Last American Virgin, The (UK - BD RB)
And I'm gonna keep on lovin' you, 'Cause it's the only thing I wanna do...
Gary (Lawrence Monoson), a high school student / pizza delivery boy and his friends Rick - the pretty one (Steve Antin) and David - the fat one (Joe Rubbo) just want to have fun, and ideally with girls. Getting with the females wherever and seemingly however they can, Gary is struggling to get as lucky as his friends but when he meets Karen (Diane Franklin) he intends to change all that. That is until Karen meets Rick and Gary misses his chance... but he's not going to give up on love so easily.
The Last American Virgin is a movie very much informed by things like Porkys and American Graffiti. The style is fairly loose like Graffiti, following the teens around their town as they try to get lucky, all with a pop music backdrop but the through line love triangle is stitched together with a series of embarrassing set pieces (ala Porkys) involving one or all of the three teen friends.
There’s a real sense that this cult comedy from 1982 (which is actually a remake of Israeli film Eskimo Limon from 1978) is very much the sort of thing that informed the rebirth of teen comedies that American Pie kicked opened the doors for at the end of nineties. So many of the set pieces here would fit snugly in the realms of the core American Pie films, whether it’s getting with girls awkwardly just before someone's parents walk in, hanging out with loser friends pining about sex or measuring your entire gym class's erect penises for chuckles... okay maybe that one wouldn't be the easiest fit in a modern franchise (hell it barely even feels right in this flick).
The Last American Virgin is a fairly sweethearted film, despite its themes of desperation, heartbreak, abortions and betrayal. Sure the acting isn't all that great and the gags and embarrassing teen events don’t always feel all that slickly handled but somehow that doesn't matter all that much and actually generates enough charm to carry the film. Director Boaz Davidson isn't scared to be heartbreaking and not let the good guy win and even if these sort of teen chuckles have been handled better elsewhere it’s The Last American Virgin’s fearless and honest approach to its subject matter that makes it that bit more memorable that other films in the genre.
There’s no escaping the 80s looks here with the slightly paler than expected colours and the much more natural look than what modern teen dramas offer up but even with that said this is a good looking presentation. There’s a thin layer of grain, edges are sharper than expected and the 80s fashions and sets come with bright pinks, yellows and neon blues. Textures on costumes look pretty good and blemishes and skin textures look very natural even behind the heavy make-up on some of the character's faces.
Darker scenes get a little heavier on the grain and a few of the black elements are closer to dark blue at times but colours still manage to hold up, even if the edges lose their sharpness and the grubbiness can sometimes sneak in to lesser lit areas. The only minor quibble I noticed was the odd speckle of dirt but it was a rare occurrence and this generally solid HD overhaul of a cult 80s teen comedy has way more pluses than minuses.
The dialogue is a little thin sounding but it’s clear enough. It’s more the musical numbers that bring the track to life with a great sounding stereo mix. It’s not always used boombastically and is largely there to provide a consistent backdrop to scenes but it’s really the musical elements keeping the largely quiet mix, in regards to ambience feeling a bit more energetic.
The odd song really packs a punch but whether the main focus or simply a backing track these tunes are all a good slice of 80s new wave, alternative fun with the odd power ballad to lift those spirits. You’ll definitely come away humming a few 80s gems (probably the ones that are repeated a few times) and while this isn't a mix that holds you in its grasp throughout it’s certainly one that knows its highlights and they’re used accordingly.
The interview with director Boaz Davidson (36:06 HD) talks about how important the movie is to him and his experiences when making it. He also goes into his love of film, his career and his foreign sensibilities coming into American culture. There is of course a whole lot of time dedicated to the remake and its journey from the original film and in all this is a fairly complete historical look at the film.
The chat with lead actor Lawrence Monoson (26:07 HD) is very positive and he obviously has a lot of affection for the film still. He talks about his career before and after the film and some of the key scenes in the film and some of the challenges he faced.
The segment with Diane Franklin (20:59 HD) discusses how she landed the key female role and her hopes for it and moving on to Adam Greenberg (21:10 HD) the cinematographer we get more about the approach to the film, as well as a little bit on his own epic career. Last up is the trailer (01:55).
The Last American Virgin isn't a film I was really aware of existing but upon viewing it I can see a whole ton of modern filmmakers must have been because it is very much echoed through a lot of modern teen comedies. I guess at the time the film was probably considered wild but time has reduced its impact a fair bit even if the crazy teen scenarios still come with the required levels of winces and constant sense that this is going to end badly. Arrow supply another great disc that you’ll walk away from knowing more about the film than you did when you began and the A/V is pretty great too, despite the film’s age holding it back a little.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 16th September 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Interviews, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Boaz Davidson
Cast: Lawrence Monoson, Diane Franklin, Steve Antin
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 93 minutes
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