Spring Breakdown: Hunk (dir by Lawrence Bassoff)

Released in 1987, Hunk tells the story of Hunk Golden (John Allen Nelson).

At first glance, Hunk seems to have everything.  He lives in a huge house on the beach and he’s good-looking and muscular enough that he can actually pull off the rainbow speedo look.  Women want to be with Hunk and men want to be Hunk.  He’s rich.  He can eat all the food in the world without putting on a single pound.  He’s got a great smile and wonderful tan and he even knows karate!  Hunk drives a red convertible that has a personalized license plate, one that reads: HUNK.  If anyone else did it, it would seem narcissistic but Hunk can pull it off.

However, Hunk is deeply dissatisfied with his life.  As he explains to his psychiatrist, Dr. Sunny Graves (Rebecca Bush), he wasn’t always Hunk Golden.  He used to be a nerdy writer named Brady Brinkman (played by Steve Levitt).  After Brady’s girlfriend left him for an aerobics instructor, he somehow managed to write a guide to how to become rich.  Brady’s wasn’t sure where his inspiration came from but he was still able to make a fortune off of it.  After Brady moved to the beach to work on his next project, he discovered that being wealthy didn’t mean anything unless he also had the right look.

That’s when he was approached by O’Brien (Deborah Shelton), an emissary of the devil (James Coco).  O’Brien turned Brady Brinkman into Hunk Golden and taught him how to be …. well, how to be a hunk.  The only condition was that, after a number of months, Hunk would have to give up his soul to the devil.  Hunk agreed but now, with the deadline approaching, Hunk isn’t so sure that he wants to condemn his soul to eternal damnation.  Is being the hottest guy on the beach really worth an eternity of burning in fire and being poked with those little pitchfork things?

Now, it probably won’t come as a surprise to our regular readers to discover that this film was produced and distributed by Crown International Pictures.  From the 70s through the 80s, Crown International specialized in low-budget exploitation films, with a surprisingly large number of them taking place on the beach.  Nowadays, of course, the Crown International filmography can be found in countless Mill Creek boxsets.  Hunk can be found in several.  I own enough Mill Creek boxsets that I’ve probably got a dozen copies of Hunk in my DVD and Blu-ray collections.

That said, while the film’s low budget is obvious in every frame, Hunk is actually slightly better than the typical Crown International beach film.  While it seems to take forever for Brady to become Hunk, the film has got a likable cast and it actually delivers its message about self-acceptance with a surprising amount of sincerity.  This is the rare Crown International Film with a heart and, for every joke that falls flat (and there’s several), there’s at least a few unexpectedly clever moments.  The film takes an especially strange turn once Hunk becomes a celebrity and starts to wonder if he should accept the devil’s invitation to become a demon and help start a world war.  Steve Levitt and John Allen Nelson both do a good job playing Brady and his alter ego, though all of Nelson’s dialogue appears to have been dubbed.  James Coco delivers his evil lines with a properly devilish glee.  Incidently, this was also Brad Pitt’s first movie.  While he had no dialogue and went uncredited, he can be easily spotted as an extra in one of the beach scenes.

See him?

If you’re looking for silly and occasionally strange 80s beach movie, you could do worse than to check your Mill Creek boxsets for a copy of Hunk.

Paranoia En Extremis, Plus Laughs : “The Antifa Super-Soldier Cookbook”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

There’s this profoundly goofy, pathetic, and intellectually impotent notion on the political right that Antifa is some grand top-down organization, hell-bent on destroying the so-called “American way of life,” flush with cash from George Soros and other “globalist” (i.e. Jewish) donors, and lurking in the shadows within every institution just waiting for the right moment to pull the string and bring society to its knees on behalf of its “Marxist” overlords.

It’s absurd on its face, of course — but also entirely emblematic of the kind of shared fever-swamp delusion that has become the right’s stock in trade ever since they elevated a six-times-bankrupt, syphilitic, failed game show host/con man to cult leader status. Of course you’d have to be dumber than a festering, putrefying nine-ton sack of pigshit to believe it (hell, Trump’s own FBI director said Antifa was “an ideology, not an organization”), but ya know what? I’m…

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Artwork of the Day: The Absence of a Cello (by Victor Kalin)

by Victor Kalin

The Absence of a Cello was originally written in 1960.  It’s a satire about a scientist who needs a job but who isn’t sure that he’ll be able to fit in with corporate America.  A representative of a company that wants to hire him come to visit him and, with the help of his sister and neighbors, the scientist tries to come across as being the perfect company man.

This book proved popular enough to be adapted into a play, which opened on Broadway in 1964.  The same year that the play opened, the book was reissued by Avon Books.  Artist Victor Kalin provided the cover for the reissue.  Kalin has been featured on this site many times in the past and will undoubtedly be featured again in the future.

Music Video Of the Day: Missing You by John Waite (1984, directed by Kort Falkenberg III)

“The biggest thing I remember about ‘Missing You’ is that the night before I went down to Let It Rock, which was a clothes store on Melrose Avenue.  I bought a Johnson suit, this black two-piece suit from London that was a beautiful suit. Tiny. I was very thin at the time. And then I went and had all my hair shaved off. I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to go in whole hog, you know. I’m just going to do it flat out European.’

I showed up with a black suit and a crew cut, and it worked. I do everything on instinct, basically, and half of the time it’s a bullseye.”

— John Waite on the music video for Missing You

This video was shot in downtown Los Angeles, near Pershing Square and its popularity on MTV helped to push the song to the top of the US charts.  The song was inspired by Waite’s feelings while he was working and away from his wife.  Myself, I’ll always think about it as being the song playing on the radio while I was driving a white Cadillac across the beach in Vice City.  Unfortunately, I got so into the song that I drove the car straight into the ocean.  That was when I discovered that Tommy Vercetti couldn’t swim.