Everyone has friends, more than likely with some being closer than others. However, at times you can also have that one friend who is somewhat toxic, where you know your life would be better if that person was no longer in it and you have to cut them loose. Now when it comes to my friends, I am a pretty loyal friend and tend to stay on good terms with just about all of them, regardless on how frequent or infrequent we talk. However, I have had a couple of those toxic friends in my life and though I hate doing it, I have had to bite the bullet and end the friendship so that they don’t drag me down with them. So let’s see how 70’s Hollywood handles such a friendship as I watch Best Friends.
The plot: Jesse, his fiance Kathy, and their friend Jo Ella head off to pick up Pat, Jesse’s best friend, and Jo Ella’s sometime boyfriend, who is flying back from serving in Vietnam. After picking him up, they rent an RV to head back home to California in but Pat seems upset and comments about how Jesse and Kathy’s marriage will change things between them. When they stop to eat during the trip, Pat asks Jesse to step outside with him and points out a bike shop across the street. He suggests they ditch the RV and buy a couple of bikes and just cruise across the country but Jesse tells him that he has a job lined up in Stockton and he can’t just blow it off, as he wants to save up his money to buy a house. Jesse heads back inside the diner but Pat goes across the street and buys a motorcycle, driving back to the diner to show it off to the others. As they continue on their trip, they stop at a bar at an Indian reservation and as the watch a topless girl dance on the stage, Pat convinces Jo Ella to dance as well. Jo Ella starts dancing on a table and as she takes her shirt off, the patrons start cheering for her more than the girl on stage. The manager asks Pat to have Jo Ella get off the table but when he refuses, the manager has the band stop playing, causing an uncomfortable Jo Ella to get off the table. When a man asks her to come sit with her, Pat and Jesse both end up punching the man and his friend, then apologize and start backing away with the girls when things start to look bad but Jesse gets sucker punched as they leave. The group stay at a motel for the night and Jesse wants to go after the guy that hit him but Kathy convinces him to just let it go, as they will be leaving in the morning. However, Pat heads out that night after everyone is asleep and catches the man walking down the street and beats him up. The group continue on their trip and as they make another stop, Pat ends up buying Jo Ella an engagement ring but later tells her he doesn’t plan on settling down and when she asks why he bought her the ring, he says because he likes her. Pat then decides to work on breaking up Jesse and Kathy’s engagement, first by convincing Jo Ella to try and hook up with Jesse. He then asks Kathy if she wants to go for a ride on his bike and she agrees, as they need to get some groceries. While they are gone, Jo Ella flirts with Jesse some and admits that Pat isn’t going to marry her and they end up having sex. Meanwhile, Kathy finishes buying some groceries and when she comes out, Pat tells her that she can’t marry Jesse, trying to convince her that he will cheat on her but she tells him to shut up. When they get back, they find Jo Ella trying to keep from crying outside the camper and Jesse looking guilty inside the camper and Kathy realizes something must have happened between them. Some time later, they stop at a beach and as Jesse heads out to get some more supplies, Kathy, Jo Ella, and Pat stay out on the beach. When Kathy goes back to the RV after swimming in the ocean, Pat follows her in and attempts to rape her, then notices Jesse coming back and quickly turns to face the door so that Jesse can see them together when he comes in. Jesse tells Pat to let her go and then forces Pat out of the RV. Pat says that Kathy has been coming on to him the whole trip, which Kathy denies, and the two men start fighting each other and Jo Ella stops Jesse from smothering Pat in the sand and eventually Pat gets on his bike and rides off. Jesse comforts Kathy, who wants to go home, but Jesse says that he can’t just leave Pat there. That night, as Jesse, Kathy, and Jo Ella are sleeping in the RV, they see a light constantly shining on them and believe it is Pat but when Jesse heads outside and calls out to him, he gets no response. The next day, Jesse goes looking for Pat and finds him in the bar and the two attempt to repair their friendship. They end up meeting two girls, and Pat sets up a date for them later that night but after the girls leave, Jesse says he can’t go through with that. He asks Pat what he wants and Pat says he wants Kathy but Jesse says he would kill Pat before letting him have her and leaves. That night, as Jesse, Kathy, and Jo Ella are sleeping, Pat returns to the RV. Jo Ella wakes Jesse and Kathy and tells them Pat is there but when they don’t see anything, they go to drive off only to find one of the tires is flat. As Jesse heads outside to change the tire, Pat starts up his motorcycle and just sits there gunning the engine, shining the light on them, and Kathy starts getting freaked out. They head back inside and try to get some sleep but Pat breaks one of the RV windows and starts laughing at them. Jesse gets fed up with Pat and grabs Pat’s gun and heads outside, threatening to kill Pat with it. Pat continues riding his motorcycle around as Jesse fires wildly at him and he accidentally ends up shooting Kathy. In the morning, Pat approaches Jesse, who is sitting next to Kathy’s body, and after Pat chases off Jo Ella, he talks to Jesse and tells him that it is better off with just the two of them.
Soo, my thoughts on this movie are as follows; boring, disturbing, and confusing. The acting was honestly kind of bland but I will say that Doug Chapin did a good job with Pat’s decent into a somewhat sociopathic behavior. The story was a little confusing as they didn’t really do a good job explaining what brought on Pat’s sudden desire to break up Jesse’s relationship with Kathy but I will say they did a decent job with the drama of the whole situation. The drama was honestly the big thing going for this movie but there wasn’t a whole lot else to keep the audience interested in it. One of the hundreds of movies that filled the drive-in’s back in the day but not really worth watching unless you are simply curious.
Rating: 2 out of 5