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05 June, 2010

Junkyardfilms.com’s Moldy Oldie Movie of the Month!: CORVETTE SUMMER

Title: CORVETTE SUMMER

Year of Release—Film: 1977


CORVETTE SUMMER (1977) is about a teenage boy's one true, undying, passionate love...for his first car, a junked-out Corvette. With the help of High School Shop teacher (Eugene Roche as Mr. McGrath), Kenny (Mark Hamill one year post-STAR WARS) restores his car but not to its former glory. He paints it metal-flake candy-apple red with flames shooting down its sides, multiple hood wind scoops and a pointy faring on the front. It's enough to make any classic car fan cringe! Kenny pronounces the car "perfect" and, along with his buddies, takes it out cruising. However, thanks to his friend Kootz (Danny Bonaduce), it's stolen on it's maiden voyage. Frustrated by the obvious lack of concern on the part of the police, who inform him that the car has probably been parted out, Kenny decides to take matters into his own hands. Hearing the car was seen in Vegas, Kenny goes on a search to reclaim his true love. Along the way, hitchhiking Kenny is picked up by a low-rider who's only going 20 miles per hours. Kenny decides he can walk faster than that.

Enter brassy and sassy Vanessa (Annie Potts in her first role), a wannabe hooker on her way to Vegas to start her career. She's driving a tricked-out van with a waterbed in back. Vanessa pulls over and offers Kenny a ride... in more ways than one! However, Kenny reluctantly declines, his mind on finding his Vette. Reaching Vegas, Vanessa tries to hit Kenny up for some cash for 'services rendered' and when Kenny refuses, she kicks him out of the van. Kenny hears that his car is at a casino where it's being offered as a prize. So, off he goes to search the casinos in hopes of finding it. But, what lands in Vegas, stays in Vegas and a dejected Kenny moves into a U-Haul trailer where he faithfully writes postcards of his adventures back to his favorite shop teacher, Mr. McGrath. He's discovered sleeping in the U-Haul by the gas station's owner and offered a job as a pump jockey. However, the station's owner is also a thief who robs customers by selling them re-painted car batteries as new. Along comes Vanessa who tells Kenny she's tired of the hooker life and has decided to become a beautician instead. As they ride along, a now-unemployed Kenny sees his Vette and shouts at Vanessa to follow it. However, when she refuses to run a red light, Kenny grabs some guy's bike and gives chase. But once again, he fails to find his car. All of these adventures are dutifully reported via almost daily postcards to his mentor, Mr. McGrath.

Mr. McGrath is becoming increasingly concerned by the reports Kenny's sending back. Because Mr. McGrath, tired of trying to support a growing family on his miniscule teacher's salary, arranged for the Vette to be stolen and sold to villain Wayne Lowery (Kim Milford of LASERBLAST fame). Deciding the truth might be the best solution, Mr. McGrath goes to confess his dishonesty to Kenny. Disillusioned, Kenny goes to work for Wayne who runs a hot car chop shop. Once there, Kenny turns into an egotistical jerk.

But, wait! Is Kenny a jerk!?! Or is he playing a game in order to find and retrieve his stolen Vette!?! Yep! And we are treated to a high-speed chase between Kenny (with Vanessa riding shotgun) and evil Wayne! Will Kenny get the car and his new girl safely back home!?! This is Hollywood so of course he does! Kenny shifts the Vette into high gear and invites Wayne to eat his dust as Wayne takes out a gun and shoots his own stalled car. And as the ending credits crawl, we see a chastised Kootz washing the Vette. The End

This movie was Hamill's first after crashing his own face through the windshield of his car right after the release of STAR WARS. I believe the hasty plastic surgery made him appear much older in this. Hamill and Milford in the same movie is a double treat for sci-fi fans. Annie Potts was both bold and tender as the wannabe hooker with a heart of gold and an affection for car-obsessed Kenny. Eugene Roach played his role as the strapped teacher with pathos. This was a likeable movie with likeable characters. Charming summer fun that no doubt spent years entertaining drive-in audiences. A well-intentioned, fun little coming-of-age summertime flick filled with easy charm and good-natured comedic touches. It ain't no STAR WARS but it's definitely worth a look.

MSTJunkie













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