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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.5%
Worth A Look: 6.25%
Average: 18.75%
Pretty Bad: 18.75%
Total Crap43.75%

1 review, 10 user ratings

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Pick-up Summer
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by Chris Parry

"In an era noteworthy for utter incompetence, this film stands above all."
1 stars

Jeez, the Canadians used to make a lot of shitty titty flicks in the early 80’s, didn’t they? This lame Canuck T&A romp about a group of wacky friends that hang out around a wacky pinball arcade and harass wacky bikers, is about as intriguing as watching opera performed by third-graders. Retarded third-graders.

Carl Marotte leads the outing as Steve, the local cool guy, eternally flanked by best bud Greg (Michael Zelnicker). Their girlfriends, who don’t seem to have a problem shagging other guys, especially if it will earn them a few seconds of jealousy fun, are played (awfully) by Canadian boob-flick fave Helen Udy and the nicely-proportioned Karen Stephen.

So what makes Pick-Up Summer stand out? How crap it is, mostly. Our heroes drive around in a large yellow van with flames painted down the side and stars across the front (how very Partridge Family) and do nothing for the entire film. Other than harass girls, threaten a group of local bikers (who seem about as tough as my gay uncle Thom), and make assholes of themselves, of course.

Central to this asshole-making activity is the local pinball arcade, which is hosting a pinball competition and the Miss Pinball pageant in a week. “Gotta get our hands on that trophy or we won’t be cool!” Hijinks ensue.

There are plenty of lame pinball and Space Invader-inspired boob flicks from the late 70’s/early 80’s that appear on your TV screen at 4am, and all but a few of them are entirely hopeless (see Joysticks for one of the few genuine guilty pleasures of the genre). Amongst the hopeless, there are few more hopeless than this undignified mess. The supporting characters range from ‘inadequate’ to ‘frighteningly inadequate’, the storyline is non-existent, and any problem encountered by our heroes is usually corrected within the subsequent sixty seconds of screen time and celebrated with raucous cheers by all in attendance.

Biker steals the trophy? Wacky guys steal it back. “Hoorraaaay!”

Girlfriends are cheating? Within sixty seconds the infidelity is forgotten. “Whoo-hoo!”

An arcade employee named Whimpy - a fat hamburger-eating moron in a sailor-hat – fixes the result of the pinball competition? Before the trophy can be handed out he’s confessing his wrongs to the crowd. ”Right on, Whimp!”

Incompetent in every respect, Pick-Up Summer had one thing going for it – nudity – but on the only place you’re likely to ever see the film, cable TV, most of that nudity has been cut out. Badly. Scenes involving women taking off their clothes are allowed to build up to the point where the bikini is untied and then… commercial break.

Good grief. Taking the nudity out of a film like this is like taking Jean Claude Van Damme out of Double Impact; you tend to be left with nothing at all that makes any sense from a film that only barely made any sense to start with. If there is one point of note about this film, it’s that the thing was rumored to have been directed by none other than Hong Kong martial arts icon, Tsui Hark (A Better Tomorrow 3, Double Team, Twin Dragons). How that could have happened I’ll never understand, though I suspect it’s simply a fallacy that began with a mixed up cable TV credit and grew from there.

Even if he did direct the thing, he won’t want to take credit for it anytime soon. The guy who is listed as director at the IMDB, George Mihalka, remarkably seems to have had no problem finding directorial work in the 22 years since, recently having helmed the Michael Caine thriller, Bullet To Beijing. Joy Boushel, who plays Sally the boob-heavy waitress, even managed to score roles in The Fly and Look Who’s Talking. That anyone came out of this cinematic train wreck with his or her careers intact is testimony to how bad movies were in the early 80’s.

Special mention must be made of Joey McNamara, the man who plays Whimpy. Displaying an utter incompetence that can only be described as rare in the acting field, McNamara was to never again grace a movie screen with his presence. Overweight, wearing a sailor hat and shrunken T-shirt, and going nearly naked during a scene with a hooker, McNamara’s character is essentially the butt of every joke in the film. Dare I say that whatever this guy is doing with his life nowadays, he almost certainly has a list of names of people that convinced him to do this movie taped to his wall, with the heading, “bastards that will one day feel my pain.”

Bottom line, if your options are watching Pick-Up Summer or doing your laundry, opt for the housework. If your options are watching this movie or volunteering for experimental testicular surgery… well, that’s a tough one. Yes, the movie is that bad.

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originally posted: 10/30/02 16:20:35
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User Comments

11/04/13 Jason Bowers I thought Pete's cheerleaders where tremendous, Joey McNamara was an inspirational talent. 4 stars
10/18/10 Tsui Hark, er...Carl Marotte You're 100% correct about the Tsui Hark rumor stemming from a mixed-up credit. 2 stars
6/04/07 PJ3 I couldn't cram more homosexual innuendo into an ostensibly hetero teen flick if I tried. 5 stars
2/13/05 Jeff Anderson An energetically goofy Canadian comedy! On par with 1980's HOG WILD & 1981's GAS! OH CANADA 3 stars
10/01/04 wonderboy Joey McNamara was great, not incompetent as Mr Parry would allude to Trust me 5 stars
6/17/04 sean laughable and just plain terrible. 1 stars
9/09/03 dynamac Performance by Joey McNamara fantastic Movie was crap 3 stars
5/17/03 Joey McNamara Mr Parry, does not know me, how can he judge my competence? 2 stars
2/28/03 Lola The actor who played Whimpy was a great actor, he fooled you, didn't he? 3 stars
11/15/02 Wonderboy Only good thing is performance by an actor named Joey McNamara 2 stars
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  13-Mar-1981 (R)
  DVD: 02-Apr-2002


  02-Feb-1981 (MA)

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