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This film impressed me so much back then that I not only made all my
friends and family see it, but I drove all the way to Georgia to see
where it was filmed.
It's not just about sex - it's about the two ways you can look at sex when approaching puberty. The wrong way - the Ferris Whitney way - is to romanticize it like Romeo and Juliette. The other wrong way -- Angel's way and the way I saw it at the time -- is to see it as something scary, invasive, animalistic, and biological which is approaching to seize you, engulf you, and reprogram you into a mindless reproduction-machine.
Of the eight characters, only Angel discovers the truth: "God, it was so... PERSONAL, like you could see right through me". Sex turns out not to be storybook romance OR a tyrannical usurping of your body by the Forces of Evolution, but something very, very, very, very real, immediate... and YOU.
In the boathouse, Angel discovers that sex is not something scary she is forced to be, but something wonderful she was always meant to be.
In the words of the novel, "All the fear and uncertainty melted away as they kissed. Soon she didn't know who was touching whom, only that it was wonderful, and right, and fine. And the moon stared impenetrably through the window".
Notice how "before", she's withdrawn, sarcastic, and hostile; and "after", she's relaxed and kind of at one with the world, like she's a part of it, instead of a stranger in it.
In the very last scene, she hugs her mom -- something she NEVER would have done before -- saying "What's this crap about sex being nothing? You've been hanging around creeps!" This resonated very, very strongly with me at that age; I wanted that to happen to ME. And I don't mean getting laid.
The movie was supposedly filmed in Madison, Georgia,at Hard Labor Creek state park. I was wondering if any evidence that a movie had been made would even still exist after two years. The first thing I came upon was a big sign over the road: "Camp Little Wolf". My God! All the sets and props were intact... and abandoned.
Alone, I explored. I walked on the dock and sat on the swing. When night came, I slept in Cabin A, in the bed that Angel did. The next day, I jumped into the lake, hoping that this baptism would somehow cause the same ...transformation which happened to her: the transformation from child to adult.
And finally, before leaving, I sat for hours in the boathouse, on the spot where "it" happened, just thinking.
Did I like the film, "Little Darlings"? Yeah.
Yeah, I did.
I still remember the first time I saw this movie. It was a sneak preview with Steven Spielberg's occasionally funny comedy "1941." I still remember filling out my preview card rating Tatum O'Neal and Matt Dillon as "Very Good" but rating Kristy McNichol as "Excellent." At the time, I thought I would see the movie once and forget about it. I have seen the movie many, many times and I have never forgotten it. The late Gene Siskel said in his TV review of the movie that it was really two movies, a broad "Animal House" type comedy with food fights and condom jokes (which it is) and a very good coming of age story (which it is). When Matt Dillon was recently on the Bravo series "Inside the Actor's Studio," Dillon heard so many students say they liked this film, he actually said they ought to do a sequel. I hope they don't. I think he was really surprised to hear people praise this movie twenty years later. Some films stay with you and this is one of them. Interesting to see Cynthia Nixon on the HBO series "Sex And The City" after doing this project.
This is the popular film and now cult classic from 1980 and yes, this is the first time I have viewed it! The story is a familiar one, two girls from opposite side of the tracks are involved in a bet while at summer camp and they wager who loses their virginity first. Kristy McNichol is Angel, a girl raised by her mother in a bad neighborhood who is very tough. You can tell she's tough because she chews gum and when she smokes she blows smoke in your face! Tatum O'Neal is Ferris, a rich girl who's father is divorcing her mother. At the camp the other girls all say they have lost their virginity but Ferris and Angel admit they have not. The girls get their money together and make them agree to the bet. Ferris has eyes on an older camp counselor named Gary (Armand Assante) while Angel meets Randy (Matt Dillon) one of the boys from the boys camp across the lake. The film starts out with the usual bitchy banter from the girls and of course there's a food fight in the dining area. The film is not well made but the acting by McNichol is just top notch. Film has that low budget look about it and its not shot with any creative camera angles. But one thing that the film does well is keep the camera on McNichols face, when you think that the shot is going to change angles it does not. The camera lingers on her and it allows McNichol to vary her expressions during some scenes that require a lot from her. Film also does a good job of having this familiar material be from the perspective of a young girl instead of a young man. This is not a great film, most of the characters are badly written and just cardboard characters but when its time for McNichol to lose her virginity then the film becomes a compelling study of a young girl trying to cope with her first time. Its a very mature performance and one that most actress's of her age would not have handled this impressively. McNichol could vary her emotions at the drop of a hat, one moment she has tears in her eyes and in the next instant she gives you that smile that changes the complexities of the whole scene. You can make a case that its one of the best performances of the 80's. She's that terrific! Its also fun to watch a young Krista Errickson (The First Time) and a very young Cynthia Nixon (Sex in the City). I'm at odds with myself, I don't think its a great film but its one that I just can't stop thinking about. Not hard to figure out why. Thanks Kristy!
I was hesitant to buy this movie on video because there is a disclaimer on the back of the box stating that some of the music has been changed. I thought it would be like the video version of "16 Candles" where they replaced some of the music with "canned elevator music". Since I only saw the TV version of this movie, and never saw the theatrical release-I didn't find a huge difference in the video version except for the song during the ending credits. From what I remember it was a song called "Let Your Love Flow", or something like that. The video version closing music is awful! I don't know where Paramount dug up that song! For the movie, I still found it enjoyable and entertaining. Tatum O'Neal, and Kristy McNichol really shine through in this movie and make it fun to watch. I am glad that it's still available on video, but it would be nice if this movie was released on DVD in the original theatrical version, or TV version.
Wonderful funny teenage coming-of-age flick! A must see for viewers from 12 to 92! It's endearing and the acting is quite good for the age group of the cast. Matt Dillon's performance is stellar and he melts the hearts of all the women in the audience. Kristy McNichol and Tatum Oneal have a believable rivalry that ends in a moment that captures the true essence of teenage friendships. It's a great movie for parents to watch with their about to be teenage daughters, the sons may find it too cheesy. But give it a try. It's a classic flick that will hang around for many, many years to come. The scene where the girls go on a hunt for condoms is priceless! It's definitely a knee slapper. The next scene stealer would be gentle Sunshine who proves that even hippie tree hugging types have their limits. Go on out and pick up a copy. Rent it. You won't be sorry you did.
Angel (Kristy McNichol) and Ferris (Tatum O'Neal) compete at summer
camp to see who can lose their virginity first. O'Neal goes after hunky
Armand Assante and McNichol goes after punk Matt Dillon. This was a
huge hit with teenagers back in 1980 (despite the R rating). There's no
nudity and sex is kept off-screen, but there is a huge amount of sex
talk, swearing, the kids smoking and drinking beer and every possible
sex joke you can think of. Despite all this, the film is actually not
that sleazy and kind of fun. Some of the jokes are very funny and the
subject of teen sex is dealt with intelligently and seriously. It's
also amusing to see Dillon, O'Neal, McNicol and Assante so young...and
look for a VERY young Cynthia Nixon as one of the kids! All the acting
is pretty good--McNicol is VERY good--a very natural, believable
performance. Good 80s soundtrack too.
Very entertaining movie but what really makes it worthwhile is the wonderful performance by Kristy McNicol. That alone makes it worth watching - she carries the movie all the way through. Love the scene where she and Tatum have their heart-to-heart confession of what really happened - Kristy shows true emotion. Matt Dillon sure was a cute thing back then! Also, watch for a very young Cynthia Nixon from Sex in the City playing the hippie kid. And Armand Asante - what can I say! He was sure in his prime in the looks department! Tatum is only just okay in this film but then maybe that's how her character was supposed to be. A fun watch!
Little Darlings is a classic teen movie but the appeal is that it can actually be enjoyed by all ages. I have seen this one and one half times. I FIRST saw it when I was a kid but I actually think it can be enjoyed as much or more as an adult. Little darlings is both a cute movie and a fun one-although it's a light movie, the characters go through and tackle, issues all young girls deal with in a fun non preachy manner and is pretty accurate in many places too. The reason it is so much fun to watch as an adult is for nostalgia purposes. Set at summercamp, it sort of takes you back to your youth. The movie is dated as anything and when I recently caught it again I almost had to laugh at the dated aspect but the fact remains it can still be enjoyed today.Teens will identify with it, adults will reminded of times gone by.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Little Darlings" Whoa! I fell in love with this film in my late teens after watching Kristy McNichols' performance as "Angel" even though this is one movie that would be more recommended and appealing for coming-of-age girls rather than boys and for good reason: From the very beginning scene where the tag-line "Don't Let The Name or Title Fool You" is quickly established as she drops an annoying boy (who's trying to hit on her) right to the ground with a good swift-hard powerful kick to his balls to the very sweet emotional ending, her entire performance as a spunky, tough virgin teenage tomboy is indeed sensational. Besides she also looked so hot in those denim jeans, jacket and very painful Converse sneakers. She's awesome cute and sexy!
And while I'm at it, thanks to PC Hacker for leaving her comments. Her
observations put into words an understanding about the movie that I'd
only reached emotionally.
I believe the reason this movie isn't well regarded historically is because it was so cynically marketed: two teenage virgins compete to experience sex for the first time. One reviewer at the time wrote, "What ever happened to Andy Hardy?" While the marketing was true to the movie's basic plot, unfortunately it allowed many lazy reviewers to see it through a myopic lens of an exploitation movie. Nothing could be further from the case. PC Hacker does an excellent job of stating what the movie is really about, and Kristy McNichol's performance really is astonishingly tender and complex.
Kristy decided to retire from film, which is a pity - but I'm grateful she's left us this and I imagine her retirement plus the undeserved pejorative opinion by critics of the work adds to the poignant sentiment that fans hold for this film to this day.
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