Second Union

Second Union

VINTAGE SUMMER: Goin’ All the Way (1982)

“Do you think my boobs are getting bigger?”

Goin’ All the Way, 1982 (Gina Calabrese*) Saturn International Pictures/PolyGram

Goin’ All the Way is a different kind of teen sex comedy. Going through the list, we’ve seen innocuous titles with respectably diverse subject matter. The majority of the movies are filmed, with stories told, from the perspective of the “male gaze.” There are the requisite lingering shots of babes in bikinis, pointless subplots, and dialogue between males that points to the collective desire to “score.” The very thin demographic of young men (and some women) legally of age to watch “R”-rated movies, but not so old as to think any of this stuff is childish, is roughly 17-25. Sometimes we get the “female perspective,” as in the case of Where the Boys Are and Private School, but then we come to Goin’ All the Way, which I have to suspect borders on pornography or adult film content.

The movie’s editing suggests certain scenes of graphic sexuality were edited out to give the film an “R” rating. Or perhaps it was a case of a too-tame adult movie that could be sold as a teen sex comedy (with strategic cuts) in that burgeoning market. In 1982, we were still living in a time when cinema could give you something you wouldn’t ordinarily see on television (i.e. swearing, graphic violence, and nudity) so kids (and adults alike) flocked to movie theaters and paid good money to see what the boob tube denied them. It was a much different time. It wasn’t this new age of Puritanism that closely monitors subject matter, censors, and in some cases, bans entertainment that goes against the grain of the current socio-political trends, and where a belief is viewed as an infringement. I’m sorry. This is turning into a speech.

This isn’t a justification of Goin’ All the Way, just a harmless observation. The movie is pure smut, but it’s artistic (to a degree) smut. We have two friends. One is sexually active with his girlfriend, to the point of fretting over her cycle. The other friend has a girlfriend that refuses to “go all the way” with him. I smell a sitcom! This is your typical high school where all the students look well over the age of 30, but kids looked a lot older back then. The girls laugh at stupid jokes and the boys obsess over Bo Derek and Loni Anderson. As with most of these movies, the emphasis is on the typical high school ambience until the camera pushes in for close-ups of breasts and backsides. The key to any good teen sex comedy is aerobics, and there’s plenty of aerobics in Goin’ All the Way.

There are also the boys who like to watch the girls working out. Only in California would you have a high school with a required Aerobics class. I wonder if you get P.E. credits for it. Next, we have naked showering girls quizzing each other on their sexual proclivities. Also a fat jock is a popular kid. What? It strikes me only now (after how many of these movies?) that there is a formula to all of this. With Goin’ All the Way, there’s no blessed structure. I guess word gets around in Los Angeles, so one of the mannish weight-lifting girls offers up her services to the inexperienced friend, but ultimately this is a ruse to get her girlfriends to come out (as it were) and embarrass him sexually. Stealing a cue from Porky’s, sexual embarrassment becomes another component in the teen sex comedy formula. As I’ve said, ambience is key. It’s almost as if Robert Altman directed this movie. Instead of a mobile surgical hospital in Korea, it’s a high school in Whittier, California. The only difference is I don’t care about these characters.

So the girl who doesn’t want to put out breaks up with her boyfriend because she doesn’t want to be treated like a whore. This must be a strange conundrum for young women. If you’ve seen a few Martin Scorsese movies, you’d know men tend to divide women into two categories. I think the boys are under much more pressure. It’s as if we’ve been handed two curses at cross-purposes. Our bodies develop and our minds wander just as we enter into awkward adolescence. I’m speaking to the guys out there. We have the tools, but we don’t have the talent, and we certainly can’t make anything work. Add “peer pressure” to the mix, and you’ve got a horrible stew. My big problem is that I can’t relate to these characters. They’re way too old to be taken seriously in any high school social mixer, and the whole point of this movie is to get the girls to take off their tops.

The “experienced” friend scores a date with two hotties. The nice friend just wants to sit and talk with a girl offering herself to him, but his bad horny friend utilizes little effort and he manages to “score” every time. This strategy backfires when it is revealed that the two girls are guys! Score another point for sexual embarrassment! It goes on like this. Next, we’re treated to mud wrestling! The guys (having escaped from the transsexuals) make their way to a dive bar with the aforementioned mud wrestling. They wind up in the “ring” and go at it with the girls, which sounds great but I feel like the director was asleep while they were shooting. The film is so dreary and unremarkable, even the “clever” narrative beats are lost in the mélange. When the popular girlfriend of a rude fat jock calls him up and asks him to come over right away, he bicycles quickly to her house all the while dreaming up little fantasies of what he’ll expect when he arrives. If only the rest of the movie were this interesting!

*Only because she’s one of the few people in the cast to have additional IMDb credits.

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