Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Disco Movies

Here is my list of the good, the bad and the ugly Disco era films. Most of these films feature a prominent disco soundtrack, so put on your boogie shoes for trip down memory lane.....

This movie was released in 1980, when the disco craze had pretty much fizzled out. This movie doesn't have much of a plot, but here goes: A model (Valerie Perrine) decides to have a party to help her roomate/aspiring composer(Steve Guttenberg) get a career started and she invites all of her wacky friends from Greenwich Village and the hijinks begin! Not much more going on here folks. This film stars Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner (What the hell is he doing in this movie? He's no actor, and he proves it here.), Steve Guttenberg, Paul Sand, Leigh Taylor-Young and ...The Village People! With a stellar cast such as this it's amazing this thing didn't win any awards. Steve Guttenberg looks ridiculous in his white polyester pants and roller skates (while watching him skate around like a lunatic, I kept wondering what drugs he was on, better yet, what drugs were the idiots who decided to make this movie on!) But best of all, it was directed by, none other than Nancy Walker (Is that right? THE Nancy Walker from RHODA?!!Let me know if I'm wrong on this one folks). Basically this is probably the worst of all the disco movies.

This movie,which was releasted in 1976, is comprised of a bunch of soap opera style, comical vignettes. A mildly funny movie, but certainly not hilarious. With so much comic talent involved in this film, you would think it should have been funnier and better than it actually is. This film stars Franklin Ajaye, Sully Boyer, Richard Brestoff, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Melanie Mayron, Ivan Dixon and Antonio Fargas.

A rich girl leaves home and winds up helping her friends stop an evil businessman from closing the local roller rink. Very cheesy, with a goofy finale involving a roller boogie contest, in which the rich girl competes. In the end our herioine must choose between a career as a classical musician or a roller boogie queen, and for some stupid reason, she has a difficult time wrestling with her decision! Only her love interest in the film has any sense! Did I stress the CHEESINESS of this film? Made in 1979, it stars Linda Blair, Jim Bray, Beverly Garland, Roger Perry, James VanPatten, Kimberly Beck, Mark Goddard, Stoney Jackson and Sean McClory.

It doesn't get any better than this! This is the Holy Grail of disco movies. Released in 1977, at the height of disco's popularity, it's a coming of age tale that takes place in New York. Young Tony Manero is bored with his life in Brooklyn, but on Saturday night, he's king on the dance floor. With the help of Stephanie, his more sophisticated dance partner, he realizes his dream of becoming a professional dancer. A believable slice of life in the 70's. I highly recommend this film to anyone who likes disco. Lots of great music from the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman and much, much more. A true classic.

This 1978 movie is about a local disco that attracts a huge crowd into it's doors. The film follows several people during the course of one night at the disco. There's the standard married couple on their anniversary, who decide to check out the club and have some fun, but, wouldn't you know it, things get out of hand. Then there's the underage girls, who are dressed to kill, who go out to the disco to try to meet some guys and find out that they are in over their heads (It's almost like an ABC afterschool special). Then there is the girl with a song in her heart who tries to woo the DJ into playing her song so that she can become a singing sensation (Which she does!). This movie is silly, but I thought it was fun to watch. Granted, this is not Oscar material, but it is just good, clean, silly fun. This one stars: Valerie Landsburg, Teri Nunn, Chick Vennera, Jeff Goldblum, Donna Summer and Debra Winger. It features Donna Summer singing her hit "Last Dance".

A stellar cast in a re-telling of the Wizard of OZ which transplants Dorothy into a fantasy version of New York City. Lots of fun with excellent musical numbers and lavish costumes and sets. This 1978 film stars: Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor, Mabel King, Thelma Carpenter and Lena Horne. I thought Ross was a bit too old to be playing the young innocent Dorothy in the film, but I guess I need to remember one is a fantasy film.

Another disco film released in 1980, when supposedly, disco was dead. This one is about a muse who decends to earth to help two men open up a roller disco. It's about as hokey as it sounds. This one stars Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, Gene Kelly (why would he do this film?) and Sandahl Bergman. The best part of the movie is the music, which of course is by Olivia Newton-John, and some songs by Electric Light Orchestra as well. It's unfortunate that Gene Kelly made this film. He looks completely ridiculous roller skating around in his tuxedo! This film is unintentionally hilarious at times.

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