Monday, July 28, 2014

VALLEY GIRL (1983)

Twenty-one year old high school student Julie (Deborah Foreman) breaks up with her boyfriend Tommy (Michael Bowen) because he's a arrogant douche.  Later at the beach and then at a party she sees Randy (Nicholas Cage) and falls for him.  He's such a stud muffin!  They start dating, but Julie's friend object loudly to this because he's sooo different than they are.  And by "different" I think it's because he's lower class or something, I don't even know.  It was hard to understand their logic when the filmmakers did such a poor job of showing what the difference was between people from the Valley and people from Hollywood.  Example: in the scene where he enters the party people literally stop dancing and just stare at him like he's a freak from another planet, when, to me, he looked just like everybody else.  He even had a popped collar!

While the Romeo and Juliet-ist story idea is alright (it was done more effectively three years later in PRETTY IN PINK), I didn't care for the film because nothing really happens.  Yeah, yeah...Julie and Randy are suppose to be in love...but I never got the sense that they were actually in love.  She seemed pretty happy to get back with Tommy later on.  And Randy came off more like an obsessive stalker than anything else.  Hiding in a busy bathroom to see her?  Check. Dressing up like a server at a food joint to see her?  Yep.  Sleeping in her yard to be near her? Yes.  Dedicating a song to her on the radio?  What a psycho!

There was also a lot of wasted time on shit that never went anywhere. Julie's parents had multiple scenes that could have been cut.  The side story about one of Julie's friend's stepmom flirting with a younger dude went nowhere.  There was also a thing about Tommy and one of Julie's friends hooking up at a party, but that too just kinda disappeared.

Bland characters, zero tension, the bad guy wasn't bad enough, the good guy wasn't likeable enough, Sherman Oaks Galleria interiors, great soundtrack (the most pleasant surprise was "Sparks - "Eaten By The Monster Of Love"which reminded me of FRIGHT NIGHT), 80's fashions, girl on the poster doesn't even look like Deborah Foreman, Hollywood's version of "punk".  Worth watching for historical curiosity...and Elizabeth Daily topless.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

BEACH PARTY (1963)

I was recently thinking about my love for GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW when I decided to look further into this kitchy brand teenage party movies that came out in the late 50's/early 60's.  And where better to start than BEACH PARTY?!

Twenty-something-year-old teenagers Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello have had enough of high school.  It's summer now and you can eat a bowl of fuck cause they are here to parr-tee!!  Frank is looking to get up in those guts, but Annette ain't having none of it.  So when Frankie rents them a beach bungalow to use as a summer fuck shack Annette secretly invites along 30 or so of their closest friends.  Frankie is upset by this and sets out to make Annette jealous by acting like he's interested in a local sexpot.  Annette returns his childish behavior by acting like she's hooking up with their neighborhood peeping tom/anthropologist (Robert Cummings) who's secretly writing a book about teenage sex rituals.  During all of this there's lots of dancing, singing, surfing and weird 60's shenanigans.  I enjoyed the hell out of all of it, but my most pleasant surprise came when no other than Eric Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang The Rats showed up!  I damn near squealed with joy.  I'd really enjoyed Von Zipper in THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI, but I thought it was a one time appearance.  I was wrong because not only is Von Zipper a regular in the beach movies but TGITIB is also part of the beach party series!  How weird is that?

Anyway, I thought BEACH PARTY was a lot of fun.  Perfectly silly story, quick pace, great music, pretty girls in bikinis, Dick Dale wearing an earring, Von Zipper cracking stupid jokes nonstop, energetic dancing, Vincent Price cameo, Joel McCrea's son Jody in a supporting role as Deadhead, awesome 60's hair styles, humor so corny it's actually kinda funny, beatniks questioning traditional values, continuity errors galore, innocence, a pie fight and a dancing girl during the end credits that I really enjoyed.  Recommended.

Part 2 - Muscle Beach Party
Part 3 - Bikini Beach
Part 4 - Pajama Party
Part 5 - Beach Blanket Bingo
Part 6 - How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
Part 7 - The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
Part 8 - Back to the Beach