Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

It's a John Cleese reference.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

VHS Vednesday: My Tutor

MY TUTOR (1983). Directed by George Bowers. Starring Matt Lattanzi, Caren Kaye, and Crispin Glover.

Given the last couple of days' posts, I might as well make a theme of it and declare this Crispin Glover week...and so, today I'm taking a look at Crispin's film debut (following a couple of made-for-TV movies).
My Tutor is a typical example of the '80s-teen-sex-comedy genre, with all that that implies. The simple premise: At the end of senior year, 18-year-old Bobby Chrystal (Matt Lattanzi) learns that he has flunked French, and will need to retake the exam in order to graduate. His overbearing wealthy father (Kevin McCarthy), seeing his dreams of his son carrying on the Yale tradition about to be dashed, hires the best tutor available--gorgeous, 29-year-old blonde Terry Green (Caren Kaye). Predictably, the teacher-student relationship eventually goes into wholly inappropriate territory, while the movie looks on and says "Way to go, Bobby!"
The B-plot concerns Bobby's nebbishy, virginal best friend Jack (Crispin Glover) and Jack's more worldly brother Billy (Clark Brandon), as Billy makes repeated failed attempts to introduce Jack and Bobby to the joys of shallow, casual, woman-objectifyin' sex. One such effort involves a trip to a brothel, where Billy has arranged "the full treatment" for Jack--unfortunately, Billy is unaware of the difference between a prostitute and a dominatrix, and we wind up with a scene of half-naked Crispin Glover in bondage (Hello, Googlers!). These scenes are made tolerable--well, less intolerable--by Glover's unique presence; his combination of nervousness and naive, boastful bravado serve as a warm-up for his subsequent characterization in Back to the Future. (Okay, I'm being over-generous, but the fact remains that Glover's performance makes the movie more watchable than it would be otherwise.)
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Apart from being a semi-embarrassing debut for Crispin Glover, My Tutor is one of Kevin McCarthy's less-proud moments, although he does play the bull-headed patriarch to a T. Familiar character actress Arlene Golonka is saddled with an even more poorly-defined character as Bobby's flighty mother. A number of familiar B-movie starlets fill the screen with the requisite gratuitous nudity, including future author Jewel Shepard (Invasion of the B-Girls), and future filmmaker Katt Shea (director of Poison Ivy and The Rage: Carrie 2) wonder they branched out and went behind the scenes!

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