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Playing with Fire (1985)

Unintentionally hilarious made-for-TV film starring a not-so-young Gary Coleman as a teenage arsonist. The authorities, friends, and neighbors warn his absentee parents until it is too late.

Director:

Ivan Nagy
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Coleman ... David Phillips
Cicely Tyson ... Carol Phillips
Ron O'Neal ... Steve Phillips
Yaphet Kotto ... Fire Chief Walker
Tammy Lauren ... Pamela Fredericks
Tom Fridley ... Mike Harris
Salome Jens ... Dr. Becker
Richard McKenzie ... Principal Sweeney
Arthur Burghardt ... Harry
Jacque Lynn Colton Jacque Lynn Colton ... Miss Somerhalter
Rance Howard ... Fireman Goodwin
Ron Jackson ... Fireman Wilson
Cherie Johnson ... Eileen Phillips
Wesley Pfenning Wesley Pfenning ... Mrs. Williams
Brad Savage ... Paul
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Storyline

Unintentionally hilarious made-for-TV film starring a not-so-young Gary Coleman as a teenage arsonist. The authorities, friends, and neighbors warn his absentee parents until it is too late. Written by Doug Mosurak <marumaru@andrew.cmu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All he wanted was a little love.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New World Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Hilarious!
10 August 2003 | by LittleOracleSee all my reviews

This one is up there with "Star Wars Holiday Special" only not that bad. I remember watching this as a kid and being bored and amused at the same time. I think Gary Coleman was attempting to actually do "drama" in this ill-written attempt to enlighten the world about arson and it just didn't work.

Basically, you have Coleman's character who is having trouble in school, friends and family (obviously) and the more stress he comes under, the more fires he sets to public property. No, he doesn't turn to drugs or alcohol or teen suicide... he's got a disease that causes him to set fires! How dramatic! His parents seems incredibly stupid, not realizing that he's mentally anguished and no one suspects Coleman as the arsonist until he gets spotted, blah, blah, blah. It's pretty obvious how the plotline goes as well as the ending.

Probably one of the funniest parts is Coleman's "evil" expression during one of the blazes, his eyes lit up from the flames in front of him with this "burn you bastard, burn!" expression. Can you imagine Arnold as evil? Yeah, I laughed my ass off, too.

If you ever see this on TV again, which you probably won't, watch it if you want to kill two hours of your life. It's incredibly bad, stupid and absurdly funny at the same time.


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