Yeah, so I finally saw it in all its BIG screen glory. I was thinking the theater was going to be packed with people, many in leg warmers and slouchy, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts; but I was wrong. Joseph and I were the only ones there. So, it was a private screening...which was good. We were able to just converse during the movie. This re-release was brought to us by Fathom Events. Fathom Events is--well, I'm not really sure. But this was my second Fathom Event, the first being a screening of Tommy Wiseau's masterpiece, The Room. I went to see it with Joseph and several actor friends who were really into The Room experience at the time. For whatever reason though, there was no sound. Everyone left but us, and we supplied a good 95 percent of the dialogue. It was fun!
Actually, the quality of the projection was even worse than that. Maybe more like a VCR viewed through a magnifying glass. But we enjoyed it! It's nearly impossible to NOT enjoy Flashdance.
So, rather than wax philosophic about the movie now; I'm going to supply you with an excerpt from my novel, "83 in the Shade," that was more or less my take on the movie then; and my take on the movie now...
I looked again at the picture of Jennifer. It was clearly a publicity shot; but probably a still taken during the filming of the scene where Jennifer waxes rhapsodic about the esotericisms of musical appreciation. She’s explaining to her construction mogul boss that “if you close your eyes, you can see the music…” as she sits spread eagled on an ottoman pulling the folds of her voluminous cut off sweatshirt betwixt her knees, almost down to her crimson FMPs. During the scene in the movie, Jennifer plays the scene dreamily, if not druggedly. But in the still, she’s staring out with a mixture of vapidity and fierceness—as though the photographer snapped her picture just after she’d yawned and she was none too pleased. In any event, she looks determined. Doe-eyed and determined at the same time. She’s going to take her passion and make it happen (not just the character, but the actress) even if it means giving up her dirigible hangar sized loft.
Flashdance has to be one of the stupidest photoplays ever committed to celluloid. It makes the musicals of the 30’s seem plausible. Jennifer’s character “Alex” resides in Pittsburgh, PA, a place at once both gritty and glamorous thanks to the steel barons of yore. It’s a place where one can be, say, a welder by day and a dancer by night; which, coincidentally, or heroine is. Yes, she’s a welder. Wait, let me clarify that…She’s a WELDER. She’s not flinging around a soldering iron in some electronics factory. She’s wielding an acetylene blowtorch and WELDING things—like I-Beams and steel girders and flying buttresses.
When she’s not reinforcing some heavy-metal super-structure, she’s maniacally pursuing her real “passion” which is dancing. With a capital “D”. If she’s not at the steel yards, she’s gigging at a riverfront bar, regaling dockworkers and other blue-collar types with experimental avant-garde dance routines. The workingmen of Pittsburgh like their exotic dancing with an edge. A cutting edge. We’re talking nothing less than the latest high-tech video and advanced installations of electronica. The finest, apparently, that a fistful of dollar tips can buy. Which is odd, since we never see Jennifer dance for tips. Hey, it’s not that kind of place! This is Art for Art’s sake! If you want titties, go down the street.
Yes, Jennifer is busy, busy, busy! Wait! There she is, rescuing her troubled best friend from the perils of pole dancing in disreputable establishments! Over there! It’s Jennifer, winning over the stuffy board of a prestigious dance academy with her daring, mind-expanding audition! Hey, where did she go now? There she is, at Pittsburgh’s poshest noshery, wearing nothing but a tuxedo shirt as she seductively scarfs savory shellfish!
Now I’m no expert on Pennsylvania labor laws, but Jennifer is supposed to be eighteen. Yet, she’s a full-time welder, doing what appears to be highly advanced work (i.e.: spot welding fuel rods for nuclear reactors). I would think this would require a lot of highly specialized training and a lengthy apprenticeship. When did she find time to master the welding arts? Between Jazz and Tap? Did she go to welding pre-school?
Yes, Flashdance is one of the stupidest movies ever made. And one of the most enjoyable. Scooter and I had seen it at least seven times. We couldn’t get enough. It was mesmerizing. It was like some kind of wildly addictive drug. You were thinking about your next fix before the movie was half over. The irony of if all though was that Jennifer did almost none of her own dancing. Some French lady does. This becomes glaringly obvious by the third or fourth viewing. Jennifer is only shown in cut-away close-ups during the dance sequences. Or, in medium long shot during the parts of the routine that a three toed sloth could accomplish. And the French lady’s hair is different; especially when it gets wet and it’s clearly a permanent. Oh, she tries to disguise herself by whipping her head back and forth really fast or wearing clown make-up (don’t ask).
It makes you wonder why they hired Ms. Beals in the first place. I mean Jennifer undoubtedly has a certain vacuous charm; but she’s no Dame Edith Evans in the acting department. They couldn’t find a pretty girl who could pretend to weld, pout, and actually dance too? Think of all the money they could’ve saved in overages if they hadn’t had to shoot twice as much film disguising Jennifer’s double. They should’ve called the movie Frenchdance. Scooter’s grandmother referred to it as “Flashpants,” as in: “Are you going to see that ‘Flashpants’ movie again?” She had mistaken a lyric in the film’s omnipresent theme song as “take your pants off” instead of “take your passion”. Referring to the film as “Flashpants” was a logical progression.