Little Darlings

little darlings

I remember shaking my head in disbelief when I saw the trailer for this movie. They were going to make a sex comedy featuring two of my favorite actresses– Tatum O’ Neal and Kristy McNichol—based on a race between the two to lose their virginity? Please, where does the line for tickets form? Tatum had already “struck me out swinging,” if I may indulge in some quite appropriate baseball parlance, as the ace tomboy pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer in the 70s classic The Bad News Bears. That bob, those freckles, that already ragged beyond-its-years voice, that nasty curveball. You couldn’t help but love her. Kristy McNichol, a brooding brunette from the ABC-TV drama Family, was more the girl-next-door type, if the girl next door happened to be named after a dog. (Buddy, in case you’ve forgotten). Naturally, since it was the early 80s, the role of feather-haired cherry-buster went to Matt Dillon, because, well, that was what he did back then.

My personal expectations for this movie were so high that the end result was bound to be disappointing. It turned out to be a fairly standard summer camp movie and of course it’s the poor, tough girl (Kristy) who ends up surrendering to Matt on some dirty inflatable raft behind a tool shed, while the rich girl (Tatum) leaves camp every bit as intact as when she’d arrived and in better clothes to boot. I guess the filmmakers were trying to teach the film-going public some kind of lesson about socioeconomics and sexuality, but it’s all pretty much lost to me now.

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