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Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Beat is Gonna Getcha

What's On?: Can't Stop the Music

To say that Can’t Stop the Music is one of my favorite movies is an understatement. I have many movies that are my favorites, but when I’m feeling down or just plain “blah” I can put this movie in and come away happy and singing songs that keep me going for the rest of the day.

It’s the story of a young man who wants to make people happy with the music he composes. Steve Guttenberg plays Jack, the young composer, who wants to DJ at a local club, Saddle Tramps, to get his music out there.

Normally, Steve Guttenberg is okay. I mean I liked him in Three Men and a Baby, Cocoon, Diner, and even his goofy portrayal of Mahoney in the Police Academy movies. However, throughout the first half of the film, Steve screams every line. It’s like he is this hyperactive speed freak and was told to be excited for each of his scenes.

I’ll forgive him. Hell, if he would do a whole movie with his shirt off, I’d overlook any problem with his acting.

His roommate is the retired model, Samantha played by Valerie Perrine, who looks on him as a younger brother.

Samantha’s agent was Sydney Channing played by Tammy Grimes, who wants to get Samantha back in the business.

Marilyn Sokol plays her assistant, Lulu.

This was a missed opportunity. They should have spun them off into a show of their own. Each week they could have had a different client or situation. The chemistry and timing between both of them could have made a great workplace sitcom.

Back to our story—Samantha agrees to go to Saddle Tramps and listen to his music. If she likes it, she’ll help him with contacts in the record industry. Saddle Tramps, the local disco, is run by Benny Murray, played by Jack Weston in a surprise cameo.

The dancers like the music and luckily so does Samantha.

One of the dancers was played by Blane Savage. Normally, the background people go unnoticed, but he starred as one of the dancers in the film version of A Chorus Line.

First order of business: Make a demo. Samantha goes out to recruit some singers by promising them dinner. She gets her neighbor Felipe,

exercise instructor Randy,

and part-time model David.

More music needed…David does a number with so much red glitter that I’m sure the ladies were clogging up their tubs for weeks.

At the dinner party, Jack goes over the lyrics with the guys (if Steve was going to portray a guy who writes music, shouldn’t he have had some rhythm?)

Meanwhile, decathlon winner Bruce Jenner plays a lawyer named Ron who gets rolled by a little old lady while doing a favor by delivering a cake to Samantha from her sister.

When Samantha’s friend Alicia, played by Mrs. Sammy Davis Jr., Altovise Davis, shows up with another recruit, police officer Ray, Ron thinks it’s a great opportunity to file a report.

Another guest arrives, Jack’s mother, played by June Havoc.

Lulu is surprised when Sydney arrives. It seems Sydney followed her to Samantha’s place.

The guys run through the song.

A "Magic Night" was had by all.

Samantha tries to get her ex-boyfriend played by Paul Sands to give the guys a shot, but he wants her back.

In the meantime, a romantic subplot between Bruce Jenner and Valerie Perrine slows the movie down a bit.

If it had been between Steve Guttenberg and Bruce Jenner, then maybe I would have been more interested in the subplot.

Again, back to the story—they hold auditions for more members. Altovise brings G.I. Alex.

Bruce Jenner’s mom, played by Barbara Rush, gives them their name—The Village People. Leatherman and tollbooth operator Glenn comes to pay a fine when he auditions to join the group with “Danny Boy”.

Now the guys need a place to rehearse and Bruce has found the perfect place—the YMCA (cue the music).

This movie is the only PG-rated film with full-frontal male nudity. I just can’t picture Nancy Walker behind the camera during this.

At least the guys and Valerie had a good time.

They’re off to the recording studio to show Paul Sands their talent, with no luck.

Samantha decides she has to go back to work modeling to earn some money and give the guys the exposure they need. Sydney gets them a commercial for milk with miniature versions of the Village People at the beginning.

Now it’s time to do the “Milkshake”.

Make mine strawberry. The commercial doesn’t go over well. Sex and milk don’t go together, so the next idea is a pay party. Luckily, Bruce Jenner’s mom has a fund raiser she’s giving in San Francisco.

Now it's time to wrap everything up quickly. En route to Frisco (excuse me) San Francisco, the Guttenberg and his mom get Paul to agree to a contract deal.

The opening act begins with The Ritchie Family singing “Sophistication”.

Leigh Taylor-Young suddenly and inexplicably appears in a cameo as a reporter (I didn’t think she was that famous).

The guys go on stage for the finale singing “Can’t Stop the Music”. (YAY!)

They are joined on stage by the ladies, Barbara Rush, Marilyn Sokol, Tammy Grimes, June Havoc, and Altovise Davis. (My eyes are about to explode from this visual excitement)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Steve, Valerie and Bruce see their success. (Why couldn't Valerie be down with all the other ladies dancing with the Village People while Bruce and Steve made out)

Can’t Stop the Music was the first film to win Worst Motion Picture by the Razzie Awards. They couldn’t appreciate it for what it was. Allan Carr followed up Grease with this film hoping to make another great musical. Let me just say, I’ve seen Can’t Stop the Music many more times than Grease. In fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve watched Grease. If it weren’t for Eve Arden and Stockard Channing, I don’t know if I would ever see it again, but I can guarantee that I’ll be watching Can’t Stop the Music again and again. In fact, I'll probably watch it again tomorrow.


  1. Great post! I love this movie, too. Have you read Robert Hofler's Allan Carr book, "Party Animals"? It goes into a *lot* of detail about the making of CSTM. Hilarious stuff.

  2. I haven't read it, but now I'm going to have to get it!



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