Some of the following titles are too obscure/unpopular to warrant a DVD release (at least not yet), but they all remain close to my heart. Watch them all together, in one sitting, to give you an idea of what I'm trying to do with "Ping-Pong Summer." Or simply watch them to watch them. That works too.
"Lifeguard" (1976) -- Sam Elliott plays a thirty-something who was born and raised on the beaches of sunny Southern California (so why does he talk like a cowboy?). As his fifteen-year high school reunion nears, he finds himself being pressured by his parents and girlfriend (the luminescent Anne Archer) to "grow up" and "get a real job." So what does Sam do? Why, he takes a cute, impressionable fifteen-year-old (Kathleen Quinlan) into the lifeguard shack and bangs her, of course. Another painfully honest and memorable character study from the 1970s.
"No Retreat, No Surrender" (1985) -- This low-budget action picture is more "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" than "The Karate Kid," which might not be what the filmmakers were going for, but that's exactly what I'm going for. I'm flat out stealing situations from this for PPS, so maybe it's good that it isn't out on DVD (although I imagine that will happen soon enough, as it's Jean-Claude Van Damme's first "featured" role). If you stumble across it somewhere/somehow, do yourself a favor and watch it. Then find your nearest dojo and start breakdancing.
"Wild Style" (1982) -- This one is out on DVD, and for good reason. Classic, classic, classic shit. While not the most groundbreaking narrative in the world, the film itself is a hip-hop history lesson like no other, featuring monumental scenes of breakdancing, MCing, and graffiti. "The Basketball Throwdown" between The Cold Crush Brothers and The Fantastic Five is one of the greatest moments to ever be captured on celluloid, period.
"Krush Groove" (1985) -- It might appear that I have a slight obsession with this film, and I guess I do. It's just that I had my coming-of-age to "Krush Groove," so to watch it fills me with a yummy-yum feeling in my tummy-tum-tummy. While most kids were still obsessing over "Star Wars" and its subsequent adventures in 1985/1986, I was out in the garage, sporting a Nike pop-top and trying to perfect the backspin.
"The Karate Kid" (1984) -- This is simply as good as it gets. Ralph Macchio wearing a San Diego Chargers jersey (with my hero Wes Chandler's number 89, no less!); "Ali with an I"; "I really like your car Mrs. Laruso!"; "Get him a body bag!"; Mr. Miyagi; Martin Fucking Kove; I could go on all day, but I won't. Suffice to say, I'm pulling a Quentin Tarantino and am going to cast William Zabka (yes, JOHNNY) as the antagonist in PPS (who goes by the name of Lyle Ace). I'm going to give Billy his career back, damn it!
"Better Off Dead/One Crazy Summer" (1985/1986) -- These "Savage" Steve Holland movies are also heavy influences on PPS. I don't need to explain why they're both so fun to watch. Either you get them or you don't. My advice? Get them. (You heard it here first: Will Janowitz is the new John Cusack.)