every few weeks me and a few friends get together for pizza, brew and movies. my pal, p., subscribes to netflix
so he's the one who's in charge of getting the films. and the flicks we watch tend to come from conversations, such as, do you remember airplane!
? yeah, we've got to watch it! it used to be that we would watch exploitation movies from my collection. i recall turning my buddies on to the lunatic genius of ed wood
. they were a bit nonplussed by wood, and wondered why i was so enthusiastic over some crappy movies directed by a guy who loved to wear pink angora sweaters. philistines, i say. moron, they say.
ah such are the vagaries of taste, or the lack of taste. at any rate, last night's screening was the disco gem saturday night fever
, starring john travolta. an imperfect film, but a beautiful coming-of-age story. i've long thought that the movie was conceived by its producers as an exploitation grab-bag to capitalize on the disco craze. even lloyd kaufman
, later to found and head the infamous sleaze factory troma
, worked on the movie. the editing and directing in fever
are choppy in spots, however the flick paints, in broad, but effective, strokes the lives of brooklyn working-class teenagers who feel alive at a disco.
the film is well-cast, but the stand-out is travolta, who is so charismatic and drop-dead gorgeous, that simply standing in his speedos-style underwear combing his hair is an iconic tableaux. the soundtrack is superb. say what you want about disco music, but at the end of the movie, when stephanie asks tony if he could be friends with a girl, and takes his hand in hers, the bee gees 'how deep is your love' is the perfect song to end the movie. i would say, going back to my previous post on love songs, that i'd include 'how deep is your love' as one of the greatest love songs recorded. hyperbole? shit, the song is that good.
i'm not sure what became of the other actors. karen lynn gorney
has continued to work in tv and film, tho i can't recall if i've seen her later productions. but in this film she is outsanding as a young woman who is trying to change her life. and travolta is a conjurer, we see his character tony grow up, so much so that when we come to the dance competition near the end of the film, tony is so dazzled by his competition, it is in his expression: his love of dance is so great, that it is not out of self-loathing, tho that is the spark the drives the motor, but respect that he gives the couple who he thought should've won first place his first place trophy and check for 5oo smackers.
i must've seen this film a thousand times over the years. i remember seeing it as an 11-year old boy at the theater. my brothers and i wore out the album. and as dated as the costumes are, and the music, the themes of growing up and older are just the same. i'd not call the film a masterpiece, but it is one of my long-time favorites.