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KIDS ON FILM

A Longing Look Back at the 1960s

September 16, 1993|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section. and

In "Calendar Girl," three friends, all facing mundane lives after graduating from high school in 1962, set out for one last fling in Hollywood, where they stake out the house of their dream girl, Marilyn Monroe. (Rated PG-13)

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On one hand, you wonder how someone can sit through a movie like this, listen to Jason Priestley say such lines as "You can't rub Ben Gay on a heartache" and come away saying, "It was an excellent movie."

On the other hand, you remember that when you were a pre-teen you arranged your life to be able to watch a weekly TV show that featured Edd Byrnes combing his hair.

But, still, times have changed, and today's young Priestley fans can go to the show and see their idol's bare buns as he heads for a nude beach, watch him drool over a nudie calendar and smoke marijuana.

The movie drew pairs of gum-chewing, carefully coiffed girlfriends, all eager to see the young star of the TV show "Beverly Hills 90210" on the big screen and ready to bounce and snap their fingers to the '60s soundtrack.

Two friends--Marie, 11, and Rebecca, 12--came wearing identical bodysuits, jeans and chokers. Are they Priestley fans? "Yes!" they chorused. Do they like him more than Luke Perry? "He's cuter!"

Besides being cute, he also is a "funny guy" with a "nice attitude," the friends said.

Even so, they thought the skinny, soft-bodied Priestley was convincing as the tough boxer's son who winds up landing a date with Marilyn Monroe and then giving it away to his friend.

It's not easy to understand how, but Marie found more to the movie than a chance to look at Priestley wiggle his eyebrows.

"I remember when Jason Priestley gave his friend his date with Marilyn Monroe. They went and had a good time. And at the end, his friend heard on the radio that she had died and he got sad. Then he decided he should just meet people and make friends and he saw a girl and he met her in a telephone booth. He thought he should be more sociable. . . .

"I think the point was that it's nice to have friends who are nice to you and that friendship is good."

Marie thought the nude scene was funny. Rebecca thought it was weird.

Maybe some parts weren't for little kids, they agreed. But they said the street language wasn't anything they don't hear every day anyway.

Rebecca's 9-year-old brother, Ricardo, didn't think that boys had changed much over the years and said he'd gladly camp out on the doorstep of his dream girl--Cindy Crawford. The girls said they'd do the same thing for--you guessed it.

The girls said they see lots of movies set in the '60s and still aren't tired of them. In fact, they like being reminded that there was once a more peaceful time for kids to grow up.

Said Rebecca: "Today, everybody's in gangs, and it's not that safe. Back then it was just . . . peace."

Added Marie: "Now they're getting into dress codes for the gangs, and it's dangerous at night. Back then, my dad's curfew was 11 at night. We don't have a curfew."

She nodded when Marie said, "We should go back."

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