January 6, 2013

The Last American Virgin (1982)
Starring Lawrence Monoson and Diane Franklin

Comments:   A couple of years ago, Bill Simmons ("The Sports Guy") of espn.com published a list of the 20 most underrated movies of all time.  And, well, needless to say, since I am a huge movie list whore, I had to check it out.  

Most of the movies that he named on his list were obvious ones.  I don't want to name them all here, of course, since I will be writing about a lot of them later.  But there was one movie at the top of his list that I had never heard of before.  And that surprised me.  Because here I was thinking that I had seen just about every random obscure movie that had ever been made between 1970-2000.  I mean, please, I could recite you half the dialogue from a 1980 movie called Super Fuzz.

But the one that Simmons named the single most underrated movie of all time, The Last American Virgin, well that one was new to me.  I had never heard of it before.  So I immediately had to go onto the internet to see if I could track down a copy of it.

The Last American Virgin

For those of you who have never seen it before, and I am guessing that is at least 95% of the people who are reading this, The Last American Virgin is an early 80's teen sex comedy.  Well actually, it is, and it isn't.   I mean, it STARTS as a teen sex comedy.  And as teen sex comedies go, it is pretty ordinary.  The first half of The Last American Virgin is nothing special.  It is basically just the story of three guys who are trying to get laid.  It isn't anything you haven't already seen in American Pie or Sixteen Candles or Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Three ordinary guys, out hunting for beaver

Ah, but then the movie starts to turn.


About halfway through the movie, it switches from being a teen sex comedy into being a love story.  Because that is when a girl named Karen shows up.  And our hero (Lawrence Monoson) immediately falls in love with her.


Karen is played by the beautiful miss Diane Franklin, who you might not know if you didn't grow up in the 80's.  But suffice it to say she was one of the more beloved teen actresses of the era.  She only did a couple of movies (much like Kerri Green of the Goonies), thousands of teen boys of the era were entranced by her and completely fell in love with her, and then she just sort of retired from Hollywood and disappeared.  But the Last American Virgin is the movie that people will always remember her for.

Oh yes.  Trust me.  This is the movie they will always remember her for.

Diane Franklin.  Destroyer of worlds.

Now I don't want give too much of the storyline of this movie away.  Because the magic of The Last American Virgin is that you have to go into it not knowing anything about it.  But let's just say that it does NOT go where you are expecting it to go.  You think it is a stupid little teen sex comedy, and then it switches into being a heartwarming and sincere little love story, and then... BAM.   You get completely blindsided by where the movie was really headed all along.  And it will rock your little world.

I can't tell you how many people I have recommended this movie to over the years.  And I can't tell you how many people have watched it and told me afterwards that:

A) They can't believe they had never heard of The Last American Virgin before

B) Wow, they can't believe there was a teen movie that was that brutal and was that dark


C) They hate my guts because I recommended this movie to them, and now their life is ruined because they will never get it out of their head

True love will never die

In short, if you want to watch a memorable little teen movie that you have probably never heard of before, watch The Last American Virgin.  It came out the exact same week that Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out in 1982, yet guess which one people remember today and which one has been forgotten by time?   Here is a hint.  Last American Virgin wasn't even available on DVD until about two years ago.

Last American Virgin isn't the best movie you will ever see in your life, and I am warning you, the first half of it is nothing special.  You have seen it before. But once that second half begins, look out.  Hold on to your seat.  

This is the type of movie that you will never ever ever.  EVER.  Forget.

P.S.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this.  The Last American Virgin also has one of the best movie soundtracks of all time.  Fast Times at Ridgemont High always gets credit for having an amazing early 80's soundtrack, but in my opinion the one from Last American Virgin is even better.  Just don't think you will ever be able to listen to "Just Once" by James Ingram quite the same way again.

P.P.S.  Also, after 25 years, Diane Franklin recently emerged from the dead and decided to jump back into the spotlight again.  I have no idea where she was all those years, but she just published her autobiography and it is now available on Amazon.  I haven't read it myself, but I have heard it is pretty good.  

* My favorite IMDB user reviews about The Last American Virgin

Speechless - 25 April 2006
When I was in 10th grade me and my buddy were up late at his house and were flipping around cable and started watching this movie. We watched it because it looked kind of funny and because it had boobs. But then the ending came and we just sat there completely speechless. I think after a minute of watching the credits roll he just sort of whimpered "Oh dude....." It goes from dumb 80's teen sex comedy to nihilistic realism so quickly that it catches you off guard. I have been trying to rent this movie for years and have not been able to find it - and nobody has ever seen it except for me and my friend - so it seems. But now it is available! I highly suggest renting it and brace yourself.

For what it is, it's exceptional - 12 January 2004
I saw this in a theatre back in 1982. I expected a stupid T&A movie. That's not what I got.

It's basically about three teenage boys trying to have sex. We get the expected sex jokes and scenes--but, for once, they're actually pretty funny!

Yeah, they're stupid but I enjoyed them anyways. Also, there was a surprising amount of male nudity.

Then the movie, about halfway through, takes a sudden dramatic turn as one of the boys (winningly played by Lawrence Monoson) falls in love with a girl. Then the jokes stop and things get very dark. I'm not going to give away what happens but I was very surprised at the sudden turn in events. The movie brings up some very important subjects and treats them realistically and with intelligence. And it has a real heart-breaking ending.

I'm giving this a 10 because this is probably one of the best teen sex comedy/dramas ever made. It mixes fantasy and realism together and works! What more can you ask for? Also it has a GREAT soundtrack.

Underrated - Great - Totally Realistic - Would Never Be Made Today - 28 November 2009
Who would have guessed that a teenage sex comedy could be so deep? In today's movie environment, where the good guys always win in the end, this movie wouldn't make it out of the cutting room . As other reviewers have stated the first hour of the movie starts out as your typical teenage sex comedy of the 1980's. About an hour into the movie it's like someone flipped a switch. It was like, now I got you, here is a lesson in real life kids.

I remember seeing this movie for the first time, and I was totally floored by the ending. The real lesson of this movie is that Love is a mysterious thing. You can't force love on the person of your dreams, sexual attraction is always a mystery. Several people have commented that you should watch this movie as a teenager or with your teenage kids. I don't know if I agree with that. How do you handle the discussion with your kid if they ask "Was Mommy/Daddy the person of your dreams?" Many times the answer would be .....

I'm amazed that this movie got made in 1982. I suspect that the director pitched it as a teen sex comedy, and the studio said, sure go ahead and make it. Did he then slip the second half in under the studio's nose? If you want to see a brutally honest movie about the teenage human condition, without the sappy clichéd endings that most modern movies have today, rent this relatively unknown gem. Just expect to be a little uncomfortable two hours later.

Fun emotional roller-coaster - 28 November 2007
The movie starts off fun but quickly turns to more serious pressing issues. This is the only movie which literally made me get up and yell "You Bitch!" out loud. You can feel every bit of emotion the main character is feeling as the credits start to roll. It is a film that you can't help but think about, even days after first seeing it. To this day, when ever I hear "Just Once" from James Ingram, I get angry. It is genuinely a film which emotionally sucks you in and takes you for a spin. You'll know exactly what I mean when you see it. Overall a very good, highly emotionally packed film which I highly recommend. One that every teenage boy should view.

I can't forget this movie - 12 July 2005
I give this movie an 8 out of 10 only because of the juvenile antics in the beginning even though there are juveniles doing them. Some are a little over the top silly but most in good taste. When the new girl comes to town a lot of that stuff slows down and then you start seeing the more serious side of the characters in the movie. The movie moves along very well when the new girl becomes friends with the dorky guy that would do anything for her and helps her get out of certain "situations" because he wants to be with her so much. He pours out all he can to show his feelings but get the ultimate wake up call at the end. You will either cry or have no feelings whatsoever for one of the characters anymore after feeling sorry for them most of the movie. I won't tell what happens cause you have to see it to believe it. No other movie has ever done it to this degree before and that's why it sticks with me. And the song that plays along with the scene, oh my goodness. You must see this movie.

The Anger - 11 April 2008
I remember the first time I saw "LAV" on cable in the eighties, I was so angry at the end that I was breaking up tile on the floor with a hammer. Needless to say, my parents were not pleased. Nonetheless, that movie has really stuck with me over the years.

* My favorite scene in The Last American Virgin:

The ending.  Um, let's just say you'll know it when you see it.

The Last American Virgin at the IMDB

The Last American Virgin at Wikipedia

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