POP GOES THE DECADE- A totally rad look back at the glorious 80's and all the flicks, fashions, tunes, and TV shows that made the decade so cool and memorable in the first place. Like, for sure!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Last American Virgin

     Teen sex comedies were a dime-a-dozen in the early 80's. However, there's one of a few teen sex comedies that stand out from the usual dreck, and THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN is most definitely one of them.  The early part of the decade was saturated with slashers and teen sex comedies, and I caught TLAV late one night on HBO, and being a pubescent teen boy, found myself laughing at the silly hijinks and secretly enjoying the surprising amount of nudity, both male and female.

     THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN deals with 3 friends- Gary, Rick, and David. Gary, it seems, is still a virgin, and is winningly played by Lawrence Monoson. Steve Antin plays lothario Rick who will do anything with a pulse, and Joe Rubbo takes on the role of portly David. Gary is desperately trying to lose his virginity, and at the same time finds himself falling in love with new girl Karen, played by awesome 80's icon Diane Franklin. (Quirky Kimmy Robertson, Lucy from "Twin Peaks", plays Karen's bf, Rose...) The first hour or so is your typical high school sex comedy of the 1980's, with the three boys on a mission to have as much sex as possible. We get a locker-room penis measuring contest, a sultry Latina cougar who takes on all three boys, and the obligatory parents coming home early and catching teens having sex scene. But then something happens about halfway through.

     An event occurs  that comes completely out of left field and changes the entire tone of the film. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I will tell you that THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN starts out as a silly, juvenile sex comedy that halfway through suddenly and without warning pulls the tablecloth off the table and becomes a seriously special movie. It's to me one of the best 80's teen comedies, because like FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, it expertly mixes comedy and drama.

       TLAV borders on downright sleazy at times. And there is lots of nudity. But the winning performances (Lawrence and Diane come to mind- they are fantastic...) and the way some very important subjects are brought up and treated with intelligence and realism elevate the film to a higher plateau. It's also rather infamous for its shocking and completely unexpected ending. If you've seen it before, then trust me, you know what I'm talking about. It's a whopper, that's for sure.

     And it's all set to one kick-ass soundtrack. Classics such as "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by the Police, "Are You Ready For the Sex Girls" by the Gleaming Spires, "Love Action (I Believe In Love" by the Human League, "I Know What Boys Like" by the Waitresses, "In the Flesh" by Blondie, "Shake It Up" and "Since You're Gone" by the Cars, "Open Arms" by Journey, "Whit It" by Devo, "I Will Follow" by U2, and "Keep on Loving You" by REO Speedwagon all help propel the story of Gary and Karen into the annals of 80's pop culture. It's worth viewing for the songs alone!

     Sadly, this movie disappeared in theaters back in 1982.  It somehow got lost in the shuffle of such hits as PORKY'S, RISKY BUSINESS, VALLEY GIRL, and FAST TIMES. It's rather underrated today, but it's developed a strong cult following over the years, and with the recent debut on DVD, is slowly but surely finding a new audience.  As it should.  Because it's a well-written and smart teenage sex comedy. And you might get chills whenever you hear "Keep on Loving You" after watching this movie.  A true 80's classic!