Porky's  (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs up.

Scoop's comments in white.

I guess I really don't know what makes a great movie because there is no universally accepted definition. Like everyone else, I have some criteria of my own. If a film shows events and people that say to me "yes, the filmmaker was there, he knew this material", I consider that a strong step in the right direction. If a film is intended to be a junky entertainment movie, it had damned well better be entertaining. If it is supposed to be a youth-oriented junky entertainment film, it better show plenty of locker room humor, bare breasts, raunchy sexual jokes, and situations in which good kids triumph over the pretenders and martinets who control their lives.

Let me get this off my chest. I enjoy the hell out of Porky's, for the reasons described above. Oh, sure it is gross and poorly acted, and the adult characterizations are broadly drawn, but I think it is a good junk film because the life of the kids is fun, and innocently sleazy, and sexy, like youth itself. I think it is also more than a good junk film because I recognized just about every character and situation in this movie from my own wasted youth. Even the exaggerated adult characters. I knew Porky, and he isn't exaggerated in the slightest, although some of the other adults are, as noted below by Tuna. I lived through about 90% of the situations shown here. Of course, author-director Bob Clark blew everything up in order to make it funnier, but he was there - he knew these people. There are a lot of "coming of age" films that show you the sanitized Disney version of growing up, or the contrived movie version, but Porky's is the gritty and uneven reality of real adolescence, except for the fact that the filmmakers inexplicably hired some forty year old guys to play high school students. The only thing in the film which is really  contrived is the finale, which represents what we wished we could do to Porky, and what we always talked about, but not what we really could do.

I have read a lot of criticism that says "oh, this is such low-brow fare". Let me see if I understand this. If funny, raunchy things actually happen in life, we should pass over them and talk instead about something uplifting, something that didn't happen? Oh, bullshit. This story is universal. It is not something that only happened to some white trash guys in rural Florida in the late 70's. I went to high school in the middle sixties. My mom was an opera singer. My friends came from the 'burbs, and most of their parents were professionals, not that we really cared or even asked. We had the same experiences. This story is universal. Why do you think it was such a smash hit? Porky's is far more realistic than almost all of the films in the IMDb top 250.

I have also read comments that Porky's humor is at a juvenile level. Let's examine that statement. Is "juvenile" good or bad? If you make a movie about juveniles, is it good or bad that they exhibit a juvenile sense of humor? Would the movie be better if the kids demonstrated the combined wit and sophistication of Moliere and Oscar Wilde? Do you see what I am driving at here? In fact, I agree with the critics that the humor in Porky's is juvenile. Where I disagree is that I believe this is a good thing in this context. If you don't want to see kids behaving like actual kids, for heaven's sake, I beg of you to skip this movie. You should have no trouble finding some unrealistic, pretentious fare at your local video store, like Last Year at Marienbad, except that the DVD may not play because of the dust that has collected on it.

Looking through the top 250 with a quick glance, I spot a film as genuine as this in spot #126  - "A Christmas Story". Hey, look who wrote and directed that - why, it was that same Michigander turned sometime Canuck filmmaker, Bob Clark! Once again, he was there, he knew these people. I don't find much to praise in the the rest of his career (Rhinestone!), but with those two films alone, Bob made two of the very few films about childhood and adolescence which I have watched and said "yes, that's exactly the way it was, only funnier".

Let me quote from the BBC's review:

When the American Film Institute was compiling the 100 funniest US comedies, a separate poll of the American public decided that their personal favourite comedy is none other than the Canadian effort "Porky's".

Yup, sums it up perfectly. A film that reviewers and film "experts" hate, but which is our favorite comedy, notwithstanding. The saddest part of the story is that those film "experts" have no idea why that is true. They don't understand why we like Porky's, indicating that (1) they have no concept of reality, or (2) they don't think reality is important in filmmaking, or (3) they have no sense of humor. Maybe all three.


It is a good film for nudity. Cattrall shows buns and bush in the equipment room sex scene, Kaki Hunter shows all three Bs in the shower scene, as do several unknown actresses, Pat Lee shows breasts as a stripper, and Susan Clark as Cherry Forever is seen in lingerie.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Porky's (1981) is one of my favorite teen comedies. Not that it doesn't have problems. Many of the characters were way over the top, most notably Beula Ballbricker, and Kim Cattrall's character, Miss Honeywell. The vendetta against redneck bar owner Porky got kind of old, and few of the performers seemed like as High School kids.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1.

  • also includes Porky's II

Why then do I like it so much? It contains two of the funniest scenes I have ever seen. The first involves a young coach finally nailing Miss Honeywell in the equipment room, and finding out why her nickname is Lassie. The second is the aftermath of the obligatory girls locker scene, where Beula asks the principal to set up a line-up of 5 boys' penises, so she can ID the guilty boy. In both cases, the gag is amusing enough, but what elevates them to greatness is the timing, and the way dozens of characters are reacting, and adding to the humor.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: made for a modest $4 million dollars, it grossed $106 million. It is the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Scoopy says "B-. One of the best teen sex comedies ever, so at least a genre-dominating C+, but I think it must be higher. I don't think you can argue that it doesn't have crossover appeal when American audiences vote it their favorite comedy of all time." Tuna says, "I suppose the proper score is C, but it remains a personal favorite."

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