Like many cities, Boston recently installed a series of “take a book, leave a book” stations that resemble oversized birdhouses and reliably contain obscure cookbooks and romance paperbacks. I found myself rifling the contents of one this past winter while procrastinating on an assignment, and was rewarded with an old-even-by-VHS-standards copy of “Preppies,” a 1984 comedy lost to the dustbin of video history. As is clear from the title and its cover depicting a Lacoste-clad, tommy gun-toting youth, it’s a spoof on the revivified prep culture of the 1980s. A synopsis on the back leads with “Robert ‘Chip’ Thurston III will inherit $50,000,000… if he survives the weekend!” and further lines promise a plot filled with amorous “townie” girls, incensed, “country club” girlfriends, and other such sex comedy schlock.
As the year is 2019, I have no VCR and no way of viewing the film, and have little desire to so. On the flip side, IMDb and YouTube exist. From the former I was able to learn that it was released in April of 1984, just three months before the much more consequential “Revenge Of The Nerds.” The latter turned up its trailer, in which a narrator announces “An outrageous movie of Ivy League insanity” amid a montage of topsiders, ribbon belts, and sweaters campily tied around polo-clad shoulders.
But judging by its status as a “Playboy Channel Presentation,” and the more overtly skin-focused oeuvre of director Chuck Vincent, it’s safe to say that few of its original viewers tuned in out of sartorial interest. — ERIC TWARDZIK