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Mark L. Lester
Bobby is a Los Angeles teenager who buys a customized Dodge van to pick up girls and spruce up his dull life, all while trying to win money racing other vans in order to pay for his own. Written by
Despite the song "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns appearing throughout the soundtrack the titular "Van" is a 1977 Dodge B200 Tradesman van (which was prepared by legendary car customizer George Barris). The van, purchased at Claude Short Dodge in Santa Monica, California, is the extended version of the B200 Dodge, featuring a 360-ci "small block" Chrysler V8 engine, automatic transmission and air conditioning. The customization includes a four-foot circular window on the driver's side, a water bed, mirrored ceiling, carpeted and padded walls, drink rack, refrigerator, a TV, a table with a built-in toaster, captain's chairs and a CB radio and eight-track tape player. Two vans were built for the film. The primary van, which was used for all running and interior shots, featured all the customizations listed above. The stunt van (a 1972 Dodge cargo van dressed to look like the primary 1977 Dodge van) was used for the drag-racing scenes, and did not feature a full interior. See more »
When Bobby drops Tina off down the street from her house after spending the night on the beach, you can see a crew member's reflection in the passenger side wind wing glass and two rectangular production light reflectors reflected on the side of the van as he pulls away. See more »
[after a take-out waitress praises his van]
Hey, you wanna go share a joint on the waterbed?
Waterbed? Really? I just love waterbeds.
It's right there in the back.
I really don't have time for a joint. But I got some time for a...
[signaling a humping motion]
Ah... yeah... sure.
[the take-out waitress steps out from behind the counter, making Bobby gasp upon noticing her very large buttocks on her otherwise thin body]
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Coming-of-age fare from the 70s; you know that period where a new van supposedly meant high living, fast girls, and tons of laughs. Hmmm. Anyway, The Van is not entirely bad. I mean let's be realistic. This film wasn't trying to be anything grandiose or even a cheap imitation of American Graffiti. Thank goodness because it would fail miserably. A teen-aged Stuart Goetz, giving a very energetic performance, works at a carwash and finally saves enough to get his loaded van. It seems to have everything in it including a water bed, mirrored ceiling, and a toaster. The van symbolizes this teen's ability to get women to sleep with him. All he does is mention he has a van in some instances. Well, naturally this ploy doesn't work all the time and romance buds with a girl that doesn't seem all that impressed with his wheels. The film is very formulaic and has its expected dose of naked girls and sexual situations. Nothing special here but oddly the film has heart. Goetz, if nothing else as he bobs his head up and down and side to side through most of the film wildly grinning, adds a life to this film that would otherwise be even more irritating. It is this energy which also makes him get quite annoying after awhile as well. Certainly a Catch 22! The other cast members are nothing special. Danny Devito; however, has one of his first roles as Goetz'z boss. Connie Lisa Marie as a roughneck's squeeze is gorgeous. The hit song "Chevy Van" plays throughout the film. Not a bad way to take one down memory lane, even if it is an askewed point of view.
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