Private Resort (1985)

I wanted . . . I needed a piece of Sam’s “Police Academy Week” action. And I think I found a movie that fits. Well, it’s more like an Animal House square peg in a Police Academy round hole . . . but let’s jam ‘er into that policesploitation pegboard, shall we? (And this movie is a hyperlink fest. It’s perfect for a B&S once over.)

As Sam’s review expertise pointed out this week: Police Academy ripoffs are basically beach movies, which are the same thing as Porky’s movies, which are the same thing as Meatballs ripoffs, which are also all really just Animal House ripoffs.

So let’s cue up Animal Resort, I mean, Private Resort.

“Hey, wait a minute. Sam already reviewed this one, R.D.”

Nope, that’s the Charles Grodin-starring Last Resort.

This “resort” movie stars Johnny Depp and, while one of the better ones, is one of the least remembered in a slew of ‘80s spring break/T&A comedies with the titles of Fraternity Vacation, Hot Resort, One Crazy Summer, Spring Break, and Where the Boys Are. Or just maybe you remember Private Resort better than those other movies? I mean, look at the stuff Sam remembered and dug up for “Police Academy Week,” right? Anything is possible in the B&S universe.

Anyway, Depp was fresh off his feature film debut with A Nightmare on Elm Street and a year away from his “arrival” with Oliver Stone’s Platoon in this, his leading man role. His co-star was a then unknown Rob Morrow in his acting debut—and on his way to a five-year run with CBS-TV’s Northern Exposure.

As is always the case at B&S About Movies: the plot is piffle and the cast is what draws us into a film released during the Drive-In ‘70s and the VHS ‘80s.

We’ve got Emily Longstreth, later of American Drive-In, Star Crystal, and Wired to Kill as the female lead. In support are Hector Elizondo (you know his resume!), ‘70s Southern-style comic and game show mainstay Dody Goodman, “Sgt./Lt. Callahan” Leslie Easterbrook from Police Academy 2, 3, 4, Hilary Shepard from Weekend Pass (how did you miss that one, Sam?), Michael Bowen from Iron Eagle, Night of the Comet, and Valley Girl, Lisa London from H.O.T.S (which starred Angela Aames from Basic Training), and how can we forget Andrew “Dice” Clay fresh off his role from Night Patrol and on his way to The Adventures of Ford Fairlane?

Since this is a teen sex romp (and you want to watch the 82-minute, uncut theatrical version; TV edits need not apply), the plot is pretty simple: Depp and Morrow are two teen buddies scamming 30-something-plus wealthy babes at a Miami resort (actually the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida). And amid the generous amounts the “T” and the “A,” they run afoul of The Maestro (Hector Elizondo), a jewel thief after a prized diamond necklace owned by a high-society woman (Dody Goodman).

So who is behind the lens and pen on this teen sex fest?

Well, this is another B&S lesson in “everyone in Hollywood has to start somewhere,” and the biggest name behind the scenes is screenwriter Alan Wenkus. Working as a “script doctor” on Private Resort, he would be nominated by the Writers Guild of America and the Oscar Academy for “Best Original Screenplay” for Straight Outta Compton. The resume of the screenwriter Wenkus “doctored” is TV scribe Gordon Mitchell: his resume dates to the late ‘60s as a staff writer on Gomer Pyle: USMC, Get Smart, The Jeffersons, and Mork & Mindy.

And who’s behind the lens?

It’s none other than George Bowers: his resume goes back to the Drive-In ‘70s as the editor on Van Nuys Blvd. and Galaxina for William Sachs. Transitioning to the director’s chair, Bowers debuted with The Hearse (Sam/Jennifer Upton), bought us another T&A romp with My Tutor, and finished his directing career with Private Resort. He then reverted back editing work with The Stepfather, Harlem Nights, and A League of Their Own. But the one video fringers remember Bowers the best for is the weird-fest that is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Contrary to popular opinion—and as is the case with the confusion between Last Resort and Private Resort and Hot Resort—1981’s Private Lessons and 1983’s Private School aren’t sequels to Private Resort: their only “relationship” is that R. Ben Efraim produced all three of those “Private” teen sex comedies. I’ll venture a guess: Gordon Mitchell wrote an innocuous heist comedy and producer R. Ben Efraim brought on Wenkus to add some “sex comedy” to the proceedings.

Since this stars Depp, Private Resort is readily available across all VOD platforms and turns up as a free movie on various cable systems’ PPV menus. But the ever intrepid researchers at B&S About Movies found you a free copy on Daily Motion (it’s the uncut version with the boobs intact) to enjoy.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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