. Thankfully, breaking them up for a quarter of the film didn’t turn out to be an awful idea.

So the kids go off to camp, leaving TJ alone. The next day he’s riding around town when he sees a weird green light coming from the school. Before he can see anything else, a big dude chases him away.

So he decides to do some spy work, since it gives him something to do. You know you are bored when you WANT to hang around the school. He sneaks a peak through a window and sees a scientist guy with a laser that levitates stuff.

Got to give the movie credit. Instead of doing a bunch of boring and stuff and waiting half an hour, they have the big evidence right away. TJ tells his parents, but they don’t buy it. The guys at the police station aren’t any better.

recess 2

He happens to see Prickley, so he follows him to tell him what is going on. He doesn’t buy it, but he follows TJ to school anyway. He opens the front door…and is given a big shock that zaps him away.

Didn’t see that coming.

Instead of getting someone else to see those brunt shoes left behind, he wants to get the gang back together. He asks his sister Becky, voiced by Mellisa joan heart, to give him a ride to those various camps.

We see that some of the kids are unhappy. Coach won’t let Vince play ball the way he’s used to, Gretchen is surrounded by kiddie stuff and no one cares about her serious research, and Gus is at military camp. The others are actually doing okay, but whatever.

It doesn’t take much for them to tag along with TJ. They hang around the school and see a bunch of dudes hanging around, being suspicious. However, they find a crate full of…test scores, and weather maps. The kids of course are disappointed. Tj showed them the brunt shoes earlier. Guess they forget?

Thankfully, a giant laser pops up for a bit to scare them all. Guess no one is outside to see this besides them. Contrived coincidences FTW! After seeing that, they want to do a full blown stake out.

But they still have camp to worry about. TJ says they can go to camp by day, and becky can pick them up at night. They also pull some tricks to make it so nobody suspects their gone at night.

So that night they hang out at TJ’s treehouse. They bond a bit and do kid stuff.

Too bad these days are numbered”

Way to kill the mood, gretchen.

“This is the last summer we’ll get to do stuff like this”

oh, worrying about growing up? Yay! They go into this briefly, and it ties in with the other stuff we’ll see later. They precede to wax nostalgic, while Gus is sad he’ll never have any big memories cuz he’s new. Shit, things got depressing really quick.

Mickey then jumps into a little number I like to call…John Jacobhoweveryousmillit…schmit. I like this scene, as it shows them bonding, and it’s all quite sweet.

But of course, we need something serious to offset it. That guy with the black suit from the opening goes into the Principal’s office with his buddy.

It used to be mine”


The next day, TJ spies alone. There’s a bit missed earlier, when the kids were not on board. They saw PRICKLEY walking around, and in this scene, we find out its Clancy brown in disguise. In the trash, TJ finds pirckley’s golf pants with a not inside reading “HELP ME”

Eh, i’m sure he’s fine.


…shut up.

So that night the kids decide to break into the school to find out what is going on. They get inside and overhear black suit guy. They spy on him through the air vents and a room full of science guys and complex machines.

recess 3So we finally meet black suit guy in person, Phillium Benedict, voiced by James Woods. He’s a lot of fun, and mr woods is as fun as you would expect him to be in this role. He hams it up as he yells at his goons that he will do his project here.

It started at 3rd street, it is going to end at 3rd street!”

Oh, and he has another buddy voiced by Tony Jay. Anyway, they get out their green laser again and shoot it at the moon. Oh no, they’ll disturb the alien space spider were rocks!

However, the laser stops cuz of something. Tony jay says they’ll get it next time, but cuz James Woods has the hammier voice, Jay is banished.

Even worse, the kids are caught when the vent fails to hold them. They have a chase which features…Ninja’s.

Why there have to be ninjas?”

Cuz this movie is now AWESOME.

All the kids escape…except TJ, who is captured. He is throw in a room where Prickley happens to be stored. Soon, James Woods comes in, and as it turns out, they know eachother. They have the kind of convo they can have without spoiling the twist coming up.

I wish this was a video review, so I show clips of James Woods being awesome. Seriously, he’s so much fun in this movie.

He leaves, so Prickley can give us the backstory. In the magical land of 1968, He and James were best friends, and Woods was the new Principal of 3rd street. Prickley and James have a talk in his office, and Woods tells him something.

He suggests they ban recces forever. Back in these days, Prickley was a super nice, and he loved kids. So of course, he is unhappy with this.

I need to help my career! And to day that, I need to make my test scores go up. And to make test scores go up. I got to keep kids in class!”

Eh, i’ve heard worst motivations. Sure, he’s not the most complex villain, but he is good. Plus, he’s a snazzy dresser.

Woods tries to put this plan into action, but no one likes it. Prickley likes his friend, but he has to make a move, so he calls in superintendent Robert Stack. Prickley just mean to stop that plan, but Mr Stack replaces Woods with prickley as the principal.

‘You tricked me!”

‘It’s not like that at all!”

Even worse, a …very disturbingly young Mrs Finster breaks up with him cuz of this.

You took my chick! You took my job. Well, enjoy it while you can. Cuz you’re gonna pay!”

Like a true evil genius, he went into politics and tries that plan again. He even became Secretary or Education, until the president fired him for the recces thing.

So that guy is some weirdo ex-teacher who wants to get rid of recces?”

Nice sum up, TJ. So I liked that backstory. Not only is a decent way to tie the villain into this, but a way to help develop prickley, the one character you’d think never think was a decent man.

So the two break out of the room, and get into Prickley’s office. He calls his buddies with a walktie talkie, but Clancy brown catches them.

Knowing he’s in danger, the others try to get Becky to help. Since TJ is kind of a dick to her, she doesn’t want to help.

Give me one good reason why I should help him”

He’s your little brother, and he needs you.”

That gets her. Awww!

The next mornng, TJ and Prickley meet up with James Wood, who gives a speech about how Prickley sucks.

i’m gonna get rid of the biggest recces of all…summer vacation!”


He explains his plan. See, that day happens to be the time where the moon is close to earth’s orbit. He’ll use his green laser tractor beam to move the moon to block the sun and make it cold in their area.

No summer…no summer vacation!”

Great, except for the fact that…cold does not equal not summer. I’m pretty sure they have cold summer on the other side of the world, too. He says more about this later, so i’ll go into it later. Trust me, there’s more reasons why this plan sucks.

So the two are captured again, and TJ gets pissed at Prickley.

You’re just a grown up, what do you know about summer vacation?!”

oh shit, speech time.

Every adult you’ve ever known was a kid. You think we don’t remember summer vacation? ..Some days I look at the kids on the playground, and think , they don’t know how good they’ve got it. In a few years, they’ll be grown ups like me. So go ahead, but a whoopie cushion in my chair. But don’t you ever say I don’t care about summer vacation!”

…Damn, I did not expect that. It’s not only a interesting theme, but it gives us great stuff with this relationship. I never thought i’d see that in this movie, and it does raise some good points.

But moving on, the kids father a bunch of other people to help them out, but they get into an argument which means it’s time for Gus to be awesome. Yep, he becomes the leader of their plan, and he puts his military camp work to good use.

His camp officer is here, so Gus shouts at him like a boss. Officer salutes after that. Awesome. Gus then gives a rousing speech to help the kids work together and help save summer vacation.

So they charge into the school, and an epic battle ensues. I won’t cover everything that happens, but it’s pretty awesome. Including an oddly epic moment where Prickley and TJ dump chowder on Clancy brown.;

It’s chowder time”


TJ meets up with the gang, and they head to auditorium. They all face off with James wood, who is ready to start his plan.\

Don’t do it!”

Don’t do it? You think after all this planning, i’ll stop when you say don’t do it?”

what if we add please?”

Heh. Villain speech time!

‘Test scores are too low. But if a person, say me, could make test scores go up. Why, everybody would feel better! They might even elect that person…president of the united states.’

…Go on.

Now, which country has the highest test score? CANADA! ICELAND! Why? It’s snowing up there! Kids don’t waste their summer playing ball! That’s why I am getting rid of summer vacation once and for all”

Okay, but this plan has yet another flaw…so? Kids play outside during the winter, you know. Chances are, they’ll do the same during the summer if it’s cold. This is common sense! Gee, for an evil mastermind, you sure are stupid.

Your stupid plan will never work. Maybe you can get rid of sunny afternoons playing baseball. But that won’t stop us! We’ll ride out bikes snow. We’ll play kickball in the slush! You can take away summer, but you’ll never take away summer vacation!”

See, even the characters in the movie know your plan sucks!


‘”Well ,i can try’

eh, fair enough. Also, am I watching a Recces movie where an evil guy uses a laser to move the moon and end summer? …Best Big damn movie ever!

Just when It seems we are all doomed…Muriel Finster comes in to kick some ass. Yeah, she found out about this during a minor subplot I skipped. Needless to say, Woods is happy, but Finster is not.

So, she assembles a team of teachers to come in and kick ass. Awesome. One epic fight scene later, Woods still tries to fire up the laser, with prickley watching.

‘Hey, there’s a spot on your tie”


God, what an idiot. Distracted, he gets hit by prickley, but he uses the laser switches as he falls down. Whoops. So TJ hands Vince a baseball.

Forget what they told you, aim it, don’t throw it!”

Glad that throwaway line made a comeback. Anyway, vince is able to turn off the laser for good. Eh, it’s not too anti-climatic.

James Wood shouts the sky, and everyone cheers. James is arrested, and everyone is finally safe. TJ even gives back Becky’s diary, which he stole earlier.

What can I say? Maybe i’m just growing up”

Anyway, the kids say there’s plenty of time to work on their futures and only a little time left for just being kids. So with that said, the kids head out to have their summer vacation.

But first, TJ talks to Prickley. He thanks him for what he did, but..

You did me a favor. See, I didn’t get into teaching for the promotions. It was to help you kids. I had forgotten that…until today./’

D’awww! I never thought this guy would get fleshed out, but take a look. That’s what i’m talking about. TJ heads out to enjoy his summer.

But don’t forget, come September you’re mine!”

‘Hey, September is a long way off!”

Kind of a quick wrap up, but it is giving me feelings…don’t worry, this won’t turn into wimpy kid 3 all over again. Besides, the movie is over. Ending is less rushed than I make it sound, but whatever.

Final Thoughts:

This isn’t the smartest film i’ve done on here, but I think it’s very good. As a fan of the show, this was a good way to bring it to the big screen. They give us a rather big plot but it somehow fits with the show, thanks to themes It presents.

They did fit in most of the characters, even if it was just a breif cameo. The main characters are done well, but only a couple really get a lot to do in the long run. But, eh, I don’t mind. I mostly what they did with TJ and prickley.

Like I said, what they did with Prickley was unexpected but welcome. It was nice to see that he does love kids, and all that jazz. Plus, the morals and themes are very good, and he helps them come out

It did get me thinking about summer, and how I don’t have long to enjoy it. It actually rings more true as a young adult then as a kid. I think it’s a good message to send to kids, and they did It in the perfect way.

Plus, james Woods was awesome in his role. The villain had a decent backstory, even if he was kind of dumb. This isn’t the best movie ever, nor the best movie based on a show. But it’s pretty decent, and for Recces fans, it’s everything you could ask for.

Grade: B+

I did this movie in place of anything else, cuz it does get me thinking about summer and such. I thought it was the perfect way to end my school year.

See ya, and happy Summer!


About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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2 Responses to Recess: School’s Out

  1. Pingback: Ranking the Animated Films of 2001 | A Taste of Spongey

  2. DigiRanger1994 says:

    I believe this was the first movie I saw in a state outside my New York home, and I loved this film. One Saturday Morning was a third tier-priority block for me but it was a heartfelt third tier. I saw all 3 OSM theatrical films. Back when I saw this film, I didn’t care about the voice cast. Cue my shock that it turns out James Woods voiced Benedict. Let’s transplant Benedict to Danville!

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