Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

(Believe it or not: the disco in this movie is named “2001 Odyssey”).

Synopsis: Disco-dancing douchebag digs dishy dame, directs dunces, develops decency.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “John Travolta gives a sensual and intelligent performance as a local disco kingpin at the peak of his popularity.... the disco dance sequence and the Bee Gees’ music make the film an accurate and absorbing barometer for the seventies’ generation.”

What Did I Learn?: 1) The Pope does not provide special dispensations if you wish to obtain an abortion. 2) According to Tony’s boss: “You can't fuck the future. The future fucks you! It catches up with you and it fucks you if you ain't planned for it!” 3) Tall bridges are not appropriate venues for boisterous horseplay. 4) According to Tony, early in life, girls have to decide if they wish to be good girls or “cunts”. 5) It’s hard to pick up chicks when you’re carrying a can of paint.

You Might Like This Movie If: You want to experience the scene that gave birth to this scene and this scene.

Really?: 1) I had a bit of a hard time believing Stephanie would have anything to do with Tony, let alone go to White Castle with Tony and his knuckleheaded crew. I had a very hard time believing she would open the door to her apartment for him after that incident in the car. 2) So wait, Tony’s plan to win the big dance contest is to move around the floor reeeeeeeeeeally slooooooooowly as he and Stephanie stare into each other’s eyes? 3) Ok, I can understand Tony’s buddies taking turns having sex in the backseat of Bobby C’s car, but I can’t imagine very many guys – or their girls – doing so with the rest of the gang sitting in the front seat! Were teenagers not into privacy in the 1970s?

Rating: When people think of Saturday Night Fever, they usually remember John Travolta dancing in a white leisure suit. While that’s certainly a big part of this film, it also contains two rape scenes, domestic violence, a whole lot of racial epithets, and a teen suicide! On the whole, Saturday Night Fever is a very good film that balances the comic and the tragic with a lot of great music and some impressive dance sequences. The movie’s one weakness is that the protagonist is an unlikeable asshole, and it’s not so easy to relate to him. 8.5/10 stars.

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