Friday, May 17, 2013

Coach (1978)

Seeing Cathy Lee Crosby as the original TV Wonder Woman sure got me interested in some of her other work. Yeah, I know, there’s not much to choose from beyond her 4-year tenure as one of the three plasticine hosts of ABC’s proto-reality show That’s Incredible, but there is one golden nugget she did in 1978: a cheapie “Drive-in” flick called Coach. Years before Craig T. Nelson would shamelessly usurp everyone’s association with that titular character, Crosby starred as Randy Rawlings, hot blonde coach of a high-school basketball team, hired on a misunderstanding but soon able to whip the pack of pubescents into shape enough to win big, especially the big (spoiler alert) game at the end. Certainly a minor work, barely worthy of anyone’s 96 minutes, but fitting in nicely to the inchoate teen-sex drama, which, in 1978, meant brief scenes of T&A, horny teens, a few of which engaging in (gasp) premarital sex, bad disco-funk on the soundtrack, and a few veteran character actors in supporting roles (Keenan Wynn, in this case).

Little of the plot I haven’t already disclosed, except I should mention a then-unknown Michael Biehn plays a teen who gets romantically involved with Randy,
Whoops! Didn' know the door was open!
and it actually does sustain until he end of the picture (we don’t get the requisite breakup scene because she’s “too old” for him). The sexist athletic department, of course, wants to be rid of the female coach ASAP, but she summons up the wherewithal, and knowledge of the then-new Equal Employment Act, to stay the course. Basketball scenes are fun, Crosby does an almost topless scene, 15-minute-famous artist Anthony Harris has some catch soundtrack songs, and a subplot about hypnosis figures in to the film’s payoff. What’s not to love?

You can catch this for free on IMDB or buy it, like I did, as part of the 12-movie “Too School For School” DVD collection. The price is so low that your only real expenditure will be time. Two beers should get you through it, though.

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