Weird Movie Corner: Can't Stop The Music (1980)
Written by Alan Carr (the man who brought ''Grease'' and Olivia Newton-John to the screen) and Bronte Woodard, Can't Stop The Music is a pseudo-biography of The Village People, which bears only a vague resemblance to the actual story of the group's formation. Carr wrote a screenplay that elaborated on The Village People's real story to include a supermodel played by Valerie Perrine and an ad campaign for milk.
Can't Stop The Music is notorious for being the first winner of the 'Worst Picture Golden Raspberry Award', for it was a double feature of this and Xanadu that inspired John J.B. Wilson tot start the Razzies in the first place. Boy, where to start? This film is hysterical for a million different reasons. Surely a must-see in order to provide acute awareness of the bad taste high-water mark.
The Village People were at the height of their powers: they had appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in the spring of 1979 and were so popular the US Navy considered using them - and their hit 'In The Navy' - in a recruitment campaign. There was little evidence to suggest that Can't Stop The Music would signal the end of disco. Maybe Alan Carr suspected the end of the disco era when he changed the original title of the film ''Discoland - Where The Music Never Ends'' to ''Can't Stop The Music.''
Possibly one of the most flamboyantly gay motion pictures ever committed to celluloid, and it contains not a single gay character, nor even the suggestion that ''gay'' is even a thing that exists. It takes place in an entirely gay world in which one is actually gay. During location shooting in New York, filming became somewhat complicated by adjacent protests by gay activists over the William Friedkin movie ''Cruising'' which was filming on a location nearby. The two productions were mistaken for each other more than once, with protesters disrupting the Can't Stop The Music location shoots when they intended to halt the production of ''Cruising''.
The film was directed by actress Nancy Walker, best known for playing Rhoda's mom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This was the only movie she ever directed. Can you imagine someone said ''Hey, if were going to make a Village People movie, who would be the perfect choice to direct it?'' And someone else said, ''Probably Rhoda's mom!'' This makes sense, at least in my world.
One of the most important additions, in hindsight, was the character of Ron White, played by Bruce Jenner, a besuited lawyer from St. Louis who experiences a complete transformation after meeting members of The Village People crowd - they broaden White's mind, and he gains a new perspective on life. One part of the script sums up his chance of heart:
Perrine: ''I don't judge people, I accept them. There isn't a person who breathes who doesn't have certain peculiarities. As long it doesn't hurt anybody it's alright with me''.
Jenner: ''Yeah, but where do you draw the line?''
Perrine: ''With uptight squares like you!''
Can't Stop The Music was a critical and commercial flop, but what's not to like really? The movie is filled with hilariously campy moments and has a big disco party at the end. For Bruce Jenner it was not the start of a promising movie career, but he made a comeback years later in ''Keeping Up With The Kardashians'' before he went through his own personal transformation as Caitlin Jenner.