Sunday, February 23, 2014

02/23: Thank God It's Friday

I admit that before I watched this for the first time last night (on Crackle) I thought this was going to be a Saturday Night Fever ripoff. I knew it was about disco and I knew Donna Summer and Jeff Goldblum were in it. I was wrong, of course. It turned out to be an American Graffiti version of the days of disco.

TGIF features several characters and their stories intertwine with each other. Where do I start? 95% of the film is set at a fictional L.A. disco The Zoo, owned by Tony (Goldblum), who is a playboy and wealthy and happy guy who's all about his car and meeting the 'right girl'. You have two teenagers (one of them, the blonde, played by future Berlin singer Terri Nunn) desparately trying to sneak in and participate in a dance contest. You have a mismatched couple that met from a computer-dating service (those existed back then?), between a grumpy, insult-mouthing overweight guy and a taller, college-educated woman. Also you got a married couple who end up cheating on each other that night, with the husband being given several drugs by a free-spirited new wave/disco chick who ends up making a fool of himself. And, the one that crowns them all - the late Donna Summer plays an aspiring singer named Nicole Sims who tries to con her way of getting her voice/music heard to a wide audience, mostly by harassing the disc jockey. There's also the special appearance by the Commodores, who help the d.j. get to higher levels, but first retrieve their equipment which is missing in action by their driver, who continuously gets lost and pulled over on the way there.

The title has to do with something most Americans say after a hard week's work. Friday night is usually where its at, at a popular hangout. But in this movie we see everyone struggle and have problems at their home away from home - the disco! The disco, at least back in the late 70s, was the place to forget about your troubles and reality and just dance. That wasn't necessarily the case for all of the characters.

When looking at the first thing you see, the Columbia Pictures logo, with the iconic torch-holding woman, you know right away this is supposed to be a fun movie, and not to be taken seriously most of the time. Most so-called professional critics called TGIF a 'bomb', but to me, this was a true blast from the past. I cut some of those movies some slack, especially for those movies that gave us a glimpse of what it was like during the height of some time. I was born right at the time disco died an overnight death. So, to me, this was a fun watch.

My rating: 7 out of 10

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