While watching this movie for the second time in 26 years…. 1986, has it really been that long? I heard a soundtrack that reminded me of my father’s collection of 50’s 8-track tapes, which was not so bad. The fact that this movie was set in Ohio in 1956 sort of hit home. That was the time my own parents were growing up in Ohio. This movie has many of the stereotypes from the 50s, the bouncy skirts and saddle shoes (whoever thought up that ugly fashion disaster?), the rolled up blue jeans, big cars, doo-wop music, and big guys on campus who thought they could own anything in their small part of the world. There was even the greasy-haired rebel with the motorcycle. All it seems to be missing was an espresso-sipping beatnik spouting bad poetry while snapping his or her fingers to some smooth jazz.
The story centers around Jonathan Bellah, an average high school senior from an average Midwestern town, Nelsonville, Ohio, and how his life changes when a rebellious teen boy, Gene Harbrough, from Chicago moves in next door. The two become instant friends when Gene learns that Jonathan had been lusting after the school’s blonde bombshell, Marilyn McCauley. Gene promises Jonathan to help him secure his sexual future with Marylin, and they set out for the Spring Fair. When Gene meets Bunny, a fun redhead who also happens to have the eye of the town jock, Kenny, that’s when tempers flare, and the teen drama sets in.
This movie has lots of funny parts here and there, and when Gene and Jonathan get drunk and decide to get revenge on Kenny for wrecking Gene’s father’s cars, the aftermath with make you totally ROFL. We see more of things from Jonathan’s POV than anyone’s. He learns that his dream girl is really more of a nightmare, because all she seems to care about is status. He can see there is a true love growing between Gene and Bunny, and does his best to make sure his best friends stay together.
This is a fun romp of nostalgia that might have been missed during the age of fantasy and sci-fi in Hollywood, when more and more experimentation was going on with special effects that had come in at the end of the previous decade. It was a nice break into the comedy genre without being too crude, but is no way family fare. Language is a little strong, and attitudes towards sex in the 1950’s is pretty much all there, just as it was perceived to be back then. If you missed this movie back then, give it a try now. It’s a bit more sophisticated than the Porky’s movies, a great sleeper that should be awaken again once in awhile.