From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Bobby (Stuart Goetz) is an All American kid who has just graduated high school and he's got some big plans! The film starts right on graduation day as Bobby and his pal Jack (Harry Moses) take off to have a fun summer. Theres a bully character that we're introduced to named Dugan (Steve Oliver) who picks on everyone around. He's also got a mean suped up van that he races and wins everytime. After Bobby and Jack are confronted on the road by Dugan and his sexy girlfriend, Bobby drops Jack off where his car is being towed. Bobby doesnt wait to help Jack out, he just heads to work at the car wash, smiling all the way as he drives. Thats the kind of guy Bobby is.
You'll notice that theres footage of Bobby driving along that is inserted at least 4 times at the beginning of the film. It made me laugh because it shows Bobby cruising slow, with this really goofy grin on his face, bouncing around in his seat (and the roads not bumpy) looking like a total idiot. Not only that, The Sammy Johns song "Chevy Van" is playing over the scenes. Try not to laugh, I dare you!
When Bobby arrives at the car wash, his boss Andy (Danny DeVito) is preoccupied because hes stuck in an old woman's car and can't get out. Bobby gets a great idea and pulls out a large needle and asks Andy to get ready then proceeds to jab him in the ass with it. Needless to say, Andy gets out of the car very quickly after that. When Bobby lets his co-workers know that he plans on getting plenty of ass during the summer, they insult him and he gets them back by saying "Yeah now I know why you guys are so good at waxing cars, you're forearms are built up from jerkin off!". After that sharp comment, the boys decide to get Bobby back. So they proceed to run his car through the washer. Only problem is, its a convertible! In a funny sequence Bobby tries to pull up the car top, but he cant do it and gets soaked. To top it off his pantleg gets caught on the runner track under the car and by the time he gets out, his car wash uniform has been torn off. The guys all laugh at him as he stands in his underwear. Bobby replies with: "Uhhh thanks guys...I needed a shower anyways".
Bobby asks Andy if he can leave the car wash early because he needs to do something important. After buggin Andy all day, he's able to go. Bobby heads straight to a local car dealership where he pays in full for his dream vehicle, yep you guessed it! THE VAN of the title. I have to say I was pretty impressed by this van myself. Its a bright yellow Dodge and has a cool multi-colored graphic paint job that says "Straight Arrow" on the sides. On the inside hes got a shag carpet, waterbed!!, a mini dining table, a fridge, a toaster, a CB radio, tinted windows, a cool horn, a multi-drink holder and other cool features (this thing reminded me of the Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill only BETTER!) Once Bobby gets his van rolling, theres no stopping him. He's the king of the road. When he shows his parents the van, his mom is really impressed (she even envisions her and her husband sipping champagne in the back), but his father sees it as an "evil thing". That scene really cracked me up.
Bobby gets his car wash co-workers back by offering them some cold 40s of beer....with castor oil in them! Then he locks the car wash bathroom door and takes the key. The guys drink the beers down fast. Andy wasnt one of the targets, but Bobby sees him drinking the beer too and tries to stop him but then just decides to bail. Pretty soon they ALL gotta take a shit. No bathroom for them! haha!
This is where the movie gets fun, as all Bobby wants to do is drive his van, get laid and smoke pot. He hits on every girl at the local pizza joint too. Bobby's friend Jack, his girlfriend Sue and her best friend Tina get together one night, only Tina doesnt like Bobby. Bobby still tries to put the moves on Tina but shes playing really hard to get. No matter what Bobby tries, Tina doesnt want to get down and boogie, so naturally Bobby develops a crush on her. The rest of the film has Bobby trying to get Tina, while he's still getting laid by other girls, dealing with the bullying Dugan and driving his van around. But its a really fun time.
The guy who plays Bobby, Stuart Goetz looked very familiar to me when I watched the film and I finally realized that I saw him on a TV show. He played a character on THE BRADY BUNCH who tries to date Marcia. The funny thing is, he was a total goody two shoes in that role. The Bobby character is like the more rebellious twin brother of that guy. Bobby insults people, gets chased by the cops, flips people off and gets laid about 4 times during the movie.
If you want to see a genuine late 70s, cruisin, pot smokin, beer drinkin style drive-in comedy/sex film, The Van is for you. I went into this film expecting a total dud but I actually had a really fun time with it. Plenty of laughs, fun characters, some very funny dialogue and of course the great Sammy Johns singing "Chevy Van". Yep, THE VAN is alright with me!
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.