Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weekend Pass (Lawrence Bassoff, 1984)

What do you get when you put four sailors together in a cheap motel located somewhere off the Sunset Strip? I don't know, a low rent version of The Last Detail? What? No. And besides, that film only has three sailors (this one has four). And not only that, it takes place on the east coast. The east of coast of Canada? You know what east coast I'm talking about. What do you mean you still don't know what you get? All right, how 'bout if I told you that one of the sailors is an ex-gang member? Not sold, eh? Okay, one of them wants to be a stand up comedian. Nothing? The sailor in the glasses has a thing for chicks who sort of look like Tina Fey. Still nothing? Damn, I don't know what else to say. I suppose it wouldn't change your mind if I told you that the blonde sailor is intimidated by leggy, narcissistic women who want to painstakingly insert penis-shaped pieces of plastic into the rarely explored rectal cavities of heterosexual seaman. Oh, hello, it seems like that got your attention. Well, it's about time. After dabbling with women in prison films, cannibal gore-fests, and giallo thrillers, it was nice to crawl back into the bosom of my cinematic comfort zone: the mindless sex comedy. Produced by the legendary Crown International Pictures, Weekend Pass is akin to the other films they produced during this period of their lengthy existence. Mirroring the sleaze with a conscious vibe of such C.I.P. early-mid '80's classics like, My Chauffeur, Tomboy, and My Tutor, this particular slice of not-so innocuous fluff might look like a headache waiting to happen, but it's actually got something to say. Of course, what that is exactly isn't clear to me at the moment. But I'm sure it will come to me sooner or later.

In the meantime, what do you say we perv out together and talk about all the PG-rated debauchery/mayhem the fours sailors at the centre of this inoffensive lark get up to during a fun-filled weekend in Los Angeles?

Where should we start? What's that? Call me someone who has superb hearing, but I could have sworn I just heard someone yell out "leggy narcissist," and get this, the person who yelled it had a Russian accent. Weird. Anyway, since the leggy narcissist, the statuesque Hilary Shepard, appears later on in the film, I'll get to her in a minute.

What I need is something to focus on that transpires near the beginning of the film, and then work my way from there. Does it have to involve legginess? Not necessarily. I got it, The Party Hearty Dancers! The leader of this spirited dance group is leggy as fuck. In fact, she's the leggiest woman in the entire film. I thought I just said that it didn't necessarily have to involve legginess? Since you brought it up, I guess I'll talk about the leggy leader of The Party Hearty Dancers; despite the fact I'm a tad shy when it comes praising the distinct contours of women's legs in a public forum.

Speaking of shyness, I'm also reluctant to talk openly about my love of leotards, my interest in montages that revolve around neon lights, and my infrequently mentioned fascination with gothic fashion.

Getting back to legs, Paul Fricker (D.W. Brown), Lester Gidley (Peter Ellenstein), Bunker Hill (Chip McAllister) and Webster Adams (Patrick Houser) are four seaman who have decided to drive to Los Angeles, from their base in San Diego, to engage in a weekend of hedonism. You mean a "weekend pass"? That's exactly what I mean.

Okay, that's great and all, but what has all this got to do with legs? Legs?!? You said, "getting back to legs." Oh, yeah. Legs. Well, after some signage porn (editor Harry B. Miller III does an amazing job splicing together multiple shots of some famous and not-so famous L.A. signs during this sequence) set to the ultra-catchy "Weekend Pass" by John and Robbie Baer, Fricker, Lester, Bunker and Webster hit up The G-String Club. A strip club? In the middle of the day? Eww, gross. It's not gross. It's a beautiful thing. No matter what your opinion is in regard to strip clubs that operate in the middle of the day, The G-String Club features some of the leggiest women ever to walk the face of the earth.

Things get off to gam-tastic start when Tuesday Del Mundo (Sara Costa) saunters onto The G-String Club stage with an aplomb that could best be described as--you guessed it--leggy. Thrusting her L.A. reared crotch, which is sheathed in a sequined teal thong, with the kind of abandon you don't often find this far north of Wilshire Blvd., Tuesday focuses the bulk her striptease on Fricker (she even grabs his sailor cap and uses it as a prop at one point). Noticing this, Webster bets the others that he can persuade Tuesday to go out with him.

As Webster is crashing and burning with Tuesday (she's too smart to be swayed by his asinine pick-up lines), The Party Hearty Dancers are putting on a leggy clinic. Lead by Helen Crookes, the leggiest of the three (hence, the reason she's their leader), the energetic dance trio might not have any dialogue or advance the plot in anyway, but I appreciated their dedication to uncut legginess.

In terms of having an overall look that scratched me where I itch, I also have to give it up to Ashley St. Jon, whose new wave/punk/glam/metal schtick was to die for.

Next up for the foursome is... Actually, before I continue, I should point out the reason the four seaman in L.A. in the first place. Oh, man, do you have to? I'm afraid so. I would really like this to look like a real movie review. Okay, but be quick about it. Wait, didn't you say they're in L.A. for hedonistic purposes? Yeah, I guess that's accurate. But the reason Fricker is in L.A. is because he plans on making his stand up comedy debut at the Comedy Castle on Saturday night. As for rest: Webster has date with a woman he knew in college; Bunker is going to look up an old flame; and Lester has a blind date. So, as you can see, they all have their reasons for being here.

At any rate, the foursome head over to Venice Beach next. Transfixed by the woman giving an aerobics demo on the beach in a tight leotard, Bunker Hill begins in haste his campaign to woo Tina Wells (Pamela Kay Davis), or I should say, begins his aggressive campaign, as he is relentless.

While Bunker is trying to put the moves on Tina (she is so far managing to resist his charms), the other three decide to have some fun at the expense of three goddesses who are supposedly not considered stereotypically attractive by your average heterosexual moron. I, on other hand, found these women to be quite alluring. What can I say? I loved the way their thick thighs twinkled in the harsh California sun. Now, I don't want to go into much detail about the particulars of the cruel prank they pull on them, but let's say it made me feel a tad queasy.

To alleviate my nauseousness, here's a mini-tribute to the three women who are unwittingly ridiculed by a trio of thoughtless seaman in Weekend Pass.

Employed by a snack cake company (one that I didn't catch the name of), Roberta (Mona Charles) is a frosting inspector; Pickles (Joan Dykman) is an eggbeater; and Candy (Debra Christofferson) is in charge of quality control.

If I was in charge of things, I would have re-written the film to have the seaman bring Roberta, Pickles and Candy to their hotel room for a cocaine-fueled orgy of sex and mild violence. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Don't be so glum, Bunker convinces his fellow seaman to attend one of Tina Wells' aerobics classes. And just like his attempt to woo her on the beach, Bunker fails to win the aerobics instructor over. But you can tell he's wearing her down. Oh, and the scene at Tina's aerobics studio features lot's of women jumping in unison while wearing leotards.

Since the seaman, especially Lester, are worn out from the workout they endured, Webster, Fricker (that's with a "k" as in Kaopectate) and Bunker decide to give Kimono My Place Topless Massage a call. And before you know it, Chop Suzi (Cheryl Song) is walking all over Lester; and, yes, I mean that literally.

As Lester recovers from his session with Chop Suzi, the others cruise the city looking at neon signs. Wait, that can't be right. Nope, according to my notes, there's totally a neon sign montage in this film. Either way, Harry B. Miller III's editing is once again an amazing sight to behold.

And it doesn't end there, as Harry B. Miller III's editing comes into play during the seaman's trip to Melrose Ave. You mean the street where Retail Slut is was located? The very same. Awesome. Yeah, the Melrose shopping montage is rife with authentic goth, punk, metal and new wave fashions.

The film briefly gets melodramatic when the seaman head south of Wilshire Blvd. and visit Bunker's old neighbourhood. You're familiar with how L.A. gang members are typically portrayed in movies, right? Well, Weekend Pass turns that image on its head and has the Mau Mau (the gang Bunker used to belong to) act and dress like extras from The Apple. Anyway, lead by Bert (Grand L. Bush), the Mau Mau take exception with the seaman encroaching on their turf. A fight ensues, but nothing too serious.

I hope Webster has saved up his strength, because he's gonna need it when he finally hooks up Cindy Hazard, the leggiest narcissist in town. Oh, and the reason I call her the "leggiest narcissist in town," is because A) She's leggy. And B) She has four Andy Warhol-style silkscreens of herself hanging above her couch. Looking fierce in her leather mini-skirt, Cindy, a record exec, takes Webster to a fancy upscale eatery.

Meanwhile, Fricker meets a cute lady comedian, Heidi Henderson (Daureen Collodel), from West Covina backstage at the Comedy Castle. (Believe it or not, Phil Hartman, who plays the club's M.C., is probably the film's most well-known cast member.) The problem with the comedy club is sequence is that all the comedians are terrible. Meaning, when Fricker and Heidi bomb on stage, it doesn't really resonate, as they all kind of sucked. Nonetheless, the comedy club scene is probably the most awkward thing I've seen in years. In fact, I had to look away on several occasions.

When Lester's blind date, Tawny Ryatt (Graem McGavin), who sort of looks like Tina Fey, especially when they do those Tina Fey-centric flashbacks to the late '80s/early '90s on 30 Rock, and Maxine (Annette Sinclair), her cousin from San Francisco, finally decide to show up, you know this weekend is about to come an end. So, did I learn anything? Nope. Were you offended? Not really. And I'm sure the actresses who played Roberta, Pickles and Candy were treated with respect. How 'bout entertained? Most definitely. It was refreshing to watch something stupid for a change. And Weekend Pass definitely fit the bill.

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