Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is It Wrong for 3 Straight Men to Watch Flashdance, and What's Worse, Enjoy it?



My friend from L.A. was in town this weekend, and a bunch of us went out. We had entirely too many libations and we were talking about old times. The next day we were all useless, and more than ever aware of how a hangover is much more severe in your late twenties than it was in our seemingly invincible early twenties. This led us to sit around all day watching movies in lazy boys, like a bunch of, well, lazy boys. One movie we watched was Annie Hall. That is an unbelievably influential movie to the point where filmmakers don’t even realize they’re ripping it off. Great movie, but it’s not the one I’m blogging about today. Hell, we didn’t even finish that movie. The one that we left on for its entirety was Flashdance.

Yes, she is a welder by day and a semi-erotic dancer by night, with aspirations of becoming a dancer on Broadway, or whatever. She is, in fact, “just a steel town girl on a Saturday night,” etc, etc. The movie does follow the token 80’s, and let’s face it, almost every movie’s formula of boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy blows it somehow, boy gets girl back, roll credits. While the film does follow this horribly predictable formulaic pattern, it manages to be memorable through the visuals. Watch the scene when Jennifer Beals is wearing a sexy-ass, sleeveless, tuxedo number, eating what appears to be a shrimp cocktail in a seductive manner, and all the while touching his junk under the table with her fishnet stockinged foot. I defy you not to get a little frisky in that scene.

It’s not even just the fact that she’s smoking hot in the movie, which she is, but she is so damned captivating somehow. She has that hint of craziness (see breaking a window in his house at the slightest sign of infidelity, running away from him for no good reason, taking her bra off through her shirt, asking him to close his eyes and “feel the music,” getting out of his Porsche under a bridge with traffic going both ways and walking down the middle of the street.) I don’t know about you, guys, but I like a little hint of crazy. I don’t like them too crazy, but you have to admit that a little bit of crazy can be fun and interesting, and it often translates into “the sack.” Did I just say “the sack?” How old am I?

I have no idea what the character’s name is! That may have something to do with the fact that we were talking throughout the whole thing, but the fact is the dialogue isn’t important in the movie – it’s the visuals. Hey, why not have her and her friend stop and watch some breakdancing for what seemed like way too long? While we’re at it, why not have her do an artsy-fartsy dance in kabuki theatre makeup with strobe lights blasting while she runs into the walls? Was she a meth-addicted performance artist? Would people really come to that dirty bar to watch performance art? Wouldn’t they yell for her to take it off, etc? Oh no, these working class, Pittsburgh natives just sip their beers and applaud her efforts. There is one scene where she tapes up her feet and proceeds to dance alone in her apartment, but the dancing appears to be more accurately running in place, and more exercised based than anything else. The amount of sweat shooting off her curly hair is ridiculous (see photo)! I think I may need to switch to running in place dancing in my apartment to fill the cardio component of my workouts. Great looking scene though, and it is when we hear Michael Sembello’s Maniac, which had to be rewritten due to the fact that it was originally a song about a serial killer. You didn’t think I’d get through this blog without a tid-bit of obscure music knowledge, did you? Anyway, there are tons of bazaar, visual based scenes that aren’t realistic, and they don’t really move the story along, but it’s a lot of fun to watch somehow.

What is really sad is that because Jennifer Beals is so damned captivating in the movie, the character grows on you to the point where you really do want her to nail that audition at the end. I felt a little gay when I got the chills right when she puts the record on and What a Feeling by Irena Cara kicks in. I felt even gayer when faced with the realization that I was guarding the remote all day, and perhaps a little more into this movie than my friends, but that’s a realization I don’t care to delve into right now. Moving on, she falls down at first, but she asks to start over. That’s when she wins those judges over. Maybe it was going judge-to-judge, spinning around pointing right in their faces, or the 80’s-out fist pumping while backpedaling, but I contend that when she goes into that tight, fast, breakdancing backspin she really won their hearts. We don’t know for sure if she passed the audition, but it doesn’t matter. The way she goes running out of there, looking like she’s on top of the world, with her boss boyfriend, the foreman or whatever at the steel plant, who has put a bow on her pit bull and brought flowers, you know that either she passed the audition or she simply knows that she has wowed those judges and she doesn’t care what the result is. That’s all the viewer needs to know, so it is at this time that they do the cheesy freeze frame and the film concludes, with all of us, or maybe just me, feeling a little happier than we were before investing that hour and a half. “What a feeling,” indeed. God, I wanted to delete that lame sentence, but it’s too funny, so I’m going to leave you with that: “What a Feeling,” indeed.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You put entirely too much effort into analyzing Flashdance. Yet, I'm not at all surprised to see that somehow.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

That's just how I role, anonymous. That's just how I roll . . .

Youbanks said...

In retrospect, I think if the movie had a "slow clap" scene in it, that would have really put a nice bow on the whole production. Maybe they could have put a slow clap in immediately following her shrimp eating scene. I know I was clapping.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Youbanks, thanks for reading and commenting! I have to agree that the shrimp scene is slow clap worthy, or at least golf clap worthy. Youbanks and I were also laughing at the fact that when the girl falls in the ice skating scene (with the song Gloria playing), she just sits there in dead silence, and nobody even claps when she gets up. Tough crowd!

ocg said...

I just always remember the water pouring over her at the club she danced at... and the removing the bra without removing her shirt... the boys used to love that one...

I LOVE your summary, this post should be promptly placed on the back of all VHS cassette cases!

;-)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Hey, thanks for props oc girl! I put you on my links so that people can enjoy your page as well. A VHS cassette summary would be a dream come true, but a betamax tape would really be an accomplishment.

That water scene is great, and it has been parodied so many times, perhaps most memorably by Chris Farley when Rob Lowe is washing the cow doody off of him.

darci ann said...

wow. i'm speechless. THIS is a true love of Flashdance and so insightful to you :) I'm glad I hit the archives.

Drunken Chud said...

i don't know what's worse... your obsession with flashdance or mine. i recognize all the scenes you describe and i find all of them hot. damn that harpy and her magical ways.

NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Darci and Chud: Thanks so much for dipping into the archives and trudging through this lengthy post. Maybe some day the 3 of us can split some popcorn and watch the shit out of Flashdance.