Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You Can't Stop It . . . Don't Even Try!

As our annual Can’t Stop the Music screening fast approaches, I thought I’d say a few words . . .

What is it about this movie that has struck such a chord with your Team Fantasmo, and you the Fantasmo audience? I’m sure you all have your own answers, having surely given the question long hours of intense thought (which it absolutely deserves). For me personally, there is just some sort of alchemy at work in this film that makes it not only memorable, but downright enjoyable. As I’ve said before I’m no real fan of musicals (only a select few), but this one really stands out. The obvious component to chalk this up to is The Village People. No doubt many see them as an outrageous and kitschy reminder of the 80’s. To tell you the truth though, that’s not the case. Their music is actually pretty catchy here and, although the story is supposedly about their formation, they really take a back seat to the other goings on.

While I haven’t done any sort of in-depth study, I’m fairly certain if one clocked it they would find the bulk of the film is spent on Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner, and Steve Guttenberg. The greatest attention is given to the antics surrounding the relationship that develops between Perrine and Jenner, as well as Guttenberg’s gutsy attempt to become a successful music producer. What’s so incredible is that the film manages to keep one drawn in despite the fact that these plot strands are defiantly uninteresting. How is this feat managed? Through the sheer awfulness of the performances . . . particularly Jenner and Guttenberg. To be fair, Jenner wasn’t an actor to begin with. He was merely capitalizing on his athletic success to launch a film career. Sometimes this works (e.g. Jim Brown), and sometimes it doesn’t (e.g. Brian Bozworth). In this case, one quickly realizes that Jenner would do best in cameo types of roles that require no greater reaction from the audience than “gee, there’s Bruce Jenner!” And I’ve said it before, but Guttenberg looks like his head is about to explode with each line delivery. This film should have destroyed his career, and had it not been for the wild success of Police Academy it probably would have.

Even though these performances are mesmerizing in their way, on their own they would not be enough to make Can’t Stop the Music special. That’s where the Village People come in. Just when you’ve had almost too much of the Perrine/Jenner/Guttenberg troika, director Nancy Walker wisely throws in a musical interlude (all of which give new meaning to over-the-top). With this back and forth recipe of disastrous performances and outlandish musical numbers, the movie never gives the audience time to catch their breath. Furthermore, at a running time of over two hours the film incredibly never overstays its welcome. The show-stopping finale featuring the title song leaves the audience indeed not wanting the music to stop (if this were an actual concert an encore would be demanded)! The ensemble number which assembles practically the entire cast (save for the rascally Paul Sand), truly serves as a melodious exclamation point declaring that try as one might, both the music and this brilliant film cannot be stopped!

So in summary, the reasons you should be on hand this Friday for Can’t Stop the Music:

1 – You can’t stop the music.

2 – Valerie Perrine.

3 – Bruce Jenner.

4 – Steve Guttenberg.

5 – The Village People.

6 – Team Fantasmo (shameless plug).

7 – See #1.

The magic begins promptly at 8:00 p.m., so don’t be late!! All this and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!! And please, feel free to post your excuses (er, reasons that is) for loving this film as much as we do. We'd like to hear them . . . we really would : )


george booker said...

any chance on a proper disco night, say "thank god it's friday" and "saturday night fever"?

or it could be a two night extravaganza!

perhaps with supporting features unrelated to theme but perfect for day of week relevance?

"friday night lights" and "uptown saturday night", maybe?

Jim Blanton said...

It has been discussed and is very likely to happen. Thank God It's Friday has come up several times in the suggestion box, and conversation : )

On a related note, Roller Boogie will again be on the voting list at our April anniversary all-nighter! If it doesn't make it there, we're tentatively planning on screening it with Corvette Summer in a stand alone show. We'll see how things pan out!

george booker said...

personally, i think "thank god its friday" and "idlewild" would make a great dance night.