I had no idea what a movie called Spooner would be about. Someone spooning? Using spoons? A boat? Turns out it’s about a guy named Harry Spooner (Robert Urich). Well, Spooner isn’t his real name. It’s Michael Norland. This guy is on the run, wanted for forgery. Norland has used many aliases to hide from the authorities. This time, he fakes a work pass so that he escape from jail while at his factory job. The convict takes on a dead man’s identity: Harry Spooner, who was a high school English teacher.
The new Spooner gets a teaching gig and becomes invested in the wrestling team he coaches. He butts heads with the dean of male students, who starts digging into Spooner’s past and finally figures out that Spooner is a fraud. Despite being found out, Spooner is determined to coach one more wrestling match. He’s been mentoring a troubled player and trying to set the example he’d never had. Even though he’s a criminal, it still cute that Spooner has a budding relationship with another teacher (Jane Kaczmarek from Malcolm in the Middle).
The ending is a little hard to believe, though sweet. Spooner isn’t off the hook for his crimes, but he gets to coach that last match. What strikes me about this film is its similarity to Get a Clue, one of my favorite 2002 DCOMs. In Get a Clue, banker Nicholas Pedrossian was framed for theft, so he took on the identity of the late Orlando Walker and became a beloved schoolteacher. However, Mr. Walker/Pedrossian was innocent, and Mr. Spooner was guilty. Whoever uploaded this to YouTube called it “MOST OVERLOOKED DISNEY MOVIE?.” I certainly wouldn’t have heard of it if I didn’t study Disney Channel history. If you watch it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!