Porky's

porkys-rev Porky’s  (1982)    20th Century Fox/Comedy    RT: 97 minutes    Rated R (pervasive strong sexual content, full frontal nudity, language, some violence- all involving teens)    Director: Bob Clark    Screenplay: Bob Clark    Music: Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer    Cinematography: Reginald H. Morris    Release date: March 19, 1982 (US)    Cast: Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Roger Wilson, Cyril O’Reilly, Tony Ganios, Kaki Hunter, Kim Cattrall, Nancy Parsons, Scott Colomby, Boyd Gaines, Doug McGrath, Susan Clark, Art Hindle, Alex Karras, Chuck Mitchell, Eric Christmas, Bill Hindman, Wayne Maunder, John Henry Redwood, Jack Mulcahy, Rod Ball, Julian Bird, Bill Fuller, Will Knickerbocker, Bill Worman.    Box Office: $105.5 million (US)

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 Let’s call Porky’s what it is, it’s a dirty movie. It’s also a very funny one. On a personal note, it’s one of the first movies I snuck to see behind my parents’ backs. I knew if I asked, the answer would be a hard no. Instead, I told them I was seeing Quest for Fire again when I went out that Saturday night (April 24, 1982) with an adult friend. At the time, it was the dirtiest movie I ever saw. It was also one of the funniest. I never laughed that hard at a movie before. Porky’s will always remain my first taste of forbidden cinematic fruit.

porkys Set in 1954, the plot concerns a group of Florida high school boys looking to lose their virginity. They are Pee Wee (Monahan), Billy (Herrier), Tommy (the late Knight), Mickey (Wilson), Tim (O’Reilly) and Meat (Ganios). There’s not a lot of action at Angel Beach High so they decide to go to Porky’s, a redneck bar way out in the Everglades, to engage the services of prostitutes. In an early example of epic fail, Porky (Mitchell) takes their money and sends them into a dark room where he opens a trap door that dumps them into the swamp below his place. To make matters worse, the sheriff (Karras, Mongo from Blazing Saddles), also Porky’s brother, damages their car, extorts what money they have left and sends them back to Angel Beach with a warning never to return. Hot-headed Mickey can’t abide being humiliated like that so he keeps returning until Porky and his boys badly beat him. Then it’s revenge time!

 That’s the main plot of Porky’s but it’s not the only thing going on in it. When the boys aren’t dealing with the Porky’s situation, they’re usually engaged in wholesome activities like peeking at naked girls in their locker room shower, playing pranks and trying to avoid run-ins with Miss Balbricker (Parson), the girls gym teacher. She’s a total killjoy who takes great delight in reporting students’ and co-workers’ misdeeds to Principal Carter (Christmas), a nervous type who stammers over anatomical references. She and Tommy have a running feud that reaches a head when she catches him red-handed (so to speak) exposing himself through a hole in the shower room wall. Yep, he sticks his “tallywacker” through the hole. When Balbricker spots the protruding member, she grabs and pulls it with all her might. Cue the collective “OUCH!” from all the male audience members (uh huh huh, members!).

 There’s also something of a feud between Pee Wee and Wendy Williams (Hunter), a girl with a reputation for being the class slut. The guys set them up on a date so Pee Wee could finally lose his virginity and it didn’t go as planned. There’s also tension between bigoted Tim and a Jewish student named Brian Schwartz (Colomby, Caddyshack). Tim is the way he is because of his abusive, bigoted father (Maunder), a real piece of work who loves bullying and beating his son in front of his friends. It’s okay, he eventually gets his. New gym coach Roy Brackett (Gaines) is determined to find out why they call female coach Miss Honeywell (Cattrall, Sex and the City) “Lassie”. Hint, it isn’t because she likes dog biscuits.

 For all its dirty-mindedness, Porky’s is one of the funniest movies about teens and sex. Directed by Bob Clark (Black Christmas), it’s the one that gave rise to the wave of teen sex comedies that followed in the wake of its success over the next couple of years (e.g. Zapped, The Last American Virgin, Joysticks, Spring Break, Screwballs, My Tutor, Private School, Hardbodies, etc.). An unfortunate side effect, some might say. I wouldn’t say since I like those movies too. I know, it sounds awful for a middle-aged man to admit he likes movies in which degenerate pervert teen boys ogle and leer while nubile teen girls walk by. In their defense, they’re a lot funnier than most of the crap that passes for comedy these days. At least they didn’t try and pass themselves off as something more than what they really were. They had a sense of pride and, dare I say, purity of form.

 Monahan is good as Pee Wee, the horniest one of the bunch. He’s a regular “Ready Eddie” this guy. He disrobes in record time when it looks like he might finally score. It turns out to be an elaborate prank cooked up by Billy, Tommy and Mickey. It involves a woman named Cherry Forever (Clark, Mrs. Alex Karras) and a big black dude with a machete. Parsons is a riot as Balbricker, a character less enlightened types might call a “bull dyke”. Her scene in the principal’s office is a true comic highlight. The expression on Carter’s face as Balbricker requests a police line-up to identify the offending penis (it has a mole on it) is priceless. The male gym teachers cracking up in the background make it even funnier. Mitchell is perfect as Porky, the meanest, vilest redneck you’ll ever meet this side of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s the perfect name for him; he really is a pig*.

 But you know what? It’s pointless to comment on things like acting, character development or artistic merit in a movie like Porky’s. It wasn’t made to win awards to make some brilliant statement on human nature (unless that statement is all teen boys are leering horny toads). It’s a sleazy comedy with lots of nudity and dirty jokes. If I may be crude for a moment, there’s more beaver than the entire state of Oregon. It has gags involving giant condoms, male and female genitalia and very loud orgasms. It’s not particularly well-made. It may or may not be art, but whatever it is, it worked. It made a lot of money at the box office (at the time, it was a big deal for an R-rated movie to break the $100 million barrier) and spawned two sequels. Some may think it sad that I still find Porky’s funny but film is a subjective medium. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Porky’s is both.

*= I humbly apologize to pigs for the unfair comparison. No offense intended. 

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