Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This warm Summer-like evening has brought me back to a time when you could find deliciously bad movies on network TV. COACH is one of those movies. 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.
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.
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?