Film: Just One of the Guys (PG-13)
Directed by: Lisa Gotlieb
Written by: Dennis Feldman and Jeff Franklin
Starring: Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith
Clayton Bohner as Rick Moorehouse
Billy Jacoby as Buddy Griffith
William Zabka as Greg Tolan
Stu Charno as “Reptile” Sherpico
(Ed. note: We want to welcome E Dagger to his first podcast with us and encourage listeners to swing by his site to some wonderfully eclectic diversions. Dagger fits in well with the Natsukashi family and we look forward to hearing more from this fella.)
By E Dagger from CruJonesSociety
I remember happening upon Just One of the Guys for the first time when I was about 13. I had joined the movie somewhere in the middle and it was a scene in Buddy’s room. If you remember this movie well, you’ll recall that Buddy had covered his walls in Playboy centerfolds. Well, being 13, lousy with hormones, and hungry for nudity wherever I could get it, I stuck with the movie all the way to the end. I empathized with Buddy trying desperately to get laid (although at that point in my life, all I wanted was some heavy petting), and picked up the plot fairly quickly. It’s an 80s movie, so it’s not like trying to decode James Joyce mid-novel, and surprisingly (or perhaps not), I loved the hell out of it.
Zabka was there playing a slightly less evil of Johnny from The Karate Kid, and the rest of the cast was just sort of effortlessly charming and fun to watch. Since this was the early 90s, and I was watching it on HBO, I was able to catch it somewhere between 10 and 500 times over the next couple months as it rapidly became one of my favorites.
New memories: It now sits proudly on my DVD shelf, and I think it holds up reasonably well. Sure, it’s aged in the same way all 80s movies have – hilarious fashion choices, parents mysteriously out of town to remove any unnecessary plot contrivances, culmination of the story at a prom, clearly delineated character archetypes (e.g. nerds claiming to be from space with tape on their glasses), Zabka – but it’s sort of a timeless story. And why shouldn’t it be? At its most base, Just One of the Guys is a modern allusion to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and if I recall correctly, was recently rebooted with Amanda Bynes.
Three things stand out for me watching it today:
1) The climax where Terry reveals to Rick that she’s a girl by flashing him and his indignant reaction, “Where do you get off having tits?” is probably one of the all-time top five 80s movie moments, and definitely the all-time best boob scene in movie history. It’s surprising, reveals the spectacular gifts of Joyce Hyser, and serves as a major plot point. All movie nudity should aspire to this level of greatness.
2) Billy Jayne’s over-the-top horndog antics are at once charming, cornball, mildly morally reprehensible given the culture of AIDS arising in the 80s, basically harmless, and altogether entertaining as hell to watch. He chews the scenery in this movie, and chews it with gusto. He’s one of this movie’s purest pleasures.
3) This was the biggest thing I was struck by watching the movie in 2009: Terry goes through all the trouble of cutting her hair, wearing drag, changing schools, alienating her boyfriend, and turning her life upside down for the sake of an opportunity to write for a newspaper. Think about that. As we redefine traditional media as we know it every day and newspapers close all across the country, 25 years ago Terry would do anything to write for The Sun Sentinel. For those who mourn the death of newspapers in this country, this movie is romantic in its portrayal of the inherent nobility of journalism. And in that way, it serves as sort of a sweet elegy to a time past. And the fact that Just One of the Guys achieves that level of poetic nostalgia completely unintentionally makes it a fascinating cultural time capsule.
Plus, y’know, it’s got tits.
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Our featured guest: Stu Charno
A veteran of more than 25 years of film and theater, more than three decades in music (Charno’s jazz pianist stylings can be heard on this Natsukashi podcast), woodworking, poetry,martial arts…there’s much in the orbit of Charno’s universe, or Stuniverse, if you will. Charno is officially retired from acting, but is hardly idle. He’s currently hard at work on Brainwax, his second CD (you can hear a sample of his song on this episode).
Film fans will most likely remember Charno for roles in Friday the 13th Part 2, Christine, Once Bitten and Sleepwalkers, or TV viewers will recall his roles in M*A*S*H, Newhart or The X-Files.
But tonight we are here to celebrate him as “Reptile,” that lizard-lovin’ outcast from Just One of the Guys. Thanks, Stu, for sharing your music and memories, and be sure to get your copy of Brainwax for some wild and woolly ear candy.