Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bill Adler, Marcie Barkin, Danny DeVito, Donald Elson, Stuart Getz
Directors: Sam Grossman, Pierre Jalbert
Great Vanner Movie of the 70's
Marc (firstname.lastname@example.org) | New England, USA | 11/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this movie, great movie all about vannin in the 70's. If you are a vanner of the 70's or the 90's like I am you will love this movie.Has been out of print for a while, Now's it,s back. This is a Full version just like it was shown at the drive-in movie..."
"That's one hell of a van you got there."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 70s brought us so many wonderful things...lava lamps, groovy iron on shirt decals, bell bottom jeans, feathered hair, David Cassidy, platform shoes, disco, G.I. Joe with Kung Fu Grip, Evel Knievel, Astro Pops, Macramé clothing, John Travolta, Easy Bake Ovens, Donnie and Marie Osmand, and custom vans...it may seem odd now, but the subculture of custom vans was a force unto itself, so much so there were even a couple of films made to appeal to `Vanners', or, those whom custom vans were (and maybe still are) a way of life. The two movies I'm aware of both came out around the same time, one called Supervan (1977), and this one, titled simply The Van (1976) aka Chevy Van. There may have been others, I don't know, but this film, co-written by Robert J. Rosenthal (The Pom Pom Girls, Malibu Beach, Zapped!), was directed by Sam Grossman and stars Stuart Goetz (Record City) and Deborah White (Fast-Walking, Alligator II: The Mutation). Also appearing is Harry Moses (Sweater Girls, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood), Marcie Barkin (Chesty Anderson, USN, Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws), Stephen Oliver (Werewolves on Wheels, Cycle Psycho), and a younger, slightly less balding, and not as paunchy, Danny DeVito (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Car Wash, "Taxi").
As the movie begins we meet Bobby (Goetz), a doofy-looking cross between Danny Bonaduce and Donny Most, who played Ralph Malph on the 70s sitcom "Happy Days". Bobby and his friends are graduating from high school (participating in the 8 year program I suspect, as they all appear to be in their mid 20s), and Bobby's got big, post graduate plans...he's going to take all the money he's been saving up these last few years working part time at the carwash and buy himself his very own van...but it's not just any van, no, but a deluxe palace on wheels. It's real a sweet ride, complete with Mag wheels, diamond tuck pleather (synthetic leather) upholstery, custom paint job, racing stripes, wall to wall shag carpeting, air-conditioning, captain's chairs, cup holder, overhead lighting, a refrigerator and pop up toaster, CB radio, side bubble window, television, 8-Track tape player, quadraphonic speakers, fog lights, mirrors on the ceiling, and a waterbed in back (What? No disco ball?)...yes sir, it's a real shaggin' wagon, and Bobby's going to put it to good use in scoring with the femininas...seriously, what woman, plied with liberal doses of weed and booze, wouldn't want to be seduced in the back of a funky van by a 98 lb, red-headed nerd with horse teeth and wearing bell bottom jeans? Tina (White), for one, who Bobby's got a little thing for, but won't give him the time of day (uptight attitude is nothing that can't be fixed by a surgical procedure removing the three foot rod from her behind). All sorts of hi-jinks ensue as Bobby cruises about town in his new boss wheels (including attending a `van-in', or a gathering of van aficionados), and the movie eventually leads up to a big race showdown between Bobby and the local psycho Dugan (Oliver), who drives a black monster Chevy van complete with flame motif...
This is your basic teenage sex romp comedy, set against the subculture of custom vans. The story is pretty lame, basically involving Bobby buying a tricked out boogie van specifically to score with chicks, but ultimately learning that, while impressive, his shaggin' wagon is only a material possession, and true happiness comes from within...or something like that...the character of Bobby, who was supposed to be the hero of sorts, was actually a pretty sleazy one with a tendency for erotic fantasizing (these fantasies would have been much more erotic had Bobby not been in them) and date raping. His modus operandi includes luring woman into his van, doping them up with weed and booze, and then trying to forcefully jump their bones. Since he was a pretty small guy, the women were able to fend him off easy enough, but still, it was kinda creepy, and borderline criminal. Here's another great demonstration of Bobby's fine character...one scene in a local hangout has the muscle-laden bully Dugan threatening Bobby with physical violence, and one of Bobby's friend Jack (Moses) comes to the rescue. Bobby ends up taking off after a girl, leaving Jack behind to fend for himself against the much larger Dugan. The next scene we see Jack with a good-sized bandage on his face, indicating Jack took a real beating. In yet another scene we see Bobby taking revenge on some co-workers by poisoning some beers with bowel stimulating drug, to which the co-workers ingest, and subsequently spend the rest of the film chasing him around for retribution. Danny DeVito is in the film, playing Bobby's boss at the carwash and also a bookie, featured in a subplot involving Bobby loaning his van payment money to his desperate boss to pay off some losses. This sets up Bobby's need to race near the end, otherwise his ride would get repossessed. All of the main female characters get nekkid in this film, although Ms. White shows the least (there's always one in the bunch). There's plenty of driving montages, accompanied by the soft rock croonings of Sammy Johns, whose biggest hit, being "Chevy Van", is featured here, which was odd considering the main vehicle portrayed in the movie was a Dodge. Since the makers of this film paid for the rights to use Mr. John's music, use it they do, over, and over, and over again...if I ever hear `Chevy Van" or "Early Morning Love" again I'm likely to stick two cocktail shrimp forks in my ears in search of blissful release. All in all the movie is a mindless, silly affair, with some crude humor, and exactly what I expected. Is it worth seeing? Perhaps, if you, like myself, enjoy forgettable 70s films, or have an interest in fun truckin' vanners (I got the impression Bobby was no true `vanner', but only a party vanner, one who's only predisposed in using his vehicle to score).
The picture quality on this Rhino DVD release is fairly lacking, but it's pretty much what I expected given the price. There is noticeable grain throughout, and even a frame or two missing, and the movie is presented in fullscreen format. The audio track is decent enough, matching the picture quality. Surprisingly, there are a couple of extras including some bios, and a photo still gallery that doesn't appear to be screen shots, but honest to goodness production photos. This is a two star movie, but I added an extra for the nostalgia element.
If I learned anything from this film it's that if you have a boogie van with a waterbed in back, it'd probably be wise not to engage in intimacies with Rubenesque women due to the distinct possibility of springing a leak, and the time you'll have to spend removing the moisture from the shag carpeting with a hair dryer...
Classic 70's flick....
M. B Evans | Madison, Mississippi United States | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Van is a classic 70's flick. No, not classic as in standing the test of time, or anything like that, but classic as in typical 70's plot, and lifestyles that the movies projects. Its basically about a guy named Bobby, who saves his money, trades in his old car for a tricked out van, loaded with what else, a waterbed, a cb radio, an 8-track player, coffee maker, toaster, a fridge, and mirrors. He is on a quest to get laid, as his friends. Sammy John's hit song Chevy Van is the soundtrack for this flick, (so appropriate) as his other song Early Morning Love is also. Its a typical 70's fun, funky flick, which should not be taken seriously, but enjoyed for what it is...."
M. B Evans | 02/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Simple-minded but good-natured drive-in movie about a simple-minded but good-natured high school graduate who has dreams of owning the coolest custom van in the world to use as his "ballroom". Bobby, our somewhat dorky hero, spends his entire savings to acquire the vehicle of his dreams. Joint sharing and attempts at romancing quickly commence with women Bobby has picked up at the local pizza parlor, but he soon finds out much responsibility, danger and heartache come with being the owner of such a mechanical marvel.From what I've read on the internet, there seems to be a censored version of this movie for sale. The DVD I own has all of the sex, nudity and profanity intact. I'm not sure why anyone would sell a censored version of The Van, considering the movie's 1970's drive-in pedigree. This negates the intended point of the movie.I admit The Van is a guilty pleasure of mine. By no means is it a great film but it does capture the southern California laid back mid 70's mood and has enough unintentional humor to put it into the "so bad it's good" category. That is, if you're watching the uncut version."