You’re my Lemmy in the closet, baby.
I mean, like. We all knew Lemmy, despite his amazingness, was a living thing, and therefore would one day cease to live. But it was still a shock to read of his death today — almost as much of a shock to read that he was 70. And while of course his main legacy is Motörhead, his muppet-like appearance and gruff voice made him an absolute treasure as a personality.
The Lemmy I’ll always remember is the Lemmy from Down and Out with the Dolls (2003 in the U.S.), a scrappy movie about a messy band that lived together in one big house and basically screwed up everything ever. But it wasn’t just the four women living there; the lead singer had a lodger living in her closet.
That lodger, of course, was Lemmy — er, Joe, a sort of mountaintop guru of rambling wisdom. As the boyfriend dude says in the trailer, “I like your advice, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
To which Joe/Lemmy replied, “Well, that’s your problem, innit, chief?”
But yeah: “Don’t forget us. Our name is Motörhead. We play rock ‘n’ roll.”
Thanks to my husband falling asleep with the TV on while the DVR was recording two things, I have been subjected to the shittiest movie I have ever seen: An American Hippie in Israel (1972).
This movie is worse than either time I had elbow surgery. It’s worse than when I broke my finger and still had to take an algebra test. It’s worse than the time I lost feeling in both legs and had to have an emergency MRI (which turned up nothing). It made me want to punch the 1970s in the face.
I have seen PSAs with more subtlety. I’ve seen school plays with better acting. I’ve heard better music at Gymboree. If you hate America, Israel, music, joy, veterans, women, and lambs, you might like this scummed-over puddle of loose excrement. Otherwise, seriously, just go watch Russ Meyer or something.
I feel Lili von Shtupp’s pain in this one. If I’d tried to be a stripper, this is the best I could possibly have hoped for. Absolute genius from Blazing Saddles (1974).
Goddammit, I wasn’t ready to lose another comedy hero. Jan Hooks was only 57. Goodnight, sweet Manjula. Swing it out, Candy Sweeney. Meet you in the basement of the Alamo, Tina.
There’s no basement at the Alamo! Silly Pee-Wee.
Song parody of “I Am Woman” — ok, not that funny, but she’s selling it. The original is one I mocked (although more gently) with a balloon dance, so the song has a special place in my little black heart.
All those babies…
What was your favorite Jan Hooks moment, Lurlines? Add it in the comments.
A recent Facebook thread reminded me of the awesomeness that is Hackers (1995). I have a million things I want to say about this movie, but for now I’ll just say that to me, it’s the best representation of what the coding “flow” feels like. Here are three other reasons this movie is rad.
1. The authentic hacker bad guys. See how terrifying Penn Jillette looks? Doesn’t Fisher Stevens just ooze menace? Thing is, this is what a sizable percentage of hackers really look like. Bonus: That’s Lorraine Bracco, the psychiatrist from The Sopranos, as boss-lady Margo.
Penn Jillette, Lorraine Bracco, and Fisher Stevens are super evil in Hackers. (Publicity still via IMDB.)
2. The authentic hacker good guys. I swear, I have dated the real-life version of every one of these characters, especially Zero Cool. The look, the persona, the shared insane petty competitiveness – this movie nails it.
3. Presaging Google Glass. Hat tip to the lovely and talented Layla Rudy for pointing this out, writing, “Can we talk about how Google stole the Glass idea from Jonny Lee Miller?” Obviously this wasn’t the first such head-mounted camera fantasy, but it’s fun to think of how that has now come true.
Jonny Lee Miller was Google Glass before it was cool. Or invented. (Video still from Layla Rudy.)
Man, now I have to go watch this movie again. Dang.
So my husband is watching this movie with Phoebe Cates and Bridget Fonda, and OK, I get sucked in: It’s a period piece titled Shag (1989), co-written by SNL’s Terry Sweeney, so one’s expectations are extra-low.
It’s actually a cute movie so far, although I might have to write later about the rapeyness, but I want to point something out. The girl in the video with the sleeveless high-necked top and the yellow clamdiggers? She’s the fat girl. Her character name is actually Pudge.
That embarrassing tub of lard is Annabeth Gish. She’s not even 1980s movie fat. WTF, Zelda Barron.
In light of Jody‘s post about the terror-inducing level of sexual menace and violation in the light-hearted romp Revenge of the Nerds (1984), I wanted to present an even funnier movie that managed to be balls-out without being quite so rapey: Animal House.
Yes, National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), that paean to the frat house, manages to slip in some subtle messages about how not to rape people amid the moral turpitude. This is the scene that has been playing in my head since the Steubenville trial. (Warning: lots of cussing and some boobies.)
Even blindingly drunk, Pinto (Tom Hulce) realizes that if Clorette (Sarah Holcomb), the beautiful, topless girl in his bed, is incapable of speaking, she has not consented to sex. In his battle of conscience, he chooses to do as near to the right thing he can manage, which is to wheel her home unmolested in a grocery cart and leave her at her front door — even ringing the doorbell to make sure she gets inside. His reward is a more rewarding, sober experience later. Sure, it’s still rapey because the girl’s character is only 13, but an 18-year-old having agreed-upon intercourse with a 13-year-old (especially because he didn’t know her age until afterward) is much less heinous than having intercourse with a passed-out girl of the same age.
Shindancer pointed out another excellent example of sexual justice in Animal House. Bluto (John Belushi) sees Mandy (Mary Louise Weller) come home from a date and decides to try to catch her undressing. He gets a ladder and does manage to see some topless pillow-fighting and the object of his obsession taking off her bra. However, before she really goes for the gold, the ladder fails Bluto and brings him crashing to earth. (Again, lots of boobies.)
Again, the message is undercut by the “what happened to” reveal that Bluto and Mandy get married later on, but in the rapey, violent world of college comedy, I’ll take whatever positives I can get. Maybe if Bluto had violated Mandy’s privacy by watching her masturbate, he wouldn’t have gotten the girl at the end. Unlike that horrible creep in Revenge.
Flashdance (1983), a Slumber Party Movies favorite, is a complex movie to contemplate. When I watched it as a child, all I saw was the dancing (and the ice skating), but it seems a lot creepier now. And I figured out why: Joe Eszterhas wrote it.
It’s pretty obvious that Eszterhas hates women. His filmography includes lady-lawyer-in-distress dramas Jagged Edge (1985) and Music Box (1989), lady-FBI-agent-in-distress lemon Betrayed (1988), widow-in-distress misfire Nowhere to Run (1993), fictional snuff porn Sliver (1993), hooker murder porn Jade (1995), and the truly execrable Basic Instinct (1992). But his greatest achievement in misogyny is Showgirls (1995).
Dancing tastes like Windex and herpes.
Watching Flashdance again after seeing Showgirls was a revelation for me, and not a happy one. Some of the parallels:
- The Dancer: Ingenue who is not as innocent as she seems. Flashdance‘s Alex is a girl without a family who holds down two jobs, only one of which involves lingerie. Showgirls‘ Nomi is a girl without a family who holds down two jobs, both of which involve lingerie (for the first few moments, anyway). Lady loners making their way in a man’s world, nipples akimbo.
It’s lonely on the stage.
- The Boss: Both films feature a creepy boss who fucks The Dancer. Flashdance‘s Nick owns the steel mill where Alex does not take off her clothes, so he pressures her into taking off her clothes after work instead. Showgirls‘ Zach is a lying pimp who owns nothing but terrible clothes and deluded whores, but at least he buys Nomi flowers that one time, right?
- The Best Friend: In Flashdance/Showgirls, the poor innocent-ish Best Friend gets sexually assaulted. In only one of these movies, however, does the Best Friend get hospitalized as a result. Guess which one.
It does not pay to be nice to Nomi.
- The Rival Boss: In Flashdance, the owner of a sleazier strip club (where the girls actually strip instead of just dancing in their underwear) tries to recruit Alex, but she resists. In Showgirls, Nomi actually works for the Rival Boss first, essentially hooking in the VIP room until she lands the coveted (topless) chorus line slot at the casino.
Rival Boss from Flashdance gets grabby.
What’s distressing to me is how far The Dancer fell between 1983 and 1995. While the outline is the same for both movies, everything has been degraded or escalated: Instead of aspiring to be a ballet dancer, Nomi aspires to be a topless showgirl; the scummy job descends from dancing in lingerie to lap dancing; the Best Friend goes from being groped to being violently raped. Little wonder that at the end of Showgirls, The Dancer’s victory is not holding her own at a ballet audition and learning to accept favors, but beating a rapist unconscious and getting revenge on a suitcase thief.
She will cut you.
Maybe Showgirls is a sequel to Flashdance, and Alex turned into a hooker after not getting into the ballet company. Maybe the world is that terrible. Maybe everyone has to eat dog food now and again. I can live with that. I totally love Dog Chow.
Surely there cannot be a movie starring Cindy Williams. No, really, there was — and stop calling her Shirley. My sister and I had this on VHS; it’s a charmer called Spaceship (1982), and it’s so eternal that I can only find it on IMDB under its alternative title, The Creature Wasn’t Nice.
If you can find it, I do recommend watching it. It’s not conventionally good, but there are some great shlocko lines and truly amateur writing. Also, Leslie Nielsen plays the captain, so there’s that.
Does R. Kelly’s epic “Trapped in the Closet” series count as a slumber party movie? I think it does, when IFC runs them all in a row. So I’ll share my Storified live tweet:
Trapped, Part 3: The live tweetfest · Storify.
My favorite character is Pimp Lucius, for reasons both outlined in the Storify and demonstrated in this video.
Somebody grab Lucille and turn her ass around, would you?