Review: Private Resort (1985) Blu Ray Release from Mill Creek (2016)


Beginning in 1987 there was a TV show you probably haven’t heard of called “21 Jump Street”. It stars a ‘where is he now’-actor Johnny Depp. Before Mr. Depp’s role as a baby-face undercover cop infiltrating the mean-street halls of various high schools he was a slightly younger baby-face twenty-something chasing rich girls in the movie: Private Resort.


Of course I jest, we know the legend of Johnny Depp and how he became the lead guitar player for the rock group Poison only to, ironically, die in 1992 from acute mercury lead poisoning while on a fishing trip in Zanzibar. We’ll never know what kind of amazing talent he would be today and future generations. Sad.

Anyway, from what I know Johnny Depp is shy about his heartthrob status and makes great efforts to avoid traditional dreamy roles. I suppose that can be hard for some actors and actresses to avoid when he or she has magnetic screen presence and an air of classical celebrity. Depp’s first role was a blink and you’ll miss him role in A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). In 1985, Depp lands a title role along with Rob Morrow (his film debut) in Private Resort. A movie so embarrassing that Depp and Morrow swore to destroy every copy of the movie.


Well, guess what? I have a Blu Ray copy from Mill Creek Distribution and I’m watching it! Dear Depp & Morrow, this isn’t something like The Day The Clown Cried (1972) or a Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) embarrassment. Even though Private Resort isn’t the Citizen Kane of beach vacation debauchery films, it does have some delightful moments beyond the common dredge coming out around the same time period.

The 80’s had vacation beach movies where the 90’s had house parties. There was an oversaturation where the cream rose to the top while most of the other films sank to the bottom. Private Resort, I believe, is the type of move that has stuck around due to the name: Johnny Depp. You must also throw in: due to Johnny Depp’s evenly tan nude butt. In the first 12 minutes of the movie, Depp goes fully nude. I know some of you are now RUSHING from your spot to find this movie to fast-forward to the 12-minute mark and I won’t judge you, it’s completely justifiable.

What happens before that 12-minute nude Depp-butt is not much of any traditional exposition? Imagine a camera showing up and documenting three groups of people without, what we’re accustom to, a confessional booth. It’s almost a pure documentary approach capturing people and the moments as it happens. We, as the viewing audience, get the privilege of figuring out who is who and who made you… wait, scratch that, rewind… We, as the viewing audience, get the privilege of figuring out who are whom, what his or her motivation is, and we’re going along for the ride.
The movie starts out of what reminds me of a t-shirt cannon at a minor-league baseball game: you’re still sober, you just got there, you barely just sat down with your arms full of hot dogs, beer, nachos, and a hot pretzel wedged under your armpit before a t-shirt cannon knocks your entire $75 meal everywhere while the t-shirt you deserve for such an inconvenience is now a claim to the grabby hands of an opportunistic douchebag. I digress, but even though it’s true I don’t really know if any of that is actually a metaphor or I’m having an acid flashback? Read on and perhaps it’ll all make sense in the best way a softcore beach movie romp can satisfy the making of sense.


There are only a few plots a movie like this can unfold. The surface is going to be the kids wanting to be laid while there is always a subplot involving some sort of crime element. A large portion of most of these movies through the mid-nineties involves Real Estate takeovers but in Private Resort it involves a husband and wife scamming a rich client. There’s the concurrent and forbidden fruit waitress that Morrow’s character is crushing on but a pushy co-worker slime ball keeps thwarting the hookup. The resort security officer is a hoot playing a by-the-book employee tat keeps getting into awkward situations that challenge his code of conduct. Finally there is Georgie, the younger brother of Depp’s character, Jack. Georgie is the testosterone driven preteen pervert whom uses every method he can to remotely remove bikini tops. All of those plots are basically abandoned and/or diminished quickly.

There are a whole bunch of sexual assaults in this movie including the attempt to use Quaaludes presented as aspirin in attempt to have sex (rape) a girl. The ‘ludes are established but not specifically taken or implied… still pretty bad that it’s something he was initially willing to entertain. Comedy of errors while the tan-line butt of Morrow is escaping the hotel room (for a good 2 minutes) is compensation for the fact that both male and females are exposing their bodies for equal time. Right from the beginning the naked boobs and butts are abundant. If the person is in the movie, you’re going to see them naked… everyone gets naked. It’s as though it’s something that just happens like in Showgirls, I became somewhat desensitized by all the nudity.


Even though the film kinda forgets particular plot points we get a late introduction to Andrew Dice Clay as an extra foil to slapstick a series of arbitrary sexual folly. I guess a lot of the time I have no idea what’s going on or where it wants to go, much like a slightly more jointed version of Four Rooms (1995) or just as creepily gross as Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983). There are moments of goofy fun but there really isn’t any real emotional connection beyond clichés.

Ugh, yeah, this movie is like something shot out of a cannon or being shot by one.

For a Blu Ray release it looks like a DVD transfer with some artifacts and grain but at least the ratio is true. There are no subtitles or extras but it doesn’t really matter. It’s kind of a fun romp but later to lose steam and focus while leaving initial plot points unsatisfied. The runtime is less than 90 minutes and feels even less than that; it’s a mad dash to the conclusion of which felt like an epilogue to an episode of CHiPs.

Purchase Link

Private Resort on Mill Creek’s “Sun, Sand, & Sweat” 4-Movie Collection Blu-ray