Episode 38 - Gas Pump Girls (1979)
Gas Pump girls is one of those films that's hard to hate. Like a Crown International film that just wanders around aimlessly for 60 minutes before "finding" a plot, Gas Pump Girls has that weird ability to entertain you even as literally nothing is happening.
It's hard to pin down what makes a movie like this entertaining. There are many like it but few as fun, as to why that is, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it's the carefree attitude in which nothing bad could ever really happen, maybe it's the bad acting and shoddy camera work that makes me laugh, maybe it's the time capsule in which it exists, whatever the reason I enjoyed Gas Pump Girls when I probably shouldn't have.
The movie itself is horrible on every technical level. The dialogue and acting is atrocious, the camera work is shoddy at best, and there is almost zero story and nothing compelling to keep me engaged but I’ve seen this movie twice already and I feel like I could watch it again on any lazy Sunday afternoon and enjoy it just as much as my last viewing.
How could a movie so bad, be so good? What makes a movie cross between the lines of unwatchable to unforgettable? In the case of this movie I would go back to the first movie we ever covered on this podcast, The Van (1977).
We talk about The Van a lot on the podcast and I still think from time to time about why that movie has never left my mind. I believe it’s because it exists in a world that is grounded in a reality yet so far from my reality (and anyone else’s reality) that I can’t help but love it for the oddity it is. Nothing ever could really go wrong in these movies, Devito will always find that money, Uncle Joe will never actually die from that heart attack, nobody is going to get AIDS even after all the unprotected sex; the world is just different through the lens of a 1970’s drive-in flick. It's a world and time that never existed except for that brief 80 minutes.
Next Week’s Film
Savage Sisters (1974)
A Listener Request from Shawn Thompson
Director: Eddie Romero
Writers: Harry Corner, H. Franco Moon
Stars: Gloria Hendry, Cheri Caffaro, Rosanna Ortiz