Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Tutor (1983)

Directed by George Bowers
Starring Caren Kaye, Matt Lattanzi, Crispin Glover, Clark Brandon
Rated R
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"Sue-Anne, would you like to dance with me?"
"No thank you."
"Then I guess a blowjob is completely out of the question?"

My Tutor stars Olivia Newton John's ex-husband, former Xanadu dancer Matt Lattanzi as Bobby, your average 17 year-old muscle-bound, feathered-hair sporting, upper-class virgin, currently lovesick over picture-pretty Bonnie (Amber Denyse Austin, Cathy Crosby's daughter) and best friend to a phlegmy, sex-obsessed, sweater vest wearing nerd named Jack.

Ahem. Clearly, this Lattanzi character is way too Alpha-male to be playing this role, and even an ugly rich kid with his own wheels can get laid plenty in high school, so this premise is deeply flawed from the start. But we're already ankle-deep, so let's just roll with it.

As the film opens, Bobby's slamming his head into the side of his bitchin' black van, in mortal agony over Bonnie's casual dismissal of his affections. Oddball Jack ambles over to lighten his load.
"It's over," croaks Jack (an already-creepy 19 year old Crispin Glover),"Time to kick out the jams. Summertime fun!" He says this like a serial killer. Not on purpose, but still.

Later that evening, Jack's gregarious older brother Billy (Fast Food's Clark Brandon) takes them to a whorehouse to lose their virginity. Crispin ends up with an S&M freak. Bobby gets Russ Meyer's ex girlfriend, Kitten Natividad. Crispin ends up bolting out of there in his boxers, crying his eyes out. Bobby, who gulped down a flask full of whiskey to bolster his nerves, just falls asleep on Kitten's mountainous tits. In his defense, they do look very pillowy.

The next morning Bobby meets with his dad (cranky genre vet Kevin McCarthy) who informs him that he will not get into Yale unless he passes his French final, which he just failed miserably. Dad's one of those nasty old fuckers with connections though, so he worked it out so that Bobby can take the final again, and this time, he's going to have a tutor to help him get ready. The very next day, while he's lazily splashing around in his in-ground swimming pool, his tutor arrives. Terry Green (sitcom vet Caren Kaye) is a pretty, no-nonsense 30-something that's taken the job as live-in tutor for the summer to escape an old boyfriend. She seems alright but Bobby, who really is a dick, is both snotty and vaguely lewd to her.
"I can tell, you're really going to work me hard this summer," he snorts.

Back on the pussy trail, Billy takes the fellas to a diner, where he introduces them to a melon-chested waitress named Silvia (Graem McGavin, Weekend Pass, Angel), who is also a part-time prostitute. Or maybe she's just really slutty, hard to say. At any rate, he convinces her to fuck these two idiots in his car in the back alley of the restaurant. Bobby's up first, but before they get too far, Silvia's psycho biker boyfriend (is there any other kind, in these movies?) shows up and chases a naked Bobby around. Biker gangs, loony bin whorehouses, and waitress-hookers...what town is this, Sodom?

Later on, Terry takes a nude moonlight swim, while Bobby hides in the bushes and beats off. Wow, this movie sounds sleazy on paper. Later on, he fantasizes about fucking Jewel Shepard. Who knows how Jewel got roped intro this, but she pops 'em out and then splits.

The fellas go to a bar with mud wrestling. Crispin, for whatever reason, has a fake ID with a black kid's face on it. He hands it to the (black) doorman, and says, in a wack 'urban' voice: "Hey blood, what's happnin', my man? Alright alright cuz, please lemme in!" I almost expected him to add "Hidey-ho!" on his way in. Fucking crazy. Anyway, Bobby waits outside, but Jack and Billy wrestle Katt Shea (Hollywood Hot Tubs, Preppies) and then get tossed out. A buncha bullshit happens and as they leave, Billy tears off Katt's dress, leaving her in the alley naked.

Meanwhile, Terry decides to reconcile with her asshole ex-boyfriend, but when she drops by, he's in his car getting a blowjob, so she picks up a weed whacker and tells him if he gets out of the car, she's gonna cut his dick off.

And then she goes home and fucks Bobby. I can't believe I actually saw this in the theater when I was 14. Without a raincoat, even. Anyway, the last half-hour shifts gears completely, as Bobby gets romantically entangled with Terry and all the main characters have to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. The usual 80's dilemmas, albeit with way more kink than most of us dealt with.

For a variety of reasons, My Tutor is clearly one of the best examples of the teen sex comedy. For one thing, it's practically swimming in tits, and even if it does attempt to wrap everything together in a sappy, everybody-wins ending, for most of it's running time, the film is about as morally vacant as you can get. Predating the modern obsession with older women and the alarming teacher-student hook-up trend by more than two decades, My Tutor presents a repercussion-free world where if it feels good, you know, do it. And that, after all, was exactly the message your average 80's teen was hoping to hear. The cast is top-notch, filled with once and future cult icons like Glover, McCarthy, Shepard, Natividad, and Shea, and for once, it looked like they tossed a few production-value dollars into the pot.

And then, of course, there's Caren Kaye, (still) the very definition of fetching, and quite liberal, at that point, with her nudity policy. And although she offered no bared skin, Amber Denyse Austin was a vision, a still-ripening peach that practically radiated with girl-magic. Unfortunately for us all, she only appeared in one other film. Fortunately for us all, it was the amazingly awful Neon Maniacs (1986), a classic badfilm howler that holds up to many (painful) repeated viewings. So we got that, at least.

Director Bowers followed this one up with the equally accomplished teen sex romp Private Resort (1985) but spent most of his career in the editing room, where he cut a number of seminal cult flicks: Galaxina (1980), The Pom Pom Girls (1976), The Beach Girls (1982), Buckaroo Banzai (1984), The Stepfather (1987), etc. He continues to work as an editor today. As for Caren Kaye, you'd think, given her near constant state of undress here, that she'd build up a long resume of sexy roles. Sadly, this was it. She spent most of her career in television, and now serves on some charity board somewhere, trying to make the world a better place. Ah, but you already have, Caren. I salute you, and your jutting nipples. May you both continue to inspire.

Availability: My Tutor is available on DVD from BCI (RIP), and as a rental from Netflix.
Get it at Amazon.

-Ken McIntyre

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