Monday, April 28, 2008


Not to confused with the dreadful ABC sitcom of the 90s, COACH (1978, directed by Bud Townsend) is a dreadful PG-rated sexploitation film from my childhood. I remember watching (a surely edited-for-TV version of) it on the CBS Wednesday Night Movie and then talking with my Catholic school friends the next day about how great it was. THAT'S INCREDIBLE's perky Scientologist icon Cathy Lee Crosby stars as Olympic track & field champion Randy Rawlings, who leaves her job as an instructor in a 1970s equivalent to "Curves" to coach a boys basketball team at a private high school. Why not?

The movie opens with a soundless montage of Cathy running track, until she bursts through the finish line and steps up to receive her Gold Medal as The Star-Spangled Banner plays. (It's public domain, so no royalty fees like that pesky Olympic music). Meanwhile, in the sleepy town of Granger, Keenan Wynn (or was it Denver Pyle? - I always get those crazy old coots mixed up!) is perplexed by his grandson's high school basketball team and their perpetual losing streak. So Keenan gets the schlep-y, non-athletic looking coach fired and selects his replacement through some amazing futuristic "computer" program. The computer determines that the Olympic track star Randy Rawlings has just the right qualifications. When Randy arrives, Western Union telegram in hand, everyone discovers that this star athlete is a woman!!! Not only that but, a sexy, liberated, blonde woman who doesn't own a bra!  Prevented from firing her due to certain newly-passed anti-discrimination laws, Randy is given a chance to turn the teen-age losers into winners. But her job hinges on delivering a perfect season. If the team loses even one game, shes out on her sexy tight ass! Keenan later instructs his grandson to give her nothing but trouble.

Well, the boys (well, I'll call them "boys" despite that the actors look to be about mostly in 25-35 years old range) at Moose Knuckle High (according to our friend John W., a "Moose Knuckle" is the male equivalent of "Camel Toe"), don't take to kindly to having a woman coach, and they berate her with sexist remarks and gestures. She's the CTLF ("Coach They'd Like to Fuck"), but they don't want her telling them what to do. Always a pro, our Randy ignores their shenanigans and tells them she's there to kick some ass. She's even wearing an outfit that looks like her WONDER WOMAN costume from the aborted 1974 TV-movie pilot.

The team is a bunch of freak and geeks who don't have a clue how to win. There's the bookish nerd with glasses, the lanky scarecrow, the black guy, the albino with a receding hairline, the mildly-retarded rich kid and of course the school stud, Jack (future TERMINATOR star Michael Biehn), her star player and future sex partner. She earns the boys' respect by walking in on them while they are all naked in the shower and turning off the hot water, and forcing them stay under ice cold water for a minute. She learned this from her former coach, Alberto Gonzalez. 

Then she proceeds  to "coach" them by bringing in her superstar NBA buddy (or drug dealer) to teach the guys some professional moves. Before you know it, the team is playing better and Jack is playing WITH Randy's boobs! Never mind that's he's supposed to be like 17 and she's at least 35...and the fact that she's abusing her role as an adult in charge of  "kids" by having sex with one of them. This issue never even comes up, as she and Jack fall in love through a series of montage images set to cheesy 70s music. Soon the rest of the boys grow to like Randy. Why they even let her join them in the "Hey Lahdy Lahdy" sing-along on the team bus. Awwww...

Meanwhile, there's an embarrassing and tedious subplot involving hypnosis, and how the boys are able to help get their gawky teammate to get better grades and play better ball whenever he hears the word "Jabberwocky". When Randy finds out about it, she tells the boys that if he can play like a pro under hypnosis, he can do it without it! But later when the team is losing a big game, she leads the entire gymnasium in chanting "Jabberwocky" so they can win. So basically, she sends the message that's it's okay to cheat. Great coach, what's next, steroids?
For a PG-rated film, we see plenty of flesh, including at least 4 pairs of females nipples (when co-eds flash the boys at a dull house party), a bunch of naked male butts (during the shower torture-scene) and lots of moose knuckles in satin shorts and tight jeans. I give this one 6 "Huhs?" just for it's spunkiness. It's basically an ABC Afterschool Special about statutory rape, without the drama, moral judgement and legal repercussions. In other words, it's just good, clean fun for an cougar to bed one of her students!  This makes me wants to revisit LIFEGUARD starring Sam Elliot, another sexy  CBS Wednesday Night Movie classic.

1 comment:

Rick Andreoli said...

It makes me SO happy you remember this movie. Whenever I say Jabberwocky people don't get that it's from THIS film that I stole it.

Good times!