This video brought to you by our weekly Friday Morning Videos sponsor, the JCC of Squirrel Hill.
Like any good New Year’s resolver, I headed for the gym this morning, and did not disappoint myself: 20 minutes on the bike, followed by 40 minutes wandering around circuit machines, trying to decide which to use and how to use them. My regular workout soundtrack–NPR’s Morning Edition and Marketplace–was interrupted for this delight coming from JCCTV, who, if you’ll remember, also brought us Debbie Gibson and Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.
Not since “St. Elmo’s Fire” has a video so seamlessly tied in a movie and its stars. The Brat Pack only stood in a cold alley and grooved with ennui. Billy Ocean, however, has the music mojo to get three of the 80s’ biggest stars to be Motown-style backup singers. And they do it with such sincerity and panache that one can only sit back and wish we’d been at the wrap party.
The video opens up with Jack telling Joan he’s going to kill her, which means that, even though it’s a sequel, they’re still in love and have fantastic sex. Then we transition to your typical concert video, only this one features Billy Ocean instead of Bon Jovi. We see his ensemble band–horn section, keyboardist, guitarist, drumset… and off to the side, the backs of his backup singers, nattily clad in white tuxedos.
Then, at minute 1:18… BAM. Faster than a Colombian mudslide, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, and Michael Douglas spin about and break into full choreography. They’re Billy Ocean’s White Knights.
Danny DeVito, I get. He’d do anything less boring than watching his hairline recede. And Kathleen Turner clearly harbored a secret dream to be a Ronette. But Michael Douglas? He was already a producer and director and movie star and totally sexy in a Harrison Ford way, except without the indigestion. He’s not as comfortable with dancing, but he demonstrates exactly WHY Jack was such a great character: because the ultimate romantic hero is fun.
They didn’t have to do the video. They had plenty of star power, and money, and the movie was a “Jewel of the Nile,” a less-than-awesome, but still awfully fun, sequel, to “Romancing the Stone,” which is, hands-down, the best romantic adventure ever filmed. Maybe it’s because there are only like five out there, but still. That’s saying something.
So I leave you with two lessons from this video, to ring in your New Year: When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and the tough also get rough. And if you get an opportunity to do something completely shameless, that puts you at risk for public humiliation and is outside your working skill set: do it. And when you do it, think of Danny DeVito.
P.S. If you’d like your own Colombian mudslide, go to Applebee’s and snort cocaine off the drinks menu.