Volume 1, Number 1 -- August, 1996

Saturday Night Fever

If disco's still alive, why haven't we killed it yet?

(Ahhhh, Ahhhh, Ahhhhh, Ahhhhh, staying aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive....)

Movie Review by: AML

 There are those who walk the earth with the memory of good old John Travolta -- polyestered -- forever trapped in the disco-stance with his finger pointing his finger towards the sky like a distant cousin of ET. Thank God that I am not one of you. Noooo. I'm trapped with the Generation that knows John as holding a gun and talking about how Europeans put mayonnaise on French Fries; or he's in a movie about talking babies. Well, there's no point in talking about Pulp Fiction -- I have no interest in adding to the giant land-fill pile of Tarantino-talk. It is time, my friends, to take the journey of in the way-back machine to a point in our great American cultural history when John was rising to his first pinnacle of cinematic brilliance and success (and I was getting ready for Kindergarten): Saturday Night Fever.

 PROPER CINEMATIC MOOD TO ENJOY AS WELL AS CRITIQUE A FILM OF THIS CALLIBUR: Drunk. Unfortunately, I was not properly prepared for this experiment. It is great and ill fortune to stumble into monumentous flashes of insight with your fly open. You will forever be remembered in a history as a genius...sporting a draft. For my associate and I, we had strolled into a late showing of this film with intentions of mockery, bemusement, and, tokenly, a glance at the history of this nation which had led us to the Eighties. Yes, yes, we were ill-prepared, insolent and foolish. And, so we paid the price.

 We were luck enough to catch the first signs of caution during the credits. Saturday Night Fever was produced by Stanley Kubrick. Wait -- is that the same Stanley Full Metal Jacket Kubrick? I mean, Clockwork Orange Kubrick? (From Disco to Vietnam... Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?) Oh oh.

 To give you an idea about what transpired between those opening, warning credits and the moment when we left the darkened hell, our first reaction to the film was: This is the bleakest film that we had seen in a long time. I'm not EVEN talking about the line-dancing disco scenes at club 2001 (yes, ha ha). Taking a quick inventory of the highlights of the film... hmm, let's see: gang violence, suicide, gay-bashing, racial prejudices, date-rape, and domestic fights which includes a priest leaving the church because he got sick of lying about having faith. The difference between SNF and the other Kubrick films is that you walk into the other ones with both eyes open. Yeah, it's kinda hard to confuse The Shining with a Disney flick.

 So my question now, to those who saw Saturday Night Fever during the original theatrical release: What were you thinking while you were watching this film, originally? I mean, I don't mean this as an accusation, rather curiosity about the general feeling about this movie during it's first run. Was it as chilling to you as it was to me?

 Let me tell all of you who can hear the clicking of my keys now: YOU MUST WATCH THIS FILM ONCE. For cultural literacy? Sure, why not. How can you joke about bell-bottoms, disco-balls, and the Bee-Gee's without having seen it? (Well, pretty easily I guess) But, you have to know your past. That's all I can say. Just don't under-estimate the film as I had. It'll be your un-doing.

 And, for those who had, will , or are going to see Saturday Night Fever, my special mission for you is to see Staying Alive. A generally lacking movie, directed by a lacking actor, but a sequel in it's own twisted right. For those who will embark on this extended excursion my one advice for you is this: regardless of how moronic and predictable the movie is, sit through it till the end -- it's amusing.

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