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Christian Slater stars as Mark Hunter a shy and introverted studious teenager by day who is harboring a secret identity from everyone else. Hunter has recently moved to the Arizona city of Paradise Valley and is attending the local high school Hubert Humphrey High, where all the students are at odds with the hardnosed bully of a principal. To combat both his own awkward attempts at conversations with fellow students (especially girls) and the intensely disliked principal, Mark becomes a pirate DJ using his short-wave radio his parents gave him for a gift. Behind the microphone and closed doors Mark becomes 'Hard Harry' who lives and breathes his motto "Talk Hard" nightly beginning at 10 sharp. His alternately bellicose and sanguine rants become 'a voice crying in the wilderness' for the students at HHH and overnight 'Hard Harry' becomes a hometown celebrity that has everyone at the high school talking about him. Suddenly the teenagers that were growing complacent and resigned to the rules, regulations and restrictions enforced upon them begin to liberate themselves. Students play their recorded tapes of his broadcast on boom boxes during the school lunch hour and they become the bane of the teachers who dislike the uncensored monologues, especially the putdowns of the teachers and principal who are named on the broadcasts. But when one of the callers to 'Hard Harry' commits suicide, the high school's core of leadership blame him for provoking the incident. The students naturally rebel against this unjust condemnation of their "hero of the airwaves" and begin expressing their indifference to the school officials. When it becomes a full-blown anarchy the local authorities and the FCC are called in to track 'Hard Harry' down and get him off the air leading to a final confrontation between the teenagers and the adults.

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