80s Odyssey: Dangerous Curves (1989) & Hardbodies (1984)

Unfortunately this is the largest image I could find of the poster for Dangerous Curves on Google. Apparently there’s a movie from the 30s of the same name and then a ton of pictures that look like the kinds of posters I remember seeing in the back of Spencer’s Gifts when I was younger. Anyway, with the weather getting nicer, I figured some fun beach themed movies would make sense. I never actually saw the beach as a kid, but growing up in the 80s told me it was a place where girls wore very small bathing suits (fashion was WEIRD in the 80s you guys) and there was always a bully around the corner to give you trouble when you were trying to talk to a girl. Why is it that every pretty girl in these movies just happens to be dating a possessive jerk? Okay, that’s not actually the case with Dangerous Curves, but it is a theme I’m noticing as I plow through these movies.

The premise behind DC is that two college friends–a good responsible one and the wacky, smooth talking one who always causes trouble–get tasked with driving a car to somewhere in California. The straight laced one (played by Tate Donovan) wants a job with this guy when he gets out of college, so agrees to take the car, but also winds up bringing his trouble making friend along. As you might expect, hijinks ensue, the car gets stolen and made the prize of a beach beauty contest and there’s several plans to get the car back that include new friends like the beach bum and a group of girls on spring break. There’s a few actors of note in this aside from Donovan. Armin Shimerman (the asshole principal from Buffy) plays a bumbling security guard, Leslie Nielson plays the guy who arranges for the car to be stole, Robert Stack is the businessman, MTV veejay Martha Quinn is a reporter and Damone from Fast Times At Ridgemont High is a cabbie.

Overall the movie was filled with goofy, campy fun in a similar vein, but nowhere near as original as Spring Break. I always have the same problem with these kinds of movies because I definitely tend towards the more straight-laced side of things where I want to see the wacky friend get beaten within an inch of his life. But, I guess without him there wouldn’t be any movie. The one thing that really did confuse me though was why they brought skis with them on this trip. They looked a lot like snow skis to me, though I’m not expert and even if they were water skis, I don’t think you can ski in the ocean without great difficulty. Were they part of the birthday present and I just didn’t get it? Was the friend just being more of a dumb asshole? I know what role they played in the story, but not understanding why they were there just made me angry every time I saw them.

Hardbodies is kind of fun and strange combination of every other beach movie you’ve ever seen and Old School. The plot revolves around Scotty, the guy that everyone loves who only seems to hang out on the beach. His main problem is that he has no money and can’t pay his rent, so he’s looking for a place. Just in time, three older dudes show up at a swanky beach house and Scotty winds up being their coach for getting hardbodies (fit girls, basically). In exchange they pay him and let him stay at their place. From there there’s a lot of training with phrases like “dialog” and going for the “BBD” which stands for bigger, better deal.

As Scotty gets sucked into the high life, he also falls for a girl and wants to be with just her. Of course, there’s some problems that come along, including some tension between one of the rich guys and Scotty after the richie keeps trying to go after this girl who’s known as a tease and it’s just not working. To get revenge, the rich dude hits on Scotty’s girl, which Scotty sees from a distance and takes the wrong way.

Don’t worry though, Hardbodies doesn’t end on a sad note. The good guys wind up staying good and the bad guys get punished, as well it should be. I think I’m drawn to movies like this right now because they’re just so fun and lighthearted and don’t have any real serious consequences. With fatherhood looming and all the responsibilities and seriousness about to wash over me, it’s kind of nice to watch movies about guys who take things way too seriously and others who really seem to know how to live life. Oh, also, lots of pretty ladies and beaches. I think I could easily live on a beach. It looks nice and I wouldn’t mind honing my volleyball skills.

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