Film Club: Porky’s
For this months edition of Film Club, new member Eric from the IPC was forced into picking our film for July. Keeping to type, Eric chose something trashy and full of debauchery, Porky’s. Below are his reasons for picking Porky’s followed by everyone’s thoughts on the cult comedy.
I’ve been reading these group posts for a while now and when Kieron asked me to join the club, it came with a debt – I had to choose the movie for this month. I went and looked at all of the older films they’ve talked about and thought I might lighten it up a bit, but I was very nervous being the new guy and choosing something not…. “prolific” so to speak…. I mean, most of what I write about at my place is not prolific whatsoever and it’s mostly crap movies and even crappier writing.
So…. having received my Film Club MasterCard Black and my keys to the stately clubhouse, I took a nude dip in the spa, drank several glasses of French brandy, smoked imported cigarettes and soaked for hours while I picked a film. About two hours in it finally dawned on me. These ladies and gentlemen had been picking classics so why not a classic from my era? And what better than the American teen sex classic called Porky’s?
When I was growing up and came of the age to start liking girls, the videotape of Porky’s was the prize possession among my group of one friend and I. We would wait till the parents went to bed and watch it over and over all night. God, I’m old. I can barely stay up till ten any longer… oh well. Do we want to talk about the movie or me? Probably the movie, let’s see.
The main focus of Porky’s is to try and get this high schooler named Pee Wee laid. Along the way we experience American high school life (as portrayed by actors way too old to be in high school) through hi-jinks, incredibly short shorts, a ball busting P.E. teacher named Balbricker and various other things like sticking your weenie through a hole in the wall and peeping on showering high school girls. Oh – and also dealing with that cigar smoking, fat tub of shit down in the Everglades – Porky himself!
If you were thinking about looking into this, here’s what to expect: boobs, butts, dongs, frontal nudity, raw eggs, rubbers, old cars, peepholes, a penis police line-up and various other sexual matters. For real, that penis line-up thing had me cracking up out loud. This is a good one!
What About the Twinkie?:
Porky’s, much like its modern equivalent American Pie, is a film full of charm, affable characters and some mighty gags. The likeable leads, ably backed up by a solid supporting cast, are a mixture of different high school types, and their friendship is the most believable aspect of Porky’s. As in American Pie and The Inbetweeners, Porky’s relies heavily on these characters to provide the most interesting parts of the film. The jock, the geek, the nerd, the Jew and the bully are all present and correct and are represented in a way that makes them all highly enjoyable to watch.
The banter between the leads is complimented by a selection of jokes and set pieces that look risky on today’s eyes, but strike a real chord with the rebellious nature of the film. The plot merely exists at a basic level, and allows the cast to move from one gag to the next, and is really a small tale of boyhood revenge against a bar owner who denied them the chance to lose their virginity in his popular bar. As our heroes make any and every attempt to lose their cherry, various other storylines are thrown in for good measure, but even the more interesting ones are not quite as developed as one would like.
Of particular note is the sub-plot concerning the school bully, the Jewish friend and the bullies abusive father. It adds a sense of sensitivity to Porky’s, and is an element that may be found lacking in more modern comedies, and given the setting, lends the film an authentic edge. Whether Porky’s works as well on modern audiences is a matter to be decided by the other Film Club members, but to anyone else Porky’s is surely a classic rite of passage that helped form many teenagers formative years.
When most people think about films where the main storyline is a focus around a gang of high school students trying to lose their virginity I’d imagine American Pie would spring to mind. To be honest in my naivety I thought that it was the first of its genre. However a whole seventeen years previous came Porky’s, which after seeing I would cite as the original American Pie.
The film is full of antics that bring a grin to your face and often may surprise you in just how far they go. There are a couple of standout scenes of comedy where you are pretty much guaranteed a good laugh and all the other scenes are amusing enough to help you have a good time. The gang of lads that Porky’s follows were easily likeable and they took you back to your own school days and no doubt in your own head you begin to assign roles to real life people from your school days. The characters are funny and seem accurate enough for this age group of young hormonal males, you can quickly get behind the boys and you are routeing for them just as much as they are for each other.
Whilst the film is pretty much all comedy Porky’s does manage a few moments of deeper character development and sees some more serious storylines explored. This offered a nice contrast to the film and it only helped with the likeability of the entire gang. These moments are handled well as they never linger too long as to make Porky’s more of a drama but instead they enhance the films characters meaning you are ready to laugh harder with them when the next gag comes. Porky’s is comedy through and through and rightly so the gags take centre stage and this is what the film should be remembered for. As well I liked how the film didn’t explore the usual high school movie formula, whilst the film does feature sports and the prom etc these are never the focus that the whole film is working towards which is too often the case.
The film doesn’t really have much of a storyline, in reality it’s just a collection of pranks and sex antics, thankfully Porky’s embraces itself though, never trying to be anything else. The runtime never drags and it is balanced well. Like a much raunchier version of Grease, Porky’s is a fun frolic through this gang’s high school days and what they think is their path to manhood. Easily enjoyable, harmless fun and I’d say a perfect movie for a lad’s night in!
When I heard that Eric was picking the movie for this month, I got a bit scared because I know what kind of movies he usually watches. I sighed a breath of relief when he chose an actual favourite movie of my youth instead of some obscure horror/thriller that even he would have trouble sitting through.
Porky’s is one of two movies that remind me of my pre-pubescent childhood and having the urge to watch even at a very relatively young age (I was 8 when it came out, but I’m sure I had seen it by the time I was ten).
Re-watching it now, more than 30 years later which a different outlook on teens and sex comedies, I still can appreciate the raunchiness of the movie and laugh at how teenagers look at things like this. Most of the movie came back to me in flashes as it went on and it really brought back some great memories.
The question remains though, is this a good movie? and the truth is, I would have to say that this is one of the best teen comedies to come out and it paved the way for many of the teen comedies to follow.
This came out in ’82 when there weren’t a lot of films within this genre popping up all of the time, so who knows what would have happened had this movie never been made; perhaps we would never have gotten American Pie (1999) or Revenge of the Nerds (1984) or even the entire slate of Judd Apatow’s movies. I found myself laughing a lot while re-watching this because in truth it doesn’t matter how old one is, you can laugh at jokes even if they are crude as long as they are still funny. The most iconic scenes are really funny and we now know why Kim Cattrall has had such a great career after her debut here.
Thanks Eric for reminding me of how much fun this movie can be to watch and thanks to Kieron for letting us all give our thoughts on this movie.
I have never seen this; it’s occurred to me before to check it out and never did. When it was picked for Film Club, I figured I might as well check it out now, the time had finally come. Hell, even got my hands on all three of them. I have heard so many references to these films I thought it was time to finally understand it all. Porky’s opens with a boner, I knew we were in for such wonderful things (please note that was heavy sarcasm). I was disgusted that all these losers would want to bang one hooker (all in line for this, while we are at it), because that is beyond nasty.
This movie was so offensive and vulgar. I fucking hated it. Each and every second of it. It was shot terribly, the acting was horrendous, that script was ludicrous and unpleasant, and the movie was racist (plus the whole Jew-hating thing didn’t really jibe with anything else in the story). I cannot tell you how much I hated this. It took me six sittings over three days to get through it, and that is only because I am so OCD I can’t just let it go. There is no structure to it, the pacing is all over the show and the movie is uneven. There isn’t a single likable character, which just makes this an even more excruciating ordeal.
The people are the biggest bunch of losers and none of the events flow properly. They are all just jammed in there with crappy toilet humour to boot (my absolute favourite kind). The people were such stupid stereotypes, and not even done in the smart way where the movie is trying to make a satirical point. As if I wasn’t having enough fun, some dweeb stuck his dick through a hole in the wall into the girls’ shower room and then had some teacher stalking him to check out the mole on his goods. I mean really, you can’t top that kind of class. The professionalism in that school is just truly something to strive for, too, while we are at it.
I truly think the best part of this movie was that racist kid standing up to his extremely abusive prick of a father and getting over his racial tendencies and befriending the Jewish kid he “hated” – even though none of this fits in with the movie at the end of it all. Ugh. I wish I could adequately describe how much I despised this movie – it was tacky and low class, unpleasant, imprudent and embarrassing. There is no ways in hell that I am going to be watching another one of these dreadful films.
I’ve always thought that one of the most difficult tasks for a movie lover is appreciating comedies from decades past. It’s hard enough for modern day comedies to connect to an audience and pull out laughs. So when I watch movies like Airplane! and Blazing Saddles the best I can usually do is understand why people like them, even if I’m not laughing with them. And I’ll admit that while I get why people like Porky’s, it wasn’t for me.
Maybe my expectations were off. IMDB’s synopsis claims the movie is about a “group of Florida high schoolers [who seek] to help a buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them.” But the quest for Pee Wee to lose his virginity and the revenge against Porky are just two of the many plotlines. There’s also an arc about an abusive father, another about the response to a new Jewish student at school, one about a gym coach trying to figure out a nickname, and more about a no-nonsense teacher. The breadth of the storylines and rotating arcs helps fill the story with more jokes and lets the film feel more like a snapshot of a few days (or weeks? months? I never really knew the timeframe) in the lives of students at a school. This compares more with American Pie and other “schoolhouse comedies” than those dealing with a smaller set of characters dealing with one problem or situation. I admit I enjoy those latter comedies more, like Juno or 40 Year Old Virgin, even though these all deal with somewhat similar concepts (well, Juno deals with the aftermath of the Pee-Wee quest more than the others).
Ok, I admit it. Maybe I’m just trying to find weightier excuses to explain why I didn’t like Porky’s. Who was the good guy here? Miss Balbricker was the only one trying to do “the right thing” but she’s the object of jokes and not someone we are meant to like. Pee Wee is lovable but just as creepy. I couldn’t root for anyone and didn’t want them to succeed by the end. Oh and the end is crazy. Pee Wee finally realizes his dream while on a bus with a very uncomfortable girl who lost a bet. Meanwhile everyone waits outside while a deranged teacher attacks a high school boy so she can see his penis. The only arc I enjoyed was the redemption of one prejudiced character dealing with an abusive relationship. But that’s something more fit for a drama than a comedy about kids trying to “get laid.”
What does interest me is that the film was made in the early 1980’s but set in the 1950’s. Were the filmmakers trying to make some statement about sexism, racism, and behaviours of the past? I doubt it. If anything, the setting serves as an excuse for the characters. “Remember how crazy people were in the 50’s?” But the film earned over $100 million in 1982 and the humour was tailored to (and loved) by people of that day. And for me watching in 2015, I couldn’t get on board.
Porky’s is a little hard to keep up with. Not in the sense that it has a confusing plot or requires on a sense of humour of a higher form; no, in fact, Porky’s is the complete opposite, proud to serve up a helping of gross-out teen humour with punch lines involving glory holes and clueless waitress asking if anyone has seen Mike Hunt at the top of their voice, when prompted on the phone. The reason that it is hard to keep up with is because it has little focus. The characters look very similar for the first half hour of the movie, all tall, handsome white people, most of them with black hair, the only one really sticking in the memory is Dan Monahan’s ‘bursting with horniness’ Pee-Wee. The main thread of plot is the gang heading to a bar called Porky’s, where they are ridiculed by the owner and ending up wanting to take some kind of revenge against him.
However, even this plot-line is mostly abandoned for some antics in the school, sometimes involving a school coach and a girl called Lassie, who are separated from the main cast. Porky’s is annoyingly hard to settle down and enjoy, because it has too many ideas, arguably none of which they properly sit down and discuss. The school bully is surprisingly complex, bullying the local Jew because his dead-beat father abuses him for being in the same friend group as said minority. One of the coaches majorly dislikes Tommy more than the other students for a reason that isn’t properly explained. I couldn’t help but crave a more focused movie than this one.
But who cares, because it is funny. As in really funny. At first, viewers of my age might see this as an American Pie for an older generation, only without the nuanced characters and heart-warming finish. However, when it comes to the funny side of things, Porky’s grows on you. The good thing about a lack of structure is that it does rely on the actors riffing off of each other, which they are very competent at doing. You might not be able to tell the characters apart for the first half hour of the movie, but when you do, then end up growing on you. They have a casual charisma that is easy to settle back and enjoy. It is just a shame, they weren’t given a more focused story to really work with.
I would have never watched Porky’s if it wasn’t for Film Club, and that’s exactly the reason why I love being a part of it. Here’s a movie, set in the 1950’s, about a bunch of horny teens looking to help their inadequate friend, Pee Wee (so called after his…), get laid.
Porky’s gave me the impression of being just another teen movie with a bunch of horn-dog kids looking to get some. They plan a trip to a local brothel where they get where they can pay a prostitute and get rid of their virginity. Roughly treated by the sleazy owner, Porky, and his asshole sheriff brother, the boys plan their revenge.
I’m sorry to say that Porky’s didn’t do it for me one bit. I know it’s a cult movie which evolved into a sequel and was even an inspiration for many writers in the teen film genre (I did a little research), but totally, completely, utterly not my style. As I said, I got a different impression of this film. As I kept watching it turned out to be unexpectedly melodramatic and inconsistent. It’s almost as if director Bob Clark was undecided on the plot. Surly, teen flicks and drama come together, but when lacking flare and style, it might not do the job appropriately. They can be very well mixed when accurately executed, e.g. John Hughes, but in Porky’s the melodrama and scenes sequence were completely out of context for me.
This movie’s all about SEX, SEX and some more SEX, and that’s awesome. Some parts were freaking’ hilarious and there comes this melodrama again, ruining the comic continuance and leaving me with a “what??” look on my face. I was even a little bored with it at some point and convinced myself to watch it all the way through. I tried to like it, I really did. And it seems I’m not the only one out there disliking it after reading Rotten Tomatoes mixed reviews. The thing about Porky’s is that it fully support male bonding, but rather on the account of demeaning women. On one hand, horny-ish behavior is natural for curious boys; peeping in the showers, wanting to get laid, making fun of each other, comparing sizes and competence (Pee-wee vs. Meat), etc. On the other hand, women are portrayed as weird creatures from another planet and praised or put down by their physique alone… ahem… the howling foxy teacher “Lassie” (played by the foxy Kim Cattrall)… the ball-busting gym teacher… tits & ass, tits & ass, tits & ass.
The thing is I’m totally up for a good comedy and I don’t mind a little chauvinism either, but Porky’s was completely tasteless in that aspect. Annoying rather than entertaining, not to mention rude and inconsistent.
Porky’s came out in 1982, the year I was born, and 17 years before American Pie. For today’s generation the American Pie series is the go-to raunchy movie about the trials and tribulations about high school and losing one’s virginity. Porky’s meanwhile was our parent’s generational raunchy high school comedy about sex.
Set about 30 years (1954) before the actual movie release, Porky’s takes a look at life in Angel Beach Florida where a group of basketball players try to help their best friend Pee Wee (Dan Monahan) get laid for the first time. Despite their best efforts, which include a hiring prostitute and setting him up with the school’s biggest flirt Wendy (Kaki Hunter), he continues to disappoint despite always being “ready”. In between their games the boys – Billy, Tommy, Mickey, Tim, and Meat run around the school terrorizing the girls in the showers, hallways, and the local diner. They will stop at nothing to get a good laugh which includes making fun of the local gym teacher, Ms. Balbricker (Nancy Parsons). The story really picks up steam when the boys from Angel Beach run into a mean and overweight night club owner, named Porky (Chuck Mitchell). He is a tough as nails red neck who runs a dirty club and walks around with a bunch of henchmen carrying shotguns. When the boys get played and lose all their money, they vow revenge on Porky which leads to an epic finale that is full of laughs, destruction, and payback.
It is safe to say that Porky’s will not be for everyone. There may even be some people in Film Club that didn’t like this movie, but this is a cult classic. The Porky’s franchise released two other films, Porky’s II, and Porky’s Revenge which failed to ever live up to the original. No matter how raunchy today’s movies get, nothing will ever compare Porky’s. Whether it was the girl’s shower scene, the howling gym scene, or any other sexual joke the boys could come up with in 94 minutes, this film really stood out in a generation where movie writing was about to take off. I can’t sit here and tell you all the best parts because I don’t want to ruin anything. If you have already seen this movie then you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you have never seen Porky’s and need a good laugh, I’d highly recommend you try to rent it because it will be well worth the money.
Film Club rating: 5.5/10
General Consensus: What a pick by Film Club first timer Eric. Porky’s is the definition of a love it or hate it film, and has without doubt split reviewers opinions down the middle. A cult classic to some and an offensive portrayal of teen humour to others.