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Visual Index ~ Can't Stop the Music's Best Shot(s)

April Fools! I needed an infamous 'bad movie we love' for today's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot a crowd source visual party, where anyone with a love for movies can watch the pre-assigned film and chime in on the one moment that makes it or defines it or reflects it. In other words, whatever "best" means to you.

The Village People musical Can't Stop the Music (1980) starring Valerie Perrine (of Lenny & Superman fame), Olympian Bruce Jenner (long before the Kardashian days) and Steve Guttenberg early on in his career, came through. And how. You can barely believe this movie while you're watching it but you can't exactly look away either. (Credit where it's due, the lightbulb for this week's selection came to mia via an e-mail from Awards Watch, about their new series pairing Razzie winners with Oscar winners.) 

This musical, the very first Razzie Worst Picture winner is awful, sure, but it's also adorable in its own glittery misguided 'let's put on a show' kind of way. The Razzies, which are also crowd sourced, have a long history of homophobia (they're no fans of camp or gay icons of any kind) so it's no surprise that it all started here with this super gay film that's weirdly caught between "Liberation" and the closet and the cusp of the decades it straddling. But more on that in these fine fun articles.

Can't Stop the Music's Best Shots
click on the photos for the corresponding article 

Its massively ineffective attempt to split the difference between the look and mood of the 1970s versus the 1980s...
-Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy 

The movie it might have been in another time. NOT THAT IT WOULD HAVE EXISTED IN ANOTHER TIME....
-Nathaniel R, The Film Experience

The kind of joyous, “ZOMG out of ★★★★” masterpiece that I would place in the same company as Battlefield Earth and Showgirls... 
-Robert Hamer, Awards Circuit 

Presented as a dream sequence with lyrics that veer quite close to an imagined rape sequence...
-Manuel Betancourt 

a wacko comedic origin story with occasional music-video interludes...
- Jake D, Minnesota Gneiss 

Half trying to phone it in, half trying to get out...
-Lam Chop Chop 

This is the '80s, darling. You're going to see a lot of things you've never seen before...
 - (Home) Film Schooled 

The Rosetta Stone to understanding the pleasures of Can't Stop the Music...
-Coco Hits NY 

I chose the reaction shot because I imagine he’s thinking what I’m thinking...
-Drink Your Juice, Shelby pt 1 and pt 2

It’s such a ludicrously mounted production that it thrills me to no end that it was a hit in Australia and nowhere else...
-Glenn Dunks 

I adore this shot for SO many reasons... let me list them for you"
-Nathaniel R, The Film Experience 

Following the film's gonzo logic, this sequence does nothing to advance the plot...
- Jason Henson, The Entertainment Junkie 

Guys! Wait! This can’t be The Gayest because LOOK AT THIS PRETTY STRAIGHT LADY!
- Anne Marie & Margaret, We Recycle Movies 

You can hang out with all the boys...
-Shane Slater, Film Actually 

a product of its time...
-abstew - The Film's The Thing


literally shooting out rainbows...
-Sorta That Guy 

These 15 articles are so fun, people. Please do enjoy them in all their jaw-dropped glory.

Previously on "Hit Me"
Eternal Sunshine & L.A. Confidential

Next time on "Hit Me"Bette Davis in the Best Picture noir nominee THE LETTER (1940). Choose and post your 'Best Shot' by 9 PM Tuesday April 15th to be included in the visual roundup.


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Reader Comments (15)

I wonder if the fact that there aren't any Best Shot Picks after the YMCA sequence means some people called it quits before finishing the movie... I watched the whole thing! But two hours is a lot of time to spend with this level of insanity.

Anyway, this is once again a great roundup, and I had an absolutely blast writing/reading this batch. :)

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Great post- I saw this when it first came out and remember that there were two gentlemen of a certain age dressed in full leather drag in the audience. Now let's all do the Milkshake!

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Haha, I watched the whole thing but the film really does hit its peak in the Y.M.C.A. sequence and nothing after it really matches up.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Btw, I'm enjoying these posts immensely. Great job everyone!

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Shane: not unlike Village People themselves.

But seriously, I loved reading everyone's articles. I'm amazed that we all found it so brilliantly awful, but picked such an incredible variety of shots. If only this film had found a way to incorporate "In the Navy"….

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJason H.

My choice!:

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

As I confessed in my post, I couldn't finish the film. Too cloying and annoying for my tastes though now I'm curious about this YMCA number. Rubber-necking, why must you so compel me?! It is a wonderful little snapshot of the 70s/80s moment, a glittery, vaguely gay yet homophobic snapshot.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I couldn't bring myself to watch it again. My retinas are still burned with the image of Bruce Jenner in a cut off T and short, shorts. There were def clues to his KarKrashian future.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

The Razzies, which are also crowd sourced, have a long history of homophobia (they're no fans of camp or gay icons of any kind)

Their rejection of camp isn't homophobia. And the gay icons they attack are sitting ducks for that kind of ridicule. Camp is the opposite of serious and good taste.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Oh God!, Oh God! I re-watched the whole thing and it was just as absurd, awful and yet hideous fun as before and I never miss an Altovise Davis musical!

It's really more of a film for hilarious dialogue than striking shots," I'm James and flames my game" & "Anyone who can swallow two snowballs and a Ho-Ho should have no trouble with pride" are just two that made me laugh out loud but visually its pretty lurid.

I'd pick Do the Milkshake, the film's Busby Berkeley wannabe number as striking the height of the film's everything in excess outlook. Valerie in the champagne glass surrounded by all things white and chrome specifically.

Also kudos to Barbara Rush for managing to maintain her dignity throughout, even in some really dreadful hats, while all others were losing theirs. June Havoc was fun too, she seemed more than anyone to understand the trainwreck she was involved in and pitched her performance accordingly.

I had forgotten that Bruce Jenner was good looking once upon a time, he scares me now. Good looking or not he still gave the film's worst performance, no easy feat when competing with Paul Sand and Marilyn Sokol.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Where did people get the widescreen version from? I'm assuming the DVD, which shows great commitment. The Netflix edition was (sadly) low-hq pan and scan.

Loving (Home) Film Schooled's picture. How bizarre that they thought the need to update the famous IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT scene. And Sorta That Guy's picture reminds me of when we did SHOWGIRLS and I chose a shot in which it appears Nomi's vagina is literally sprouting a neon venus fly trap. I look forward to reading all the piece.

3rtful, call it homophobia or not, but there's no reason on Earth other than lazy mockery for them to have nominated Madonna for worst actress for TRUTH OR DARE or give her an award for DIE ANOTHER DAY for a cameo that's no better or worse than anything else in that movie and plenty of others. See also Barbra Streisand's nominations for YENTL (YENTL!!!), MEET THE FOCKERS, and THE GUILT TRIP (I haven't seen ALL NIGHT LONG). All three of those nomination look like snivelling dirt-rubbing for whatever perceived sins she's committed by being rich and with the ability to be picky about what she works on. See also Cher's nomination for BURLESQUE. Literally no reason to nominate her other than she's high profile. There were worse performances in far "worthier" films that film that this silly organisation doesn't ever recognise. Not anymore, anyway. Remember when Stanley Kubrick was nominated for worst director of THE SHINING against CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC. I mean, come on.

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

My best shot is actually the final shot of the "Magic Night" number, but now that you've captioned the other image with "literally shooting out rainbows..." well I can't deny that. :D

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Ryan --i'm sorry. I see it now. don't know how i missed that the first time reading it. the word "best" was hidden :)

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Glenn -- yeah, when i assigned the movie i didn't realize it was pan & scan but for once I didn't really care because, you know, this movie. (although that said my own choice for Best Shot would have probably been way better in widescreen. Also the pan & scan versions are different. The image you snapped NEVER showed up in the Netflix copy i saw. It's in there but Steve Gutternberg is not in frame at all

April 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

As Glen said, it was a hit in Australia. I remember a relative in her 50s wanted to see it but thought she would be the oldest person in the cinema only to find that she was probably the youngest. With hindsight, I can see that why it found an audience of older ladies who liked the music and dancing and non-threatening sexuality.

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterV

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