In my opinion, 1980 was a weak one for movies. Raging Bull and Airplane! stick out, but looking at the top box office hits, nothing else really interests me. 9 to 5...the second Star Wars...Ordinary People. However, at sixty-first place on the box office list that year, there's a gem. A small piece of 80's filmmaking called The Hollywood Knights.
When I was in my teens, my dad sat my brother and I down to watch a movie that he'd finally procured on VHS. I didn't get all of the jokes at that time, but still had a blast (plus it has a ton of topless women, which I didn't complain about as a 13 year old). Watching it again, I realize that this is definitely one of those timeless comedies.
It's Halloween night, 1965, and the remnants of a dying 50's car club is hanging around Tubby's Drive-In. This will be the last night Tubby's is in business, and Newbomb Turk and his Hollywood Knights are going to make sure that it's a night that L.A. never forgets. The cops hate them. The city folk fear them. The ladies love them. The guys want to be them.
Most of the movie follows Newbomb Turk (played by Robert Wuhl), who seemingly teleports around the movie playing pranks on everyone. Whether he's 'spiking' the punch, farting songs at a pep rally, or tossing eggs at the clueless cops, he's always in the right place at the right time, and he always slips away unscathed. There's a few side stories, one that focuses on four new pledges trying to earn their way into the Knights, and another that features Tony Danza and Michelle Pfeiffer in their big screen debuts. Unfortunately the latter isn't very interesting and feels very tacked on.
This movie has one hell of a soundtrack. Various hits from the Beach Boys, the Four Seasons, the Mamas & the Papas...the list goes on. You'll probably never hear a soundtrack like this in a movie these days because of music rights. It's incredible.
Some people didn't like The Hollywood Knights because they felt that it was an inferior ripoff of American Graffiti. I think it's worth a watch. It's not easy to get ahold of, and is currently unavailable on streaming services, but if you want to take the leap, Amazon has copies for under $10. It's also available on Netflix if you still get discs.
"Lawrence...Lawrence of Arabia...he was an Englishman...he came to fight the Turrrrrrkish."
I love this movie, but there are many who don't. Here's a review from Amazon that gave The Hollywood Knights 1 star.
"I got a computer mouse instead of the movie in the mail. Very disappointed. The movie was suppose to be for my dad."
Well, at least he can play that copy of Minesweeper that he's always wanted to get into.