I watched Screwballs a few years ago. I couldn’t tell you anything specific about it. All I remember is a blur of boobs and stupidity. That blur continues with Loose Screws.
aka: Screwballs II
Canada, 1985, Rafal Zielinski
Loose Screws is sort of a sequel to Screwballs. It’s made by the same lunatics. Some cast members return, but they have different names. Jason Warren’s Melvin Jerkovski is now Marvin Eatmore (this is funny because he is fat). Alan Deveau’s Howie Bates is now Hugh G. Rection. Two new indistinguishable idiots are thrown into the mix: Brad Lovett (Bryan Genesse) and Steve Hardman (Lance Van Der Kolk). These four perverts have been kept back four years in high school. I think that might have been an underestimation. My guess, by the looks of them, is that they’ve been kept back at least a decade. Their principal catches them doing a variety of perverted things and sends them to summer school — Cockswell Academy! The summer school is full of extraordinarily attractive ladies, which they sexually harass, and another principal (Mike MacDonald) who goes cross-eyed sometimes.
Twenty seconds into Loose Screws and we’ve already seen some boobs. Its 77 minute running time is bloated with a ridiculous soundtrack rarely takes a break (the theme song plays twice in a row), leotards, relentless sexual innuendo, and morally corrupt behaviour. I felt out of breath before the opening titles even kicked in. The characters are cartoons, giggling and smirking their way through the film. There is no narrative. The film builds to an insane conclusion that comes out of nowhere.
Like most 80s sex comedies, the leading men should be in prison rather than simply facing expulsion or detention. They pretend to be doctors and “inspect” the female students. Brad dresses in drag, sneaks into the ladies dorm, bathes with a girl who isn’t wearing her contact lenses and can’t see his boner, and feels her up as he shares her bed. Steve visits his French teacher for a private lesson. He strips off and joins her in the shower. Hugh puts a chemical into the pool that burns off swimsuits. Marvin grinds his blubbery body against women in an aerobics class. The women of Loose Screws don’t seem to react to any of this.
Along with the smiling non-reactions of the harassed women that has no basis in any kind of reality I’m familiar with, the film’s cinematography and art direction adds another layer of absurdity. I get the feeling that Rafal Zielinski — supposedly an arthouse director before 80s sex comedies got a hook into him — put a certain amount of love, thought, and effort into this film. It looks quite good, but there’s something inexplicably wrong about everything. I’m convinced this was shot on another planet — or maybe in Hell — rather than Canada.
Loose Screws ends with our four heroic sex offenders on stage singing a song called “Screw It” in front of a enthusiastic crowd. There is no reference to them having any musical abilities before this. This made me happy. It’s fantasy straight from the mind of a teenager. It’s probably the most satisfying ending of any 80s teen film, even though nothing in the final ten minutes makes any kind of narrative sense.
My emotional response to Loose Screws ran in parallel lines. I don’t think I’ve ever loved and hated a film with such joy and such venom. Loose Screws shouldn’t exist. But it does. And it may be the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen. Don’t watch this movie.
Loose Screws is available from the amazing Severin Films on DVD and blu-ray. The video and audio is perfect and there’s tons of extras. But be warned! There’s a shitty extraless turd of a DVD lurking about from Buena Vista that should be avoided at all costs.