On a related and more serious note, we at Slumber Party Movies are participating in Blog for International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. The theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures,” which is close to our hearts: between us, the ladies at SPM have five young daughters. I want them to grow up in a world that’s at least as good as the one I grew up in, and right now, that is in peril.
I’m lucky enough to be home on a Saturday night with a sleeping child and all of my work done, and the best possible movie just came on TV36 (KICU): 9 to 5 (1980).
Booze helps any situation, right?
Now, all three leads are legendary – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and the always adorable Dolly Parton – but it’s a strong ensemble cast. My favorite person in the whole movie is Margaret Foster, the office drunk played by Peggy Pope. One of the things about 9 to 5 that lift it above a standard revenge fantasy or office comedy is its ability to treat pathos with humor and compassion. Margaret starts off so depressed about her terrible job that she keeps a flask – and drinks from it in view of her coworkers. She could have just been a standard drunkie played for laughs, but, while Pope is hilarious, her innate sadness is left exposed and raw. Her resuscitation while bossman Dabney Coleman is incapacitated still touches my heart.
There. I may be a jaded old whore, but I’m one of those hookers with a heart of gold.
As I said in my previous post, Showgirls (1995) is full of career development advice. Fifteen years ago, when I was the young woman fighting my way up the corporate ladder, it was important for me to learn from Nomi’s actions that you sometimes have to push an old whore down the stairs to get ahead. But I am older and more fragile in the hip area these days. Can I still learn from Nomi and Cristal?
The answer is absolutely YES. Now that I am the old whore blocking the advancement of other, younger working women, I can look to Cristal’s example. The lesson is a little more subtle, though. What you must do is get the young hookers on your side, so that even if they do end up pushing you down the stairs, they will at least feel bad about it. Cristal tried to bond with Nomi over their shared love of booze and dog food, but got way too honest.
The lesson is: You cannot tell a young whore that she is a whore. She thinks she’s a dancer, or a sex worker, or a contractor. Honor that distinction or you might have your next bonding session in a hospital bed.
Hello! Welcome to Slumber Party Movies, where a group of friends spends even more time analyzing the terrible movies we love than we spent watching them.
For example, I spend a lot of time thinking about Showgirls (1995). Not because I enjoy my porn extra-talky and full of old people, but because it contains a surprising amount of life lessons, ones I have put in use in my own career.
Elizabeth Berkley interviews with Gina Gershon
The most important lesson I learned concerns the tense relationship between up-and-coming whore Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) and queen whore Cristal (Gina Gershon). Cristal has the lead in some stupid revue that Nomi for some reason really wants to star in, and Cristal won’t just nicely step aside. Then the old whore makes the crucial mistake of walking down the staircase in front of the young whore. One savvy career move later and boom! Cristal has a broken hip, and Nomi has the lead!
The lesson here: Sometimes you have to push an old whore down the stairs if she won’t get out of the way.