Episode 33 - Roller Boogie (1979) (Blairvember Part 1)
Welcome to the first week of Blairvember. You might be wondering, what is Blairvember? It's the month of November with Linda Blair's name added at the front. It's also a month long promotion here on the Grindbin where we will feature 5 Linda Blair movie reviews in a row. That's right, it's all Linda, all November.
Roller Boogie is an example of Hollywood at it's worst. It is one of the laziest movies ever put to celluloid and represents the worst of what I like to call the "fad" films. In today's entertainment we have cable TV, reality shows, blogs, podcasts, anything and everything to suit your interests. In the 60's through the 80's there was no home video market, there was no reality TV and the only way to cash-in on a burgeoning fad was to make a movie out of it. Many of them would end up as movie-of-the-weeks on network TV but some were actually put into the theaters and (in the case of Roller Boogie) were big successes.
It's important to note that this movie was made before Xanadu but after Skatetown USA (which was the original cash grab for Roller Skating movies). Roller Boogie was made in eight weeks and released almost immediately after it wrapped production. Does it feel like a rush project? Hell yes.
The producers had hoped that this would be the "Saturday Night Fever of Roller Skating Movies" and while it certainly was a financial success it didn't have the same impact or cultural significance of the Travolta classic - it also doesn't feature a rape scene or a guy jumping off a bridge. No, this movie represents exactly what has and always been the problem with Hollywood movies; they are about making money.
Now don't get me wrong, Roller Boogie is a fun movie. It's stupid, it's ridiculous, but god-damn is it enjoyable. What's wrong with this movie and other movies like it is the fact that it was made in the first place. Instead of caring about art and other things that audiences look for in movies, the producers of this film think that the general movie going audience is a bunch of morons. In their minds: Roller Skating + Disco Dancing + Bankable Name (Lina Blair) + Movie = $$$$$$$$$. And you know what? They were right.
This movie made $13 Million when it was released theatrically. It was such a success that the studio already greenlit a sequel - based in Mexico called Acapulco Roller Boogie - until the Roller Skating "craze" died down and they simply shut down production. The fad came and went. Then we came along and dug this pile of garbage back up from the depths of the Hollywood dumpster to make fun of it for awhile on a podcast. Thus starting the trend anew and bringing new life to something that should have died when the last Roller Boogie one-sheet was replaced by the next Hollywood cash grab.
The movie itself is a complete abomination. It has ZERO plot for the first hour before taking an insane twist that nobody wanted or seemed to be aware of, it is over an hour and forty minutes long with about 30 minutes of skating scenes. So knowing all this you might be asking me, why the hell would you show us this movie? Because it's hilariously bad. So so so so bad.
You want me to sell this movie for you? Less than three minutes into the movie we see a couple having sex on a public dumpster during what can only be described as a skatepocalypse. Enjoy, we will see you next week for the second installment of Blairvember.
NEXT WEEK'S FILM
Chained Heat (1983)
Director: Paul Nicholas (as Paul Nicolas)
Writers: Aaron Butler (screenplay) (as Vincent Mongol), Paul Nicholas (screenplay) (as Paul Nicolas)
Stars: Linda Blair, John Vernon, Sybil Danning