Screwballs

More than ten years ago, I was down and out and living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when it was still affordable, working class–and more importantly, a relatively safe neighborhood most people never heard of. It had not yet become the hipster frat boy capital of the world. I still had friends that refused to go “all the way out” to Brooklyn (even though it was the first subway stop). Around 2000, I got off the train at about 2 or 3 am and saw somebody sitting on the sidewalk using a laptop. Five years earlier, I would walk home hoping nobody could see I had a $5 watch. I say “relatively safe” because it was compared to most neighborhoods. It wasn’t quite no man’s land, but you could still pee in the streets and car alarms would go off in the middle of the night. I got mugged a couple times but $20 every few years is a small price to pay when you’re paying only $450/mo in rent. I know prices of everything have gone up the past few years, and I’m not quite good at math, but I think the average rent of $2000 is a lot more than twice that.

Anyway, fellow Williamsburger Michael Kupperman was also living in the neighborhood at the same time. We freelanced at a lot of the same places and were both in the city a lot (computers weren’t in widespread use yet so you had to actually go to the office to drop off a job) and we’d go to used book and comic stores sometimes. Around this time DVDs were becoming more the default form of viewing, we’d go to video stores, which were closing left and right and stores were selling VHS tapes for $2 or $3.

One of our favorites was the movie Screwballs, which I’ve found out YouTube has in its entirety…

Upon first glance, it’s just another 80s comedy about horny teenage boys trying to get laid. I know those are a dime a dozen. This carries it to its extreme, though. I can’t even begin to describe the suspension of disbelief and leaps in logic required to watch this. Not that it’s complicated. It’s whatever the opposite of complicated is. The plot isthat the guys in high school agree to expose the breasts of Purity Bush, who put them in detention. There’s the usual screwing around with teachers and other students while complaining they never get to do anything. There’s not even any attempt at a lack of subtlety. Other characters’ names are Sarah Bellum and Mr. Jerkoffski. The school is called T & A High School. A guy disguises himself as a nurse so he can inspect girls in the nude. During a game of strip bowling, the nerd gets his dick caught in a bowling ball. Spanish fly is poured in the punch during the assembly. Eventually, they do what they set out to do and manage to get Purity Bush’s clothes to fall off. As soon as they do, the credits roll as if to say “Okay, show’s over. You can go home now.”

A few years earlier, my roommate Mike Rex and I wrote something called “The Greatest Teen Movie Ever Made” which co-incidentally had some of the same elements even though we had not yet seen this movie. It’s in Humor Can Be Funny, available through the “for sale” button in the upper right.


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