HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Teddy
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Free Ride The Eighties loved a douchebag
Year: 1986
Director: Tom Trbovich
Stars: Gary Hershberger, Reed Rudy, Dawn Schneider, Peter DeLuise, Brian MacGregor, Warren Berlinger, Mamie Van Doren, Renee Props, Chick Vennera, Anthony Charnota, Mario Marcelino, Joe Tornatore, Ken Olafson, Liam Sullivan, Frank Campanella
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  1 (from 1 vote)
Review: At a party smarmy college kid Dan Garten (Gary Hershberger) tries to impress an attractive woman by stealing a flashy sports-car. Only to find stashed under the seat: $250,000. Money that belongs to the Garbagio Brothers, mobsters so ruthless they just sawed off their own father's hand for stealing. Back on campus, Dan and his equally obnoxiously preppy pal Greg Novak (Reed Rudy) take time off from pranking stuffy Stockwell (Warren Berlinger) the college dean and spying on the shower room at the girls' finishing school next door to make good use of their newfound loot. While Dan bribes a teacher to give him good grades, Greg hires a hooker to pimp out to his horny friends. When the Garbagios (Anthony Charnota, Mario Marcelino, Joe Tornatore) circle the college campus, Dan hides his money in the butt crack of a nude statue at the girls' school. There Dan meets his next romantic conquest, Jill Munroe (Dawn Schneider) whose father happens to chair the college board. On discovering them in bed, Stockwell goes out of his way to mess up Dan's plans just as the Garbagios close in.

Few genres have dated as poorly as Eighties teen sex comedies. To discern why one need only examine our protagonist in the odious Free Ride. No doubt back in 1986 a wisecracking, self-entitled preppy misogynist douchebags like Dan and Greg (who at one point refer to themselves as 'the classiest duo since Redford and Newman') were ideal identification figures for future Supreme Court Justice nominees across Ronald Reagan's America. To modern eyes however they come across as not only relics of a bygone era but likely the root of everything wrong with society today. Which renders their charmless antics throughout Free Ride's rambling, painfully episodic plot, a decidedly painful viewing experience.

Clearly the film wants us to find Dan a lovable rascal whose fast-talking ingenuity gets him in and out of various scrapes. And yet it imbues him with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Even taking into account the unpalatable nature of the protagonist the film needed a lead as inherently likable and charismatic as the young Michael J. Fox to sell us on his scam. Gary Hershberger, a perfectly serviceable actor elsewhere including his reoccurring role in Twin Peaks, is simply not up to the task. In his defense neither veterans like Frank Campanella (as Papa Garbagio who replaces his severed limb with a gadget-laden prosthetic) and Ken Olafson nor future 21 Jump Street star and Disney Channel staple Peter DeLuise (as token dumb jock Carl, forever undone by Dan and Greg despite being twice their size) struggle just us hard to elevate the sort of tired slapstick routines that went out with vaudeville. Look out for horror and exploitation director Joe Tornatore (The Zebra Force (1976), Grotesque (1988)) and sitcom and animation regular Chick Vennera (a lot funnier on Animaniacs) among the eclectic cast. Especially embarrassing is the spectacle of Fifties B-movie bombshell Mamie Van Doren (High School Confidential (1958), Sex Kittens Go to College (1960)), past her prime but still vamping it up as Stockwell's wife: a frisky nurse who (in the the kind of scene found only in Eighties teen sex comedies) gives the students a very intimate physical ("Pull 'em up and tuck 'em in").

From tricking DeLuise's dimwitted Carl into mistaking a tube of glue for 'penis enlargement cream' to sneaking into the shower to cop an accidental eyeful of Kathy (Renee Props) (the inexplicable lone-girl-at-an-all-boys'-college, whose subplot goes nowhere, Free Ride's dubious attempts at humour veer from hopelessly dumb to just plain crass. Eventually things reach a crescendo of awfulness when the boys mistake 'nice girl' Jill for the hooker Greg hired and, in a scene that plays deeply uncomfortable today, come within a hair's breadth of gang rape. Mercifully Jill escapes but then tries to share her experience with Dan who just says "stop!" and manhandles her into bed. Jill evidently suffers from very low self-esteem judging from how often she falls for Dan's horrendous lines and eventually forgives his liaison with the prostitute. It ends with an absurd showdown tied into the omnipresent Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985) posters adorning Dan and Greg's dorm room walls as the gang don camo gear and improvise homemade weapons to take on the mob. Witless and really quite nasty in spots, Free Ride stands as yet another oddity in the eccentric filmography of Syrian-born Moustapha Akaad, best known for producing the original Halloween series and directing The Message (1977): a biopic of the Prophet Muhammed. One imagines Free Ride was aimed at a very different audience.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1704 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: