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'Dumb' Annex : Wretched & Raunchy

February 01, 1985

As for "Police Academy," "Bachelor Party," etc. ("We're Talking Gross, Tacky and Dumb," by Peter H. Brown, Jan. 20), the problem isn't their raunchiness, but their overall wretched quality.

Unlike "Animal House," which was a truly witty original, they are replete with stale gags that go nowhere, lousy story structure and nonexistent pacing.

Therefore, I was somewhat shocked to hear director Hugh Wilson and screenwriters Pat Proft and Neal Israel, et al., accusing their producers of standing between themselves and real movie-making.

These producers are merely smart enough to recognize the mediocrity of their product, and know it's gross-out-the-audience or perish.

When such lightweight talents start raking in the cash, they should at least have the good grace to keep quiet about it.

LONY RUHMANN Los Angeles After reading Calendar's series on dumb, tasteless films and the lame rationalizations of the people who make them, I can only state my deep admiration for the thousands of artists living, working and struggling in this city who are unwilling and uninterested in "selling out."

Money and fame aren't the most important things in life; but then I guess that's matter of principle and taste also.

RICK PAMPLIN Los Angeles John Beaird ("Party Animal"), Sean Cunningham ("Spring Break") and Neal Israel ("Police Academy" and "Bachelor Party") deny the obvious fact that their screen depictions of tasteless behavior are meant to titillate audiences, and are not done for the sake of realism ("So Raunchy, Even Grown Men Balk," by Peter H. Brown, Jan. 27).

By featuring immature, lewd or sexist behavior on screen, they suggest that such behavior is not only commonplace, but even acceptable or desirable in our society.

By exploiting such a powerful medium (as film), which "glamorizes" what it depicts, however ridiculous or demeaning, they insult their audiences.

Is acknowledging the fact that there does exist a "lowest common denominator" in movie audiences a rationale for playing to it?

These schlock artists seem to think so, if a profit is at stake. If they're truly interested in "realism" as they claim, let them make documentaries (for which they probably lack sufficient talent).


Los Angeles

I take exception to Brown's inclusion of "Stripes," "Meatballs" and "Caddyshack" in his list of "dumb" movies.

Bill Murray, along with a respectable and recognizable supporting cast, transcends the vulgarity and pubescent titillation that characterizes most of the other movies listed.

Mr. Brown, you are way off base, and that's the fact, Jack. So get outta here, you knucklehead.



Brown's brain may have turned to mush. See Page 2. Talk about "dumb."

Brown, in listing plot examples of "dumb" movies, included what he thought was the story line to "Spring Break," one of the finer films of the genre.

"Spring Break," produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, was not about a trio of collegiates who are sent home by a police chief, as Brown said. Instead, it was about four not-necessarily-in-college guys who are harassed by one of the boys' jerky stepfathers.



Just to keep the record straight, "Revenge of the Nerds" was screened seven times for audience reaction before national release, not 20 times as stated in "Dumb."


"Revenge of the Nerds"

Los Angeles


" '80s Beefcake: Sexploiting the Boys?" (by John M. Wilson, Jan. 27) was completely non-enlightening and pointless.

Although what men reveal of their bodies may not be as extreme as that of women, the legend of beefcake is here to stay and is absolutely nothing to celebrate, fear, worry about--or devote a cheap cover and two sleazy pages to.


Pacific Palisades

So, Chris Atkins feels that he was "thrown into exploitative situations" when he played a stripper and Rob Lowe wants to downplay his glamorous image and be known as something other than "the Troy Donahue of the '80s."

Didn't Atkins read the role prior to playing it? Was a gun pointed at Lowe's head to get him to take off his clothes at the drop of a hat? Why didn't they just turn those pretty-boy roles down?

If they had, perhaps they wouldn't work as often (if at all)--their loss would be the audience's gain.


Los Angeles

What a laugh!

Referring to the four actors pictured as "hunklets," especially Sting and Matt Lattanzi, is a real chuckle. Sting has the body of a gawky adolescent and Lattanzi is merely a pretty face.

A "hunk" refers to someone who possesses a natural, unaffected masculinity, the likes of Mel Gibson, Tom Selleck, or Christopher Reeve . . . fully clothed, these men exude a real masculine appeal.

The ability to expose a "gymnasium produced" oiled body for the camera does not necessarily mean hunk. How would Lattanzi, Atkins or Travolta measure up in a line of rugged construction workers or lumberjacks? Give me a break!


North Hollywood


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