Saturday, May 6, 2017

Lazy Movie Weekend: We can have fun, but we cannot be wild

Friends are important. I've written about this a lot here on the Island and in my professional life. As I posted on the Facebook this week, sometimes you realize that you need your "let's ditch touring colonial homes to go to Myrtle Beach to dance and meet boys" friends and sometimes you need your "I'd slice open the belly of a tauntaun to protect you on Hoth" friends. Sometimes you need both (and you should always plan on being both at some point in your life). One of the most challenging things about friendship, to me at least, is distance. We don't live in a world where people stay in the same place their whole lives (most of us don't) so we don't live down the street from our best friend or even in the same city or town. We may find new friends as we move and settle elsewhere but it's never the same.

I'm lucky that one of my oldest friends (I've known her since the 7th grade) still lives in the area so I always have a partner in crime, but my closest friends, my girls from college, are all over the place. That point was driven home a few weeks ago when I visited Ocracoke. I don't know how many times Kelly and I discussed how we wished we lived nearer to one another. Alas, that is not the way life is currently working.

This exact theme is at the heart of this weekend's Lazy Movie Weekend. It's one of my favorite movies of all time and is about friendship and new beginnings and whether or not it is appropriate to do modern ballet at a beauty pageant (the answer will be revealed below). The girls in the film are all about to go their separate ways after high school and want one last adventure. Yes, friends, I'm talking about 1989's Shag the Movie. This movie has everything: Myrtle Beach, an Elvis-esque teen idol, a dance contest, perfect hair, and Scott Coffey. Let's put on our Shagging shoes, grab a few beevos, and have the most fun watching Shag the Movie.

  • I own this movie on VHS. Because of this, I had to take it to my parents' house to watch since they still have a VCR. My mother thoroughly enjoyed this because she loves the music. Fun fact: she was a freshman in high school in 1963, the year in which Shag is set.
  • In addition to Phoebe Cates and Annabeth Gish, 80s teen movie queens (for Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mystic Pizza, respectively), this movie featured the next generation of some very famous families including Bridget Fonda, Page Hannah (sister of Darryl), and Tyrone Power, Jr. This was a super big deal in 1989.
  • "Every damn thing has to happen when you're in a damn hurry." Luanne (Page Hannah). Luanne is arguably the most quotable character in this movie and that is saying a lot. 
  • Best beauty advice ever: don't wear dark lipstick. Followed closely by the rule of not letting any of the other girls drive her car. Mrs. Clatterbuck was a smart lady. 
  • Girls "kidnapping" their friends is a thing and it always will be. At least in this instance, Luanne, Pudge, and Melaina are planning something fun for Carson rather than say, making her go to breakfast in her pajamas or accidentally killing her with a jawbreaker (see 1999's Jawbreaker for more details on how this last one worked). Come to think about it, we should just stop this practice immediately.
  • I can't think of anymore Southern names than Melaina, Carson, and Harley. Hearing their names makes me want to say things like "I'm just sayin' is all" and "I mean" and throw a "y'all" in at every possible opportunity. 
  • Can we bring back the fashion of this movie? Maybe not all the halter tops (although they all look adorable on these ladies) but the dresses and the skirts and the shoes and the cigarette pants. We all need these back in our lives. Even Vogue agrees with me.
  • Does anyone have one of those nail polish dryers? I mean, I would never get a gel manicure again if I had one of those. A hair dryer is not the same.
  • Carson: I think eyeliner is trashy. Melaina: I wear eyeliner. Carson: Well, it looks good on some people. Only true friends can have this type of dialogue.
  • How many times does Luanne say "Melaina" in an exasperated way in this movie? I lost count and we're only 20 minutes in.
  • Places like the Pavilion just don't exist anymore. I'm not saying this is why the world sucks but it's possible it's part of the reason. The look on Pudge's face when she sees it for the first time is my proof.
  • "Why can't girls ask boys to dance?" Pudge (Annabeth Gish) is my favorite of the four girls. I suspect I'm halfway between Pudge and Luanne if I was deciding which girl I would be.
  • We already missed the "meet cute," if you consider throwing a condom full of beer at their car a meet cute so enter Buzz and Chip. If those aren't 60s guy names I don't know what are.
  • "I got news, you're gonna lose." Melaina to the trashy girls Suette and Nadine (I lied those are the most Southern names of all time). Melaina decides to steal Nadine's man and win Miss Sun Queen instead of Suette. Melaina is a force.
  • Big Bob is literally the guy your mother told you not to date, including the car and inability to understand the word no.
  • Shaving cream and tissues - this is what they do to get back at Melaina? I don't get it.
  • "This is the most fun." Pudge although this phrase is used throughout the movie and I've said it at least six times since I watched the movie on Tuesday. It's my new favorite way to describe everything.
  • Pudge and Chip dance. He tries to tell her he's a bad dancer but he's a liar. If this movie doesn't make you want to learn the Shag and the Madison, I can't help you.
  • I know everyone is supposed to be all abuzz over Buzz (see what I did there?) but Chip is the only game in town. I love Scott Coffey; he is my biggest 80s holdover crush. If you've never seen Shag, you may remember Scott from Satisfaction (the one with Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts and they're in a band and Liam Neeson is awkwardly involved) or maybe Mulholland Drive. He's a director now. Check out Adult World for a taste of his directing abilities. Anyway, I love Chip. He's sincere, dorky, polite,  clueless, and he can dance. He's perfect (and he aged well).
  •  No Melaina, you should not do modern ballet to the tune of "Dixie" while waving around a Confederate flag. I don't care that this is 1963 and you're in South Carolina; it's still a terrible idea. As Luanne says, "Modern ballet is trashy." You should recite Scarlett's "Yankees in Tara" speech instead. It's much more dignified as a talent for the Miss Sun Queen pageant. 
  • Remember when people got discovered at things like beauty pageants and dance contests? Simpler times with no Ryan Seacrest.
  • Of course, Carson calls Harley (her fiance) because she feels guilty about flirting with Buzz. Of course, Harley has to come Myrtle Beach. 
  • Jimmy Valentine! If he's not a mini-Elvis I don't know who would be considered that. The actor also appears in one of the only Gywneth Paltrow movies I can tolerate. His teen idol is awesome, exactly what I imagine the life of a 60s teen idol is like. 
  • Luanne trying to make Melaina feel better about the one piece bathing suit: "You, Melaina, you are a flower of the South."
  • "Holy pajamas." Chip's reaction to Suette's trashy modern ballet routine and a wonderful phrase. 
  • The house party! Melaina basically makes Luanne invite Jimmy Valentine over and then things get out of hand and everybody gets knee-walking drunk (you know what I mean). Of course, this leads to Luanne and Harley becoming a thing, Carson and Buzz disappearing on a boat, and Pudge and Chip falling asleep in a bathtub. You know, like every party you went to in college.
  • Chip's comment about falling in love but not having to because he met Pudge and he could just write to her instead is the most heartbreaking moment of this entire movie. Pudge, you're my girl.
  • And then morning comes. As does the maid to tell everyone that the Senator (Luanne's daddy) is on his way. Additionally, we have to deal with the end of the elaborate "where's Carson?" ruse and awkwardly discuss how her having sex with Buzz makes her "wild." I guess it makes her "wild" in a 1963 kind of way.
  • Harley's logic about getting married and not calling off the wedding is the worst logic I have ever heard about getting married ever. He is every bit a proper Southern gentleman.
  • Note: Never follow Melaina's advice when it comes to boys. It will only lead to hurt feelings and no partner at the Shag contest.
  • I love the sequence with Chip and the Senator. It's earnest and endearing all at the same time.
  • The Shag contest is the best part of this movie. Pudge and Chip and "Stagger Lee." I said before and I'll say again, if this movie doesn't make you want to dance (even if you're terrible like me), we can't be friends. The video is below for you to cherish as I do.
  • Carson: Luanne, why don't we just go up there and say "This was our last weekend together, and we didn't feel like going to Fort Sumter and touring goddamn colonial homes. We wanted to go to the beach and meet boys and go to wild parties and dance." I mean why can't we tell them the truth? Exactly, Carson, why can't we?
  • Of course every movie has to end with the singing of your high school anthem because that's how movies work. At least they all look absolutely lovely while singing it.

I don't know about y'all but I'm going to go call some of my friends, learn all the choreography (by the great Kenny Ortega), and find some wonderful party dresses. That sounds like the most fun.

Going out image
Pudge & Chip
Scott Coffey
End of the movie 

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