The summer of 1985 was both a good time and a bad time.
I had moved in with my best friend, had a supervisor who hated me, drank a lot of wine after work and we had one VHS tape to watch nightly. There was a video store down the street and one day we went in and saw this movie for rent.
Prior to this, I had never seen the movie so we rented it and it became an instant classic in the townhouse. I do remember the commercial for it before it aired and I think they were passing it off as controversial.
Well, ten years later, it wasn't so controversial, but it certainly is a camp classic with some fun lines to toss around.
Investigative reporter Fran Morrison (Lee Remick) starts out writing a story on prostitution, but as she digs the story goes much deeper. She wants to know who's getting rich off of the girls.
One of the police officers, Swifty (Alex Rocco) suggests Wanda (Jill Clayburgh) who's a "dedicated" woman. When Wanda is asked if she wants to be interviewed, her expression says it all.
The next day, Wanda goes to court for assaulting a bus driver (Burke Byrnes) in front of a group of "theater women" and when Wanda tells the judge that she doesn't have money for the fine, he gives her 60 days, but, her fine has been paid by Fran.
Wanda tells her that she doesn't like owing anyone and when they leave court, Wanda's pimp's lawyer Geist (John Sylvester White) calls him to tell him that her fine was paid.
Fran and Wanda come to terms for the story and they meet in a restaurant, where the manager tells them that they can't be served since Wanda doesn't fit in with their preferred clientele and asks them to leave.
Morrison tells him who she is and will allow her to stay, but Wanda has to go.
They end up eating hotdogs and Fran takes out her tape recorder since it'll help her with the story. Later in the cab, Wanda comments that she should have had it recording early at the restaurant. Fran rewinds the tape and the conversation is played back to Wanda's amusement.
Wanda introduces her to her friends Dee Dee (Melanie Mayron) and Giselle (Beverly Hope Atkinson) and Fran begins to enjoy her time with them, much to the dismay of her boyfriend Orin (Monte Markham).
As Fran gets more involved with the girls, she has an interview with Gustavino (Burt Young) the manager of the hotel that most of the girls work out of. She in turn learns who's really profiting from prostitution and while she's there, they hear a scream and it's Dee Dee who's ripped off a john. Gustavino kicks her out of the hotel and Fran runs after her.
Days go by and Fran doesn't hear from Wanda and worries about her and is surprised when Wanda shows up at her apartment building. She tells Fran that no one has seen Dee Dee and later she's found dead after committing suicide in a building under construction.
With the story complete, she sees Wanda off at the bus station since she's decided to go straight by going back to Ohio and taking a regular job. She predicts that she'll probably be back within a month, but as Wanda leaves, Fran realizes that even though she set out to doing one story, she also saved her source material since Wanda discovered who she was and that she can have a better life.
Rescue From Gilligan's Island (10-14-1978)
After fourteen long years, the castaways were finally rescued and if you were a fan of the television show, it didn't matter that it was Saturday night, you were glued to your TV awaiting the rescue.
And then people went out to do some heavy drinking since they didn't know what they had just watched.
The movie was split into two hour long specials and after the first hour, the castaways were rescued and life went on as normal.
Somewhere in space a spy satellite is going crazy and the country to whom it belongs decides to blow it up since there's a disk on it that cannot get into the wrong hands.
After exploding, the disk finds its way on the edge of the lagoon on Gilligan's island and he finds it. The professor (Russell Johnson) is able to fix his crude barometer and predicts that a major storm is on its way and due to its destructive nature, a huge tidal wave will be accompanying it and submerge the island.
It sounds like the recurring dreams that Gilligan (Bob Denver) has been having.
The professor gives them three days to prepare by tying up the huts together and as he predicted, a tidal wave washes across the island and when they wake up they are indeed at sea.
Thanks to Gilligan's surprise of making fish for the others, he starts a fire and if it wasn't for the smoke, the Coast Guard helicopter would have never spotted them.
As the castaways are greeted, two spies (Vincent Schiavelli and Art LaFleur) notice the disk around Gilligan's neck and go after him on the various journeys that take Gilligan and the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) on.
Since Skipper's insurance company won't pay for the Minnow, he needs to get everyone's signature stating that he wasn't responsible for the shipwreck.
First up is a trip to Hollywood, where Ginger (Judith Baldwin) finds out that movies have come a long way and she refuses to use foul language and appear nude in the movie she's working on.
After getting Ginger's signature, it's off to see the professor and then the Howell's (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer) where they discover just how snobbish they are and have been.
Lastly, the two arrive in Kansas on Mary Ann's (Dawn Wells) wedding day. Mary Ann is upset because she doesn't love her fiance', but her best friend Cindy (Barbara Mallory) does.
On Christmas Eve, the castaways reunite on the Minnow II and reflect on just how much they've missed out on and set sail once again for a cruise.
I know that this was a fluff movie to wrap up the series and words can't describe just how awful this movie is. Sure, when you're young it was excellent but now not so much.
As everyone knows, Tina Louise doesn't want anything to do with this show and unfortunately, since she was replaced by Baldwin (who can't act) really brings the movie down. At least Ginger was somewhat intelligent, but here she's clueless.
I mean, how many actresses would agree to be in a movie and not know about language and nudity? Obviously, Ginger never read the supposed script and I doubt she'd be making movie deals on her own.
And I can't see how the professor managed to get a job right away teaching and going about conducting experiments right away. Even this doesn't make sense.
Plus Gilligan is an even bigger buffoon than when on the series.
It is sad when they part ways but, I'm just glad this isn't one of my go to movies whenever I need a "laugh."
Children of the Night (10-26-1985)
It's hard to put a number on how many kids runaway on a daily basis, but for most of them, they either head to New York or Los Angeles and if they wind up on the west coast, they have a warrior fighting for them.
Based on the true story of Dr. Lois Lee, this made for TV movie has Kathleen Quinlan in the titular role as Lois is writing her dissertation on the effects of prostitution and her efforts in helping Valerie (Lar-Park Lincoln) change her life around.
One night Lois is walking down the street and hears screaming coming from an alley and she runs over as a car speeds away. Laying on the ground is Valerie who's been cut by her pimp.
Lois wants to take her to the hospital but Valerie refuses so she takes her home.
The next morning Valerie's back on the street and Lois resumes her interviewing of the girls and frustrated that her dissertation has been turned down at school. She takes it to another school and goes back to work.
In the meantime, her relationship (already strained) hangs in the balance as Valerie comes back and this time Lois has invited Brandy (Sherri Stoner) back to the house as well.
Since a meeting between Valerie and her mother didn't go well, Lois tries to place Valerie in a shelter or a foster home, while trying to get the girls legitimate jobs.
One morning she sees a man beating up Kevin (Wally Ward) and she brings him back to the house which is already busting at the seams. This also puts more strain on her relationship with Larry (Nicholas Campbell).
Another girl, Ginger (Michelle Ann Martin) comes to stay with the already crowded house and Valerie leaves to parts unknown.
After getting her dissertation, Lois is successful in getting Kevin back home to his family, yet she still feels failure as she can't find Valerie to help her get her life in order.
She's given a tip as to where Valerie might be and she goes to what appears to be an abandoned building but soon discovers kids of all ages are living in it. With the help of the media, she brings this to the attention of the public.
Later that night, she receives a call from Linda (Marta Kober) and tells her that Valerie had joined up with a madam and had received a call earlier in the day and hasn't returned. Linda gives her the address and she heads off to help Valerie once again.
Larry tells her that he won't be there when she returns because he can't deal with her lifestyle anymore and is fed up with his worrying.
When Lois arrives at the location that Linda gave her, she finds Valerie and she finally gets the help that she deserves.
What makes this film powerful is that it doesn't focus on just the streets, but how one woman made a difference (and continues to this day) helping runaways with her foundation, Children of the Night.
If you know of a runaway (or are a runaway yourself) and need help, they have a 24/7 nationwide hotline and the number to call is 800-551-1300.