love that polyester look…

Saturday Night FeverAh yes, the memories. You really can’t go wrong by watching Saturday Night Fever. First off, one of the most unfairly derided films out there. Yes, its fashions are dated, belonging to a time not just past but one that was universally reviled by anyone who wasn’t a part of it (like hippies, but without the humor). But Saturday Night Fever provides a brief glimpse into a scene in which the music, fashion and dancing were the lifestyle. We gain this glimpse by following a young fellow who begins to want to understand himself and his place in the world as he begins to grow up enough to start to objectively view his role as a sensation in his small scene in Bay Ridge. John Travolta stars as Tony Manero, a role that he smokes through as if he was born to play it, and it is probably his best turn as an actor (hard to believe that this film was made during his time on “Welcome Back, Kotter” and the year before Grease)… An Italian-American who lives with his grumpy and struggling family, and works as a clerk at a hardware store, but who lives for nothing but the greatest shirts with that polyester look and being the “king” of the dumpy little discotheque (Odyssey 2001) in his neighborhood. Aside from that he farts around with his gaggle of dead-end friends and sleeps with whatever random girls comes along. But when he falls for a boring and uptight girl who is trying to prove herself better than Brooklyn, things start to change for him. His attempts to endear himself to her start waking him up to the life he’s living and the future options he is headed for. And then when his brother disgraces the family be leaving the priesthood, Tony gains a new sense of freedom from his old life. It seems that he has felt somewhat uncomfortable, as if he knew something was wrong with how he spent his days, and he starts to realize that there is more to life then he or his friends have realized, and more than they really care to know about…

 

Saturday Night Fever

 

Regardless of jokes about the disco dancing, the disco music and his fixation on his hair, Saturday Night Fever really is a deadly serious drama about growing into adulthood, self respect and self awareness that also rings quite true in its depiction of cool culture in it’s time, or at least it does to me. It certainly rang true to the public, doing quite well at the box office and the soundtrack sold so well that 30 years later is is still one of the all-time top selling albums in American history (something like 15 million copies).

 

Saturday Night Fever

 

And the dancing, well even taking into account that it is disco dancing, Tony shows off some pretty impressive moves on the dance floor, though my personal favorite scene is the opening title sequence, which is great… Pure Brooklyn. In all honesty, I also read the book, many years back. It was a good and fun read, but it makes me realize that in the movie you lose some of his deep emotional attachment to shirts.



 

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