Tee-Hee, I'm Naked!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Love Bavarian Style

(Germany, 1973, 85 min.)

Starring Elisabeth Volkmann, Alexander Grill, Marie Ekorre, Rinaldo Talamonti, Raoul Retzer, Dorothea Rau, Maja Hoppe, Elisabeth Felchner, Jürgen Schilling, Juliane Rom-Sock (as Juliane Rom), Walter Klinger, Ulrich Beiger, Werner Röglin, Erich Kleiber.

Written by Florian Burg.

Directed by Sigi Rothemund (as Siggi Götz).

Okay, something is clearly going on. My previous review for Doris Wishman’s Nude on the Moon set me off on the ridiculous ease with which kids can access porn these days, and I was all set to begin this review by going on about how the stereotype of sex of all stripes being the most reliable pastime in rural areas, whether true or not, could be a thing of the past what with the ubiquity of all these goddamn media devices. I don’t know what it is, but, not to be crass (he said closing the barn door), the day when softcore smut becomes more likely to rile my inner crank than my outer is not a milestone I’m eager to mark.

But there’ll be plenty of time to get back to padding the review later. And speaking of barn doors, the reason I started down that path in the first place is at least relevant, given that the film at hand takes place in a mountain farm community, and as it’s set closer to the time that wireless meant an actual radio than the one where it means a douchebag forcing me to listen to his conversation, the denizens of the town are shown enjoying the traditional pastime, as they would put it, bumsen. And given the degree to which it fuels their actions, they should find a way to liquefy it and put it in their gas tanks.

The plot involves a group of local farmers, one of whom is determined to buy a piece of property that has been inherited by Gisela Horn (Volkmann), a woman from the city who exists in a perpetual state of shock at the sexual appetites of the farm folk. And the livestock, for that matter. But the farmers reason that she’s not going to sell as long as the place is profitable, and the place is unlikely to stop being profitable while the hardworking farmhands continue to work there, and they’re unlikely to quit so long as milkmaid Cherry (yummy Ekkore) is still around, what with her allergy to underwear. Cherry actually only seems to be involved with one of the farmhands, Toni (Schilling), but the farmers’ logic is their own, and it extends to the idea that the only way they’re going to get her out of there is to hire an Italian to seduce her. Through sheer brute force of coincidence a horny Italian, Vittorio (Talamonti), has just arrived in town. He’s there under the pretense of being a guardian for two daughters of a wealthy count, a gig he secured by leading the man to believe he was gay and therefore wouldn’t make any attempts to sully his daughters. This leads to all sorts of mincing and pursed lips, two things no sex farce should be without, except the good ones.

Meanwhile, Toni gets all hot and bothered with Gisela’s reference to his “churning-stick” and decides he wants to schtup her, but Cherry finds a way to sabotage his efforts. Local girl Rosie also wants to schtup Toni so she tries to sneak into his room and gets into a naked tussle with Cherry. Pig slopper Josef wants to schtup Rosie so he sneaks into her house at night and ends up sleeping with her mother, a fact to which he never gloms on. And head farmhand Hias, approached by the scheming farmers, agrees to help them schtup Gisela out of the farm, which makes a nice break from eating the rancid food at the local inn.

There’s a lot of pretty familiar stuff here: wacky hi-jinx, cute girls, constant lame-brained entendre, an insidious plot for the “good guys” to foil, the type of komedic mix-ups you wouldn’t think even remotely possible assuming the people involved have even the barest of cognitive functions, etc. Taking place in a different culture gives it a slight edge of uniqueness (at least to the degree the anglicized dubbing allows; I refuse to believe that a genuine German wrote the line, “You put one finger in Cherry and I’ll turn you into sauerkraut!”), as does the pastoral locale given the tendency to set these things in schools or maybe it’s just tempting to think so since it doesn’t insult the very idea of education by juxtaposing it with such incredible dumbness, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is a dumb one. Dear Lord, it’s dumb. It is, however, very egalitarian in as much as every single character is dumb in one way or another, regardless of social station.

Controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich theorized, to boil it down, that a society that is permitted to express and enjoy its sexuality freely would be a much healthier society politically as well. Adorable, right? But I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s actually a lot of truth to that. I mean, I don’t see acknowledgement of that solving the problems of the world (nor do I see any such acknowledgement forthcoming), but in terms of causality, it’s a bullseye. So many of society’s problems are the byproduct of emotional immaturity, much of it sexual. If mankind had spent more time learning to be rational about our natural urges instead of pretending they were evil spirits trying to corrupt us on some metaphysical level, perhaps we’d be more self-aware and subsequently less prone to sniffing those who don’t want to be sniffed by us as a way of avoiding our own neurotic shit. Maybe certain people wouldn’t feel such self-loathing and wouldn’t subsequently externalize that anger in so many different destructive ways, including doing everything possible to keep down the people who inspire those naughty feelings in them or whose own honesty makes them uncomfortable. Maybe we’d be in a much better place by now, instead of wedged between those same old paranoid fruitcakes on one side and the hypersexual backlash on the other. Ah, but what does all this have to do with Love, Bavarian Style?

Nothing, really. I told you, it’s dumb as scheibenkleisse. Plus, Reich was Austrian.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nude on the Moon

(1961, 70 min.)

Starring Marietta, William Mayer, Lester Brown, Pat Reilly, Ira Magee, Lacey Kelly, Shelby Livingston, Robert W. Kyorimee, Joyce M. Geary, Charles Allen, Evelyn Burke, Joyce Brooks, Hugh Brooks, Mary Lassey, Captain R. C. Lassey, Robert B. Lassey.

Written by Doris Wishman and Raymond Phelan (collectively as O. O. Miller)

Directed by Doris Wishman (collectively as Anthony Brooks)

“I’ve never quibbled
If it was ribald
I would devour
Where others merely nibbled”
-from ‘Smut’ by Tom Lehrer

Jeff (Mayer) and the Professor (Brown) are independent astronauts, working on their own rocket to the moon. Jeff is the young idealist and the Professor his wizened mentor, a role emphasized by the streaks of gray in his hair, although there’s something funky going on there. From a distance it kind of looks like he’s been in the shower and hasn’t sufficiently rinsed the suds off of his head. Closer up, it begins to resemble aluminum siding; I swear there was one moment when the light actually reflected glaringly off the side of his cranium.

Their company has one more employee: secretary Cathy (Marietta). The Professor notes that she works a lot of overtime, which he chalks up to her feelings for Jeff. Unfortunately, she may be doomed to disappointment, as Jeff tells the Professor that his work is all that matters to him, and that he’s not looking to get married. But enough about all that, because his Uncle Eric has just died, which is good news for everyone except Uncle Eric. He’s left Jeff three millions dollars, exactly what they need to complete their rocket and realize their desire to go to the moon, Alice.

When they land on the far side, they find the place to be much more verdant than most lunar photographs would suggest, throwing a severe wrench into Pink Floyd’s metaphor in the process. It’s also much more occupied, for living there on the moon is a small tribe of people, and they’re free spirits to boot, as evidenced by their love of games, mischief and, um, naturalness.

Now, contrary to the title, none of these folks are actually full-out nude. The men wear loincloths. The women are topless and most wear these odd panty/shorts combos that ride low in the back, affording a glimpse at the upper corner of their vertical smile*, so they’re close, but technically… (Hey, if I were going to be pedantic about something, is it really so surprising that it would be this?)

Theirs seems to be a fairly egalitarian society, although they do have a queen figure who looks quite familiar (Marietta again). And, in spite of his claims of disinterest in romance, Jeff finds himself noticing her in a way he never noticed poor Cathy. This hardly seems fair. My experience is admittedly limited, but I would imagine most offices discourage the female employees from walking around with their balloons on display.

What’s more disturbing is that Jeff’s infatuation with the Queen leads him to insist that he wants to stay or, failing that, to take her with them. The Professor insists that neither of these is an option and eventually manages to coax Jeff back to the rocket. They begin their return, only to realize that Jeff has left his camera behind, and with it all evidence of what they have seen. (Could have been worse. He could have left the lens cap on.) The authorities back home subsequently refuse to believe that they’ve even left the ground. But it’s not all bad. Jeff sees Cathy and his demeanor towards her has suddenly become far more warm. He even speaks to her in such a way as to suggest he may believe she is, in fact, the Queen.

I have to wonder – and this is genuine intellectual curiosity talking here, not crank-ism – if the youth of today have any notion, what with the internet having made nudie pictures and graphic depictions of sexual acts so readily accessible, what people used to have to resort to if they wanted a dose of erotica/smut/porn/all of the above and all things in between. And despite the software designed specifically to make it more difficult for kids to see such things, we all know that there are some out there who are getting around these strictures. That’s kind of my point. Regardless of the era, for most of us, if we really wanted it, we found a way to get it. But let’s see these clicker/strokers wrap their Mountain Dew-addled minds around the idea of having to watch a movie to see a pair of breasts. At the theater. The adult theater. The adult theater in the scary neighborhood.

And now, for the kill: make that movie Nude on the Moon.

(Incidentally, I am aware that I wandered into crank territory there. Kind of an odd moment to do it at that, seeing as how Nude on the Moon saw its theatrical run nine years before I was born.)

Okay, ‘kill’ may be a bit melodramatic. Nude on the Moon isn’t good, but it’s harmless enough. The ‘nudie cutie’ genre to which it belongs began as a kind of con. Producers knew people wanted to see naked girls, so they would shoot footage at nudist colonies (as is the case here) and throw up a Potemkin Village of respectability by claiming they were making documentaries about the nudist lifestyle. Nice try. Eventually the gimmick got old and they began adding threadbare stories, such as this one. Still, you have to pity the poor horndog who had to sit through thirty minutes, almost half the picture, including a scene of Jeff and the Professor babbling back and forth about the scientific variables of their mission, before the first unclad lovely shows up.
Thankfully, in that respect, it’s pretty much worth the wait. The women featured are attractive, and have naturally beautiful bodies. I was particularly taken with two blondes, one of whom is lithe and likes to dance and another who is impish, tearing a segment of leaf off of a plant and putting it under her nose to mimic the Professor’s mustache.

Despite all of the nudity, the film never seems leering, possibly because of the presence of Wishman, one of the only, if not the only woman working as a director in the exploitation field at the time, and the whole thing has a generally benign air to it, even veering into kicky kitsch with the use of a song called ‘Moon Doll.’ Apart from one isolated moment when Jeff asks the Professor about the movie he attended the previous evening and the camera cuts to a marquee advertising a film in ‘Nude-a-rama,’ there really isn’t the slightest hint of sleaze about any of it. (Sleaze is fine, but playful sexiness is nice too, and I could find sleaze from any number of other sources, including later Wishman films.)

Plus you have to appreciate any movie in which true love in the form of possible mental illness conquers the day.

* It has been pointed out to me that this most frequently refers to the front lower part of a woman’s anatomy, but I personally have seen it used to describe either the front or the back. And after all, which side looks more like a big smiley face?

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


(1983, 80 min.)

Starring Peter Keleghan, Kent Deuters, Linda Speciale, Alan Deveau, Linda Shayne, Jason Warren, Jim Coburn, Terrea Smith (as Terrea Foster), Donnie Bowes, Kimberly Brooks, Nicky Fylan, Paula Farmer, Joe Crozier, Heather Smith, Nola Wale, Nanci Chambers (as Nancy Chambers), Carolyn Tweedle (as Caroline Tweedle).

Written by Linda Shayne and Jim Wynorski.

Directed by Rafal Zielinski.

As it was with H.O.T.S. , perhaps even more so, when I started this section of the site, I knew I would have to write something about this movie. For I don’t believe there is a film out there that wears its hard-on on its sleeve more shamelessly than this one. Perhaps more to the point, Screwballs is a top-tier example of the Tee-Hee, I’m Naked archetype. And now, a haiku:

Tops pulled off, they pop
Chests and eyes; girlish laughs say
Nudity is keen!

My own little seventeen syllable tribute to the moment when the character of Howie (Deveau), who’s one of that rare breed who I will agree could indeed be called either a nerd or a geek (not to get into that particular semantic debate in this moment), is being pursued out onto the swimming pool diving board by the cheerleading team owing to a scheme the ludicrous specifics of which you wouldn’t believe if I told them to you. Faced with an imminent plunge, Howie desperately grabs the bikini tops of the two front girls and subsequently takes them with him into the drink. (The main proof that this is not, indeed, a cartoon is that, if it were, the bikini tops would have transformed into parachutes.) The girls initially look shocked but in the very next shot they’ve already moved on to jiggling and giggling.

The plot? Let us briefly contemplate The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. In that absurdist classic, a group of upper middle class twits repeatedly attempt, and are repeatedly thwarted in said attempts, to sit down to a meal. Now, replace ‘upper middle class twits’ with ‘horny high school morons’ and ‘sit down to a meal’ with ‘get a look at an uptight girl’s bazoombas’ and voila! Almost makes one wonder what might have resulted had Buñuel made a teen sex comedy, almost as much as it makes one certain that it wouldn’t have been this.

The film doesn’t have any “stars,” per se, although I’m told that top-billed Peter Keleghan is a well-known comedic actor in Canada, and he is funny as Rick, the smarmy creep “cool” guy of the gang, and even manages to make the character somewhat appealing in moments. Apart from that, people may recognize Linda Shayne, whose character Bootsie has a memorable encounter with the back door of a van (an indignity Ms. Shayne may have inflicted upon herself, seeing as she co-wrote the screenplay with trash auteur Jim Wynorski), as Miss Salmon from Humanoids from the Deep, and there is the inevitable appearance by a stripper, this one kindly provided by the legendary Raven De La Croix.

How can you argue the merit of a movie that finds humor in names such as T&A High, Jerkoffski, and Principal Stuckoff, a man whose name was made for a filthy limerick the film doesn’t even have the decency to deliver? What to make of the dubious pleasure of watching a girl slide a whole knockwurst down her throat when you consider what that might do to her digestion? Is the pinnacle of physics truly its application in the field of upskirt? Is it really true that a good orgasm can improve your bowling game? I seem to have wandered a bit. (And yet, I haven’t.)

In short, how do you defend the indefensible? Simply by invoking the age-old trash trailer mantra: keep repeating to yourself, it’s only a movie. I’ll leave the crises of conscience to corporate plunderers, fundie hatemongers, and Bush supporters. (Plenty of crossover there, of course, and, by the way, good luck with that, right?)

But, no, I can’t really defend this movie except in the old fallback of nostalgia for my once-burgeoning libido. I can’t even say that it presents the female characters as strong figures, jiggle notwithstanding, as is the case with H.O.T.S. The girls of Screwballs are objects, if remarkably game objects. Even villainess Purity Busch (the baroquely delectable Speciale) is brimming with vivacity, in her own teasing way, as in the scene where she sleep-humps her teddy bear. As they run around in form-fitting garments or naked (tee-hee), one could almost say that they are enacting a pageant to celebrate the overwhelming joy to be found in the contours of the female breast. Yeah, I’ll roll with that. It especially appeals to me in as much as it’s simultaneously completely true and an utter crock of shit.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Savage Beach

(1989, 95 min.)

Starring Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, John Apnea, Bruce Penhall, Rodrigo Obregón, Michael Mikasa, Lisa London, Teri Weigel, Michael J. Shane, Dann Seki, Al Leong, Eric Chen, Paul Cody, Patty Dufek.

Written and directed by Andy Sidaris.

Donna and Taryn (Speir and Carlton, both former Playmates as was once de rigueur with a Sidaris production) reprising their roles from Hard Ticket to Hawaii and Picasso Trigger) are slightly non-descript federal agents. They identify themselves as being from the ‘Drug Enforcement Division.’ Did Sidaris really think the DEA would object to the real name being used? Could putting forth the idea that women who look like this work for the agency do anything but increase enrollment? The opening scene has them taking down some drug runners in a surprisingly violent sequence that also involves two other agents, Pattycakes (Duffek) and Rocky (T&A staple London). As dictated by federal policy regarding incidents involving automatic weapons fire, the four women then retire to a topless Jacuzzi session.

The women all have “straight” jobs as cover. Rocky’s is running a restaurant, a fact that seems to exist primarily for a bad joke. Describing a bread-making machine, she says, “You just put the dough in and it rises automatically.” “I’ve never heard of such a thing.” “Then you didn’t know my ex-boyfriend.” Sure it doesn’t really make any sense, but you got that it was an erection joke, right? Good. That’s all the film really expects of you anyway.

Donna and Taryn’s cover job is running an aerial charter business. A call comes in from Shane Abilene (Shane, and it’s a running joke that every one of these movies has a character named Abilene) that an isolated island is badly in need of medical supplies, and the women have to take them there immediately. When they pick up the supplies, Abilene also gives them some hardware to take along. Why do they need to be so heavily armed on a little mission of mercy? Well, for starters, the ensuing plot will necessitate it, although there’s no reason they should know that at this point. Much more importantly, if there’s anything that Warren Beatty has taught me, it’s that in the movies gun=dick. And so we are subjected to a conversation between Donna and Shane entirely constructed of more bad cock jokes. Quite a bit of the dialogue between men and women in the movie is like this. It’s fun to imagine that this is the way Andy and wife/producer Arlene converse with each other.

Meanwhile, a Navy Captain Andreas (Aprea) and Martinez (Obregón), a representative of the government of the Philippines, are in the process of trying to locate some missing Filipino gold that was stolen by Japanese soldiers during the war, all of whom disappeared somewhere in the Pacific. In the first of several hints of Reagan-era politics, the Captain berates Martinez as a “bleeding heart liberal” who is putting the rest of the world in danger for his own gains. See, the Captain has diverted radar technology away from the Star Wars program, the country’s “first defense” against attack as he calls it, to try and locate the missing Japanese vessel. First of all, if the Captain doesn’t believe that Martinez holds a sincere intention to do right by the Filipino people (he doesn’t, exactly, but that actually just shores up the point), why the hell is he helping him, especially if it involves such serious security issues? The only other explanation is that he’s hoping to get a piece of the pie, which is not the most noble of reasons, and yet we’re supposed to see him as one of the good guys. Secondly, our first defense? C’mon, this was ’89, for Christ’s sake. I’m betting even ol’ Rappin’ Ronnie had begun to suspect that Star Wars was a joke by then. Regardless of all of that crap, they manage to calculate where the Japanese soldiers likely ended up, on a remote island.

Donna and Taryn, having delivered the supplies, discover that their window of opportunity for safe flight was smaller than they thought it was going to be. They become lost in a storm and end up having to make an emergency landing on the same remote island, only to eventually find themselves face to face with the treasure hunters, as well as a mysterious presence creeping through the jungle.

As I’ve made perfectly clear in other places on the site, effort counts for a lot with me. T&A films may exist primarily for titillation, but there’s really no reason why we can’t have a good story along the way as well. And while I would never accuse Sidaris of being a good writer (the sexual banter, as noted, is embarrassing, and this is the kind of movie where when one character tells another to have a blast, you know the latter will be blown to smithereens soon afterwards), he did always try to keep things lively, at least for a while. This is an early, semi-unofficial entry in his L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies series, and watching him attempt to construct a story that will hold interest of its own independent of the nudity makes it all the more depressing to consider some of the later films, such as Return to Savage Beach, by which time he seemed to have abandoned the idea of any sort of actual plot all the better to fit in more footage of Julie K. Smith wrapping her breasts around a runway pole.

Surprisingly though, we seem to have a case of the exact opposite here. If anything there’s too much story, with all sorts of double-dealings in play, and while there are plenty of breasts on display, they’re mostly shot in oddly perfunctory ways. The usual leering quality of this kind of fare is in short supply. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your tastes. And it’s hard to complain in any case when two of the main sets of breasts belong to Speir and Carlton, who manage to come off not completely unbelievable as professional women (I damn them with faint, grammatically awkward praise). And, not to take anything away from Speir, Carlton is just so damn cute, possibly one of the most adorable models ever to pose for the man in the silk pajamas.

You pretty much always know what you’re going to get with a Sidaris movie: a ‘splodey, smarmy production that looks like it stepped out of a 1980s action TV series and picked up some naked babes along the way. (Or to put it in terms cultists will appreciate, they’re kind of like Cheri Caffaro movies minus the nastiness.) If you’re interested in some plot, choose his earlier work. Otherwise, Julie K. Smith and her runway pole await you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


(1979, 96 min.)

Starring Susan Kiger, Lisa London, Pamela Jean Bryant, Kimberly Cameron (Carson), Lindsay Bloom, Angela Aames, Mary Steelsmith, K. C. Bloom, Donald Petrie, Larry Gilman, Dan Reed, Danny Bonaduce, David Gibbs, Marvin Katzoff, Ken Olfson, Richard Bakalyan, Louis Guss, Dorothy Meyer.

Directed by Gerald Seth Sindell.

I knew when I conceived of this section that I would end up writing something about this movie. It was probably the flagship film of my adolescent T&A education. But thanks to the glory that is the internet it has already gotten more thoughtful reviews than it ever truly warranted, including one by the vaunted Dr. Freex, so instead of trying to write something resembling a cohesive article, I’m just going to start riffing and see what comes of it. Any similarities in the form of this review to that of those over at Cliffie’s Notes are strictly intentional. (Howdy, Mizzzz Fish!)

To be brief, for those unfamiliar with this particular masterpiece, H.O.T.S. follows the hi-jinks of a group of young women who, having been snubbed by the snobbish PI sorority (for, among other things, poverty, imperfect facial structure, and other traits of the disenfranchised), form their own rogue house based around the idea of taking every man on campus away from their rivals. This leads to an extended volley of pranks, copious bare breastage, and an infamous game of strip football.

- As I stated on the front page of this section, I got some of my first notions of female sexual empowerment from watching movies like this. That may sound like some sort of justification for looking at boobs, but it is, nonetheless, true. The women have far more power than the men, they’re generally much smarter, and they have a much more realistic attitude towards sex, at least in as much as they know what a useful tool and/or weapon it is, while most of the guys are so busy worshipping and/or salivating over them, it’s pretty clear who’s running the show. (I know, that’s a fucking cynical attitude about fucking, but it’s the film’s attitude, not mine, and it uses its stereotypes successfully to its end.)

- While frequently compared to Animal House, I’ve always thought that the writers (including sexploitation queen Cheri Caffaro) had to have had M*A*S*H a little bit in mind as well, from the similar title to the fact that both films end with a climactic football game, though thankfully Robert Altman didn’t have Sutherland, Gould and Skerrit strip. (Although, coincidentally, Animal House did include a mercifully brief shot of Sutherland’s ass.) Additionally both films are virtually plotless and feature a group of people thumbing their noses at authority while engaged in warfare, though the H.O.T.S. girls are eager combatants, while the doctors of the 4077th are hostage-, I mean, draftees.

- How in the name of Erica Gavin did they manage to tape down the late, lovely Aames’s ample bosom during the early scenes when she’s supposed to be chestless? Her breasts must have been poking out of her back.

- When the Doc posted his review, and quite clearly voiced his disapproval of the fat jokes inserted via the character of Clutz (Steelsmith), I protested, saying that I had always felt the film was comparatively reserved in this regard. Having watched it again, I have to admit I was wrong. In the film’s weak, namby-pamby defense, most of those jokes are confined to the early scenes. In a slightly more solid defense, I’d like to point out that Clutz is firmly and warmly accepted by the other girls as one of them following the opening scenes, and not in nearly as patronizing a manner as what I just wrote might imply. Having said that, I still haven’t decided if her romance with the requisite nerdy guy (Katzoff) is condescending or kind of sweet. Also note that she participates in the wet t-shirt contest…though her shirt doesn’t get very wet. And she takes part in the big football game…though as soon as the real nudity kicks in she’s suddenly absent. Hmm. Your honor, I swear I had a point here. Maybe I left it in my other suit.

- It’s interesting to note that while the initial premise of the sorority is to accept all those who others reject, the first thing they do is “correct” the applicants “imperfections.” One girl gets a nosejob, Aames’ ‘Boom-Boom’ gets a massive set of yabos, and poor Clutz is told there’s really nothing they can do for her. Aside from, as I said before, Clutz becoming a part of the group despite her “shortcoming” (Jesus, those fucking quotes are getting a workout), turns out we’re not really talking unconditional acceptance here, are we?

- It occurred to me for the first time on this last viewing how off it is that the PI girls’ first strike at the H.O.T.S. girls is to spike the chili at their party with hot sauce. Yes, on the surface it makes sense: make their food hot so their mouths burn. But this is chili we’re talking about. It’s supposed to be hot. I see people pouring hot sauce into chili, I don’t think, “Get those bastards!” I think, “How thoughtful of them to want my food to be more flavorful.” This is clearly an example of putting far more thought into a plot point than the screenwriters ever did.

- You know, for a sorority supposedly composed of people with no money, they seem to have plenty of cash to burn on custom-made items with the sisterhood logo on them. Various banners, a parachute, not to mention myriad t-shirts, including the ones made especially for the football game, the ensemble of which also features matching peppermint-striped under-thingies. And it can’t have been cheap to buy the seal either. That kissing booth must be open twenty-four hours a day.

- Always nice to see actors from other movies I like pop up, even in small roles. In that spirit, I’d like to point out that Bunny Summers, who had small roles in the first two of Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptations, appears here as an opera singer at the Dean’s party, which is, of course, then interrupted by Aames parachuting topless into his pool. Bunny, also of course, takes a very strained pratfall into the pool herself at this point. Not that anyone with their eyes open couldn’t have seen that coming as soon as she stepped out onto the diving board to perform an aria, but it’s hard to accept it as an accident when she’s clearly inching her way towards the edge. Seems to me slightly more careful direction could have corrected this, but now I’m nitpicking.

- My greatest disappointment in this film is that it sets up a scene with topless girls having cream pies thrown at them and completely botches it. A crying shame. Does no one understand the basic tenets of slapstick any more? Had they gotten this right, it would have gone a long way towards me forgiving them for putting into my head the image of Danny Bonaduce being fellated by the afore-mentioned seal.

- There’s only one scene that really leaves a bad taste in my mouth and that’s the one where the Dean (Olfson) locks himself and Terri (Bryant) in the attic and then chases her onto the roof for the purpose of “getting some” for himself, out of equal parts horniness and revenge, which is exactly what makes the scene so icky. Once again we’re seeing a potential molestation scenario played for laughs, always a dicey proposition (there were instances of this sort in early episodes of M*A*S*H the series, and even when they managed to be funny, there was still something a little uncomfortable), all the more so because the Dean makes it quite clear that he’s tired of the girls getting their way and now he’s going to get his. It only gets worse when, a few moments later, while Terri is successfully fending off his advances, he then begins to plead with her to have sex with him. (Incidentally, this all happens so fast that most people probably won’t even notice. That I did is a clear indication of my having seen this film far more times than could ever be considered healthy.) This sudden transition from predator to pathetic sniveler is unpleasant – though only if you think about it too much, which you don’t need to do seeing as how, as I said, it all happens quite fast, and before you know it the Dean’s dangling from the roof with his ass hanging out and everything’s coming up komedy again, any unpleasantness forgotten. The final irony is that, for all its varied tastelessness, this scene is actually kind of funny, by virtue of Olfson’s performance (the look he gets on his face when he realizes he’s swinging several stories up is terrific) and Terri’s one-liner about jockey shorts.

- Whoever came up with the idea for the huddle-cam is a fucking genius.

I guess that’s enough.

Seeing this again in the wake of some of the other films I’ve watched for this section has merely emphasized how much better it is than most of its ilk, which may be akin to being a champion projectile vomiter; a dubious accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless. When younger I was far too interested in the nudity to notice how listless a lot of these movies are, but that’s not a charge you can level at H.O.T.S. It’s got energy and attitude to spare, and an overall lively atmosphere, helped in part by the surprisingly large number of characters. Some characters are better drawn than others, though none of them are fully fleshed out (last pun, I promise). But remember we’re grading on a sliding scale here, and the sheer number helps sustain the feeling of campus mayhem missing from such films as School Spirit, another similarity it has to both Animal House and M*A*S*H. And, to top it off, some of the humor is actually funny (sliding scale again, people).

Naked co-eds are an essential part of any fresh-faced sex addict’s development, but you can get that from any number of sources. If you want a film that entertains while it warps, it doesn’t get any better than this. Really, it doesn’t.
Play-mate of the Apes

(2002, 92 min.)

Starring Misty Mundae, Debbie Rochon, Anoushka, Sharon Engert, Darian Caine, Shelby Taylor, Zachary W. Snygg, Dan Schwab, Terry West.

Directed by John Bacchus.

Three female astronauts crash land on a planet where apes are dominant and humans are treated as animals. But you probably could have guessed that for yourself. The major difference between this and the original, aside from the lack of NRA wonks, is that roughly half of this flick is taken up by its female co-stars making out and bumping bubbles.

While this was clearly made on the quick to capitalize on the release of Tim Burton’s remake, most of the “satire” is actually directed at the 1969 original. (Maybe they couldn’t make head or tail of Burton’s version either.) The one true nod to the remake is in having the scientist ape played by a female (eroti-DTV diva Rochon, who also co-authored the story with the director; I had never seen one of her flicks before and watched this in part to see what she looked like, only to discover she spends the whole film with an ape mask on her head). She comes to believe that humans might be more intelligent than the apes had thought because she observes them dancing. Interestingly, this is the exact opposite conclusion to the one I reach when I see people dancing.

As to some of the other women in the piece: Misty Mundae, another DTV smut queen, plays the erstwhile Heston role. She’s cute in a jailbait-hellspawn kind of way, and while she can’t act, she is spunky. (And unlike Lou Grant, I do like spunk.) There’s Anoushka, as Lt. Pushkintucushkin (yeesh), who I’m sure I’ve seen in something before, though I don’t recognize any of her other credits. And there’s Sharon Engert, as Lt. Fornication (somewhere Noel Coward is roiling in envy at such insouciant wit), who looks pretty good in the photos on her official site, though in the film, her lower lip seems to be in constant danger of sliding right off her face.

As must be thoroughly obvious by now, the humor in this movie is dippy in the extreme (how is it that at this late a date, they weren’t conscious of the fact that characters spontaneously breaking out into a rap number, no matter how anachronistic, is no longer funny, if it ever really was in the first place?). Having said that I have to admit that there are moments where the film wallows so hog deep in its own absurdity that it actually sort of passes over into the realm of absurd-ism. Small consolation, but it’s these moments, along with whatever pleasures the viewer can derive from copious close-ups of enhanced breasts being fondled, that make up any of the entertainment found here.

If there’s a stupider soft-core parody of a major studio release, I don’t want to see it. (Oh, who am I kidding? Naked pin-up girls are naked pin-up girls. Just sever my brainstem and strap a drool cup to my chin. Guess I’m a damn dirty ape after all.)

Private Resort

(1985, 82 min.)

Starring Rob Morrow, Johnny Depp, Hector Elizondo, Dody Goodman, Leslie Easterbrook, Tony Azito, Emily Longstreth, Michael Bowen, Hilary Shapiro (Shepard), Karyn O’Bryan, Lisa London, Andrew Dice Clay, Ron House.

Directed by George Bowers.

A brief foreword: I have very little use for actors as a species. I don’t mind the rampant exhibitionism so much, at least not until it reaches pathological levels. I think it has more to do with the fact that I’ve never been able to take it very seriously as a craft. Not to suggest that just anyone can do it; clearly many cannot (insert your own cheap shot at Hollywood here) and it can’t be denied that some individuals at their peak can achieve something truly remarkable. But I think it’s often taken far more seriously than is warranted. I used to act myself. I’ve sat through classes and rehearsals in which I’ve watched people spend hours trying to wring meaning out of things that don’t really have any, or, having found meaning in something that does, spend additional time desperately searching for even more, despite having already licked the cupboard clean. This behavior is particularly prevalent and egregious when it comes to Method Acting, a technique that, despite the successes it can produce, basically reaffirms the self-absorption from which many actors already suffer by taking something that is largely about something else and only circumstantially about them and reversing that ratio. Aside from the obvious ego-issues this suggests, I also think it’s just a whole lot of ado about an exercise that is essentially just an extension of the childhood pastime of ‘let’s pretend.’

However, having alienated any and all thespians who may pass this way, I do have to say that I often find myself filled with a tremendous amount of sympathy and/or admiration for what actors are willing to put themselves through in the name of a paying gig, in the name of taking any opportunity to practice their trade until something better (hopefully) comes along. The T&A comedy is one of a number of genres that make this harsh reality of the business just that much more obvious, and this film in particular…well, I’ll get back into that a little later. Suffice to say, to all the actors out there: I may not have that high an opinion of what you do, but I raise my beer mug to the tenacity you show in your desire to do it. Moving along…

This may well be the T&A equivalent of the Italian cannibal flicks: it’s gratuitously cruel, and while it’s seemingly not worthy of your time, should you find yourself watching, it may be too grotesque for you to look away.

Herein what’s passed off as a plot in this doofy exercise in forced horniness: Depp and Morrow play two guys who – get this – go to a hotel filled with girls in bathing suits, hoping to get laid. I know, it’s like the second coming of John Sayles, isn’t it?

Shortly after arriving they attempt to have a beer at the bar, only to be unfairly judged by the head of hotel security (Azito) to be scruffy gatecrashers, a puzzling assumption on his part, seeing as how most of the guests seem to be young people frolicking hither and thither anyway. Jesus, man, they’re two of the quiet ones. But don’t worry. He’ll pay. He’ll pay big time.

It’s not too long before we’ve been introduced to a number of subplots. A conman known as The Maestro (Elizondo) is there to steal a jewel from a wealthy woman (Goodman). Morrow has the hots for one of the hotel’s waitresses (Longstreth), but is thwarted by an asshole steward (Bowen) who also wants to score with her. And Depp’s character decides he needs to get with a girl (O’Bryan) who happens to be Goodman’s granddaughter, and in the process Morrow agrees to help him out on a double date, his half of the date being the whacked-out cousin (Shapiro) a little too into her Undefined Eastern Religion.

There are basically two reasons to watch this film. One involves sadism and the other masochism.

I’ll give the movie this much: they don’t skimp on the nudity. There are plenty of breasts and buns scattered about. Anyone who ever sat through one of the Police Academy movies just to be able to better fantasize what Easterbrook’s Lt. Callahan looked like out of her uniform can see her here in a completely sheer robe. There are even, for those so inclined, a number of shots of our two before-they-were-stars’ backsides. (If you have ever harbored a need to see Dody Goodman smack Rob Morrow’s ass – a singular kink if ever there was one – look no further.) On the other hand the jokes are, for the most part, terrible. So if you’re masochist who loves bare breasts, this may be for you.

If you’re a sadist who loves bare breasts, this is definitely the movie for you. But I’m not talking about fetishistic S&M, so put away your whips and clips and clamps and plugs. Also, if it matters, all of the abuse is heaped on men, two men in particular, aside from one mildly amusing scene involving Depp and Morrow trying to hide a drunken woman from her boyfriend (Clay) by repeatedly dropping her behind a hotel room bar. (Interestingly the woman is played by genre staple London and for once she actually doesn’t get naked, only appearing in her underwear, and it looks as if she may have had some reduction done since her eye-popping role as O’Hara in H.O.T.S.) But if seeing men humiliated – repeatedly – is your bag, hoo-boy, is this the film for you.

Our two whipping boys are Azito and Elizondo, and they get whipped harder than cream, which, incidentally, they end up covered in, from fire extinguishers, falling onto buffet tables, and, in Azito’s case, a completely gratuitous pie in the face. (When, oh when, will filmmakers hearken to the wisdom of Ernie Kovacs, who once said, quite correctly, that it’s far funnier to see a beautiful girl take a pie than some hapless schlub?)

What these two guys endure is a true testament to what I mentioned about actors above (in the nice paragraph), and the film benefits as a result. Azito, an accomplished stage actor who sadly passed away in 1995, does his physical schtick with a gusto that lends the film some much needed laughs, and Elizondo is one of the few actors I know who can make vulgar characters genuinely funny. It’s nice that he has since gotten respect enough in the entertainment biz that he (most likely) won’t have to subject himself to this sort of film ever again.

Nor, presumably, will its two stars. With Morrow doing solid work on the CBS crime-drama Numbers, and Depp enjoying a mainstream popularity that he can apparently take or leave, they’re both safe (for the moment) from this kind of mandatory slumming. That’s certainly a boon, and if you don’t believe me, you clearly haven’t seen the scene where Morrow, in severely unconvincing drag, finds himself being felt up by Elizondo in an elevator, the film’s penultimate comedic low point, surpassed only by the rock bottom moment a half a minute later when Clay gets in the elevator, whereupon both men begin squeezing Morrow’s ass.

An actor’s life indeed.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Naked Detective

(1996, 90 min.)

Starring Jim Gardiner, Julia Parton, Greg Tracy, Taylor St. Clair, Camille Donatacci, Ken Dashow, Carolyn Renee Smith, John Altamura.

Written by Ken Dashow.

Directed by Ernest G. Sauer.

A PI goes to a mansion, presumably located in the same vicinity of that legendary farm where they breed models for Playboy, to find out who is trying to kill a very wealthy, very old man (as played by comparatively young man Dashow, who brings some dirty enthusiasm to his role, and who also wrote the script). The suspects include his gold-digger wife (St. Clair), his nurse (Donatacci, and perverse troll that I am, I can’t help but wonder if she and hubby Kelsey Grammer sometimes get it on to the softcore work such as this that she did before they were married), his slow-witted, ant-obsessed son (Tracy), his sly vixen daughter-in-law (Parton), the hot-to-trot maid with a skirt that’s hiked up to just south of her chin (Smith), and the faux Italian chauffeur (Altamura).

The way the sex scenes affect you will depend on your temperament at the time. If you’re in the mood, you’ll find plenty here to keep you interested. If not, well, I tend to think of them along the same lines as the ingénue-juvenile songs from the Marx Brothers movies: annoying, but harmless. That may not seem like a fitting comparison seeing as how the songs in the Bros. movies interrupt the mayhem, the reason why we’re watching the film in the first place, while the sex scenes in movies like The Naked Detective are presumably their raison d’etre. Which in most cases is true, the surprising and welcome difference here being that a remarkable amount of time is spent on the mystery angle of the film. Against all expectations, and I’m guessing against the instincts of director Sauer, perpetrator of such incredible horseshit as Sylvia Kristel’s Beauty School, Dashow has managed to craft an actual whodunit. We’re not talking Conan Doyle, Christie or Chandler, but the story does manage to hold interest, so much so that there were moments when I actually – brace yourselves, kids – got slightly exasperated when one of the ladies began to shed her clothing, because it meant another bump-in-the-road sex scene. (Bear in mind that we’re speaking in strictly comparative terms. Exasperation and impossibly stacked women peeling are usually oil and water.)

Generally in these reviews I won’t comment on the acting. I don’t think it’s fair to the actresses to take them to task for any shortcomings when they’re really not being hired to do anything but coo, preen, giggle, pout, and bounce. This subsequently kind of lets the men off the hook as well, since to not do so would be to hold forth a double standard (and let’s face it, they don’t exactly get much in the way of characterization to work with either). I will however occasionally point out acting that I think deserves some praise, and in that spirit I have to say that the best performance here actually comes from a porn star. Ms. Julia “Yes, Dolly Is My Cousin” Parton displays, among more obvious things, a rather acute sense of comic timing, making her stereotype of a character fun to watch even when she’s not slithering out of her duds.

Bottom line is, there’s a bull market of nudity and sex here, and even the scenes where the characters keep their clothes on are suffused with jiggle, but those who enter expecting just that will find a nice little treat along with it: a surprisingly watchable movie.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

School Spirit

(1985, 90 min.)

Starring Tom Nolan, Elizabeth Foxx, John Finnegan, Larry Linville, Danièle Arnaud, Michael Miller, Brian Mann, Leslee Bremmer, Marta Kober, David Byrd, Liz Sheridan.

Written by Geoffrey Baere.

Directed by Alan Holleb.

Okay, chew on this: an ambitious young overachiever leaves behind the girl for whom he has strong feelings in order to carry out an important task. Unfortunately tragedy strikes when his eagerness to carry out that task causes him to crash his car, an accident that proves fatal. But will otherworldly intervention give him a second chance?

Sounds like an episode of Touched by an Angel, don’t it? Guess again.


As you can probably guess, the description above is a tad misleading. It’s all essentially accurate mind you; it’s just spun like a dead hooker on a congressman’s yacht.

Our main character, Billy Batson (Nolan), is ambitious all right, but only about getting his wick dipped, as we can see from the very first scene in which he tries to make a young woman right in the office of his college’s president. The level of humor to which the film aspires announces itself in this first scene as we discover that the name of this particular educational institution is Lavatoire College, and yet it’s worth noting that despite this early nod to toilet humor the script doesn’t much venture into that territory again. Normally I would be the first person to say that that’s a good thing, but it’s indicative of a central problem, which I’ll get back to later.

Billy is also an overachiever, but again only when it comes to humping, at least that’s what we’re led to believe when one of his friends asks him which girl he’s with at the moment and another friend asks, “Who’s left?” The girl in question, Judith Hightower (Foxx, and if you surmised from her character’s name that she’s kind of a snob, grab yourself a cracker), is the one for whom he has strong feelings, but you only get one guess as to whether those feelings originate north or south of his belt buckle. And the task he leaves her behind in the president’s office to carry out is buying a condom from a machine in the men’s room of a local bar.

During the trip back, Billy drops the condom, which he was still holding, apparently being unfamiliar with the concept of the pocket, on the floor of his car. He reaches down to get it while still driving. Bing, bang, boom, car accident. Billy wakes up in the hospital and realizes something is wrong when he finds he suddenly has the ability to both stand next to and lie on top of the operating table at the same time.

It is interesting to note that man tends to represent the soul in visual terms as an exact, if transparent, version of himself, despite the original conception of it being far more abstract, having to do with the intellectual struggle to understand the nature of the mind versus that of the body. And yet the visual cliché prevails, not unlikely as a byproduct of the human need to define things by making them as much like ourselves as possible, right down to assigning the “soul” the exact same clothes the person was wearing at the time of death. Subsequently the incorporeal Billy Batson ends up walking around in the same ass-exposing hospital gown the corporeal one was wearing when he expired on the operating table.
A brief aside: given that the soul is generally considered to be a transcendence of the physical self, the clichéd representation of it as a blurry photocopy of the body might be construed by those who truly put stock in its value as offensive. Feel free to discuss.

As Billy wonders what the hell is going on, his uncle Pinky appears next to him. His dead uncle Pinky. Pinky (Finnegan) has come to escort Billy to the afterlife, only Billy is still fixated on nailing Judith Highpants, and manages to sneak away while Pinky is leering at a passing nurse. It is, in fact, at this point that we discover an odd little fact about our deadlings. In this film they have the power to regain corporeal solidity by suspending a hand above their heads and waving it in some sort of variation on the Little Rascals Woodchuck salute. Why this is is never explained. What inspired it aside from sheer laziness is best left unexplored. It does however allow Billy to resume his quest to track Judith Highbrow down and get into her delicates. And so he runs off and does his thing existing in a state somewhere between this world and the next.

Purgatory. More a state of being than anything else, though much as we relate to the soul by assigning it physical characteristics, so is Purgatory often described as an actual physical place. Regardless, it is a kind of way station, whether figurative or literal, between life on earth and life in heaven. It is specifically for those who have been fortunate enough to be chosen to enter Heaven, but still owe a bit of ‘vig’, if you will, on their sins, allowing them to take care of their debt before high-fiving St. Peter.
What to say about purgatory? Given that it’s a doctrine of Roman Catholicism, that alone should have a lot of different people saying a lot of different things. Depending on your position and/or prejudices you might describe it as a generosity; a spiritual get-out-of-jail-free card of sorts (not completely free, of course). Or you might look at it as a dogma that declares it’s not enough to feel bad about your misdeeds while you’re alive; you need to set aside some dead time to feel guilty as well. At any rate I would guess that no theologian anywhere would be down with the idea of Purgatory as an opportunity for further ass-grabbing.

Now just because Billy got away, that doesn’t mean that he’s off the hook and so throughout all the coming merriment we get Pinky showing up now and then to tell Billy that time’s a’runnin’ out and that pretty soon they’ve got to head for the Great Beyond, as well as a couple of scenes of Pinky talking with a guy listed in the credits as The Boss (Byrd), a snooty envoy from the other side who takes little potshots at Pinky (asked why, given that he has the choice of the finest Havanas, he insists on smoking foul cheroots, Pinky replies, “I like’em,” which works just fine for me) and berates him for shirking his duties, implying that failure to deliver his nephew on time will result in a long slide down to that famous steam room purportedly located in the earth’s core.

Angels. The Heavenly Host. Gabriel. Michael. George. Metatron (yes, the one Alan Rickman played in Dogma). The Cherubim and The Seraphim. And of course the most famous angel of all – He Who Fell. Satan. The Devil. The Prince of Darkness. Lucifer Morningstar. Hmm. ‘Lucifer Morningstar.’ Now that I think of it that actually sounds kind of girly.
Now, angels are entities unto themselves, serving largely as purveyors of messages from God to man, and are not, except for certain exceptions, be-winged versions of those that have passed from this world into the next, yet owing to mythologies through the ages they have often been represented as such, particularly when it comes to that all-too-human idea of the Guardian. A guardian angel, the concept of which isn’t an article of faith anyway, is usually portrayed in the movies as the spirit of a dear departed loved one, either continuing the care they provided while alive, or, for extra added pathos, trying to make up for that which they lacked. It’s not difficult to glean why people respond to this. It’s comforting to think that those who looked over us in life would continue to do so after their deaths. Either that or most people secretly fear that God doesn’t believe in unions, benefits, overtime and such, and subsequently those on his payroll can’t possibly be trusted to do the job right, making a certain degree of nepotism necessary. After all, the afterlife is really just like one big construction site. Surely I can’t be the first person ever to say this.
(wind and tumbleweeds)
Hello? Anyone?

Since we need a villain, and this is a college flick, we get President (not Dean as it usually goes) Grimshaw (Linville, giving a far better performance than the script deserves). Predictably his under-college-age daughter Ursula (Kober) is only interested in partying and he is determined to keep her away from the campus animals. She’s especially eager to get out of the house on this particular day, because it’s Hog Day, an annual campus tradition that involves drinking, toplessness and Slip’n’Slides covered in baby oil. (And they say we Americans have no culture.) Also scheduled for that day is an event honoring a visitor, Madeleine Lavatoire, a descendant of the college’s founder who is donating a truckload of money, which El Presidente has earmarked for a new building that is somehow going to include big profits for him. (I honestly don’t remember how this is all supposed to work, but it hardly matters as it’s only here to paint him further as a villain, you know, how dare you use the money to your own ends when it could go towards improving the educational standards, as if these clowns could give a rat’s ass about their education.) Now why Grimshaw would choose to hold this event on a day when he knows that a large portion of the student body is going to be proudly wallowing in its own filth right out there in the open is a mystery. (Well, not really, but, you know.)

The benefactor is visiting from France and so Grimshaw and Judith Highsociety go to pick her up at the airport. Everyone expects her to be a geriatric about the size of an escargot, but she turns out to be a young babe (Arnaud). Upon getting back to campus Grimshaw attempts to get Madeleine through to the ceremony with minimal exposure to the debauchery, but as luck would have it, she not only meets Billy Batson, who seems to be just as dedicated to carrying out his duties as overseer of Hog Day as he is in finding a way to diddle Judith Highfalutin’, the two of them hit it off quite well, leading him to realize there may be more to life than partying and scoring on Judith Highmom. But, of course, he has a different kind of date elsewhere…

Ah, Heaven. The Eternal City. Haven of Angels. Kingdom Come. (I’ve never liked referring to it as the Pearly Gates; it sounds too much like the outside of a Country and Western singer’s mansion.) Heaven is a concept that has long been…

Nah, on second thought, to hell with it. (Pun intended.) Why bother trying to find something interesting and hopefully semi-humorous to say about Heaven when the film itself doesn’t have the stones to admit that that’s what it’s talking about? Oh, it’s hinted at, rather broadly at that (I hardly believe when Pinky tells Billy, “You made it, my boy,” that he was welcoming him to The Babysitters’ Club), but I don’t believe the actual word is used once.

The big question is exactly why Heaven is so anxious to procure Billy Batson’s soul in the first place. (Sidestepping the issue, of course, of how he qualified to begin with. That could lead us into moral debate territory and we’re already way too far out on the thin ice of Lake Ludicrous contemplating this film from a religious standpoint as it is.) We’re never told why it’s so important for Pinky to lead Billy ‘into the light’ as it were (literally now that I think of it), a question that becomes all the more moot in the end seeing as how [SPOILER SPACE IN CASE ANYONE GIVES TWO SHITS] when Billy does in fact miss the cut-off point, he’s summarily returned to his body to continue life as if nothing happened! [/SPOILER SPACE] The staggeringly blasphemous implications of this revoltin’ and ridiculous development, not to mention the possible comic ones, seem to be utterly lost on the filmmakers. But again this goes to the heart of what’s truly wrong with the film, continuing a point I made earlier.

Somewhere up above I mentioned that the move away from bathroom humor, after it’s brief flirtation with it, was, while a good thing in and of itself, symptomatic of the film’s central problem, which is that pretty much everything it does, it does half-assed. Hog Day is supposed to be the wildest day of the school year, and yet there’s very little evidence of anything particularly raucous going on. When the Deltas squared off against Dean Wormer and his goons, there was a near jihad intensity to what transpired; here the two opposing sides (Frank Burns vs. a handful of campus cretins) seem only barely aware of each other’s existence. And, yes, there is gratuitous nudity here – including two scenes involving invisibility, one predictable (Billy sneaks into the girls’ shower room), one icky (Pinky undresses a sleeping girl, all the while cooing “my dear” at her), and even an appearance by Becky “Do I Even Own A Shirt?” LeBeau as one of the Baby Oil Slip‘n’Sliders – but even that comes off as lackluster, and when a T&A comedy doesn’t even have courage of conviction when it comes to its own horniness, well, that ain’t a good sign.

St. Matthew, in Chapter 16, Verse 3, speaks of ‘Signs of the times’ and-


Shaddup! We’re done with that part.

Inevitably with bad movies I end up pondering what could have been, and had School Spirit made an attempt to be an actual religious satire, instead of skirting around the idea for the sake of some cheap, and I mean cheap, laughs, it might have had some merit. But it seems pretty certain given their reluctance to even say the word ‘heaven’ that the producers were scared of offending someone, though who they thought in its target audience was going to be offended is a mystery to me. One wishes that they had at the very least taken a page from a different gospel – that of famed crap director Jim Wynorski who once remarked that “breasts are the cheapest special effect.”


Amen indeed, Professor. Amen indeed.

The Cheerleaders

(1973, 84 min.)

Starring Stephanie Fondue, Denise Dillaway, Jovita Bush, Brandy Woods, Kim Stanton (Kimberly Hyde), Sandy Evans, Richard Meatwhistle, Jonathan Jacobs, Raoul Hoffnung, Patrick Wright.

Screenplay by Ace Baandige, Paul Glickler and Tad Richards, from a story Glickler, Richard Lerner and Richards.

Directed by Paul Glickler

Allow me to begin with an expression perhaps not coined by my generation (that characterized by the letter directly between W and Y), but certainly brought to prominence in mainstream pop culture by same: Eew.

Modern mass psychology would have you believe that every boy dreams of fucking a cheerleader, and I’m not in a position to argue otherwise. The truth of it is that none of the schools I attended even had cheerleaders and I’ve still indulged that particular fantasy, which is either proof of how ingrained the idea is or proof of how relentlessly horny I am.

Either way, even a dedicated pervert such as myself might be turned off of the whole cheerleader thing after watching the first third of this flick. Aside from the icky almost pedophilic vibe that runs through the first fifteen minutes, there’s also the charming scene set in the male locker room that seems designed to use gang rape as a way to set up a defensive tackle joke.

The “story” (nota bene: I’m already, this early in the game, reaching the point where I’m going to have to stop qualifying this crap with quotation marks and snotty little asides) concerns Jeannie, the new girl on the cheerleading squad, and her various attempts to further her womanhood, as it were. What’s more she doesn’t seem to care much whether the instrument of her deflowering belongs to her schlubbie boyfriend Norm or, well, anybody else. As oogy as this attitude may be, it seems rather appropriate for a film where the virginal character in question is played by an actress named Stephanie Fondue. How ‘70s porn queen is that? And don’t even get me started on fellow cast members Jovita Bush and Richard Meatwhistle. (Not to mention co-screenwriter Ace Baandige, although that’s just jokey, not suggestive.)

The entire thing climaxes (narf) with a whole lotta’ fuckin’, starting with a slumber party crashed by the football team in which everyone (excepting Jeannie, natch) gets it on with everyone else, resulting in the team being too pooped to play. (They also manage to work in a scene where Jeannie’s semi-voyeuristic dad gets it on, though thankfully the girl who seduces him is the comparatively mature-looking Dillaway.) The girls compensate by finding and screwing every single member of the opposing team, in a montage set to music that includes, in an odd little coincidence, a riff identical to the theme song from Quincy. Problem is they missed one guy, meaning the rival team has a tiny little advantage, and guess who gets sent in as a last minute choice to schtup him in the locker room? That’s right, Jeannie gets to be a top tier booster and puncture her hymen all in one fell swoop. So now everyone on the field is jello, no one can do squat, and Norm, dressed like a player, but actually selling hot dogs, inadvertently picks up the ball and brings it to the end zone, winning both the game and a chance to get frisky with all of the major female characters in the backseat of a car while the credits mercifully roll.

The main problem with this film – putting aside for the moment the bad writing, bad acting, bad blah blah blah – is that it achieves a level of authenticity in a place it really shouldn’t have. Costume play is just that: play. Getting turned on by the sight of a grown woman dressed in, for example, a girl scout uniform doesn’t mean that you actually want to screw a girl scout. (And if it does, seek help. Now.) The kick comes in seeing something normally associated with innocence presented in a mature and salacious manner. The libido is frequently stimulated by the corruption of purity; an uneasy fact about humanity, but a fact nonetheless. But again, the two words are ‘costume’ and ‘play.’ The wearer is a grown woman. We don’t want to see someone who actually looks age appropriate for the costume, if it is a case of a cusp-of-pubescence cheerleader, schoolgirl, etc. The girls in this film, however, come uncomfortably close to looking the part, especially Ms. Fondue. Not helping the situation is that while she’s as sexually aggressive as the rest of the girls – and we’ll just sidestep the debate as to whether high schoolers should be sexually active in the first place – she seems to want to pop her cherry just as much if not more because it’s what she thinks she’s expected to do as for any particular desire on her part. This effect is enhanced by the somewhat vacuous air Ms. Fondue brings to her role, not entirely unrealistic for a clueless teenage girl perhaps, but regardless of the reason or circumstance, the resulting reaction is, to reiterate, eew. (Her deadpan, if it can be called that, isn’t entirely a bad thing. When she dryly states that, “A carwash is not the business world, Norm,” that was about the only true laugh I got in the whole movie.)

This does have a following, which I can only assume is more the byproduct of nostalgia than anything else, a concept I can completely get behind, but seeing as how it doesn’t hold any such special place with me, I needed more, and given that the sex scenes are fairly lackluster and the movie isn’t particular funny, not even in a dumb sort of way, this just didn’t have much to offer me at all, except the eew factor.

I actually saw one of the sequels to this, Revenge of the Cheerleaders, first, but can’t remember much about it. My colleagues would probably chalk this up to a memory block owing to the film’s inclusion of a naked David Hasselhoff, but I’ll probably get around to watching it again to review for this section. With the memory of this film fresh in my brain and the notion of a nude Hoff somewhere in my future, all I can say is…pray for me.

Click here for my colleague El Santo's take on this horny silliness. (Or is that silly horniness?)