Disco Sucked

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Spurred on by my recent Clash of the Titans Bee Gee's-as-Gods Photoshop exercise, on Friday night I revisited Saturday Night Fever after about 3 decades. SNF is one of those films where nostalgic recollection seems to have have all but eclipsed the actual narrative of the original film. The pulsing disco soundtrack, general kitsch associated with the era and John Travola's subsequent career oscillations have overshadowed the despair and grit contained in this surprisingly provocative and unsettling film. If you can manage to strip out and look past the disco duck, SNF is a relatively engaging and rather downbeat look at a '70s youth subculture. The language, mood, dark sexuality and violent brutality of the film's main characters is real throw-back to the brave world of '70s film making. The populist horseshit we are force-fed these days simply sucks in comparison. Can you imagine the Jonas Brothers taking turns gangbanging Hillary Duff in the back of a car in an R-rated film made about club dancing these days? No, me neither. Current pop culture is bland, safe, boring and corporate and it's a bit of a shock when you see what it used to be like. Rewatching SNF all these years later was a real eye-opener to what has been the slow devolution of pop culture into the turgid stew of mediocrity it's now become.
Still, I'm glad it's not still 1977 either. Those clothes were simply ludicrous. 


the coelacanth said...

i watched this for the first time recently and was totally struck by how dark and grimy the film was. 30+ years of pop-cultural massaging have dulled the impact of this film and glossed over the darkness and left us with a couple hollow signifiers in gold necklaces and white bell-bottom tuxedos. sad how emasculating the erosive tides of history can be...

Dropkick said...

Last time i watched this i was horrified. Where was the Robot!?