The Hollywood Knights is a 1980 comedy film written and directed by Floyd Mutrux, about a high-spirited 1960s teenage car club that hangs out at the drive-in, cruises the streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and pulls mischievous pranks and practical jokes on a variety of local snobs and authority figures. The cast includes Robert Wuhl, Tony Danza, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Fran Drescher, all of whom were still very early in their acting careers. With its period nostalgia and raunchy humor, the film plays like a cross between American Graffiti and Animal House.
As the movie begins, it's Halloween of 1965 and Tubby's Drive-In in Beverly Hills will be closing forever at the end of the night to make way for a new office building. Tubby's has been the long-time hangout of the Hollywood Knights car club, who have long been a thorn in the side of the Beverly Hills Residents Association and the local police department. With the "social disease" of Tubby's gone, the BHRA believes that surely the Knights will move on to other towns and finally spare the good people of Beverly Hills from all the drag racing, egging, and drive-by mooning.
For Newbomb Turk (Wuhl) and the Hollywood Knights, times are changing. Not only is Tubby's closing, but Jimmy Shine (Gary Graham) is leaving the next morning for boot camp, and then most likely for Vietnam. Duke (Danza) is contemplating the direction of his life and the future of his relationship with Suzie Q (Pfeiffer). This year's Knights pledge class is being initiated with a nude adventure into Watts, but the pledge classes grow smaller each year. Newbomb is determined to send both Tubby's and Jimmy off in style with a memorable evening of partying, pranks, and practical jokes, and he wouldn't mind scoring with Sally (Drescher) along the way.
This film includes examples of:
- Anachronism Stew
- Present-Day Past: The movie was filmed in 1979 and is set in 1965. While many of the middle-aged adults are wearing mid-1960s hair and fashion, a number of the younger characters (like the Iron Box Twins, and especially the students at the pep rally) have late-1970s hairdos and clothing. Not unexpected in a low-budget period piece comedy, however, where the Rules of Funny, Sexy, and Cool have priority over historical accuracy.
- The music is Nothing but Hits, but a lot of it is hits from about five years before the movie takes place. But then a character plays California Dreamin' on an 8-track player, even though it wasn't released as a single until a month after, and wouldn't be available on 8-track tape until it was released on album several months later.
- And Starring: Tony Danza, who would be the most widely known actor in the movie upon its release in 1980 because of his role at the time on the hit TV sitcom Taxi.
- Banana in the Tailpipe: Potatoes, actually. A common prank the Knights play on Beverly Hills police cars.
- Big "WHAT?!": Newbomb, when he learns that Officer Bimbeaux has towed away the El Camino that Newbomb "borrowed" from his older brother for the night, after parking it in front of a fire hydrant.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Jacqueline Friedman, whose three attempts to cheat on her husband and have a quickie with her secret lover Nevans all end in disaster.
- Clothesline Stealing: Some guys are being hazed and have to get to a radio station in town while naked. They pull some sheets down from a clothesline, and unfortunately end up looking like the KKK outside a black family's house.
- Cool Car: A number of the hot rods featured in the movie qualify.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Newbomb is too busy drooling over how well Jane fills out her bikini top to notice that Tarzan is talking to him.
- End of an Age: It's the last gasp for Tubby's. The Hollywood Knights themselves are dwindling, and the lighthearted optimism of the early '60s youth culture (represented by the Knights) is about to disappear, with the specter of Vietnam looming over everything.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The movie starts about 3:30 p.m. on October 31, 1965 and ends less than 11 hours later, when Tubby's closes down for the last time shortly after 2:00 a.m. All but the first 3 minutes take place after the sun has already gone down for the night.
- One Crazy Night: For several of the characters, including Dudley, Mrs. Friedman, Mr. Katzenberg, Newbomb, Dawn, the police officers, and the pledges.
- Fanservice Extra: The nude brunette sunbathing with Dawn and Sally, the pantyless cheerleader at the pep rally, and the skinny dippers at the pool party.
- Gasshole: Newbomb, whose many talents include the ability to fart in tune with popular songs. "Volare!"
- Interrupted Intimacy: Mrs. Friedman and Nevans, three different times. See Can't Get Away with Nuthin' above.
- Ironic Echo Cut: Newbomb talking to Wheatly cuts to Officer Bimbeaux singing "You've Got Your Troubles" by The Fortunes in his police car:Wheatly: Yeah, sure. Hey Newbomb, I saw your brother. He's a monster.Newbomb: Do I look worried? Do I appear worried?(cut to police car)Bimbeaux: (singing) I see that worried look upon your face / You've got your troubles; I've got mine.
- Jizzed in My Pants: Newbomb, just seconds before he was about to have sex with Sally. Sally is not impressed to say the least.
- Mistaken for Racist: The naked pledges who try to steal clothes off a clothesline as they sneak through Watts, a Los Angeles neighborhood with a large African-American population. One of the pledges steals some white sheets to presumably make a toga. The homeowner sees them in white sheets, thinks the pledges are part of the Ku Klux Klan, and runs for his shotgun...
- Mooning: A staple of the pranks pulled by the Hollywood Knights. The Beverly Hills Residents Association even addresses the Knights' regular mooning sprees in one of their meetings.
- Ms. Fanservice: A few female characters have just barely enough screentime to qualify as a Ms. Fanservice instead of as a Fanservice Extra:
- Dawn, the blonde whom Newbomb photographs while she is sunbathing nude, and later spies on as she changes clothes.
- Tarzan's companions Jane and Cheetah.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: The Knights' pledge class, who are left naked except for their shoes and a car tire, and tasked with going to a radio station in Watts, requesting a dedication to Tubby's Drive-In, and making it back to Tubby's by 2 a.m.
- The Peeping Tom: Newbomb, who takes pictures of Dawn sunbathing nude, and then hides in a tree with the other Knights watching Dawn, Sally, and another girl change into sexier clothing before going to the dance. Played for Laughs, particularly when the girls catch him peeping each time.
- Police Are Useless: For as often as Bimbeaux and Clark catch the Knights causing trouble, they never actually arrest and charge them with anything.
- Police Brutality: Bimbeaux's proposed approach to dealing with the Knights.
- Pool Scene: Two scenes at Sally's house played for laughes and Fanservice: first when Sally, Dawn, and a Fanservice Extra are sunbathing, and later with the skinny dipping party.
- Punny Name: Newbomb's nemesis Officer Bimbeaux
- Running Gag: Quite a few of them:
- Skinny Dipping: The nighttime pool party at Sally's house.