Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Porky's (1982)

I decided to watch this movie for two reasons. One, the VHS had been lying around my house for probably 13 years; two, this movie was written and directed by Bob Clark (of "A Christmas Story" fame).

A period film featuring a young Kim Cattrall, "Porky's" follows the lives of a group of friends as they try to do what most teenagers in 80s films set out to do: lose their virginities. The teenagers attend the fictional Angel Beach High School, but they decide to go to the next town over to Porky's, a bar where the boys can supposedly have "a night to remember" (i.e., accomplish their goal of de-virginizing themselves). All they have to do is slip some money to Porky himself. Porky, however, has something else in mind and decides to make an example of the boys by humiliating them and dumping them in the swamp that surrounds Porky's. The rest of the film revolves around getting revenge on both Porky and his crooked-cop brother.

At the surface, "Porky's" is not a distinctly 80s film, and most of it has to do with its setting in the 50s. Hence, there are (unfortunately) no synthesizers, legwarmers or crimped hair-dos. However, it is still enjoyable and can easily stand the test of time because teenagers will always be willing to laugh at sex, racism will always be an issue, and older generations will always want to reminisce on what was. The movie has some awkwardly funny parts, but it also has some pretty serious undertones: good vs. evil, racism, prejudice and growing up in 1950s Florida.

Maybe it was all those years of building expectations staring at the cover of the tape, but I think I expected a bit more from the film. It was enjoyable, yes, but most of the characters seemed too much like stereotypical 50s personas than actual teenagers living in the 50s. And it still makes me cringe to think of what might have happened to the characters after they get their revenge and the movie ends (Porky would not just disappear quietly). Yet perhaps the that-would-never-happen-in-real-life element of the movie is what makes it so enjoyable in the first place.

With its lowbrow humor, distinct time period and raunchy subject matter, this movie could probably be anybody's guilty pleasure. But under all of that, it is still important to see what this movie is really about: growing up and having fun while in the presence of friends.

No comments: