You’re a female high school student and an aspiring journalist who enters into a contest sponsored by a local newspaper, hoping to win the prize of a summer internship at the publication with a scathing exposÃ© on the nutritional value of your school’s lunches. When you find out that the journalism teacher who oversees the school paper didn’t deem your piece good enough to be one of the finalists in the contest, you decide it isn’t that your topic isn’t interesting or your article isn’t well written, but that you’re being discriminated against because you’re a girl. What do you do? Well, if you’re Terri Griffith (Joyce Hyser), the main character of the 1985 film Just One of the Guys, you cut off your hair, stick a sock in your pants, put on some of your brother’s clothes, and enroll in a neigboring high school as a guy to prove your point. Perfect logic, right?
Now, what do you do if the teacher in charge of your new school’s paper also thinks your exposÃ© is boring, even though you’re now a guy? You keep up your charade to find something new to write about, of course. You befriend a loner who loves James Brown (Clayton Rohner) and give him a stud makeover. You make friends with the most popular girl in school (Deborah Goodrich), pissing off her meathead boyfriend (William Zabka). You unwittingly attract the attention of a hot girl (Sherilyn Fenn) who only wants to get in your pants. And you do this all while keeping your new, secret life from your preppy boyfriend (Leigh McCloskey).
Since your parents are conveniently out of town, and your horndog teenage brother (Billy Jacoby) and your best friend (Toni Hudson) are going along with your plot, things are pretty easy. That is, until you fall for your new nerd-turned-stud BFF and decide to take a chance and tell him who you really are — by showing him your boobs, of course. You’re heartbroken when he wants nothing to do with you, and the fact that the new article you wrote about life as a teenage boy won the local newspaper’s contest is only a small consolation. But don’t worry — everything works itself out. And your new, short haircut even looks cute on you.
Another classic so-bad-it’s-amazing movie from the 1980s that my brother and I used to watch all the time on cable. There’s a very good chance that Just One of the Guys contained my first encounter with “brief nudity” in a movie, and I’m surprised we got away with watching it. This film holds a special place in my heart because I developed a serious crush on Clayton Rohner after seeing it — a crush that, I admit, continues to this day. What can I say? I’m a sucker for obscure character actors.
On to the soundtrack: it’s out of print and, as far as I can tell, was only released on vinyl. Of the 15 tracks featured in the film, I managed to scrounge up 12 (the official release only contained ten songs). Listen to them the next time you dress in drag to prove a point to the editor of your school newspaper.
Midnight Star – Girls Got Something Boys Ain’t Got
Shalamar – Just One of the Guys
Berlin – Jealous
Dwight Twilley – Prove It to You
Billy Burnette – Way Down
Lindsey Buckingham – Trouble
The Stooges – Down on the Street
Private Domain – Turn Out Right
Greg French – Thrills
Brock/Davis – Hard Way
Brock/Davis – Burning
Ronnie Spector – Tonight You’re Mine Baby