Can’t Stop the Music (1980)

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Synopsis: In this pseudo-biographical tale of the formation of 1970s disco giants the Village People, struggling DJ/songwriter Jack Morell (Steve Guttenberg) needs just one big break to get his career off the ground. With the help of his newly-retired supermodel best friend Samantha (Valerie Perrine), Jack gets a record exec to listen to his demo, but Jack’s vocals just don’t cut the mustard. So Jack and Samantha decide to recruit singers from the Greenwich Village area of New York to form a group to perform Jack’s songs. With Samantha’s new beau Ron (Bruce Jenner) offering his Wall Street offices as an audition space, they build a group of six macho men – the Policeman, the Indian, the Construction Worker, the Cowboy, the Leatherman, and the G.I. – and dub them the Village People. But do Jack and his singers have what it takes to reach the top?

Here on Garbo Laughs, I’m dedicating the entire month of June to the topic of Queer Cinema (LGBTQs, and depictions thereof, in classic film). This includes reviewing one relevant film from each decade from the 1910s to the 1990s. This is all leading up to my Queer Film Blogathon on June 27th. Won’t you join me in celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month by contributing a post or two (or three)?

How to put into words my love for this beautiful trainwreck of a film? The first and only directorial effort of television actress Nancy Walker (Rhoda’s mom!), Can’t Stop the Music was meant to be the apotheosis of the disco era, “the movie musical event of the ’80s.” Unfortunately, it was released just after disco had already peaked and was rapidly falling to the era of New Wave. At the time of its release, Newsweek called it “the first all-singing, all-dancing horror film; the Dawn of the Dead of the disco era.” It was a double feature of Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu which inspired John J.B. Wilson to create the notorious annual Golden Raspberry Awards honoring the worst in film. Can’t Stop was nominated in all but one category at that first ceremony and walked away with the Razzies for both Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. With a film this bad, you know it’s gotta be good. (more…)

Japanese Cinema Blogathon: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

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Synopsis:A thousand years after an apocalyptic war destroyed the earth’s ecosystem, the scattered human survivors are still fighting each other and their environment. Their settlements are separated by impenetrable toxic forests, guarded by giant insects and filled with poisonous plants releasing deadly spores. There is only one girl who does not fear the forests: the princess Nausicaä, of the Valley of the Wind. Seeking to regain control, the war-like Tolmekians plan to resurrect one the legendary Giant Warriors, used in the war but potentially strong enough to defeat the monstrous bugs and destroy the toxic forests. However, prophecy states that the destruction of the forests will only make things worse for the human inhabitants. Can Nausicaä stop the Tolmekians from unleashing the Warrior before it’s too late?

This is an official entry in the week-long Japanese Cinema Blogathon for disaster relief, co-hosted by CinemaFanatic and Japan Cinema. As we all know, Japan was struck with a 9.0 earthquake on March 11, resulting in devastating tsunamis and widespread destruction. Please CLICK HERE to make a donation to the represented charity of your choice to aid Japanese disaster victims, and be sure to click the banner at left to view the other contributions to the blogathon.

I only got word of this blogathon for Japanese earthquake/tsunami relief at the last minute (thanks Eve for alerting me!), but I automatically knew I had to participate. My girlfriend’s brother and his wife, along with their ten-month-old baby, live in Japan, and while they are doing fine and are too far south to have been affected by the earthquake/tsunami, we have been glued to the TV and computer since the quake occurred. (We mostly rely on this English stream of NHK instead of the American news networks, as most of the information coming from the American sources seems to be either factually inaccurate or shamelessly fear-mongering.)

Since this is a fundraising blogathon for a very worthy cause, I wanted to contribute more than one measly post. So for the duration of this blogathon, I will be marathon-reviewing some of the lesser-known masterpieces of Studio Ghibli. Japanese animation is more than Hayao Miyazaki, and Japanese cinema is certainly more than anime. However, this is the last minute, I love the films of Studio Ghibli, and we happen to own twelve of them, so this is the best I can offer. (more…)

Poltergeist (1982)

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Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

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