Cheers: Ill-Gotten Gains

The plot of this episode is a major bummer. Woody catches his wife’s father cheating and has to decide what to do about it. YIKES. Luckily, we’re here for the B-plot, so let’s ignore everything about what’s going on with Woody.

Rebecca is hosting a friends-giving and she’s invited the whole Cheers crew. Unfortunately, she might have given everyone in her family food poisoning the last time she cooked Thanksgiving dinner. This leads Sam to suggest hosting a potluck at Cheers instead. Rebecca was going to make grilled cheese for everyone (less risk of food poisoning) but with Sam hosting, they can have a turkey.

Norm can’t remember whether or not his father-in-law is dead, so he repeatedly asks Vera who won’t respond to him because WTF. Then a pissed-off Vera decides to spend Thanksgiving at her family’s house without Norm. So Cliff suggests that Vera call her parents’ house to see if her father answers. Only when Cliff hands Norm the phonebook, he can’t remember Vera’s maiden name! Okay well now that I’ve typed it out, it sounds awful. But it was very funny when George Wendt said all the lines.

Anyway, Thanksgiving at Cheers is probably Norm’s ideal Thanksgiving. Sam’s even allowed him to bring his barcalonger into the bar — though he did have to sign an agreement stating it would be removed by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Rebecca has decorated the bar for Thanksgiving…which is interesting because Thanksgiving decorations are not like a thing, are they? Anyway, she’s used Halloween decorations that the store was throwing away. But she’s got a pretty good explanation for it: “The witches came over with the pilgrims and then the pilgrims burned them all at the stake.” This explains the skeletons as well (ick) and she doesn’t mention it but I will, the ghosts too. Honestly, it tracks. That’s airtight logic, Rebecca.

She intends to borrow plates from Melville’s because they’re closed for the holiday. And she’s also cooking the turkey in their oven on the sly. Fraser then suggests she borrow the candlesticks while she’s at it. And Sam mentions that she better take some silverware because they don’t have enough plastic sporks.

No one wants to listen to Cliff’s stories for an entire meal, so Sam tells him that he’ll be sitting at the kid’s table as the “adult supervisor” — a role he takes very seriously and seems a little flattered by. Meanwhile, Norm eats his meal in the barcalounger.

As the gang toasts John Alan Hill for “donating” all of their borrowed items, he appears in the bar. Evidently, Melville’s has a silent alarm. But strangely, even John Alan Hill is generous on this day of giving thanks. So he lets the Cheers gang eat in peace (but makes them promise to sanitize the Melville’s items before returning them).

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: Honestly, I didn’t think Rebecca’s grilled cheese meal sounded bad. But I guess the lesson here is that you really gotta be mindful of those silent alarms.

Murder, She Wrote: The Dead File

Hello! Today is the 29th anniversary of this episode. And I’m low-key obsessed with it. Why, you ask? Because our friend, Jessica Fletcher, has been turned into a controversial comic strip character. And she’s a fox (which of course we already knew) but a literal fox in this case. Oh and Harvey Fierstein is in this episode. What I’m trying to say is, it’s perfect.

The fox is accusing NYPD officers of doing corrupt shit — so actually this comic strip could be a public good — but unfortunately Jessica isn’t involved in the comic strip and can’t verify the information. Of course, everyone thinks she’s behind it — I guess because she’s a writer — but she’s genuinely not involved. She sincerely asks a lieutenant if he’s stealing drugs from evidence and he just straight up doesn’t answer — which feels like a YES to me — but it’s MSW so he’s probably falsely accused.

It looks like Jessica Fox is also exposing a Wall Street scandal. And Jessica Fletcher will now be sued for libel (which makes noooo sense) along with the artist and comic strip syndicator.

With actual money on the line now, Jessica tracks down the artist, Mr. Hatter. And that’s how we finally get to see Angela and Harvey on the screen together!

That’s when Mr. Hatter explains that he didn’t draw the comic strips that appeared in the newspaper. And his syndicator cannot figure out how the artwork got switched. He shows Jess his real comic strip which involves Jessica Fox solving innocent little barnyard animal mysteries. It’s all quite wholesome (aside from the murder).

Anyway, Mr. Hatter agrees to kill off the Jessica Fox character, which would seem like the end of all this. Except then the lieutenant comes back to see Jess and shows her a blackmail letter. Some of the letters in the note were cut out of the Cabot Cove Gazette.

Jess finds the letter perplexing, but she explains that she hasn’t been in Cabot Cove for three weeks. Even more importantly, she was in Italy on the date the newspaper shown in the letter cutout was published. So she goes back to Mr. Hatter and blames him for everything — saying he could have purchased the paper from a stand at Grand Central that carries one-week old issues of Cabot Cove Gazette — which like yeah, right I’m sure it does…

But Mr. Hatter shows her the strange comic strip in the day’s paper and points out explicit stylistic differences between the printed copy and the versions he showed her in his studio. His whole team backs him up, stating that the printed copy is most definitely a forgery.

The whole thing explodes into a very public argument between Mr. Hatter, Jess, and the people who want to sue them. So Jess decides they should all sit down and try to figure out who has motive to print all this stuff in this dirty laundry sort of way. And Mr. Hatter is kinda like well, I do have a lot of enemies.

The next morning, Mr. Hatter’s letterist (I’m not sure the correct term for someone who draws letters in comic strip so I am going with letterist) heads to work at 3:45 am (evidently, he likes to get an early start) and is hit over the head by an unknown assailant. Hopefully, he’s knocked out and not dead, but I’m not sure because we cut to Jess interviewing a potential suspect.

This guy, Mr. Whiting, says that Mr. Hatter used to be his assistant and stole the idea for the comic strip from him. And then all of his artwork disappeared in a mysterious fire. He says Mr. Hatter is just trying to get attention/money for his work and urges her to sue him. And she’s like no, I’m trying to avoid lawsuits, thanks. Plus she doesn’t think Mr. Hatter would make his characters look bad because they mean so much to him. Kind of a thin argument. But she says it’s exactly how she feels about the characters in her books.

Unfortunately, we do get confirmation that the letterist is dead. The detective on the scene doesn’t notice the damaged award (that was totally the murder weapon) until Jess points it out.

At this point, the detective openely accuses literally everyone around her of the crime — including Jess! (To be fair, I’ve frequently wondered about Jess’s proximity to all these murders myself…)

Meanwhile, it finally occurs to Jess that she should look for the source of the information in the comics. This leads her to a tabloid writer (who has been lurking around this whole time and for some reason she never checked up on him until now). She accuses him of being involved in blackmail and he claims that his files were stolen.

This leads Jess back to Mr. Whiting who says he was too busy having an affair to kill anyone. And then Jess is abruptly like okay, cool so if it’s not you then I know who it is. This leads us back to the studio in the middle of the night.

Jess notices that a plant has been rotated and discovers that this was done to hide a bloody artist’s glove. So she calls every single person that the letterist worked for and found out that he wasn’t scheduled to be in the studio when he was — meaning the murder wasn’t premeditated. There’s also no evidence on the glove except for the letterist’s blood. So Jess replaces the glove and calls Mr. Hatter.

That night, she catches one of the artists going back to remove the evidence. He explains that the letterist caught him drawing the libelous comic strips, so he faked his suicide.

Jess then explains that she really had no evidence on him whatsoever, but luckily he took the “message for Mr. Hatter” as bait. And most importantly, I need to point out that the detective has been making the below face for like two solid minutes:

But you know what, maybe that is the correct reaction to whatever the hell just happened in this episode.

Fictional Book Covers: Mapleworth Murders

I now have a multi-part series on fictional book covers. I honestly didn’t see that coming. But I really like them! And actually this one is sort of like an off-shoot of my previous two. Mapleworth Murders is a parody of Murder, She Wrote (which you can watch for free on Roku) and features a lead character who imagines herself as the protagonist sleuth she writes about in her novellas — not unlike Tom Selleck’s character in Her Alibi.

Peppered throughout the series are book covers featuring the Mrs. Mapleworth mysteries.

Anytime our lead, Abigail (played by Paula Pell), finds herself in a jam, she imagines what Mrs. Mapleworth would do to get out of a bad situation. The fantasy never matches up with the reality and the results are hilarious.

There are also a lot of great guest stars from the greater NBC family, including multiple SNL alums, Terry Crewes, Jack McBrayer, and Paul Lieberstein.

Honestly, I think I need to figure out how to be a book cover designer. I think I’ve uncovered deep passion here.

Tower of Terror

Happy Halloween, Very Special Readers! I’m so excited to tell you all about one of my favorite TV movies: Tower of Terror. Originally aired on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1997, the film stars Steve Guttenberg, Kirsten Dunst, Melora Hardin, Nia Peeples, and Lindsay Ridgeway (a.k.a the second Morgan on Boy Meets World.)

This film also has the distinction of being the first of its kind in the “based-on-a-ride” series that Disney would explore with the wildly successful Pirate of the Caribbean, the much maligned Haunted Mansion, and more recently, Jungle Cruise. Filmed partially on-location at the theme park ride, the plot of the film draws its inspiration from the opening reel that riders see at the attraction before making their own journey into the fateful elevator! You can check out a making of for the theme park reel below:

Okay, now back to the movie. Miraculously, this film is available for you to watch on YouTube in its entirety. It scared the crap out of me as an elementary school kid, but I’m happy to say that I’m a lot braver in my thirties.

But I will say that the heroes of this film are like a little more dark than child-me realized. They’re grifters. Steve Guttenberg’s character, Buzzy, is a photographer who sells stages pictures of supernatural phenomenon to tabloids and his niece, Anna (Kirsten Dunst) helps him. She questions whether he ever wants to engage in legit journalism and he counters by telling her that the truth doesn’t matter. And, speaking from post-Trump America, feels bleak and prescient.

There’s also some underdeveloped romance plot where we’re not sure if Steve misses his ex-girlfriend (Nia Peeples) or just misses working at a legit paper. Was she his boss? Unclear.

Things turn spooky when a mysterious visitor shows up at Buzzy’s house — an old lady says she she lived in the Hollywood Tower Hotel when a child star disappeared in an elevator back in 1939 and KNOWS THE TRUE STORY.

If I didn’t get you with DISAPPEARED IN AN ELEVATOR then you should stop reading now because you’re definitely not going to be interested in this post.

Furthermore, this old woman shares that she saw Mrs. Partridge, who was the nanny of Sally Shine (a child actress knock-off of Shirley Temple played by the second Morgan from Boy Meets World), cast a black magic spell that made an entire elevator full of people disappear.

She insists that he take her very old set of keys and break into this very abandoned hotel — and look for a BOOK OF SOULS that will prove Mrs. Partridge was an evil witch.

Luckily, Buzzy’s career is in the crapper so he kind of has to take her up on this offer.

Buzzy goes to the hotel where he bribes the caretaker, a descendent of one of the missing elevator inhabitants, to show him around. The bellhop was the son of the hotel’s builder and, as such, he left it in his will that the property must remain closed until someone solves the mystery.

After something like two solid minutes of exploring the set and getting you all excited to go to the theme park — Buzzy does indeed find the book of souls. As Buzzy leaves the building, Mrs Partridge STICKS HER GHOSTLY HEAD OUT OF A MIRROR AND HE DOES NOT EVEN SEE IT. What kind of ghost detective are you even, Buzzy?

Anyway, he decides to stage a photo because that’s all he knows how to do. So he makes his fifteen year old niece dress up like this ten year old child star and, yes, it is as awkward as it sounds. He also hires a woman from an acting agency (Melora Hardin) to play Mrs. Partridge but the woman who shows up is wayyyy too young and also suspiciously accurate at appearing to be from the 1930s.

Before we have too much time to wonder if this actress is actually a ghost, we’re lured away by the sounds of ethereal music and the sounds of kitchen staff preparing for the big party in 1939. This quickly transitions to the spooky rendition of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” that you’ll have heard on the Tower of Terror ride if you’ve ever been. Buzzy and Anna then see a child’s ghost singing. And Buzzy is like, yeah, this is good stuff I can go ahead and pitch it to my ex-girlfriend at the newspaper. Spoiler alert: this goes poorly.

Meanwhile, Anna and his source are discussing how the spell trapped everyone in the elevator. Their theory is that Mrs. Partridge only had an identifier for one person in the elevator (a lock of Sally’s hair) and because she didn’t have anything for the other passengers, they were all trapped in limbo in the hotel — rather than Sally just straight up being murdered which was the original intention of this spell and OMG THIS IS DARK FOR A KID’S TV MOVIE.

Anyway, they decide that if they can bring everyone back by finding their identifier items within the hotel. Buzzy is all excited that brining people back from another dimension will reinvigorate his career and Melora Hardin’s character gets all offended that he doesn’t really care about the ghosts — of which she clearly is one.

While Buzzy and one of the ghosts discuss ethics in the garden, the other adult ghosts are threatening Anna’s life inside the hotel. She tells them she only wants to help, but they tell her to get lost. Then the little girl ghost appears and asks Anna to please fix the elevator as if she were some kind of antique Otis repairman instead of a fifteen year old girl from 1997.

But somehow this does, in fact, become the plan. As they find the last of the identifiers (the actress ghost’s locket…that contains a photo of…herself…), the ghosts reveal themselves to Buzzy and Anna and ask that they leave them alone because they don’t want people to find out about them lest they be treated like zoo animals. To which, I only ask, how is this in the Hollywood Hills and no one has ever broken in and already taken all this vintage expensive shit? But no, it’s all just sitting there and the ghosts are like please don’t mention that we’re here to anyone, thank you.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

So anyway Buzzy and Anna convince the caretaker, who knows nothing about antique elevators, to try to fix this broken down thing so the passengers can finally get to the twelfth floor to attend this party that ended six decades earlier.

Meanwhile, Buzzy’s ex ran a background check on his source after their conversation at the paper. It turns out that his source is actually Sally Shine’s big sister. She’s been in a mental institution since 1940 and she has a beheaded doll of her little sister plus a lot of creepily desecrated photos. Once again. Super creepy for a kid’s movie. BUT it is a story. However, Buzzy has already promised the ghosts that he will help them fix the elevator.

Anna loses all respect for Buzzy. Honestly, it was amazing she ever had any to begin with.

The caretaker doesn’t want to go into the hotel without Buzzy, but Anna, the true hero of this film, pressures him into it.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

This is, however, a Disney movie. So Buzzy grows a heart at the last possible moment. And also realizes that he gave Sally’s sister exactly what she wanted — the book of souls. You see, all she really wanted was to make the elevator crash cause she was soooo jealousssss of Sally. And she’s so hellbent on completing the task that she’s trying again decades later. SO DARK FOR A KID’S MOVIE.

Anna catches her setting the spell and tries to stop the elevator. She pushes little Sally out of the doorway (which in the weird world of this movie works even though Sally is a ghost) and enters the elevator herself. But the ghost bellhop can’t control he elevator because it is overpowered by the spell.

As Buzzy tries to bargain with Sally’s sister, ghost Sally (not in the elevator, of course) overhears her sister talking major shit. Of course, she doesn’t recognize her because she’s old now. But Buzzy asks Sally what she’d say to her sister if she could. And Sally says she would apologize for not making it to her BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Tragically, Sally shares that she loves her sister — who she describes as her best friend — oh my GOD this is way worse as an adult. As a kid I was like “awww see there’s enough love to go around in this fam!” and as an adult I’m like “YOUR BEST FRIEND/SISTER TRIED TO KILL YOU AND IS STILL TRYING.”

Tower of Terror | Disney Movies

The good news is: Sally’s sister profusely apologizes. The bad news is: she doesn’t know how to stop the spell. So Buzzy tries to reach Anna through the escape hatch of the passenger elevator — begging her to extend herself over the 12-story elevator shaft to where he is on the freight elevator. He grabs her just before BOTH elevators begin to drop.

Thankfully, Sally Shine forgives her sister for attempted murder and this reverses the curse.

We then see the passengers (and Buzzy, Anna, the ex-girlfriend, and the caretaker) all attend the long overdue party where we see the passengers reunite with their families and disintegrate into fairy dust — which is probably the only reason this movie didn’t haunt my dreams and cause permanent emotional scaring. A little fairy dust makes a dark movie a happy memory!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Family therapy for everyone! Also these movie characters would make for a really great group costume.

If you liked the movie, here’s some more stuff about it:

A park visitor has noted the filming locations seen in the 1997 movie:

Scarlet Johanssen was scheduled to produce a remake and for a minute with the Black Widow dispute it seemed like it wouldn’t happen…but Screen Rant says it’s still in the works!

And here’s a 20-min short documentary on the ride. Check the amazing props! TW: Kirk Cameron

8 Easy Halloween Costumes for 2021 (That Use Your Quarantine Wardrobe!)

Look, I get it. We’re all dressing for comfort right now. But if you’re vaxxed and looking to actually go out for Halloween this year (!!!) then please look no further than your own closet for a costume. Suggestions below:

Drew Barrymore (Casey) in Scream

Now, if you already have a blonde bob then you’re 25% done with this costume. If however, you need to purchase a wig, you may do so at Forever 21 for $7.99. I don’t usually encourage fast fashion, so please do try to wear this wig more than once — preferably several times over the course of many years. You’ll also need an off-white (or, hell, who cares you can use white too) cable knit sweater. This is great going into the cold weather months. You’re going to want to wear this again and again. If you don’t already have one, you can grab one at Stitch Fix for $58. Next, get some loose fitting light-wash jeans. If you buy them from Madewell, you can send them back to be recycled and the company will give you a credit on future jeans. The white cordless phone is, evidently, now a collectors item for something like $200 on ebay. But this shit is so boxy, I suggest you get your craft on and make one out of a white paper box.

Favfilms GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Sigourney Weaver (Dana) in Ghostbusters

Now technically this dress should be crewneck, but as long as you’re wearing a gray sweater dress of some sort, I think we can be flexible with the neckline. You’ll also need a purple plaid scarf and a black belt (not in karate but if that is all you have in your closet then definitely just tie that around the dress and call it a day). Now I have scoured the internet and I cannot find Dana’s exact scarf, so use your best approximation. The belt and the dress are both from Gap and I’m sure there’s some kind of discount code you can apply to make them a little easier on your wallet.

there's never anything good in the fridge - GIF on Imgur

Patrick Swayze (Sam) in Ghost

Toss on that red shirt you’re no longer wearing to the office and pair it with some black jeans. Now you’re Patrick Swayze! Wear black shoes if you have them, but it doesn’t really matter. No one is going to be looking at your feet.

70s, 80s, 90s | Patrick swayze, Swayze, Patrick swayze ghost

Penny Marshall (The Devil’s Wife) in Hocus Pocus

This requires jammies, a robe, and some of those hair curlers that kind of look like snakes. The robe below is from LL Bean so look at is as an investment item, or just wear any old robe because to be fair the one below doesn’t match the pattern in the movie anyway. You can get mint green PJs on sale at Madewell for $34.99. Finally, fill up a glass with whisky or tea and put on a real grouchy face like your husband is flirting with a bunch of strange women who are way too old to be trick-or-treating and keep calling him “master.” Oh and the hair rollers are $14.99 at Target.

Penny Marshall Hocus Pocus GIF - Penny Marshall Hocus Pocus GIFs

Multiple Options Using Athleisure

I’ve seen a lot of Squid Game costume suggestions floating around here on the internet, which is great. But maybe you don’t own a green tracksuit. Maybe your tracksuit is black, pink or red. Here are a few options for you. It’s also okay to pair a red sweatshirt and yellow shorts and pretend it’s 2008 and you’re dressed as Paulie Bleeker. It’s okay in 2021. It’s all okay.

A lot of these will depend on whether or not you’re dressing up as a group. For example, if you all have green tracksuits, then you should probably go as Squid Game players. But if you’re dressing up solo, then you should opt for Old Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. Margarita Glasses are optional for the Cool Mom from Mean Girls. The red tracksuits from Royal Tennenbaums also work for a group. But a plain black tracksuit (with or without gold medallion) will work best as Christopher from The Sopranos.

Literally anyone from the 80s or early 90s

Scrunchies are back. LEAN INTO IT. You don’t want to stop wearing leggings? PUT THEM ON. Got a giant ass sweatshirt that is way too big for you? Congratulations, you’re on your way to Jazzercise. Ditch the scrunchie and put on a pair of heels if you want to be Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.

Flashdance - Flashdance Photo (2823822) - Fanpop

Mare of Easttown

There are so many good options here. You really just need some thick sweaters, blue or brown outerwear, and a low ponytail. Gauze/Ace bandage on your arm are optional. Please don’t vape. Thank you.

Baby-Sitters Club Member

This one is super flexible in terms of costume. You can dress up as a group or you can dress up solo as your favorite club member. You can style it old school or you can be the more modern reboot version. But here’s where the magic comes in. Worried about your mid-late (idk what phase we’re in) pandemic social anxiety is getting the best of you? Don’t worry about it. You’re packing a Kid Kit. And Everyone loves a coloring book. Now you’re the life of the party. You’re welcome.

The Baby-Sitters Club (TV Series 1990) - IMDb

The Autumn of Swayze?

I’ll have you know I had a nightmare a couple of days ago where it was Christmas Eve and I still hadn’t finished the Summer of Swayze. CLEARLY I have bit off more than I can chew. I also think I have absolutely no concept of time anymore (thanks, 2020) and that has set me up for failure.

Anyway, I actually did watch Too Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. But then I was like “wow there’s a lot to unpack here. And unpack it, I never did. I think it’s best summed up by saying it’s very of its time. And in 1995 I think it was good to have a feature film portrayal of these characters as whole, sympathetic people with a full range of complicated emotions (a.k.a. not caricatures or the butt of the joke).

But I’m not exactly sure what the movie was trying to be. These characters describe themselves as drag queens but they’re in drag 100% of the time and even take a cross-country road trip through areas where it would be much safer to dress as a cis man if, in fact, you were a cis man. So I suppose I question the premise a little bit. I also question the casting (since the main actors are all cis men). But I do recognize that this movie was released a mere two years after And the Band Played On, a television movie about the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic that took a daunting six years to get made. So yes, I do think there’s hopefully some social good that came from three action star types playing drag queens.

Here are a few articles that analyze this way better than I ever could:

‘To Wong Foo’ Not Worthy of ‘Priscilla’s’ Old Pantyhose by Theodore K. Gideonese for The Harvard Crimson, 1995

The Amazing Story Behind To Wong Foo by Mitch Kohn for The Advocate, 2015

John Leguizamo says his To Wong Foo character should be played by a trans latina actor if the film were made now by Louis Chilton for The Independent, 2020

Thankfully, we’ve largely moved past this casting now and so this film feels very much like a museum piece. And I’m grateful for that because I’d also like Dirty Dancing to feel like a museum piece, but unfortunately it still feels very relevant to today’s social issues.

Speaking of Dirty Dancing, I’m actually going to wrap up the last bit of the Summer of Swayze (lol) with my thoughts on Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights which is simply that it is EXTREMELY UNDERRATED. And no I haven’t seen it since 2007 or so but I loved it very much at the time and based on these clips below, still do.

Summer of Swayze: Point Break

This movie is great if you don’t think about the plot. At all. Just don’t think about the plot at all!

I mostly succeeded in doing this until a giantttt glaring hole presented itself near the film’s climax. In which, Keanu Reeves’s Johnny Utah, having already blown his cover by pursuing his friend-turned-bank-robber-perps in his plain clothes and normal ass face, some how decides to still join them on a sky-dive in order to — what — not blow his cover? — wtf I don’t know. That’s the point where I could no longer make the movie make sense at all.

My Point Break quest: “It was about us against the system” | Sight & Sound  | BFI

However, I will say it’s so, so nice to see Patrick Swayze playing against type and killing it. (Also has his hair ever looked better?) Furthermore, this was Keanu’s first action movie for which I think we can all count ourselves eternally grateful.

The Secrets Behind Patrick Swayze's Most Memorable Roles - E! Online

Plus, let’s be honest, this movie is all about the vibes, not the plot. It introduced me to this really great early Sheryl Crowe song and reminded me that I find Lori Petty absolutely charming. I also very much enjoyed Patrick Swayze’s performance. His character made sense even when the plot didn’t, which I think deserves a whole ton of credit.

Also. Gary Busey.

Other things I would be remiss for not mentioning: Red Hot Chili Peppers’s Anthony Kiedis makes a cameo as a member of a surfer gang that beats the crap out of Keanu.

Have you ever been to Electric Ladyland?, Anthony Kiedis classic line in Point  Break 1991 | Point break, Point break quotes, Anthony kiedis

And also Ratt (a band I would like to go on record and say I do not like) recorded the final song, which was the last featuring their original lineup. The song is fine, I guess. Feels like a Red Hot Chili Peppers song would have been better though…

More importantly, a number of bars have taken inspiration from the film:

There’s a Point Break themed bar in Midtown Manhattan

DC’s Hanks on the Hill had a Point Break themed cocktail menu for a week in 2014

Moving Sidewalk (permanently closed) had several Point Break themed cocktails. You may not be able to order one from the bar anymore, but you could try recreating your own “Lawyers Don’t Surf,” which Eater Houston tells me is a “mix of Rye Whiskey, Aperitif wine and Rhubarb Amaro with a salty sea water twist via celery salt tincture.”

Okay, up next is To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. This will be a first time watch for me. I’m definitely going to have to do my research on that one! I didn’t really do research on this one. All that trivia came from the IMDB trivia page. Oh and I should mention that the IMDB trivia also mentioned that Keanu Reeves learned how to surf in Hawaii after being cast in this role. And Swayze did a substantial number of his own stunts (including an honest to God sky dive). Because of course he did.

Summer of Swayze: Ghost

This movie is truly a classic. The cast is phenomenal. The plot is captivating. And dare I say feminist? I mean yeah, technically Patrick Swayze’s “unfinished business” is that he must save Demi Moore from danger and stop his murderer from harming her too in pursuit of access to laundered drug money (Oops sorry, spoiler alert. But come on this movie has been out for 31 one years so that’s on you.) However, I would argue that the movie is really about overcoming his fragile masculinity, which held him back in life and threatens to prevent him from achieving his ghostly goals but damn he is resourceful and with the help of a subway ghost and Oda Mae Brown he manages to save the day and move on to the afterlife in one fell swoop! Talk about inspiring!

It also contains one of the sexiest (and most parodied) scenes without actually involving sex because Patrick Swayze is just that good. And it was filmed on location in New York. Honestly, this movie checks all the boxes for me. I will say that I watched this back to back with Point Break as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Henri pelted New York City with rain and I was trapped inside eating dinner roles and trying to entertain myself. Therefore, my thoughts are kind of blending together and you’ll probably get shorter recaps of both of these because of it.

But honestly, I don’t have too many opinions on this one aside from the fact that I love it. I mean, find me one person on this planet who doesn’t love Ghost? It’s especially comforting after Patrick Swayze’s death. It’s an overwhelmingly positive feeling about humanity — like aside from the plot about the drug money laundering and the murder. But like. It’s an overwhelmingly positive feeling about humanity’s ability to spiritually overcome a drug money laundering, murdering kind of world, you know?

Oda Mae Brown & Sam - Ghost(1990) Photo (10917738) - Fanpop

Idk honestly I’m going to stop here because I am blessed to inform you that this movie is available in its entirety, for free, no-ads, on YouTube Movies. It’s legit. It’s not a lowkey ripoff. 2021 threw us a break and made Ghost free for everyone on YouTube. You’re gonna have to click that little “watch on YouTube” button in the bottom cause I’m definitely not allowed to embed a two-hour long video. But otherwise, you should be good to go. Bye!

Further Reading

Whoopi Goldberg Reveals Patrick Swayze Fought For Her To Get Iconic ‘Ghost’ Role

‘Ghost’ turns 30: How Patrick Swayze’s beloved Sam Wheat entered heaven in film’s emotional finale

Summer of Swayze: Road House

I like Road House. I think there’s something here for everyone. In fact, allow me to quote myself from 2015: “I feel like this movie is kind of like Footloose but with violence instead of dancing. It’s like a cool dude goes to a weird little town and makes life better.” Expanding upon that during my second watch of the film I’d also add that it has elements of Dirty Dancing, mostly because Patrick Swayze seduced his love interest in each film with a slow dance to “These Arms Of Mine.”

Here’s the trailer which tells you absolutely everything you need to know about the plot — as in — the entire plot:

The film’s soundtrack is largely provided by The Jeff Healey Band. But Patrick Swayze has a writing credit for one of the two songs he performs for the film’s soundtrack:

And here’s the song he didn’t write but also performs, which I think suits his voice better:

According to Fast-Rewind, Patrick Swayze said the following about his decision to take the role of Dalton: “The reason I did Roadhouse, which the guys love, was because I wanted people to see … one time … the level of fight skills that I’ve developed though being a martial artist and a weapons expert since I was real little,” Swayze says. “We did all those fights full contact, except for the face.”

As much as I appreciate Swayze’s dancing and, yes, skating. Road House gave me a new appreciation for his physical acting abilities. Other than that, I’m not really sure what to say about the movie because it is a visual experience. And honestly, it’s really nice to see one ripped and chill white dude take on a bunch of angry white dudes and put them in their place. Also, I really like that his love interest is a doctor because literally everyone else in the movie is obsessed with violence. So. Yeah. It’s a little on the nose. But I still like it.

Stay tuned next week for (maybe my favorite Patrick Swayze movie), Ghost.

Summer of Swayze: Dirty Dancing

I have to be honest. I kind of struggled with this one! I grew up on this movie, so it felt weird to turn a critically eye on it. And once I did, it felt difficult to know what to say about it. On the one hand, we have a light-hearted rom-com that’s trying to convince us we’re at a summer resort in the 1960’s despite all that 1980’s hair. On the other hand, absolutely none of the action in this movie would be happening if not for an illegal abortion. Baked into that is class struggle, coming of age, toxic masculinity, and the double edged sword of the sexual revolution (see previous list item regarding toxic masculinity). So frankly, I didn’t know where to start.

Let’s start with a fun fact about the music before we get into the hard-hitting family/class/abortion drama subject matter: According to The Movies That Made Us, the scriptwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, was dead-set on using music from the early 60’s that she hand picked. The budget was so tight that most of it went to acquiring the music rights. But honestly, thank God they did or we would never have had this gem:

I also learned in The Movies That Made Us that this tight budget presented Patrick Swayze with the opportunity to approach the film’s creators with “She’s Like The Wind.” Originally recorded for Grandview, U.S.A, the song went unused until it was included on Dirty Dancing‘s soundtrack.

Anyway, not to burst your “Time of My Life” or “She’s Like The Wind” bubble, but “Hungry Eyes” is the best song on the soundtrack.

I suppose the above scene is a good segue back into the subject matter of the film. Frances “Baby” Houseman is at a summer resort with her parents and sister when she clandestinely borrows money from her doctor father to pay for featured dancer, Penny, to have an abortion. Baby will also fill in for Penny during the procedure and her post-op recovery time. Oh and this is 1963 so things don’t go so well during the procedure.

Now I’m sure you’re expecting a better recap from me, and frankly I was too, but I can’t afford another streaming service, and I haven’t seen this movie in a long time. So I relied on YouTube clips. My sincerest apologies. 

Here’s a clip of Robbie explaining to Baby why he is unwilling to help Penny after he slept with her. Robbie is working as a waiter but it’s just a summer job to him. He’s from a wealthy family and attends Harvard.

Anyway, Robbie’s a real Ayn Rand kind of guy and he doesn’t think Penny matters. (He’s also probably a narcissist who doesn’t think anyone counts but suffice it to say he’d be a little more helpful if knocked someone of his social status up.

Robbie’s social status is, of course, largely why Baby’s sister, Lisa, thinks he is a good catch. And failing to recognize the universal symbol for, “someone is having sex in here,” Lisa pushes right past that towel on Robbie’s doorknob and finds out who he really is the hard way. (This clip is in Italian. But. You get it.)

Of course, Robbie is the fu**boi villian of this movie, but he’s really a metaphor for a larger point the film’s making. Some people have options and some people don’t. And the decisions people make can look very different and have wildly different repercussions when they don’t have any options.

And I guess that’s what made me super sad about all of this and perhaps reluctant to write this post. I’ve seen this movie numerous times over the past twenty-years or so and it’s never felt more relevant than it does today, which is weird because you’d think we’d learn from history (but time and again, I suppose, we don’t). In 1963, abortion was illegal for everyone, though maybe people like Lisa or Baby could have found a more reputable doctor to help them out quietly than Penny could have. Nowadays, I’ve found myself increasingly concerned that our supreme court could revert abortion laws back to the early 70’s when some states allowed abortion and others didn’t.

Regardless of how you feel about abortion, federal abortion laws are an equalizer. Overturning Roe vs. Wade won’t stop abortions, it will just stop safe abortions for people who can’t afford to go somewhere safe to get one…you know the same people who can’t really afford to have a child or even afford the pre-natal care that it would take to safely have a child and place it with a family for adoption. It’s never the people like Lisa and Baby who loose access to abortion (pretending for a moment they don’t all live in New York already). It’s the people like Penny who loose access because they don’t have the means or the opportunity.

And I’m anticipating all of the negative comments from random people coming across this post which I imagine will contain moral arguments levied mostly against Penny. To which I can only say, nothing happens to Robbie. They make the same decision and there’s no repercussion for Robbie. There’s no moral judgment. Doesn’t that bother you? It really bothers me.

In this class struggle of the wealthy and the working class, it’s not only Penny who suffers. We see this arc with Johnny’s character too. He’s repeatedly used by the women who visit Kellerman’s, who he finds sophisticated and interesting, only to find that they’re using him as an easy lay because he isn’t the kind of person they’d take seriously anyway. Just horrible.

Now I’m kind of telling this story out of order, but you’ll see from the clips number below that Penny’s botched abortion happens prior to the clip above. And this is, of course, when Baby’s wonderful father Jerry Orbach gets involved. Even though he doesn’t personally agree with abortion, he provides Penny with free and diligent medical care. (I’ll just list this as a great option that our country could offer if we actually wanted to reduce abortions for everyone.)

The “You make me sick” line from Baby’s conversation with Robbie earlier is for some reason dubbed onto the end of this clip, which isn’t the case in the movie but we’re working with what we got on YouTube here, folks.

Anyway, the fact that Baby lied to her father originally to get money for Penny — which to be fair it makes complete sense her father is angry about this — eventually comes to light after she provides an alibi for Johnny when he is accused of stealing wallets at Kellerman’s.

And this brings us to the most beautiful scene in the movie, Baby’s heart-to-heart with her father.

In the end, Johnny is fired anyway. But he crashes the end of the season show to perform the final dance as he always does, this time with Baby and his own choreography. And Baby’s father apologies for accusing Johnny of being the creep who knocked up Penny and then left her all alone to handle it. Still no repercussions for Robbie though…which may be the most timeless message of all. *Sigh*

Stay tuned for Road House, which I remember having lighter subject matter — hopefully, my memory is correct on that one!

Further Reading/Watching

The Movies That Made Us from Netflix

Dirty Dancing Is The Greatest Movie Of All Time by Irin Carmon for Jezebel

How ‘Dirty Dancing’ opened my eyes to the urgency of abortion rights by Katy Brand for Independent

‘Dirty Dancing’ Was A Safe-Abortion Champion Wrapped In A Rom Com Bow by Jillian Capewell for HuffPost

‘Dirty Dancing’ Writer On Why She Integrated Illegal Abortion Into A Love Story by Alanna Vagianos for HuffPost