I have been watching really bad movies lately. Mostly on purpose. I’ll think about a movie I remembered from when I was a kid and never saw and it’ll end up on my Netflix account. My Netflix looks like a shitty drive-in in 1982 got my password and had a field day with me. KRULL, BILL JACK, ORCA, THE BLACK HOLE. I won’t even try and justify it.
So I am watching TARZAN THE APE MAN (1981) with Bo Derek. It isn’t even mentally challenged… it’s straight up retarded. I have this feeling in the early eighties there was this wake of a pulp character resurgence after SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978). Studios were just lining up with FLASH GORDON (1980), THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER (1981) and BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (1979). I’m a sucker for pulp characters and unfortunately those all suck.
TARZAN is like one of the movies Cinemax runs at three AM. It’s quasi-porn which is weird because the director John Derek is pretty much pimping out his wife, Bo, who is thirty years younger than he is. She’s like twenty-three when she made this movie. They pull an Alicia Silverstone (BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)) and don’t explain why her father (Richard Harris) is British and she isn’t. I am assuming it’s because Bo sucks as an actress. So there are long scenes of the virgin Bo (yeah, she’s a virgin) bathing in rivers, getting scrubbed down by African natives and frolicking with Tarzan and I’m guessing Cheetah the monkey. In the end she gives it up to Tarzan who never says a single word… he’s just an underwear model in a loincloth. Not only does she lose her virginity to a dude on a beach she just met but he’s never gonna call her because he doesn’t have a phone and even if he did he doesn’t speak English.
It’s 1987 Spring Break in Cancun all over again.
And for some reason they write Jane Parker like she’s twelve. Her dialogue is just stupid and there is an entire sequence of them neck-deep in water and she’s relating this experience to a cheesy romance novel and she’s narrating it like Margot Kidder in SUPERMAN. That “Can You Read My Mind” sequence in SUPERMAN works… barely. Just so you know, I know Margot Kidder. Margot Kidder shoots heroin with her six different personalities in my garage and you, Bo Derek, are no Margot Kidder.
And let me say something about real boobs. I remember as a kid watching FORCE FIVE (don’t ask) in a theatre and there was the obligatory boobie scene and dudes cheer. Like grown men cheered at boobies. I think that sort of thing happened a lot and maybe it says something about the accessibility of nudity in our culture. Bo Derek, who was and is a beautiful woman even being the Poor Man’s Linda Evans, was a sex symbol. And when I look at her now I’m just kinda, eh.
So the end of the movie had the three of them frolicking (yes, there is a lot of frolicking) and Tarzan is touching Jane’s boobs and then the monkey touches them and then HE LICKS HER NIPPLES. No shit. The monkey just licked her tit. Bo Derek laughs it off but if a monkey licked my balls I’d be freaking out. So then as the credits are rolling this monkey keeps trying to fuck her. Seriously. She gets up to move away and her grabs her and puts her down. She crawls out of frame and the monkey takes her leg and drags her back. Then Tarzan mounts her while the monkey just sits there like when you makeout with your girlfriend in a theatre and you look up and some old pervert bastard is watching.
I so can’t make this stuff up.