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Thank God It’s Friday


‘…something of a blast from the past, a light-weight, high energy slice of disco promotion that was dated by 1979 and now feels like a time capsule…’

No Thanks Required, This Disco Stuff Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With Me is what any self-respecting deity might say when confronted with this 1978 musical spectacular. Aiming to be a modern American Graffiti, capturing the sights, sounds and, yes, smells of 1970’s LA clublife, Robert Klane’s film for Colombia aspired to be the next Saturday Night Fever and is arguably the tattiest, tackiest film ever to WIN an Oscar (for best song Last Dance). Outside of Saturday Night Fever, not many disco movies clicked with audiences, but Thank God It’s Friday has some banging floor-fillers to offer, plus a snapshot of a few major talents on the illuminated launch-pad to success.

It’s Friday, and all the cool kids are heading to a popular nightspot called Disco Disco Disco Disco, or possibly called Zoo, the signage out front isn’t clear. ‘The man in the glass booth’ is DJ Bobby Speed (Ray Vitte), packing them in for smoothie club-owner Tony Di Marco (a young Jeff Goldblum charisma incarnate here). Speed is unloading bangers like Giorgio Moroder’s From Here to Eternity against a Studio 54 anything-goes dance-floor filled with penguins, polar-bears and all kind of frozen ephemera. ‘Everyone in America is here for cheap thrills,’ shrills one patron, while another mystifyingly describes the scene as “Disneyland for kids’; wait, what other kind of Disneyland is there? One young female character describes the smell in the toilets as ‘like my brother’s bedroom’ and that doesn’t sound like a positive thing.

Let’s hope everyone enjoys seeing people getting their hands stamped, because there’s a whole lotta hand-stamping going on Robert Klane’s film, an early effort from Fast and Furious creative Rob Cohen. Excitement levels steadily build towards an incendiary live performance by hot-to trot Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores of their hit Brick House, although the more laid-back and familiar Easy also features on a soundtrack that somehow filled five sides of vinyl. Ritchie at least looks like he’s having fun, although the gaudy Starfleet Commander costumes pictured above make them look more like Key and Peele’s parody Funky Nonsense. Goldblum introduces himself with an impressive feat of queue jumping, and brings genuine intense energy to his big seduction scene that’s largely dissipated by his proximity to a giant inflatable toucan; another-pre-fame star, Debra Winger has similar issues discussing whether it’s acceptable to wear polyester on the dance floor while stumbling under a giant ostrich, eventually prat-falling head-first through a table of dubious food.

‘I’ve only got one dime and I need it to call my therapist’, is a good sample dialogue that reflects the lives of quiet desperation of the punters portrayed here, where there’s all kinds of laughing gas and general drug use going down in a Krazee with a K scene. Stuffy, fuddy-duddy punters are transformed from stiffs into coked-up disco maniacs and even the punters accidentally locked in the stairwell are happy to get down, boogie and exchange achingly hip dialogue like ‘Don’t be such a worrywart! …Do you mind if I call you Babakazoo?’ ‘You are what you hear’ at this particular club, and Donna Summer turns up as a woman who not only hears Donna Summer but actually is Donna Summer, yet the acting honours go to ‘Leatherman’ Marc Gomez (Chick Vennera) whose car-park strut sets a high bar for idiocy.

It’s hard to understand why so much of the film is spent standing in moving lifts given that the building we’re in only appears to have three stories, but that’s not important compared to the stylish Pierre Cardin shirts and lip-gloss combos featured here, and at least it cues up Goldblum’s opening line to an employee in a gorilla suit pictured above ‘Look like a monkey or run the elevator- one or the other!’ As a man with a broom starts to sweep the rubbish from the floor and the last dance finally begins, the unwelcome daylight reveals Thank God It’s Friday as something of a blast from the past, a light-weight, high energy slice of disco promotion that was dated by 1979 and now feels like a time capsule, but the type of time capsule that looks like it’s full of stinking mud but turns out to have some actual valuables hidden away inside.


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  1. So there’s “Thank God It’s Friday” and “Saturday Night Fever”… Do disco flicks have a monopoly on the weekend? Was there a Sunday entry to round things out?

    • Thanks for the typo, waves of disco emotion obviously got a hold of me.

      This whle film is on YouTube if you fancy it, it’s actually not as bad as can’t Stop the Music, although that’s not exactly high praise.

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