Mag Wheels (1978)

John Laughlin, Shelly Horner, Phoebe Schmidt, Verkina Flower,
Cool van-driving stud Steve gets the hots for Anita, who's the new girl in town. However, this doesn't go over well with Steve's bitchy and jealous girlfriend Donna, who sets Steve up by telling the cops that he's a cocaine dealer. D
  • 4.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • John D. McNally, Writer:
  • Bethel Buckalew, Director:
  • Colleen Meeker, Producer:

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5 / 10

Hmmmmmm . . .

MAG WHEELS isn't as downbeat and sleazy as the innocent-sounding MALIBU HIGH from 1979, but isn't as airy and cheerful as MALIBU BEACH (1978), either. It falls somewhere in between. There's everything you might expect from this kind of movie: Girls in bikinis, custom vans, pick-up trucks, teen hangouts, skateboarding (at the Boogie Bowl) + lecherous bosses and a singular lack of plot. (Not that anyone watches these kind of movies because they're 'plot-heavy'!).

The main female character in the movie, Anita, has a home life from Hell due to her complete jerk of a father. Her school life also takes an ugly turn after a fight in class with another girl and then finally she tries to stop a "drag-out" between rival factions of girls and boys at her school. That's it, you say? YES! And don't forget about the groovy tunes by the garage band "THE WORD", especially the 'Anita' song (which I still can't get out of my head . . . ). Remember, though, if you decide to watch this it isn't as light-hearted as the video box would lead you to believe. There is some definite darkness here and all in all the movie has a real mishmash of tone. But if you like '70's Drive-In Movies (I do!) then check it out. Also worth noting is that of all the movies I've ever watched -- and I've watched a lot of movies -- this has the singularly most screwed up "happy ending" I've ever seen.

Released in a BIG box by Active Home Video in 1985 under the re-title "SUMMER SCHOOL".

7 / 10

Wow! Stunning, Dude!

This film is so inept, so awful that it is amazingly entertaining. Hack director Bethel Buckelew who made some money with sleazy drive-in hits like Pigkeeper's Daughter (where one wants to shower immediately after watching it)he decides to move to the beaches of Cal-y-fornia where there a busty babes, vans, pick up trucks, pot smoking, bad acting, endless scenes of frizzy haired teens skateboarding at the teen hang-out The Boogie Bowl and, oh yes, some very unpleasant rape scenes. The acting is hilariously off, flubbed lines, badly shot van chases and a rock score with songs that scream out "Lounge Act"!!! For fans who love trash and cheese, this one is for you.

7 / 10

Man,whats not to like...

Hot '70s chicks,cool vans,Paradise Cove beach in Malibu,some pinball,some skateboarding,some good music and some boobs! And if you look hard enough you'll notice gas was .59 cents a gallon and you will see the Paradise Cove pier before it was destroyed a couple years after filming(from high surf and never rebuilt).

Not really a comedy and maybe less boobs than you'd like, but its good 'ol 70's fun (at least until the third act when there are a some not fun things) Would have liked to seen more of Shelly Horner,movie-wise and topless-wise.

Drive-In style fun with great 1970s vibe. If you've got 81 minutes to spare...check it out!

3 / 10

Almost a flat wheeled comedy

There I was, in the video shop, and here was a desperate pic as I couldn't find any others to watch. My friend watched it me. Twice, one time about thirty minutes into it, he said "This is f..ked", the other time as it's sudden end, he said "That was f..ked". I too shared his opinion somewhat. I happened to like John Laughlin as an actor, this his first film I'm pretty sure. That's the reason I hired it. I started taking an interest in this guy's acting after seeing him in Crimes of Passion, and most recently The Rock, which he was great. Here, the director was going just on his good looks. Also known as Summer School, not mistaking that Mark Harmon movie of 88, Mag Wheels is simply a story set at a Californian high school where Steve and his buddies, and their chicks, chill out at the beach. Steve lays his eyes on a new honey, Anita, which his current girlfriend's not too happy about. You know you're man's fixated on another girl, when he keeps repeating her name, after having just met her, and that doesn't sit well with his old lady. So her and her friends, decide to teach this new fish a lesson, by having Steve arrested for drugs, and setting her up as a fibber which has dramatic consequences for her, involving a rape and a near death at the end in a van dare on a canyon, where you find out Steve really cares for her. So, guys are only human right. The bitch fight scene, earlier, in the classroom, between the two girl enemies, also works to Anita's disadvantage. So it's proper they should write a song after her, also used in a montage, featuring Laughlin and her as they get to know each other better. So you got a crappy film that starts out as a comedy and ends quite dramatically. The first three minutes at the beach, with the guys and girls getting wet, playing volleyball over music is absolutely pointless, you might as have them improvising. There are funny parts to this movie, this older geek (Saul Rubinek looking guy) trying to fit in with Steve and his mates, forever belting out tunes on his guitar. In one scene while he's playing one of his songs, (this actor has quite a potent voice) a couple are doing it in a van, as it rolls back and forth. This scene, I loved. It's about the only dirty scene in the whole of this dry film. Mag Wheels as this film is better known, falls pretty weak, into a status that's pretty pathetic. It's has quite dramatic moments, here and there, that work, the rape scene a bit hard to take, but the whole affair is pretty fruitless. This piece of 70's American crap, that runs similar lines with that much higher quality flick, Malibu High, does have some funny moments too, but this is just a time waster of little substance. Keep this film where it belongs, at the drive in, it's existence in video stores, almost not worth the hassle.