‘The Last American Virgin’: Teenage Life Personified

last_lVery seldom does an exquisite teen comedy come along. In 1982, however, “The Last American Virgin” came along and to this day is still the best teen sex comedy ever made. The film has a gigantic heart at its core that separates it from all others in the genre. It is almost like someone was tired of seeing the way films such as “Porky’s” depicted teen life, in a whimsical and carefree fashion and decided to make something with some real emotional value.

The movie follows Gary in his attempt to get laid. Lawrence Monoson, (“Mask”) reminds us of all of the pain of the teenage years, when emotions are running all over the place and love is confused with lust. It is on the back of his strong performance that “The Last American Virgin” is so endearing.

A strong supporting performance is provided by Steve Antin, (“The Accused”) as Rick. He has no trouble finding women and enjoys the conquest. This is the guy you wish you were in high school and the guy you love to hate at the same time. Very hard to pull off that duality, but Antin does it well.

The film also has a duality of sorts. The structure of the plot is divided by drama and comedy. The first half of the film is your standard teen exploitation film, with one sleazy adventure to the next and nothing to separate it from the pack of teen comedies that flooded the video market at the time. However, it does make for light, breezy fun, even if you feel that you know where this film is going.

But, you’d be totally wrong.

There is only one thing that can turn a comedic look into teenage life into a dramatic one and that is when we try to understand the opposite sex. Gary soon develops feelings for the new girl in school, Karen (Diane Franklin, “Better Off Dead”), but he needs to make his move before Rick does.

Some of the early scenes seem dated and out of place in this wonderful little film, but they’re not enough of a reason to dismiss this film.

The movie also has one of the best soundtracks ever, with music from REO Speedwagon, The Cars, U2, The Police, Quincy Jones, Journey and The Commodores. Each scene and each song relates to how Gary’s emotions are throughout the film, making it more than just melodic background filler.

“The Last American Virgin” is an underrated gem of the early ’80s. This movie is an amazing experience that is brutally honest in its depiction of those years right before adulthood and it will leave you loving this daring film.

It’s OK guys, to cry at the end.

We have all been there.

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges.

On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become.

Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

2 Comments

  1. Yo, I caught some of this movie on T.V. . It was very funny but I decided to turn it off and wait to rent it. It just seemed like they were cutting to many good things out!!!

    CRABS!

  2. I don’t know if it’s a “great” film, but LAV is singular. There really isn’t anything like it out there… maybe Superbad,.. maybe Say Anything… but then there are those elements that remind me of American Graffiti…

    The use of music in the film is, initially, so obvious that it becomes the cinematic equivalent of “jazz hands.” It’s as if the film makers didn’t trust the audience to empathize with the emotions on the screen so they flew in trendy (at the time) New Wave and Top 40 music to drive the feelings home.

    I mean, do you REALLY think U2 are happy to have “I Will Follow’ played over a scene of a teenager getting an abortion?

    But then you have to remember that this is a film about TEEN emotions. So many “teen films” are actually for grown up adults who are looking back on their teen years. But LAV is really ABOUT teen emotions, and teens are overwrought and melodramatic in their expressions. Yes, of course there will be songs that come to mind that seem to “speak” to the moment as if were expressly written for YOUR life. (I seem to recall A Question of Lust being quite poignant during a make-out session when I was a lad) ‘

    I would avoid the edited version at all cost. You need the vulgarity.

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