November 4, 2009

"You know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair."

2 minutes at the "Saturday Night Fever" dinner table:

We watched the beginning last night. I accidentally clicked and paid $2.99 for this movie that I only meant to look at part of and only if it was free. So we watched about 15 minutes. Great opening. The song, the feet walking down the street, the can of paint, the great interest in shirts, the hair-brushing, the shots peering up from John Travolta's crotch to the awesome expanse of his hairy torso, the Farrah Fawcett poster on the wall, the father eyeing (poor, dead) Farrah's nipple, the pork chops, the entire family hitting each other around the dinner table.... Who can take much more than 15 minutes of such riches? $2.99 well spent!


Fred4Pres said...

Yeah it is predictable, but it is actually a pretty decently made movie.

Fred4Pres said...

And yes, 15 minutes is often enough. For other things too, unfortunately.

c3 said...

I grew up in an Italian town (in upstate New York) I had not seen SNF for many years. Finally saw it maybe 15 years after it's release. I thought it caught some of the "Italian ethos" well (maybe a little over the top). The every other word the "F" word was IMHO right on. (sorry if I offend anyone)

Ann Althouse said...

"And yes, 15 minutes is often enough. For other things too, unfortunately."

True, and ideally, you and your partner will have the same sense of enoughness.

Bissage said...

That movie belongs in the same category as “Easy Rider,” “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Boogie Nights.” A lot of movie goers expected a non-stop party hearty only to walk out of the cinema feeling cheated. “That movie sucked, man!”

The pop music equivalent would be buying Van Morrison’s “Blowin’ Your Mind” because you like the song “Brown Eyed Girl.”

A dead end job. A dead end life. Fucked up family. Fucked up friends. Wholesale misogyny. Rape. Gang violence. Unwanted pregnancy. Abortion. Racial bigotry. Hopelessness on tap. Nothing but limitations. No god from the machine flying in at the end to make everything all better.

IIRC, the only uplifting part of “Saturday Night Fever” was the brother who was losing his faith but who gets a good look at Tony Manero’s world and rededicates himself to the priesthood.

Hey, at least that's something . . .

. . . or is it?

knox said...

A lot of movie goers expected a non-stop party

That was me, when I saw it the first time. Not .... what I expected. Has to be one of the most depressing movies of all time.

I remember I liked the show "Angie" as a kid, and I believe that actress's character kills herself in the movie. That really bummed me out. I was still a kid when I saw it.

ironrailsironweights said...

Saturday Night Fever has an end-of-an-era feeling about it. Not the decline of disco, but the way it depicts working-class white ethnic life in New York, a culture that was once dominant in the city's fabric but has now largely vanished.


HoTouPragmatosKurios said...

I never saw the movie but vividly remember the SNL hommage to it, "Samurai Night Fever." Belushi's dancing and Akroyd's precis in perfect Italo-American delivery: "Dis is da life! To be young, stupid and have no future at all!"

HoTouPragmatosKurios said...

And, of course, OJ, too!

Penny said...

Bissage, having a priest in the family is part of that Italian ethos c3 was referring to.

Penny said...

This film just didn't hold up over the years, and I am convinced it's because of the disco dancing.

On the other hand, dirty dancing will always be "hot".

former law student said...

I liked him better as a sweathog.

Stephen Snell said...

According to Roger Ebert, SNF was Gene Siskel's all-time favorite film (yes, I've been waiting to expunge that flufftoid).

I must have seen a different ending, the one where Tony has crossed the bridge in search of a better life. That said, the movie was not especially uplifting.

Bissage - interesting take on the priest.

Best of all, the "true story" (magazine) that inspired the film was fashioned out of whole cloth.

Bissage said...

Penny, I believe the movie left open-ended the question whether the brother had a true-calling to the priesthood or whether he was mostly desperate to escape the depressing bleakness of his only practical alternative.

I could be wrong about that.

Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...

$2.99 is better than the $12.99 or whatever I'd have to pay to download it off of iTunes. Youtube, unfortunately, disabled the audio on the intro you linked due to copyright infringement of whoever owns the BeeGees.

Frickin BeeGees.

Bissage said...

Thanks, Stephen Snell. Interesting is what we're shooting for around here.

On a side note, regarding the ending, my memory differs somewhat from the Wikipedia entry: "Recognizing Tony's honest wish to change, Stephanie takes his hand in hers, and then him into her arms in this final scene."

True, but that suggests some kind of deep affection that will be rekindled soon enough.

The way I remember it, she was being merely polite, almost pitying, giving him the brush-off because she was aiming to fit in with the Manhattan swells and Tony Monero would never make enough money to be good enough for her.

What made it tragic was the obvious fact that she, herself, had champagne taste and a beer pocketbook.

It's happened before and it always ends badly.

Or so I've been told.

Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...

I must be way too young, as my recollection of the ending was that they agreed Tony could have a platonic, professional relationship with his counterpart and that in itself represented his "redemption".

And the conservatives here wonder why this child of the eighties constantly rails against sexual repression.

However, if the whole premise of the movie was to document the travails of how a working class 3rd generation American could pursue a dream, against the backdrop of his coming of age in the sexually-overcharged era of disco and feminism (hence, the intro), then I suppose that ending represents about as meaningful a resolution as you're going to get.

Cedarford said...

When I was very young, I envied the older teens who seemed to be having such fun with Disco. I couldn't wait to be a teen myself! Should I add I had no musical taste?

Maybe I still don't. As an adult, I still think some of the BeeGee's songs from the SNF track are awesome and have stood the test of time. And one of their follow-on #1 hits "Tragedy" - was so good and matched other SNF themes so well it was later added to new editions of the soundtrack.

I lost a bet on that one. No, "Tragedy!" was not in the original movie.

Of course I hated "Jive Talking" always...

Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...

After this clip, play the one that says "Fran Drescher in Saturday Night Fever". It's hilarious. Sample dialogue:

"Hey. Are you as good in bed as you are on that dance floor?

Well are you? Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?"

"Watch this."

"So when's Connie going to get her answer, huh?"

"You know, Connie,"


"If you're as good in bed as you are on the dance floor, I bet you're one lousy fuck."

"So how come they always send me flowers the next day, huh?"

"You know, some guys don't know a lousy fuck when they got one, you know what I mean?"

"Oh yeah?"

"Maybe they thought you was dead."

musicaltastes80 said...

The Bee Gees songs made the movie so uplifting, and John Travolta's performance rightfully made him a star - And they want to remake it with Zack Efron!!!