Why it’s terrible:
– Okay, so EW was sorta right. The plot really stretches to connect to the first one. I mean, other than the fact that the main character is strutty, man slut/dance fiend, Tony Manero, Staying Alive has hardly got any Fever. Sure, there’s the token Tony-and-Mama-Manero bonding moment and a nod to the original’s main song in the title (and end credits), but other than that, the connections between the films are way forced or downright ridiculous. Like when Tony whips out the old white suit for a party – and then puts a baby blue v-neck under it. Say what-the-hell-was-he-drinking?!
– Also, there’s a too-obvious link between his lady loves inthis andFever. Both have Tony falling hard for a bitchy brunette black widow and using a shaggy, misunderstood blonde as an emotional punching bag (Jackie, played by Cynthia Rhodes). Where’s the originality – and the gingers?
– Finola Hughes, the actress who plays Tony’s lust interest, Laura, is the worst. Major bitchface.
– Tony’s relationship with Laura blossoms into the most montage-y montage of all lovelorn Central Park montages. There’s random dancing, a carriage ride, run-ins with random vandalized statues and…a pointing contest?
– Tony says he likes Laura because she’s “all intelligent-like” but proceeds to berate her with cheesy lines. “I could watch you for hours. It’s like watching smoke move.”
– Speaking of smoke, most of the time, the movie looks like it’s been shot with a dry ice. Or a Vaseline lens.
– The head choreographer of “Satan’s Alley” is played by the Jackie Earle Hayley of 80s dance cinema, Steve Inwood – a.k.a. that pedophile creeper who made Coco take her top off in Fame.
– Tony tries to get Freudian about his failing career. His thoughts on the agents who won’t talk to him? “They all sounds like my father to me!”
Why it’s AWESOME:
– Not only did Sly direct and write this 1983 masterpiece, he also managed to make a totally inconspicuous cameo (that’s Tony on the right and you know who on the left!), wearing giant shades and a fur coat.
– Everything about the movie is perfectly shameless, tacky and overdone. Or rather, 80s. See, the main storyline, which has Tony taking Broadway by storm in a demonic all-dance spectacular called “Satan’s Alley” that vaguely documents a “decent into hell” and an “ascent into heaven.” Also, this:
– Laura: “Oh, don’t take it so personally.” Tony: “I’ve got to! There’s no one else in the room!”
– This totally unnecessary shower scene:
– Random crotch shot time!
– Girl at club: “You know why I order so many drinks?” Tony: “Cause you’re an alcoholic?” Girl: “Cause I like to watch you walk.”
– Other girl, after Tony turns down her offer to “party” at her apartment: “Guys like you aren’t relationships – they’re exercise!”
– Tony LOVES his sweatbands.
– As the DVD art reads: “the soundtrack pulsates with the power of FIVE unforgettable Bee Gees songs PLUS Frank Stallone’s [yes, Sly’s bro] chart-topping hit, ‘Far From Over.'”
– Speaking of Frank, he totally has a mega role as Jackie’s musician friend that Tony gets jealous of after Laura treats him like the douche he kind of is. And when Frank’s not creating some dude drama, his voice is setting the mood for one of the film’s many slow-mo dance montages. He’s got 5 songs on the soundtrack. He’s practically a Gibb bro now.
– Tony: “She’s in good hands.” Frank: “What are you, All-State?” Tony: “Yeah! You want disability!?”
-Three words: SATAN’S. ALLEY. ARTWORK.
– I think American Apparel got their Spring line from this dance practice sequence.
– The final dance is HELLA AWESOME.
– After giving a life-changing performance, all Tony wants to do is (surprise, surprise) STRUT. The end.
*All screencaps courtesy of the Paramount Pictures via the DVD.*