Apex Predator's Reviews

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Is Thank God It's Friday the worst film to have won an Oscar? Leonard Maltin sure thought so.

Imagine Car Wash without the laughs or Grand Hotel set in a discotheque where nothing truly happens. It's a good way to sum up my experiences watching this era of the disco movie.

A listing of subplots for those who care:
An accountant is on his fifth anniversary with his wife where she becomes the target of lothario disco owner (Jeff Goldblum). Meanwhile, he gets caught up in the machinations of a club regular with a pharmacy in her purse!
Said owner takes great pride in his car, placing a gray coversheet over it before coming to work.
Two teen girls have designs on winning the disco contest to buy tickets to see KISS (who knew disco and KISS were related). Trivia time: The blonde girl became the lead singer from Berlin!
A garbageman with a short fuse (You bet your sweet ass you're sorry) is waiting on a blind date. Of course, she's refined, taller and bookish.
The Disco DJ is being threatened with various things if the Commodores don't show up on the air at midnight.
Yes, the Commodores are here but their roadie with all their instruments is not.
Two normal kids looking for love (she's played by Debra Winger) are escorted by two people who act like they're smooth operators but they're really not.
A local singer (Donna Summer) wants a chance to prove her vocal chops tonight.

The various subplots keep colliding on the dance floor, but there's little reason to care outside of maybe Summer's plight. The directing is listless for the most part (you don't get a chance to wow at the talents of young Goldblum and Winger, they're just there). Summer's performance is kind of rudimentary, but her character is not hard to root for and you can tell she can bring it singing. The music is well done at least with Brick House and Oscar winning Last Dance among the tracks. The film consists of multiple running jokes, most of which fall flat.

I think I counted two laughs. One involving a perfect song choice and the other involving a motorcycle cop running into something and flying off. There's also admittedly a bravura sequence involving a guy in leather dancing on top of cars and on lightpoles that recalled Singin' in the Rain.

But worst Oscar winner? I can see it. To paraphrase another film critic, too often I was listening to my watch to make sure it hadn't stopped. And it's electric.

Next: A search for a bird takes a deadly turn.



Sometimes, I decide to look at TitanTV and explore what's coming up over the next two weeks on TV. Sometimes, I might find an older movie on NBC. More often, it's what happens Saturday night on KET that piques my interest.

Such was the case a few weeks ago when I saw that The Maltese Falcon was playing...

That bit of improvisation worked last year when it was 12 Angry Men. And darn it if it didn't work again!

Sam (Humphrey Bogart) agrees to take on the case of Ruth (Mary Astor), a woman in search of her sister who has gone missing. But when the male person of interest and his partner both end up dead that night, Sam finds his neck full of lies, cops who suspect he's guilty of at least one murder, and people interested in a black bird who could be very valuable.

Bogart is convincing as Spade who can flash his wits with a biting tongue while being tough enough to not look out of place with a gun. Mary Astor may have a character who can't keep her story straight, but she's able to pull off both looking alluring when she needs to with a savvyness that lurks beneath the surface. Sydney Greenstreet makes the most of his moments as Kasper Gutman. There's a scene where he explains the significance of the bird while Sam drinks that it's just awe-inspiring. Peter Lorre offers an interesting performance as Cairo, another possible suitor of the bird. And thanks to John Huston who wrote and directed this, it manages to be intense with crackling dialogue.

If anything, the subplot about the partner's wife who comes in implying that Spade killed her husband so he could get her is kind of underdone. Maybe it's the Hays Code at work or maybe Huston didn't think it was interesting enough to elaborate. It kinda feels like a lacking element in a film that doesn't have much else wrong with it.

I'd give it 3.5 out of 4 stars and from what I've heard, it gets better with future watches. I can't wait.

Next: I don't mind.