Coach (1978) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's comments in white

On the surface, this is a youth-oriented summer fluff T&A comedy about a woman who succeeds as the men's basketball coach in a high school that hired her unseen, based on her brilliant sporting career and her first name, "Randy".

The film gets strange at times, however.

The most off-kilter aspect of the film is that she (beautiful, 30ish Cathy Lee Crosby) gets enmeshed in an affair with her starting point guard, and the movie stands aloof from any moralizing about their relationship. They don't talk about their age difference, and how it can't work. They don't talk about her abusing her moral authority as an adult in charge of kids. There is no external criticism of their relationship. They are simply allowed to be a boy and girl in love and enjoying each other. I guess the world has gotten considerably more politically correct, because I was genuinely shocked to see that at the end of the movie they were still a couple. In fact, the championship game was going poorly in the first half, because the kid saw his coach/lover kissing someone else. When they got it straightened out at halftime, he went out and played like Jerry West.

Another strange element of the film involves hypnosis. The team's center is generally a doofus, but he thinks he is Sidney Wicks (a former UCLA and NBA star who appears in the movie) when the key post-hypnotic suggestion is uttered. The coach finds out about it, and tells the kids that they have to win without hypnosis, because it's all about character and finding what's inside you. But when she's still down by 13 with four minutes to play in the Big Game, despite her lover's resurgence, she forgets about that character crap and decides that Doofus has to find what's inside Sidney Wicks, so she herself utters the magic word and becomes Champeen.

So we learn that all that character stuff is bullshit, and that winning is the only true virtue, except for having sex with children entrusted to your care. There are some unusual core values on display here, in a film which seems surreal by today's standards.

Tuna's comments in yellow

Coach is a teensploitation romantic comedy version of the much funnier Goldie Hawn film, Wildcats. It is terribly dated, in that many of the themes and events would cause a major outcry in today's world, starting with the main romance between a female teacher and a High School student. Cathly Lee Crosby plays a former Olympic gold medalist who is teaching an exercise class at a fat farm until a High School, not realizing she is a woman, sends her a telegraphic offer to become their head basketball coach, sight unseen.  When they discover "Randy" is a girl, they try to withdraw the offer, but she forces them to give her a chance. Naturally the High School ball players are impressed with her tits, but not too thrilled with her as a coach. The High School is more or less run by the grandfather of one of the players (Keenan Wynn) who instructs his grandson to give her nothing but trouble.

She finally earns their respect, partially by walking in while they are all naked in the shower, turning off the hot water, and making them stay under, and partially by fucking one of them. Of course, she also proves to know her stuff, and even brings in her superstar NBA buddy Sidney Wicks for a little extra clinic. There is also a subplot in which the center is uncoordinated and not very bright, so other players hypnotize him into not only acing his math exam, but playing like the redoubtable Mr. Wicks. The ending is the predictable last second victory over their biggest rival. 

So we have a female teacher torturing male students naked in the boys locker room, having an affair with one of her students, and joining in for a rowdy sing-along of Hey Lahdy Lahdy on the bus to a game; yet in 1978, nobody found anything strange about any of that, not even  the MPAA, which rated the film PG despite that thematic material and substantial gratuitous nudity!

When you consider the change in attitudes from 1978 until now, the film is worthwhile just for its value as a time capsule.


DVD INFO (Not recommended)

  • No widescreen
  • Fuzzy transfer - approximately VHS quality
  • No features


  • some breast exposure from Cathy Lee Crosby as she changes her shirt

  • a gratuitous scene where Linka Novak, Kristine Greco, Rosanne Katon and Robyn Pohle flash their breasts to cheer up the team after a loss.

  • a communal shower for the basketball team

  • a solo shower for Michael Biehn

The Critics Vote ...

  • Leonard Maltin 2/4

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C (Tuna) to C- (Scoop): a mildly amusing if formulaic drive-in flick which is interesting as a time capsule of the very different value system of the seventies.

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