It was the summer of 1985, in Levittown, New York. I was fast approaching my 12th birthday. Mtv was still a toddler. And, pop culture ruled my life. We lived walking distance to the local movie theater which made it easier for me to spend as much free time there as possible. If I didn’t see it in the theater, it was a sure bet I’d catch it on HBO or at the new video rental store at Nassau Mall-I think it was called Mama Svetsky’s.
It was an interesting time to watch movies. The rating system was fairly straightforward: a G rating meant it was a kids’ film, most likely animated; an X rating meant it was porn; an R rating meant it had a lot of nudity or gratuitous language in it and/or was a horror movie; and everything else that fell in between was given a PG rating. It wasn’t until parents were upset about the content of Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that the Motion Picture Association decided to tack on an additional warning. This became PG:13, meaning this film still falls in the inbetween-category, but we’d prefer you not share it with your younger children, just in case. The first film to be labeled PG:13 would be Red Dawn. Not that any of that mattered in my house. We were permitted to watch anything other than the dreaded X. The ‘adults’ in the house would tell us to cover our eyes during certain scenes as children, and by the time we hit puberty we were allowed to judge those moments for ourselves. This is a philosophy I would eventually use on my own child; if you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you think it’s something I wouldn’t want you to see, then close your eyes. Self-censorship and common sense. I think we turned out okay.
Earlier this year, my family quietly celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club, arguably one of the greatest films of all time. It’s hard for me to grasp the fact that 30 years have passed since its cinematic debut. 30 years! When did I get old? I started looking back to see what other films were released that same year. Man…1985 was a fun year at the movies. Not much substance, but oh, the memories! This gave me the idea to tweak Throwback Thursday and use it to pay homage to some of the ‘big’ releases from that summer. Every week, I will spotlight a film that was released in and around the same week 30 years ago. Those of you from my generation will have seen them all, and I hope reading about them triggers some funny memories for you. For those of you who discover that you aren’t familiar with any of these titles, use this as excuse to check them out.
And so, without further ado, I give you the Throwback Thursday Summer Film Series 1985!
Our first film in the series shall be Private Resort. It was released on May 3, 1985. With an R-rating, this somewhat classic 80s comedy starred Johnny Depp, Rob Morrow, Hector Elizondo and Andrew Dice Clay. It was full of everything you’d expect with a title like Private Resort; tits, ass, casual sex, bikinis, more tits and ass, a sub-plot involving a crime, mistaken identities, more casual sex, misunderstandings and hijinx. Oh, and tits and ass. Here is the original theatrical trailer.
I first fell in love with Johnny Depp the year before, in Nightmare on Elm Street. I loved him from the moment Freddie got him, straight through his 21 Jump Street years. I fell off his wagon with Cry Baby and Edward Scissorhands (#sorrynotsorry) but occasionally found cause to adore him again with the likes of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Benny and Joon. Beyond that, Depp has only won me over a handful of times since. But here, in Private Resort, we were exposed to a young, fresh-faced Depp. With barely any muscle tone and not a single strand of hair out of place. His pretty looks had him on the fast-track to a career full of teen angst movies. Lucky for him, Depp landed a role in Platoon the following year, allowing him to show off actual acting ability.
Even more baby-faced in Private Resort was Rob Morrow. You remember him, right? The Northern Exposure guy. Not the hot one, the other one; the doctor guy. He was the poor-man’s Patrick Dempsey. Did I say was? I meant is. Regardless, Morrow and Depp were both brand new to being the stars expected to carry a motion picture. It’s a good thing they had veteran actor Hector Elizondo on board to give the film ‘credibility’ in the form of his jewel thief antagonist. And, let’s not forget scene-stealer, Andrew Dice Clay. He is, dare I say, unbelievable.
This movie was pretty thin on plot, but hijinks did ensue. As was standard Hollywood fodder, the ‘losers’ or ‘underdogs’ win and get the girl/s, the bad guy/s are humiliated, the soundtrack will find a way to get stuck in your head, and everyone gets to party. It may not have been a life-changer for me, but Private Resort was the type of film that made me feel bad, like I had broken some law by sneaking to watch it late at night. They showed boobs, for god’s sake! I watched an R rated movie! I was in on the joke! My finger was on the pulse! And, to top if off…I saw Johnny Depp naked!
This wasn’t the finest moment for cinema in 1985, but it was one of the big releases in May; a time of year that people nowadays associate with the start of big-budget summer action flicks. This week alone, I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, twice. I didn’t need to see any of the Avengers nude; I’d probably need to be carried out on a stretcher. But, when I was 11.5, summer blockbuster was all about Johnny Depp and his tiny hiney.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with Private Resort. Bust out your VCRs (or online streaming service) and give it a whirl. Surely, there’s a drinking game in their somewhere. Next week, we take a look back at Brewter’s Millions.