Overlooked Gems of My Lifetime

Credit is given where credit is due regarding the overlooked gems of my lifetime.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Final Scene in the Otherwise Horrendous Staying Alive

If I ever were to document the stinking, heaping turds of my lifetime, Staying Alive, the Sylvester Stallone-directed sequel to Saturday Night Fever, might top the list. With little effort, I managed to avoid seeing this movie until 20-some years following its release. One night, while flipping channels, I had to give it a try. It's a good thing, because the delay in seeing it not only allowed me to better appreciate the majesty of this movie's badness, but it allowed me to uncover the tiniest overlooked gem of the movie's final scene. And this blog is all about appreciating the good.

John Travolta would have made a better career move by starring in a gay porn film. Stallone, who'd long ago used his single bullet in the arts, manages to make a musical romance set on Broadway with no sense of choreography; not the slightest spark of romance; and a poor man's Michael Sambello soundtrack, courtesy of his brother Frank. You would think that, if nothing else, a slimmed down, buff, and oiled Travolta would have an opportunity to display his enthusiastic dancing talents. You would think that the most generous self-absorbed actor of his generation would have the chance for a meaningful look in the mirror. But no. For 92 minutes, Every Italian Mother's Favorite Son is shackled, humiliated, and even ignored. Finally, in the movie's 93rd minute, Tony Manero tells his woman he has to get out and simply "strut." Tony/Travolta is liberated. The music of the Bee Gees is cranked up, and for a few seconds we see our hero strutting down Times Square with that shit-eating grin and the perfectly feathered hair. The camera freezes on the final image, and I'm left with goosebumps. Moments like these, my friends, are just rewards for one's patience and faith.


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