Sunday, October 28, 2007

No. 7 - Thank God It's Friday

Altman's influence could be felt throughout the 70's in ensemble comedies like Car Wash (1976) and Animal House (1978), and also in this undervalued gem of the disco era.

Thank God It's Friday follows an Altman-like ensemble of characters as they converge on L.A.'s hottest disco. There's a staid insurance actuary and his prim wife who are out for adventure. There's a couple of horny guys trying to score. There's a nice girl (Debra Winger in her film debut) who just wants to meet a nice guy. There's the slick disco club owner (Jeff Goldblum) who juggles girlfriends but really wants to score with the prim wife -- who maybe isn't so prim after all. And then there's the sanitation worker who is set up on a computer date with a schoolteacher, with uproarious results -- a couple that seems ill-matched turns out to be made for each other.

Nicole (Donna Summer, in her film debut), is an aspiring singer who sneaks on stage to get her big break (much like Barbara Harris in Altman's Nashville). She belts out Last Dance, a disco classic that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Song. It is great to see the ultimate disco diva captured on film at the top of her game.

Thank God It's Friday is a fun, carefree breeze of a film that encapsulates a more innocent, and seemingly simpler, time. A co-production between disco label Casablanca Records and Motown Records, Thank God It's Friday brings back the music, the clothes, the decor, and the flashing strobe lights of the disco era. This is as 70's as you can get.

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