Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Juvenile Delinquents


It's Thursday and it's so hot I feel like shanking someone. That's fitting because this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is juvenile delinquents. I've known a lot of them, and narrowly avoided being one, so I think I've got a pretty decent handle on this topic. Let's start with the basic definition of juvenile delinquents: bad kid. Well, bad kids deserve bad movies. However, as an educator, I'm bound by law to say there's no such thing as a bad kid. All kids are awesome. Some have been dealt a bad hand and/or have made some bad decisions. Therefore, these movies are so bad, they're awesome!


Switchblade Sisters
(1975)
Maggie has just moved into the 'hood and gets hassled by The Dagger Debs, the local girl-gang. She quickly proves herself by laying a beat-down on several of them and not snitching when the cops show up, impressing Lace, the leader. We soon find out the Debs are really the female arm of the lame guy-gang, the Silver Daggers. All that's important here is that Maggie's boyfriend Dominic is the leader of the Silver Daggers and has a thing for Maggie. You can write the rest. I'll help. Start with a lengthy prison scene involving all the girls, complete with the prerequisite evil lesbian guards. Add a rival gang (guys and girls version, of course), and a Black militant group as allies against those gangs. Include lots of in-fighting between our two main debs. Also include Maggie's mom basically turning tricks to pay the rent. Just for good measure, have Kitty Bruce, the real-life daughter of legendary comedian Lenny Bruce, play a chubby Deb named Donut, and have her spend the entire movie getting body-shamed. Okay, you can leave that last part out, but the movie doesn't. It's the type of movie Quentin Tarantino loves. I mean that literally. He re-released it in 1996 and calls it one of his personal faves. Me? I just call it so bad it's awesome! (My quick and dirty review)


Malibu High
(1979)
We meet Kim during her senior year in high school. Instead of being busy deciding between colleges, she's trying to figure out how to keep from flunking out and how to get back at her ex-boyfriend. After a drunken, marijuana smoke filled night with her bestest buddy, it comes to her. To take care of the former, she's going to screw all of her teachers, all males, and make some money by going to work for the local pimp. For the latter, well, she gets to that eventually. Kim is one of the most delinquent juveniles ever committed to film. And a sleazy roll of film, it is. Trust me, what I've written here merely scratches the surface of her exploits. Without question, it's so bad, it's awesome! (My full review)



Reform School Girls
(1986)
After being involved in a shootout, Jenny is among a new group of girls arriving at the titular reform school and discovers the place is ruled with an iron thumb by fellow inmate Charlie and head-mistress Fat Edna, who may or may not be romantically involved. At first, Jenny is trying to survive. Eventually, she's helping to lead a full-on revolt. Just about every well-worn trope of Women in Prison movies gets its turn to shine. We're talking group shower scenes, lots of fight scenes, and of course, evil lesbian guards and administrators. Sure, that last trope is ridiculous and homophobic, but it's also far too silly to take seriously. All of it is performed to nth degree of campiness/crappiness by a roster full B-movie legends, including Sybil Danning, Wendy O. Williams, and Pat Ast. If you want a good movie, this ain't where to find it. If you're looking for something so bad it's awesome, look no further.



14 comments:

  1. I'm amazed that I haven't seen any of those films and I should kick myself for that. I heard about how cool Switchblade Sisters was and I do want to see Reform School Girls as I have a fondness for Wendy O. Williams who was definitely ahead of her time. If she was alive right now, she'd scare the shit out of every young pop singer out there. She was nuts and I loved her for it.

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    1. You'll have a blast with these. Hope you see them soon.

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  2. Well that's quite a collection Dell! I've only seen Malibu High which is really a salacious sideshow. I have seen the 50's version of Reform School Girl, though its probably a different story with a similar title and much tamer.

    I decided to do a throwback to bygone days when the juvie pix turned out with lurid titles are now riotously dated though I included my last which is a thoughtful look at the issue for balance.

    Youth Runs Wild (1944)-While Mom and Dad are busy at the production plants making the tools to win WWII the kids are home and being neglected and the first thing you know “Youth Runs Wild!!!!” Horror meister Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie) produced, though disavowed this studio reworked version, this mild teen rebellion film where the biggest sins are tire swiping and other minor infractions until a rather violent conclusion. Still somewhat surprising to see this type of film in the 40’s where young people were almost always presented as sweet, compliant angels.

    High School Hellcats (1958)-Joyce (Yvonne Lime) is the new girl in school and on her first day she is confronted by Connie (Jana Lund) the leader of the Hellcat gang. Connie tells her she can join the gang or be ostracized and we’re off on a round of shoplifting, kissing parties and murder! Starts off as a mild little cautionary tale but considering there’s a body count it goes on a wilder ride than expected. The kind of film to be found at the local drive-in in the 50’s.

    Look in Any Window (1961)-Teen idol Paul Anka plays “The Masked Prowler” a teen Peeping Tom who scales the fences of town residents wearing a frightening mask while his parents and their neighbors drink and carouse amongst themselves ignoring their children. Sensationalist with mostly over the top performances (though Ruth Roman is good as Anka’s mother) but Anka’s compulsion to voyeurism feels disturbingly prescient of an incipient serial killer or rapist.

    The Young Stranger (1957)-Rebellious well to do teenager Hal (James MacArthur), a decent boy at heart, is arrested for punching a theatre manager at a movie theater which he truthfully claims was self-defense. The problems begin when Hal’s father (James Daly), an inattentive parent at best, doesn’t believe him leading to an even further estrangement and Hal acting out. Tom’s mother (Kim Hunter) tries to forge some sort of understanding between them before their hostility leads to worse issues. John Frankenheimer’s (The Manchurian Candidate) first theatrical film is an even handed account of the isolation and antipathy that often leads to juvenile delinquency.

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    1. "A Salacious Sideshow" is a great description of Malibu High.

      Haven't seen any of your picks, though I am aware of Youth Runs Wild and High School Hellcats. Look in Any Window sounds like a prequel to Peeping Tom, or at least heavily inspired by it since it came out a year later. The Young Stranger sounds intriguing.

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  3. I haven't seen nor heard of any of your picks this week.

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  4. I remember seeing you write something about Malibu High before, but other than that I haven't heard of any of these. But I do love me some so-bad-it's-good B-movie trash!

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    1. Please see Malibu High. It is pure, unadulterated, unabashed trash.

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  5. Love the hair on the Reform School Girls!

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  6. HOLY SHIT I need to see all of these immediately. I don't even know where to start I'm so excited. Just kidding.

    MALIBU HIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

    Oh, and I died at the mention of 'the Debs'. Funny shit, right there.

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    1. Please, please, PLEASE start with Malibu High. It's on YouTube...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqArLqZ5TQA

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  7. I haven’t seen Thirteen in ages but I think that fits.

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