Summer Movie Blogathon – Little Darlings (1980)


This is the second of 3 reviews that are part of The Summer Movie Blogathon hosted by Chris of Blog of the Darned.  Tnx for letting me participate!

“You’re supposed to get turned on, stupid, not pass out.” – Angel

Number of Times Seen – 1 (25 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Two teenage girls make a wager that they will each be the first to lose their virginity while at summer camp.

My Take on it – This is a film about a summer camp experience for two girls from very different backgrounds who find common ground in their quest to lose their virginity.

This film seems too much like an attempt to make a female version of Meatballs (1979) and fails miserably because it isn’t funny at all and lacks any kind of real message.

Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal are both fine here as the two main charters but we don’t really have any reason to feel much for either of them and frankly don’t care which one will win the bet.

This film brings about some really interesting questions about repercussions from a lie told by one of the characters and even in the decade of the 80’s where things were more liberally thought about, I would imagine such a rumor would have dire circumstances.

I personally prefer the more innocent characters that the two of these talented actresses played before this film.

Look for a very young Matt Dillon and an even younger Cynbthia Nixon in small roles.

Bottom Line – Very sophomoric film that just isn’t funny or poignant at all. McNichol and O’Neal are both fine here, but neither really gives us much reason to care about what happens to their characters over this pivotal summer of their lives. Seems like an attempt to create a female version of Meatballs (1979), but it just doesn’t succeed well enough.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Kristy McNichol took up smoking as part of the preparation for the role, but couldn’t quit the habit. She was a regular smoker for nearly 10 years after finishing the film. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

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43 thoughts on “Summer Movie Blogathon – Little Darlings (1980)

  1. You’re pretty spot on with your assessment. I’m sure it was trying to bank on the success of Meatballs, but without the humor or even the heart of Meatballs. I know that I saw it on TV fairly soon after it came out, and it didn’t leave much of an impression then. I also saw it in the last year or so, and it didn’t fare any better. In fact, what stands out to me, is a bit of music, a piano solo pulled from the Supertramp song, “School.” Kind of sad that a 90-second musical interlude is the highlight of a film. Thanks for jump in the blogathon with this and your other entries.

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    • yea, sometimes that’s the way it is with movies. At least u have some find memories of this one 🙂

      always a pleasure to join in. tnx for running the blogathon Chris!

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  2. I actually had a screenplay in circulation (and eventually optioned) at the same time as both Little Darlings AND Meatballs – a sort of semi-autobiographical piece about my experiences as both a camper and a counselor growing up. The crazy thing was – my script was the first into the market – back at a time when young actors weren’t necessarily thought of as bankable – and you didn’t have the crossover you have now with TV actors doing movies on their hiatus. The producer of “Little Darlings”(Stephen Friedman) – who was an Oscar nominee for “The Last Picture Show” – wanted to make my movie – and could not convince Warner Brothers to do it (mine was a sort of Animal House meets American Grafitti meets The Graduate) and he ended up doing LD for them instead. My problem with Darlings was – it wasn’t really a summer camp movie – it just used it as a background for the 2 young girls having a race to see who could lose their virginity first. Meatballs – also set in a summer camp – was more of a showcase for the young and not yet a movie star Bill Murray – and focused on his counselor character – not the camp or campers (other than the 1 he took under his wing). Mine actually focused on a number of campers of different ages and their counselors – accenting one particular 21 year old counselor – set to attend medical school in the Fall – who was working there as his last “summer as a kid” and watching over a bunk of crazy 12 year old boys at a coed camp. My script ended up at Norman Lear’s company – when he was the King of TV – and the 3 scripts were all chasing actors and locations (most in Canada) simultaneously. The other 2 got made, mine did not. All because another Lear movie went a couple hundred thousand dollars over budget. Too bad – because we were about to hire a comedian who had never done a movie before to play “Uncle Moe” – the camp owner – by the name of Rodney Dangerfield. And the 21 yr old counselor was down to either Adam Arkin (Alan’s son), Joey Travolta (John’s brother) or David Naughton – who had been the dancing Dr. Pepper guy in their commercials and would go on to star in “An American Werewolf in London” and the TV series “My Sister Sam”. Had things gone slightly differently – my writing career would have gone VERY differently.

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    • wow thats an amazing and also sad story. Sorry it didnt work for u Michael. Do u have an entry on IMDB? I’d be interested to see what else u have done. Im actually familiar with Naughton because I always loved him in Midnight Madness (1980) which is a guilty pleasure of mine

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      • I do have an IMDB listing as far as I know, but it’s all very limited because IMDB only lists things that get made with my credit on it. I had a few close calls and non-credited items that were even more egregious than the camp script – but no mention on IMDB. It may or may not have a couple of my TV credits and it probably lists a movie called BEDROOM EYES (although probably not the sequel – that pretty much went straight to video and starred Linda Blair). It won’t have any mention of this one, nor that I worked on the 3rd Beverly Hills Cop or that I was the original writer of THE LAST SAMURAI. I was a working writer out in LA for 20 years. Wrote (and got paid for) a lot more than I got “credit” for. Another side note to David Naughton. We went to the same high school. He graduated 2 years ahead of me, but is in my yearbook because he was on the baseball team. Also, his older brother James – is a 2 time Tony award winner for Best Actor in a Musical (for “Chicago” and “City of Angels”) and we used to play in a Sunday morning pick up softball game together years ago after I moved back to CT. James no longer plays. I do.

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          • There ya go. Always liked that poster. When the movie came out – I did an interview with the Los Angeles Times – and told them that the movie stunk. They totally screwed up my script (a Hitchcockian thriller – in which – in the made movie – the murder VICTIM in my original who died on page 15 – turned out to be the killer!), but I said – “at least I got a cool poster to hang on my wall”. It still hangs on my wall – along with “Beverly Hills Cop III” and “The Last Samurai”. I once tried to correct IMDB to add a couple of TV specials I wrote – but their process is such a pain in the ass, that I gave up.

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              • I wouldn’t waste my time watching BEDROOM EYES. It bears very little resemblance to what I wrote, and with so many great films to watch for the first time (or the 2nd, 3rd and 4th), why bother? I watched it only once myself – in a screening room with a friend whose company was considering picking up the US distribution rights. It made me nauseous seeing what they did to it. When I heard they were doing a sequel (for which I would be paid, whether I wrote it or not, based on my having written the original and as part of my contract) – via a friend who read about it in the trades – my agent contacted the Canadian company to request my sequel payment. They denied it was a sequel. It was called “BEDROOM EYES II” and in the production literature – had characters from my original, but they denied it was a sequel. I got a lawyer. They fessed up – and tried to pay me in Canadian dollars. I eventually was paid in $US. It was all a long joke with multiple punchlines. (BTW – when the original opened – in a very limited release on only a handful of screens – it was the #14 movie in the US that week)

                As for IMDB, there’s obviously no listing of BEDROOM EYES II, even though it was a sequel based on my characters. And the 2 TV specials were both broadcast on NBC, both produced by Don Ohlmeyer. One was called “The Athlete Chronicles: America’s Heroes” I was the top-billed credited writer (I wrote a segment on Jim Thorpe played by Joe Don Baker in the show) and the other – where I was the sole credited writer, was “”Hollywood’s Most Sensational Mysteries”. They were both broadcast in the mid 80s. 1985/86 I think. If you have a shorthand way to get them added to my puny IMDB resume, that would be great. If not – don’t worry about it. It was a long time ago – I’ve moved well past that – and on to hard-working, successful black-listed writer.

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                  • As I said – there’s the sequel. The credits of the actual movie should say “Based on characters created by…” since there’s the link on the IMDB that “connects” it to Bedroom Eyes” – but the producers omitted it. I didn’t pursue it because I was exhausted after just chasing them for my sequel payment for 6 months (and had to hire and pay a lawyer to do that), but never understood why IMDB didn’t make the connection and list both on my page. One more note – Kathy Shower – listed with Wings Hauser and Linda Blair – was a Playmate of the Year in Playboy. Like the original, it made for a cool poster – but little else.

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                  • Again – that’s what I meant by trying to get IMDB to add them to my page, but it was a convoluted pain in the neck – and they were both broadcast – both were listed in TV Guide at the time – and my name IS in the credits for both specials. Top billed for one and a solo credit on the other. That’s why I never put a lot of faith in IMDB.

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                  • I just looked up Don Ohlmeyer’s IMDB page – quite extensive – Monday Night Football, Prime Time Emmy awards – but neither special is listed on his page either. It’s like they never exited.

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                    • Already did. That’s about as much as I have. The titles, Ohlmeyer producing both. Both on NBC. (As I recall, one ran against a Carol Burnett/Julie Andrews special – and we got slaughtered in the ratings). Joe Don Baker. Broadcast in 1986 I think. Each one only shown once as far as I know (I never got any residual checks for reruns). Listed in TV Guide when they were originally shown. Oh yeah – one more thing – “Hollywood’s Most Sensational Mysteries” was narrated – on camera – by Ben Gazzara. Probably not in his IMDB listing either. Trust me, not worth the effort. I’m going to bed.

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                    • Obviously, appreciate the help. But you’ll make yourself nuts. I just looked up Gazzara’s IMDB page – nothing there either! It’s as if I hallucinated the whole thing. Got paid for both. Ohlmeyer even gave me a bonus on one of them. I could forward copies of my pay stubs to IMDB – but if that’s what it takes – why bother. Trust me – adding these credits to my page would make it more accurate – but would do nothing for my career. At the time – one of the producer’s asked me if I wanted a videotape of the show, but I didn’t even own a VCR, so I said “no thanks”. If I had that – at least I’d have proof. Instead – the mystery lives on.

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                    • Don’t know how you did it. You must be the IMDB Whisperer. At long last, my IMDB credit page has doubled in size. I agree with the poster who said the first one wasn’t very good and there was no reason for a sequel. Now – if you can find out what layer of the cloud/ether/ozone my 2 TV specials have hidden out in – you will officially be a genius. But thanks for getting I linked up w/ II. At the least, it shows that the first B.E. was successful enough to spawn a sequel. At least I have that on my resume.

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                  • Been trying this one too and I’m coming up empty. Nothing under the title. Tried links to a # of Joe Don Baker’s filmographies etc – and not a thing for him either. Very mysterious.

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                  • I clicked on the link you provided but didn’t see anything more than a synopsis, no credits. I was actually the first writer on BHCIII when it was being produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. I did multiple drafts of the film when it was going to be set in London. Neither myself or Don & Jerry were around by the time the movie was made. A number of writers followed me and the action ended up taking place back in LA again – like the first 2 movies – set in a faux Disneyland setting with a counterfeiting ring. I was paid for my work on the script – but IMDB doesn’t list writers who worked on the screenplay unless they get an actual on screen credit after it’s all arbitrated at the WGA, I did not receive any writing or story credit on the movie, so IMDB (unless they’ve changed their policy) will not list it as one of my credits. Other databases are not as thorough and will go through titles and match them with writers who worked on those films – or worked on films with similar titles. In various places, I’ve been credited with working on projects I DID work on, but without credit, or some I never worked on – but with the same title as a script I did write (like

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                    • cut me off early…Like “Blind Date” – the Bruce Willis movie. I wrote a script entitled Blind Date which was optioned by a studio, but it was not made – and it had NOTHING to do with the Willis movie). I’ve seen some places where I’m listed as having written all 3 Beverly Hills Cop movies. Ain’t true. The one movie that I did write – as an original screenplay – and for which I got no credit – and ended up suing the studio and the WGA – was The Last Samurai. IMDB won’t list me as having worked on that either – for the reasons enumerated above.

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              • Rob: I just entered “Hollywood’s Most Sensational Mysteries” Hosted by Ben Gazzara into the search line on my computer – and hit paydirt!! It came up – under a TCM banner (I have no idea why) released in 1984. I hit cast and crew credits link and it listed all the actors AND says: “Writer: Michael Alan Eddy”. So maybe you can do something with that re: IMDB.

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      • Also – “sad” story in some regards but not all. It was actually only the 2nd script I’d ever written – and I did get paid for the option and rewrite I did and it got me into the Writers Guild.

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          • BTW – see that you’re now watching DODSWORTH. A great movie. I saw it for the first time – on a big screen – as part of an AFI “Best 100 Movies Ever Made” marathon when I lived in LA. The marathon went for 36 straight hours. I left at one point to go home and sleep for 2 hours and then come back. Dodsworth was one of the films and made quite an impression on me. Some others…2001 A Space Odyssey, Bonnie and Clyde, Duck Soup, Paths of Glory…Enjoy.

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  3. Clicked on the “also found this” link you sent – yeah, same show. Didn’t see my writing credit listed, but it matches up with everything else I sent you/told you about. They did have a typo on one of the listed cast members: Leslie London. It should actually be Leslie Landon (who played Lana Turner’s daughter in the segment that re-enacted her stabbing of her mother’s gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato) Leslie Landon is the daughter of Michael Landon.

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      • Voila!!! is right. Well done, sir. You accomplished more in the last 36 hours than my last agent in 5 years. Color me very impressed. Up to 3 listings on IMDB. And they said it couldn’t be done. Now – if we can find “The Athlete Chronicles: America’s Heroes”…I’m beginning to think it was in Al Capone’s vault, but somebody moved it before Geraldo Rivera got to it. Or maybe Burt Lancaster’s ghost was p.o.ed that Joe Don Baker played Jim Thorpe (even though Lancaster was actually offered the role – which amounted to a 7 minute monologue as Thorpe reacting to the Olympic committee re-instating the Gold medal he’d won which had been stripped away because he was paid $5 a week to play baseball one summer after college.) Thank you Rob. You did a helluva job.

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          • I’ve had 6 or 7 over the years. At the moment – none. If there was money in posting items on IMDB, I would give you 10%. Thanks again. And if I had more to give you (other than the Athlete Chronicles, already discussed) I would. But the rest of my work – is unproduced – even though I was paid for it – so none of it would qualify for an IMDB listing.

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  4. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1980 |

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