Hot T-Shirts (1980) – A Review
“Sheriff, we demand immediate action! We demand you put a stop to this contest! Sheriff, it’s a communist plot!
“Ladies, there’s nothing I can do.”
“What do you mean there’s nothing you can do? You’re the law in this town!”
“I know that! No law is being broken, it’s perfectly legitimate.
“You call wet t-shirts legitimate? I never heard of such a thing! Come along ladies, obviously the sheriff is involved in this anarchist plot. We’ll simply have to take matters into our own hands. We’ll picket the place!”
This could very well be the worst teen/sex/comedy I’ve come across.
I know I’ve said that before, seemingly with every one of these flicks I watch, but this time I mean it. I would take watching any of the bad flicks of this genre I’ve revisited and talked about over watching Hot T-Shirts again. I don’t think this will be possible to top in its pure worthlessness of entertainment – but maybe I’ll be surprised if I continue this. There were afterall hundreds more teen/sex/comedies made in the 1980s.
Before I let you say it – It’s my own fault! Yes, I thought of the same exact thing you’re thinking of while I was being subjected to this – ‘well, what did you expect?’. So I am completely to blame for this punishing experience.
I had wanted to do a new entry in my ongoing revisitation of this genre. I was snooping around looking at certain titles, thinking if I was going to watch a teen/sex/comedy why not make it a new one I hadn’t seen before. Perhaps it was fate that I happened upon Hot T-Shirts the other night – posted on Youtube of all places!
Maybe I was always destined to encounter Hot T-Shirts at some point in my life. Since its creation in 1980 I’ve been on a decades-long inevitable collision course with this movie. There was no way I was going to ever avoid it. No matter how obscure or how forgotten it would become, at some point in my lifetime I was going to run headfirst into this flick. It was fate.
Screw you fate!
Ray Holland is our lead character Joel. Holland looked awfully familiar to me. I could swear I had seen him in another movie. All throughout this I had that gnawing feeling of ‘where have I seen him before’ and it just kept bugging me. It was a very annoying feeling. I have a vague image of a scene from a movie I’m thinking of, but I can’t recall any details about it. His IMDB listing didn’t help. Apparently he only appeared in four movies and not one of them did I recognize the title of. Maybe he changed his name or I’m just confusing him with someone else.
Anyway, Joe owns a restaurant and business is awful. He’s at risk of his place being foreclosed, but inspiration hits when he spots a group of cheerleaders getting wet down. He dreams up of having wet t-shirt contests in his place, thus drawing in customers and making lots of money. His ladies man pal Charlie (Glenn Mure – he has two movies on his IMDB resume) and his girlfriend June (Stephanie Lawlor -four IMDB listings) help him out.
That’s the plot. There you go. No really, that’s the entire story. It’s a whole movie around that.
So there’s plenty of gals who stand on the stage, Joe wets their t-shirts down with a seltzer bottle, they dance to awful music and the crowd claps and hollers. It’s just so outrageous and wild!
What’s funny is the whole draw to this flick is to watch girls in wet t-shirts. I mean, I’m assuming that’s why anyone would sit through this. You want some titillation from watching young, sexy gals bounce around in wetted down t-shirts.
But most of the time the t-shirts the girls are sporting don’t even look wet. So when they’re dancing around they’re barely revealing that much anyway. Maybe they forgot to work much water into the budget for this. There’s a lot of time spent with these nameless girls dancing around on stage. Instead of a fun sex romp things get old very quickly. Really the most excitement is when the camera tilts and they film the girls that way.
I think in reality Joe’s place wouldn’t pull any big crowds by the embarrassing display of boobs we get here. This looks so extremely quaint, even for 1980. Grainy 1950’s stag films probably offer more excitement!
All the attention Joe is getting attracts more girls to enter the contest, who I guess want to win…..for bragging rights. Joe really hit upon a profitable idea! But there has to be some kind of hurdles to overcome in a story right? Not surprisingly there’s a group of uptight old ladies who don’t like this dreadful, disgusting event taking place in their town. But the sheriff is being paid off by Joe so he won’t help the ladies shut Joe’s place down. So they decide to picket the place with signs saying “Condemn this bar!” and “Down with T-shirts!”.
The sheriff by the way doesn’t wear a uniform, just a sharp 1970’s polyester suit. I only know he’s a sheriff because a lady called him it. At first I thought he was a competing club owner. Maybe they couldn’t afford a cop costume either. The actor who plays the Sheriff – three IMDB credits.
You can see this movie was not a launching pad for any major talent.
Hot T-Shirts is practically unwatchable. It looks like it was filmed in about a week, maybe less. It’s got all the earmarks of a shoddy, low-budget, flick that had a sexy hook – wet t-shirts – and barely exerted any energy to parlay that into any form of entertainment for the suckers who ended up watching it. It’s one of those ‘point and shoot’ movies, where it looks like no time was wasted with setting anything up for the camera. I don’t think there was much planning to anything in this.
The nonexistent story is broken up by that old reliable teen/sex/comedy cinematic tool – the montage. Some very cheesy 70’s disco tunes come up and we watch Joe and Charlie passing out fliers, the girls awkwardly rehearsing their dancing, the old ladies making their protest signs, girls recruiting even more girls for the contest and training…..yes training to win the big wet T-shirt contest and hoping to go home with the grand prize – a color TV. It’s so poorly made I was embarrassed to be watching it.
It feels more like a 1970’s movie than an 80’s one. The disco era is present all over this. From the clothes, the lights, the disco ball in Joe’s place. Just from the opening credits you’ll have little doubt what ear Hot T-Shirts was made in. They do that funky multicolor filter effect over hot bodies in outdoor showers. You don’t see that effect used much in today’s opening credits for movies.
It’s the music that really cements its 70’s flavor. There’s some terrible songs for those who like cheesy, horrible 70’s/80’s music. I believe more effort went into writing and recording those – as bad as they are – than anything else present in this flick. So perhaps there’s a chuckle that can be milked from hearing some of them, but that’s a real stretch.
My Body is Wet
My Body’s Soaking Wet
My Body’s Dripping Wet
Wet, Wet, Wet Wet
Water on my body and I’m burning with fire
this disco baby’s simmering
water on my body and I’m filled with desire
this disco baby’s soaked to the skin
Pretty groovy huh?
I’m halfheartedly trying to help the movie out and not say it’s complete garbage, but it’s a losing battle. I can’t give this a pass in any remote way towards any aspect of it. It’s so bad I’m somewhat amazed it stuck to the film stock. This is just above cheap porno level….just slightly above.
There’s a melee in the restaurant at one point. It’s all accompanied by keystone cop-type of music. It’s supposed to be all wacky as punches fly, girls shirts get ripped and food gets thrown. It goes on for what seems like an eternity and it never gets funny.
I don’t think there’s even any jokes attempted in this movie. Usually in these kind of movies there’s a wacky best friend or the lead has wisecracking run-ins with some bad guy. That stuff is kind of present here, but it’s like they forgot to spice them up by including actual humor or even a trace of wit to them. It’s just a recitation of dialogue that was probably written on a piece of paper right before the cameras were turned on.
The biggest gag in the whole movie that I can recall is the uptight spinster getting drunk and dancing on the stage. It’s atrocious.
I bet the filmmakers simply had access to this restaurant to film inside of and just decided to make a movie in it. They were able to hire some girls to flash their boobs, filmed there for awhile and boom they had a movie. The rest of the story – and I’m being kind describing it that way – was just an afterthought. They just worked a story around the main setting they had available and all of that was very quickly filmed just to break up the girls dancing.
While watching this I started to look up info about it. I had to do something to keep my head from collapsing in on itself. It was written, produced and directed by Chuck Vincent. Apparently Vincent made a bunch of hardcore pornographic films in the 1970’s and gradually moved into R-rated low-brow nudie comedies in the ’80’s, Hot T-Shirts being one of them apparently. I guess that’s where the poor porno-level quality of this came from.
He was churning out these type of grade-Z nudie flicks seemingly nonstop throughout the decade. In 1980 alone five films he directed were released. So my guess that Hot T-Shirts was shot over the course of a week is probably not too far off the mark. Since it was released by the Cannon Group I think it’s safe to say it was made with with most cost cutting, quick filming methods they were known for.
Watching this kind of dreadful movie always makes me wonder – ‘Where are they now’. Where are all these girls who willingly performed in this? Do they reflect back on their experiences of Hot T-Shirts fondly decades later? Is it just something that is now a funny story they keep to themselves? Do they keep a VHS copy of this crap in the bottom drawer of their dresser? Were they even aware this got released and their images are immortalized in this? Or maybe everyone forgot about the existence of this.
Another thing I got curious about was why did they decide to use the title ‘Hot T-Shirts‘. I thought it would of been more appropriate to have just called it ‘Wet T-Shirts’, even though there’s barely any wetness involved on most of the t-shirts. Are ‘Hot T-Shirts’ a more marketable title than ‘Wet T-Shirts’? Then I realized maybe they wanted to maintain accuracy and since there’s less ‘wet t-shirts’ in this than ‘hot t-shirts’ they went with that. That was very honorable of them not to try to falsely advertise the movie with a title that misrepresents the movie. Kudos to them!
I highly doubt even connoisseurs of the genre will find anything worthwhile in Hot T-Shirts.
The only, ONLY redeeming thing I can grasp to is a last minute appearance (billed as Special Guest Star in the opening credits) by Penthouse Pet Corinne Alphen who enters the big final contest at the end.
She dances around for a minute or two, flashes her boobs and it’s all as badly filmed as everything else in this junk. If you’re a fan of Corinne DO NOT WATCH this flick for her! You would be better off just watching Spring Break for a luscious helping of her. Or just give her a call and have her do a tarot card reading for you. I’ve read that’s what she’s up to nowadays.
There has been quite a few of these 80’s teen/sex/comedies that I’ve revisited. Hot T-Shirts was a new experience for me. A horrible, horrible experience.