My digital cable already costs more than $100 a month thanks to the Extra Innings MLB package. So I can’t splurge for one of those fancy movie packages that, for instance, Red Roof Inn can. So no HBO or Showtime for me. Hell, I can’t even afford The Movie Channel or Starz! (The exclamation point is theirs, not mine.)
So what am I stuck with? That would be Encore and FLIX. I mean, where else can you watch repeated showings of Running Scared with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as tough Chicago cops or Jaws 4 (“This time it’s personal!”).
But FLIX hit a new low point this weekend with the airing of 1980’s Can’t Stop The Music. Long considered one of the worst movies ever made, I’ve somehow managed to avoid during the entire course of my adult life.
And yet, Saturday, even with my beloved Cleveland Indians playing the New York Yankees on FOX, I found myself repeatedly switching back and forth between the movie and the game.
If you aren’t familiar with the movie, and frankly, why would you be, it stars those l970s Disco Warriors, the Village People, in their first and last screen performance.
But that’s not even doing the movie justice, if that really is the word. (I wouldn’t blame justice if it wanted nothing to do with this.)
It’s the movie with former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner playing an uptight tax lawyer.
It’s the movie with famed bad actress and ex-model Valerie Perrine playing a sex bomb who tries to seduce music executives into taking the VP on.
It’s the movie with Steve Guttenberg almost killing his young acting career before it gets started, playing a fun-loving New York City songwriter who writes songs like “Magic Night.”
Oh look, here are the lyrics to “Magic Night” right now. Jesus, I love the Internet.
When I’m with my friends then it’s magic in the air-air
Good vibrations always surround us
Play some good music, the moment has left
Happiness and joy’s everywhere-ere-ere
So have a good a time, everyone have some fu-u-un
People leave your problems behind you
Come and sing along, join in on my song
Sing about this magical ni-i-ight
Magic night – magic’s in the music
It’s a magic night – we all need the music
We can have a good time
And enjoy all the magical vibes of this great –
Magic night – good friends all around you
It’s a magic night – magic sure will find you
So let’s all try tonight to feel love
Coming from inside each other
When I’m with my friends, friends with whom I can share-are-are
All my ups and downs and betweens with
When I’m with my boys, the moments are clear
So much love is found in the air-air-air.
Note the reference to the love “coming from inside each other.” Stunningly, as far as the “magical” world of the movie tells us, the Village People aren’t gay. Throughout the film, women are periodically thrown into the arms of these poor young studs, who just wanted to entertain us by dressing up like cops and Native Americans.
I was a naive 14 when this movie came out, but I wondered then, as I wonder now, how much of America really understood the shocking, shocking truth behing the VP.
And frankly, if you’re looking for gay, it doesn’t get much more than Guttenberg jumping up and down and dancing during the “Magic Night” outdoor patio performance sequence, which the VP manage to pull off despite the absence of any sort of instrumentation whatsoever. Bruce Jenner, btw, leaves in disgust, horrified by Valerie Perrine and her questionable friends. At the end of the song, everyone attending the party on the patio form a conga line that dances in a circle before they all look to the sky in a jazz-handsy denouement.
Unfortunately, I spent most of last night humming “Magic Night” to myself. You’re a demon, Steve Guttenberg. A demon.
By the way, these folks are not the Village People.