In 2003, Rhino Entertainment moved me from New York City to Los Angeles to head up their Licensing department. I miss Manhattan’s energy and fashion sense and anything-at-any-hour way of life, but most of all, I miss my friends. And I miss our Bad Movie Days.
Not only do I love a good bad song; I also enjoy a good bad movie, as do a core group of my friends. We would meet at either my place or Kathy’s place every few Sundays and stay in, even if it was beautiful outside, and enjoy Glitter or Staying Alive or Body of Evidence, followed by a second feature, usually Showgirls.
Unlike a bad song, which I can enjoy in my solitude, a bad movie usually is more enjoyable with company. I’m not sure I would be able to sit through Skyscaper, in which Anna Nicole Smith starred as a hostage negotiator, if I didn’t have my friends with me to razz the screen, particularly during the scenes where Anna Nicole walked past an office and the film would dissolve to a flashback sequence of the time she had sex on that office’s desk.
I can enjoy a bad musical on my own. While my friends enjoyed Grease 2, with its extended production number about bowling, they were not as enamored as I am of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Still, when I watched Mamma Mia on HBO alone in my Los Angeles condo, I knew my friends would share my joy at this amazing cinematic feat, particularly when Pierce Brosnan sang “S.O.S.”
One of my favorite bad movies is Can’t Stop the Music. It stars the Village People. I’ll let that sink in before I go on. Ready? It also stars Bruce Jenner, in a cropped t-shirt and Daisy Dukes. And Steve Guttenberg and Valerie Perrine, with “special guests” (as they are billed in the credits) The Ritchie Family. The Ritchie Family, whose hits were “Best Disco in Town” and “Brazil,” get “special guest” billing. That’s how amazing this movie is. But wait, there’s more! The film was directed by Nancy Walker. Ida Morgenstern. Rosie, the Bounty Paper Towel shill. That Nancy Walker. Now you know you’re in for a treat.
Before I get into the movie, let me make clear that I LOVE The Village People, and not in a I love bad music way. I unabashedly enjoy their music. Not just the hits singles; there are Village People album cuts that have five stars in my iTunes library. I love this movie’s theme song.
As for the rest of the movie, well…. It’s sort of about the formation of the Village People, though 90 minutes into it you may ask “Will there be a plot anytime soon?” Then you’ll ask “Why is a Village People movie more than 90 minutes long?” We see the group’s auditions. I would have hired the guy in the blue jumpsuit who sang “Macho Man.” That said, I can’t deny the leatherman, whose profession we learn is toll collector at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (talk about a macho man!), sings a mean “Danny Boy.” We see the guys shoot a commercial for milk. We see..I’m going to lift a line from this movie’s Wikipedia entry – “Initially reluctant, Helen seduces Steve with her kreplach and before long they’re negotiating the T-shirt merchandising for the Japanese market.” We see them perform for an ecstatic crowd in San Francisco (oh, um, spoiler alert. That’s how it ends.) Best of all, we see a “Y.M.C.A.” production number as envisioned by Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams while vacationing on Fire Island.
Every Friday is dance music day on Tunes du Jour. Today we kick off the playlist with the timeless “Y.M.C.A.” Because it is still LGBT Pride Month, I made our dance party extra gay. Twirl!