Film Review: Private Lessons (1981)

Also known as: Philly (working title)
Release Date: May, 1981 (Japan)
Directed by: Alan Myerson
Written by: Dan Greenburg
Based on: Philly by Dan Greenburg
Music by: Willie Nile, various
Cast: Sylvia Kristel, Howard Hesseman, Eric Brown, Ed Begley Jr.

Barry & Enright Productions, Jensen Farley Pictures, 87 Minutes

Review:

“Who the hell takes baths with other people, except for the Japanese, I mean. Have you heard of any?” – Sherman, “No. Nobody except the Japanese.” – Philly

Since I recently watched and reviewed Private Resort, I figured that I’d review the last film of the Private trilogy that I hadn’t covered yet. This is actually the first of the three movies, though. Also, they’re just a loose trilogy, as none of the films actually connect with one another.

This is the one I’ve seen the least and I haven’t seen it since the mid-’90s or so, when I was working at a video store and used to take home a dozen movies per week.

Private Lessons is a film that couldn’t be made today, as it actually features pedophilia. A fifteen year-old boy is crushing hard on his new housekeeper. The boy’s driver and the housekeeper devise some confusing plot for the woman to seduce the boy. Whatever, it seems so farfetched, even for being based on a book from the ’60s. But I guess they needed to have a reason to have some twentysomething foreign chick fuck a fifteen year-old, awkward kid. I’d assume that the story was inspired by The Graduate and the author just decided to do something even more extreme.

As a teen, I didn’t think the plot was that big of a deal. As an adult, I’m kind of shocked that this got to theaters but it was a very different world in 1981. While teens having sex in movies wasn’t new and sex comedies were a huge money maker in that era, seeing a minor have sex with an adult was usually just implied or the “teen” actually looked like he was twenty and not twelve.

That being said, it is what it is and it’s a product of its time. I’m fine with the film’s existence because it’s not like they were really fucking and this was made to pack teen boys into theaters, which it did fairly effectively. In fact, it made back nearly ten times its budget.

In the end, it’s not a good movie and it’s a bit of a chore to get through. But it’s also not the worst of the teen sex comedy trend… not by a longshot.

Rating: 5/10

Film Review: Private Resort (1985)

Release Date: May 3rd, 1985
Directed by: George Bowers
Written by: Alan Wenkus, Gordon Mitchell, Ken Segall
Music by: various
Cast: Rob Morrow, Johnny Depp, Emily Longstreth, Toni Azito, Dody Goodman, Leslie Easterbrook, Hector Elizondo, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Karyn O’Bryan, Michael Bowen

Delphi III Productions, TriStar Pictures, 82 Minutes

Review:

“Oh, thank you, Baba Rama Nana!” – Shirley

Private Resort is the final film in the Private trilogy, which is comprised of three unrelated sex comedy films. It’s also my favorite of the three, just beating out Private School. However, I haven’t seen Private Lessons since the ’90s and should probably revisit it again for a review and to compare to the other two films.

This is a dumb, goofy, ’80s comedy with lots of raunchy sex jokes and random boob shots. So basically, this is something I loved as a kid back when this sort of stuff was still acceptable.

Sure, things like this were never considered “high art” but people generally enjoyed them because we enjoyed life back then and we also used our entertainment as a means of escape from the problems that come from reality. Everyone needs a break and comedy used to be a great medicine for negative emotions. Boobies are also a great medicine for that but you’re not supposed to admit stuff like that anymore.

Anyway, this stars Rob Morrow, who would go on to be the lead in Northern Exposure, and Johnny Depp, just after he was in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street and before he blew up from his role on the original 21 Jump Street.

The film also features Andrew Dice Clay in one of my favorite roles he’s played, Leslie Easterbrook, Hector Elizondo and a young Michael Bowen.

The story follows two young guys showing up at a beach resort in an effort to get laid. While chasing girls, they draw the ire of the hotel security manager, a jewel thief, a total dick that works at the resort and a buff womanizer.

It feels like half the movie is just zany, slapstick chase scenes throughout the resort’s grounds but I’m fine with that, as a lot of the gags are still funny and they still make me laugh. Granted, I don’t know how well any of this would play for modern audiences that didn’t grow up with these kind of movies.

Overall, this is mindless fun and if you’ve read enough of my other reviews, you know that’s something I’m a fan of.

Rating: 6.25/10

Film Review: Private School (1983)

Release Date: June 29th, 1983
Directed by: Noel Black
Written by: Dan Greenburg, Suzanne O’Malley
Music by: Rick Springfield
Cast: Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell, Matthew Modine, Michael Zorek, Ray Walston, Sylvia Kristel

Universal Pictures, 88 Minutes

Review:

“That’s the finest example of bareback riding I’ve ever seen.” – Miss Dutchbok

Teen sex comedies have never been the same since the 80s ended. Sure, we’ve had a few classics, here and there. However, even though these films were a dime a dozen in the early 80s, they typically had some charm. While that could be nostalgia talking, I feel like this style of film just fit well with 80s pop culture and humor.

Private School is not a classic in the same vain as Fast Times At Ridgemont High, which is the true masterpiece of the genre because it is much more than just a teen sex comedy. However, Private School features both Phoebe Cates and Ray Walston from Fast Times and also tried to piggyback on that film’s success.

On a side note, Phoebe Cates was my first crush as a young kid and she made me come to the realization that girls were something I should desire and that no woman would ever compare to Phoebe Cates. And truth be told, I didn’t even see her breasts in Ridgemont High until I was a teenager and realized that the VHS version of the film had some things in it that weren’t shown on television. Mainly just boobies, drugs and a more colorful approach to the English language – all fun stuff.

Private School is still enjoyable for its absurdity. Also, it has that scene where Betsy Russell rides topless on a horse in glorious slow motion. And she is pretty much naked or close to naked throughout the whole film, which is something you just don’t get to see anymore because communists have taken over Hollywood in an effort to destroy the young red-blooded American male sex drive. Without their libido, the Red Chinese win. But more importantly, we can only see boobs in porn and everyone wants to slap our wrists now if we watch that good all-American smut.

What’s the big deal? Europeans don’t have a problem with sex and frankly, we’re supposed to be the trendsetters in the entertainment industry. I apologize to Europe on behalf of America if we somehow influence you guys to lose boobies in your movies. Please don’t, I’ll pay big bucks for Euro boobies, especially when they’re thirty feet tall over my head in a dark room.

Anyway, there isn’t much plot to this movie. Mainly, Betsy Russell wants to steal Phoebe Cates’ boyfriend a.k.a. Matthew Modine – the evil guy from Stranger Things. She tries to achieve this by taking her shirt off a lot. The rest of the film is really just a series of funny skits and gags, which is typical of this sort of movie.

Private School is a pretty okay movie. It is fun and it has some good bits, like everything featuring Ray Walston. But it is mostly a film about the greatness of Betsy Russell’s immaculate body. Even though I love Phoebe Cates, she doesn’t do much here other than make pouty faces and keep her clothes on.

Rating: 6/10