Sunday, September 4, 2011

Malibu High

Directed by Irvin Berwick.
1979. Rated R, 92 minutes.
Jill Lansing
Stuart Taylor
Katie Johnson
Phyllis Benson
Alex Mann
Tammy Taylor
Garth Howard
John Harmon
John Grant

Meet Kim (Lansing). Her life is a total mess. Her boyfriend Kevin (Stuart Taylor) just became her ex-boyfriend, dumping her for the school’s resident rich girl Annette (Tammy Taylor). Kim is a high school senior, but she’s either flunking or barely passing all of her classes and might not graduate. She lives with only her mom because her dad committed suicide. The two of them argue constantly. Her only friend, if you can call her that, is Lucy (Johnson). Lucy is sincere in her friendship but we get the feeling Kim only keeps the girl around because she has a car and a father who apparently doesn’t pay attention to his liquor cabinet. Luckily for us, Kim’s life is about to get a whole lot messier.

Let’s go back to our first meeting with Kim. If you don’t know you’re in for a slimeball of a movie within the first five minutes a box of rocks is too intellectual for you. Mom is calling Kim to get her lazy ass out of bed before she’s late for school. When Kim finally throws back the covers we see she’s naked. Am I missing something? How many, if any, teenagers living with their parents sleep in the nude? By the way, she’s 18 years old, but actress Jill Lansing looks closer to 30 than 20. Anyhoo, even after she puts on her robe she has to peel it back so she can stare at her boobs in the mirror. Meanwhile, Mom has breakfast ready for her little hell’s angel. What does Kim do when she gets to the table? Of course, she immediately lights up a cigarette. Mom complains. Argue, argue, fuss, fuss, cuss and off to school she goes. Trust me folks, this is barely the tip of the iceberg.

Later that night, Kim is hanging with Lucy at the local disco and gets all pissed because she sees Kevin and Annette. To ease her pain she makes Lucy leave so they can score some weed from Tony (Mann) and go raid Lucy’s dad’s liquor cabinet. That last part is a regular thing we’re told. By the way, Tony is important as you’ll learn in a few moments.

Before I go any further I have to apologize. I pride myself on not spoiling the movies I review. However, this trash is too good to keep to myself. Like a cheerleader with a quarterback on prom night, we’re goin’ all the way, baby! Go pop some popcorn, grab your beverage of choice and strap in for the long haul.

Back to our regularly scheduled program. At Lucy’s house and under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, Kim declares she’s about to turn her life around. Starting tomorrow she’s going to become a straight A student and she’s going to make plenty of money so Kevin will be jealous. If you can’t figure out how she plans on this, well, I’ve already mentioned where you stand in comparison to a box of rocks. Let’s just say this is where the real fun starts.

First thing in the morning Kim goes to see Tony, the weed man. I forgot to mention he’s also a pimp on the side. Or is he a pimp that sells weed on the side? Nevermind. Just know that he’s been after Kim for a while to work for him. She’s finally going to take him up on his job offer with one condition: she can’t work during school hours. You know how important school and stuff is to an aspiring prostitute. In case you couldn’t guess, Kim dons her ho gear for this momentous day. A girl’s gotta start working on those grades, ya know. What? You thought she was about to start studying? Rocks.

Kim’s first order of business is passing history. After class, her teacher Mr. Donaldson (Grant) asks her not to show up dressed like a whore again. Well, his exact words are “There were more eyes on you than on the blackboard!” She ignores that and tells him to meet her after school at High Point. She says it as plainly as if she were asking the time. I would say the girl needs to work on her seduction skills, but dammit it works! Easily sleazily, Mr. D makes his way to High Point that afternoon. By the way, High Point is a not really so secluded place near the beach. Immediately, the two start getting it on. Yes you horny li’l devil, we get our first sex scene. Unfortunately, it’s the furthest thing from sexy you could imagine. They awkwardly embrace and kiss while they roll around in the dirt, both topless. We notice that the camera is uncomfortably close. Porn does this to give us a point-blank look at the business end of the transaction. For better, or worse, you know what you’re looking at. Here, we get the camera mere centimeters from the middle of Mr. D’s very hairy back. I didn't know if I was watching two people have sex or a grizzly bear wrestling with a helpless camper. Guess what dear reader: almost all of the scenes of people doing the oochie-coochie play out this way. And just about all the guys have hairy backs.

Later that night, Kim makes her way over to Tony’s beat up VW van, a pure 70s mobile. He apparently lives and works in the damn thing. Somehow, she already knows that the going rate for working girls is 60% of the take and asks if this is what she’ll get. Wait, did she do some research on local hooker commission we weren't told about? Anyhoo, Tony gets all pimpish and tells her she’ll get 40% and like it. Hey, that’s better than what the girls got in The Mack. As Pretty Tony from that movie eloquently puts it “…my hoes, I keep ‘em broke. (If they) wake up with some money they subject to go crazy.” Hmmm…this explains so much about this movie, so let’s continue.

Before Tony can sell a product, he’s gotta test it first. Yup, more hairy back. Since Tony’s a benevolent pimp, he doesn't make his newest (only?) girl walk the streets. He brings the johns to her so she can turn tricks right in the back of the van. Not one to be content with just 40% we witness our girl cut side deals. Basically, after the pop you paid Tony for, she’ll let you pop a second time if you pay her directly and not mention it to you know who. Hilariously, she has to stress “CASH” like one of these degenerates is gonna write her a check. Well, we get more hairy back and shots of the van a rockin’ (don’t come a knockin’). We laugh and then comes the best/worst shot in all of cinematic history. It’s only a couple seconds long, but more than memorable. The last time we see the van rockin’ the camera pulls back to reveal a group of guys waiting in line like they’re at Starbucks. We’re talking at least a half dozen deep. Looks like our girl has got a busy night ahead.

Kim’s popularity explains how we shortly see her driving a shiny new sports car. It also brings her to the attention of Lance (Howard), a more upscale pimp. He strolls up on her while she’s catching up on some much needed Kim-time on the beach and offers her 60% with much nicer clientele and higher prices. Being a fair ho and all, she goes back to Tony and asks for a bigger cut. Well, let’s just say she starts working for Lance. Yes! She no longer has to bone random guys in the back of a dirty van. Now she gets to do them in a skuzzy hotel room! You know what this means, right? More hairy backs, only with brighter lights. Ewww. Seriously, are all the guys in Malibu (at least in 1979) half ape?

Warning: here comes a plot twist. Kim goes to meet one of her high-priced johns and is understandably startled when he digs in his bag of tricks and starts yanking out whips, chains and stuff made of leather. Comically, she has a look on her face that says “What kind of girl do you think I am?” Actually that look is supposed to be fear, but that’s not as funny. Anyway, S&M dude jumps all over her. Struggle, struggle, scream, scream, struggle then blam! Our girl manages to get the ice pick off the nightstand and stab him in his surprisingly hairless back. He drops dead. Kim freaks out and leaves. She tells Lance who tells her don’t worry about it. He’ll find some loser to take the wrap. Seriously. Still, that’s not quite the end of it. Lance’s light-bulb comes on when it becomes obvious Kim’s got a taste for murder. He tells her there’s more money in killing people than screwing them. He gets her a gun and has her first job all lined up. She acts all appalled and drops this gem on him: “I’m a hooker, not a hit girl!” Nonetheless, she accepts the mission. It helps that her first assignment is…wait for it…wait for it…to kill van-pimp Tony. After killing him and some other random dude Lance gets Kim a brand new luxury vehicle befitting a classy killer slut such as herself.

In between all this, Kim moves in with Lance, flips off her mom with both hands, starts snorting coke, stops by Lucy’s to show off the new ride, tells mom the reason dad killed himself is because he couldn't get it up anymore after years of looking at her lounge around in her moo-moos and keeps banging her teachers. Yeah, that Kim’s a nice girl. Mom and the box of rocks probably could have a conversation because she doesn't seem to notice her daughter’s moved out and barely presses Kim about the new cars, clothes, etc. Somewhere in there is a Kevin/Annette sex scene. Since his back isn't hairy, the camera is a little further away and reveals more of the not-so-hot action.

The school principal gets wind of Kim’s scheme to sleep her way to the honor roll and calls her to the office. While reading her the riot act he nearly goes into cardiac arrest. All is good when he pops a couple heart pills. He then tells Kim he’s coming to her house so he can personally tell her mom she’s being expelled. When he gets there, Kim is there all alone in her robe and she tells the old man mom has gone out for groceries but will be back shortly, so he can wait. She takes his coat. Let’s stop right there for a second. No one in this entire movie has had so much as a sweater on and this geezer is walking around with a full blown suit and overcoat! Well, as you might suspect, his pills are in his coat pocket. Kim sneaks them out, excuses herself and promptly flushes them down the toilet. She comes back to the living room where the principal is waiting and drops her robe. At this very moment we make a discovery we had given up on. We find out that Kim does indeed own a bra. Her boobs have been swinging free since the opening credits so I had my doubts. However, the bra doesn't stay on long and she starts giving the old dude a lap dance  He clutches his heart, looks for his pills and croaks. Forget about just graduating, this chick’s trying to be the valedictorian of skanks. Oh, you didn't know that was going to happen? Rocks.

Since killing the old dude is extremely low even for an assassin/ass-seller, none other than Lance is disturbed when he hears about this. Nonetheless, he’s got another job for her. Ahem…ahem…plot twist! She’s to kill her ex-bf’s new gf’s uber-rich dad. Got that? Revenge is sweet, ain't it? Apparently, the rich guy likes to party with hookers and has a special place he takes “all his girls” so no one should see Kim coming or going. Got that, too? Cool. Kim shows up, puts a bullet in the guy’s chest and starts to leave. Unbeknownst to her, Annette and a few friends, including Kevin have just pulled up out front so she can tell her old man something I couldn't be bothered to remember. Hold up. Hold up. Hold it. Annette’s dad is a special piece of work. If you put in the time, effort, and money to have “a special place” to entertain hookers why the hell does your daughter know about it? Hey, wait a sec…I knew this place looked familiar. This is the same house in which Annette had her little rendezvous with Kevin. You know what? I don’t even want to keep going down this road, so we’ll move on.

So Annette is on her way up to the house. Of course, she bumps into Kim who’s on her way out. Kim still has the gun in her hand so she shoots Annette. Kevin hears the shot even though I’m fairly certain she has a silencer on the gun. He runs over to see Kim, still with the gun in her hand. No silly, she doesn't shoot him. She runs past her car and takes off on foot down the beach. Pause. Let’s talk about music. A few times so far I’d thought I recognized some of the score. A little internet research reveals I was right. Some of it was later used for the best sketch comedy show of all time not named Saturday Night Live, SCTV. There was no research needed for what I heard next. Annette’s pals lead her into the back of their vehicle and take off for the hospital. Kevin decides to go after Kim. As he starts running, the theme from “The People’s Court” starts blaring from the speakers. I kid you not. And it’s the long, extended version. I am in bad movie heaven! We notice that the plaintiff, Kevin, is seriously haulin’ ass. The defendant, Kim, still has a huge lead though. While waiting for Judge Wapner to appear we realize Kim missed her true calling. The girl obviously could’ve been a track star because Kevin’s not gaining any ground. Suddenly, she remembers she has a gun, takes cover behind a random giant rock (?), draws her weapon and gives a Kev a stern warning. Since he’s the hard-headed sort who thinks he has an "S" on his chest he decides to approach anyway. Just as Kim is about to pump one into him a random team of cops gun her down from off-screen. Aren't they supposed to be at the house? How did they know… never mind. Kim’s lifeless body is lying face down in the sand. A wave rolls in over her and we get “THE END”.

Malibu High is an unforgettably terrible movie. The acting is horrible. However, lead Jill Lansing is giving it her all and we appreciate the effort. It’s a bit of a surprise she never showed up in another movie given her talent for sassing folks and willingness to take her top off. Her performance, as good/bad as it is, is the highlight of the movie. Still, it can only help so much because Kim is one of the least likable protagonists I can ever remember. The dialogue is often laughable, but not usually on purpose. Overall, it’s right up there with with the Pia Zadora travesty The Lonely Lady as one of the sleaziest movies I've ever watched. It’s so bad, its awesome!


  1. Great review of this movie, Dell. I love bad/ good movies,funny that I have never even heard of this until now. I was looking on YouTube for Malibu Express ( have always had a crush on Lynda Wiesmeier ) and I saw another movie titled Malibu High that I saved to watch later. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed in the least. After I watched it, I googled the title and found your review, boy did it make me laugh!

    1. Thank you for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the movie and the review. Malibu High is a special movie for all the right/wrong reasons.