The Hollywood Knights

There are few things that so consistently ruin the movie-watching experience for me quite like the presence of Robert Wuhl. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t care for the guy. His ridiculous smirk and constant mugging for the camera, as if to say, “look at me, I’m in a movie,” always seems out-of-place. I can deal with him in “Batman,” he’s in the movie so little, but otherwise the dude just bugs me. And he doesn’t care, I mean why should he? Who the heck am I? As long as Ron Shelton keeps making movies, Wuhl’s got it made. But I wouldn’t mind it if he took all his money from making seven seasons of “Arliss,” (Really? Seven seasons!) and chose never to appear on screen again. So why I chose to subject myself to his 1980 screen debut, “The Hollywood Knights,” is beyond me. I guess I was too focused on the big picture of Tony Danza and Michelle Pfieffer on the cover to notice him. That’s the Danza Effect for ya.

Let me get this out of the way right out of the chute, “The Hollywood Kngihts” may be the worst movie I’ve reviewed so far here on the old blog. This seven years too late “American Graffiti” ripoff is just plain horrible.

It’s Halloween night in LA, 1965…the final night of business for Tubby’s Drive-In, favorite hang-out of a “car gang” (whatever that is) called The Hollywood Knights. The Crips and the Bloods got nothing on this gang of hoods, let me tell ya. Led by Newbomb Turk (Wuhl), they do their talking armed with eggs and sticking their butts out of car windows. Wuhl and his toadies spend the whole movie roaming around looking for pranks to pull. If there’s a punch bowl that needs pissing in, they’re there. And since girls love guys who pee in the punch, Newbomb earns himself an adventure in the back seat of his car with the local hot girl…Fran Drescher?!?

If this is all sounds a bit sophomoric, that’s because it is. But don’t worry, the filmmakers do attempt to be deep as well. That’s where Danza and Pfieffer come in. Pfieffer’s Suzie Q works at Tubby’s but dreams of being an actress. Her boyfriend, senior Knights member Duke (Danza), is having a hard time being supportive. All the while, he’s dealing with the reality of fellow gang member Jimmy (Gary Graham) getting ready to head off to the military…and Vietnam. Wow man, deep. Stupid is more like it. This whole storyline, if you can call it that, seems tacked on. Danza, Pfieffer and Graham have almost no screen time with Wuhl and the rest. Come to think of it, that was probably a good thing for Danza, Pfieffer and Graham, but it doesn’t make their “storyline” any more interesting. It’s supposed to be that whole moment of growing up…the loss of innocence…blah blah blah. It’s hard to get into that mindset when you’ve got a cast of the world’s oldest teenagers. For crying out loud, Stuart Pankin as the geeky honor roll kid was 33 years old when he made this! Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to take anything seriously when Robert Wuhl’s butt keeps making cameo appearances.

About the only thing the film has going for it is the soundtrack. Had the filmmakers put half as much effort into the rest of the film as they did to securing the rights to so many classic tracks, we may have had a better movie.

I love looking at all aspects of movie history, the good and the bad, but I have my limits. Am I wrong for saying that this is a forgotten film that deserves to be forgotten? I kid you not, this film is even inexplicably missing from Tony Danza’s filmography on IMDB. Can’t say I blame him.

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11 thoughts on “The Hollywood Knights

  1. worst review of a film I have ever read, you were against the film from the gate. Even worse you have no idea what a car gang is ( it’s not a gang to begin with,it’s a car club. Stay here on word press and please don’t waste money on a domain name.

  2. I hope.that you have a day job, because you sure won’t be making a living from movie reviewing. You are a f*cking moron, this movie was one of the funniest movies I can remember seeing. It was a favorite of mine as a teenager and of so many of my friends. It was full of childish humor and girls and cool cars, all the things a teenage boy loves. I can’t forget the amazing soundtrack, great music throughout the movie. This was one of the best forgotten movies of all time.

      • I have to wonder if the reviewer even watched this movie. Great cars, great music, and a funny story to tell. You don’t like Wuhl. I get it. Maybe you can’t look past your dislike for him & give this movie an honest review.
        The movie captured the attitude that I remember as a kid growing up in the 60’s. It wasn’t a life changing experience. It was a funny movie.

        • It’s entirely possible that my disdain for Wuhl has somewhat clouded by judgement. Just as likely is the possibility that fans of this film are clouded by a sense of nostalgia and a love of cool cars. The presence of a great set of wheels, however, does not make a film a classic. If it did then they would’ve given the Best Picture Oscar to The Cannonball Run, and nobody wants to live in world like that.

          • ” fans of this film are clouded by a sense of nostalgia and a love of cool cars”. How can this movie have “fans” if it’s so bad. Look, we disagree about the movie. I watched it with an open mind, not knowing who Robert Wuhl is. I loved it & thought it was an entertaining hour & a half. The cars are part of it, but the ideas & actions of the “Knights” was funny. I’m sorry that you disagree.
            BTW, I liked Cannonball Run also, but not as well as HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS.

            • “How can this movie have “fans” if it’s so bad.” Um…because film is subjective and you’re not the only person who has disagreed with me on this particular one. YES, we disagree about this movie. I’m not trying to sway your’s, or anybody else’s, opinion. Love it all you want, it’s no skin off my back. I’m merely responding to your comment…that’s the way discussion works.

              I encourage discussion on all my posts. I don’t get around to replying to every comment left on the blog, but ones like those left for this movie…I’m gonna make the time to reply to them. Especially since all have resorted to personal attack to try and make a point:

              “I hope.that you have a day job, because you sure won’t be making a living from movie reviewing. You are a f*cking moron…”

              “I have to wonder if the reviewer even watched this movie.”

              “Stay here on word press and please don’t waste money on a domain name.” (Wow…so hurtful [that’s sarcasm, by the way.])

              The film spoke to you in some way…I’m glad. It didn’t for me, And for what it’s worth: I like The Cannonball Run, too. It’s silly fun.

  3. I enjoy discussion, and was asking a serious question when I asked if you watched the movie, or “shut it out” & moved on. No sarcasm intended. I appreciate your willingness to discuss the film.
    Don’t you find it strange that everyone that made comments on your review think that you missed the boat completely on this film. BTW, you are the one that brought up Wuhl’s bare butt…
    I watched “Knights” again last week, & laughed even though I knew what was coming. I noticed things about some of the classic cars that I had missed earlier. This is a GREAT movie. One of my top five all time.
    Maybe it time for you to watch Hollywood Knights again. “Silly fun” would be a great way to describe THIS film.
    I think it captured the Van Nuys Blvd. cruising attitude & coming of age in the 60s pretty well.

    Am I “clouded by a sense of nostalgia and a love of cool cars”. You bet I am ….

  4. In 1979 I lived on Sherman way and van nuys blvd watched them rebuild tubbys drive inn it was a deserted bldg and the lot was a mess I was even suited up as an extra in one of the drive in scenes I knew Tony Danza and Michelle pfeiffer I even took Michelle’s 2sisters to the lunch wagon one night it wasnt that bad of a movie Floyd mutrix was the director

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