Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Staying Alive

So, the sequel to Saturday Night Live is, well, absolutely nothing like the original. Except there is still a John Travolta. Remember that dark period in his career between Grease and Pulp Fiction? This is it. The nadir. Even more than Two of a Kind. Remember when Sylvester Stallone was riding high on Rocky and Rambo? Then he directed this and that was that. Staying Alive makes Over the Top look like Fellini's 8 1/2. Last big-budget shit that motherfucker was allowed to touch for a long time as well...
Tony Manero gets a job on the world's worst Broadway musical. He rises from the chorus to become lead dancer in "Satan's Alley" as two soap opera actresses catfight over his affections. (A dull little sideplot. He did a better job of feigning interest in Donna Pescow.) Did i mention that all the music is by Frank Stallone? Director Sylvester also keeps things in the family way by plopping Mama Jackie Stallone headbands on every friggin' chick in the film. The musical seems to involve a lot of dancers writhing about in "hell" (Drowning in dry ice, wearing 80's headbands and listening to Brutha Frank discosynthchurntinkle -- yeah, that certainly could be the land of the damned.) Hell is a place where the women wear red leotards and have crimped hair and grind against random pipes and scaffolds.They also baste Tony in baby oil and tear at his loincloth. (Sort of the opposite of the SNF polyester mooseknuckle, Travolta's crotch is liberally padded to convexity here.) There's also some dudes in vinyl unitards and school carnival facepaint and a few pyrotechnic effects obviously acquired at the fireworks stand in the parking lot of the 7-11.
This awful flailing and gyrating goes on non-stop for about the last 20 minutes, except for the moment when the tragic-ass faux-Fosse "director" comes backstage waving his scarf at Tony and hollering "What is going on out there?" (Yeah, man, I was wondering too.) It is rather interesting that Broadway star Tony is a far worse dancer and has infinitely less charisma than outer-borough disco dayjob Tony. Still, if you're a fan of Travolta in his liberally greased and half-naked physical prime, you might derive a modicum of enjoyment from Staying Alive. (I didn't. My mom did.)

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