People may ask “Craig, why out of all the movies from the year you were born did you choose to watch a kinda sort of biopic about the forming of disco superstars The Village People?” I have been hearing about this movie for decades. Not because it’s an amazing piece of cinematic achievement but because of how horribly bad it is. The creator of the Razzies actually came up with the concept after seeing a double feature of this and Xanadu. So when this Take Too project came along and I realized this masterpiece was released the same year I was born, I knew it was a sign. But on to the review.
It’s so hard to explain this movie. It’s so SO bad but yet somehow I couldn’t stop watching it. The movie follows DJ and music writer Steve Gutenberg (yes THAT Gutenberg) as he decides to create a new sound. Of course that new sound is disco music which in 1980 is already starting to die away. The first of many points in the movie that make no sense. Within the literal first minute of the movie, Gutenberg is quitting his record store job by screaming “My time is now!” and ROLLER-SKATING down the street singing away in the tightest green shirt and white shorts I have ever seen on a man. Through his roommate they gather together a group of local singers from New York’s The Village and start recording music. And The Village People are born. As for their iconic costumes you ask? They are all supposedly their jobs and normal clothes, even the guy dressed like an Indian. The guy, who even though we meet him in full Indian garb in first 5 minutes, it takes until minute 38 before someone says “Why is there a guy dressed like an Indian?” No sense point #24 by this point. And I can’t forget that Bruce Jenner is also in this movie, or am I supposed to call him Catelyn. He plays the uptight square who can’t handle “odd” people that live in the Village. Oh my, how ironic this movie is now. There is so much to cover in this movie that I haven’t even touched on yet. I may have to record a solo episode just to talk about it.
As for the actual movie making and style of the film. The 1980s were a very strange time. Disco was dying but some people just didn’t want to let it. Nowadays people talk about how directors like JJ Abrams uses “solar flares” a lot in his films like Star Trek. Director Nancy Walker, who shockingly directed nothing else after this, used what I would call a “disco flare” constantly throughout the film. Just colored neon lights that randomly brighten up the screen. It just screams 70’s. This movie was also rated PG. When you consider the massive amount of female and male nudity, and sexual innuendo in the film I’m surprised if it wouldn’t be rated R in today’s market.
I have to recommend that people watch this movie just one time because it is so insane and so bad. Did I mention there is a 7 minute long music video about milk? Or that the bike cop gets pulled right off the street to sing but has no gun and no vest? Or that EVERYONE is wearing white pants? INSANE!
I give it 2 YMCAs out of 10
Used Cars is an early film written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale before they went on to Back to the Future fame. In fact, all Zemeckis had done before this was write 1941. The film is also one of Kurt Russell’s first films as an adult, prior to Escape from New York and The Thing. This is a dark, raunchy comedy (Zemeckis’s only R rated film for a long time) about Russell playing a sleazy used car salesman whose boss has a rivalry with his brother who owns a car lot across the street. The brothers are actually both played by Jack Warden in duel roles and he’s hilarious in both. Russell wants to move on to bigger and better things, State Senator, and needs to sell $10,000 worth of cars to do it. But hijinks ensue when his boss’s daughter comes to town, played by Deborah Harmon who at least I remember as the mom from the classic late 80’s sitcom Just the Ten of Us. Russell is by far the best part of the film. He is really good as some how playing a sleazeball salesman who does things you hate but you still really like the guy.
Used Cars is funny. Not slap your knee and cry laughing funny, but chuckle funny. It was something that I enjoyed watching but don’t see multiple viewings of it in the future. It’s fascinating to me how 70’s the clothes and music was in a 1980 movie. The giant collars and disco tunes throughout definitely date the movie, but don’t take you out of it necessarily. The weirdest part to me is that Used Cars is rated R and my other movie, Can’t Stop the Music, was only PG. When the nudity is SO much more in Can’t Stop. All Used Cars seems to have to a lot more cussing. Oh how times have changed.
I give it 3.5 illegally turned back odometers out of 10