Friday, July 10, 2015
Naval petty officers “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned to escort 18-year-old seaman Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to a naval prison, where he’ll serve eight years for stealing $40 from his Admiral’s wife’s charity. Taking a shine to the luckless lad, the two career sailors decide to show him a good time in the major cities between Virginia and New Hampshire. Notable for Robert Towne’s foul-mouthed screenplay, which held the record for expletives in the callow pre-Tarantino days—Columbia Pictures stalled production for years hoping Towne would clean up the language. Nicholson’s zesty performance won Best Actor at Cannes; he, Quaid, and Towne received Oscar nods; and Andrew Sarris praised Hal Ashby’s “sensitive, precise direction.” Look fast for Gilda Radner as a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist in her movie debut. Echoes of this New Hollywood classic resound throughout Apatow’s films.