Nothing’s gunna stop us now

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smart sexy

This cheap hit from the 80s was by a band that used to be something. Something extraordinary.

But like so much else, when some of Jefferson Starship (nee Airplane)’s members needed cash to live on and that meant hits. So they did what it took to make that happen. In a Vanity Fair interview, Grace Slick explains,

In the 80s we weren’t writing our own songs…I like to write my own stuff or have the band members write their own stuff, and we weren’t doing that. I was in my 40s and I remember thinking, God, this is just awful. But I was such an asshole…Here, we’re going to sing this song, “We Built This City on Rock & Roll.” Oh you’re shitting me, that’s the worst song ever.

That’s what you get when talent is wasted: commercial success without an inch of depth.

And what do you do with a song like ‘Nothing’s gunna stop us now?” You put it in a movie that reflects the song and the band perfectly.

I want to argue that Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, James Spader, and Estelle Getty all have talent. But instead of using that talent when they got together, they made “Mannequin.”

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Wait. Did I just say this guy has talent? I did. You just can’t see it here.

Nevertheless, many Philadelphians, like myself, liked the film anyway. Like Rocky or Philadelphia, it put the city in the spotlight, making it a character in the story. In this story, that character was the iconic Wanamaker Building on 13th and Market Streets

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The Christmas Show at Wanamaker’s / Macy’s – an annual tradition

That doesn’t make it any less terrible a movie. And to add insult to injury (just like Jefferson Starship), it made money… nearly $43 Million.

Mannequin asks its viewers to suspend disbelief not just in one aspect of the film (like The Force in Star Wars), but pretty much in everything all through the movie.

Example: Kim cattrall plays an Egyptian woman displeased with her betrothal to a camel dung salesman. Natually, she prays to the Gods to save her and – whisk! She’s gone. Apparently, she made a few stops along the way, meeting Christopher Columbus and Michelangelo, but then she winds up in 1980s Philly locked inside a mannequin and can only reveal herself to one man.

That one man is Andrew McCarthy, a young man who can’t keep a job for anything until he meets -and saves the life of Estelle Getty -who happens to own whatever they call the Wanamaker store in this film. Out of gratitude, she hires McCarthy and will later even promote him to VP (oh no! SPOILER!).

James Spader plays the straight man / bad guy for a laugh and doesn’t get it for anything except his hairstyle and over the top mannerisms. He’s in it for the cash and has sold out to the other, ‘evil’ department store (really) who is trying to get McCarthy and his mannequin to jump ship and join them as they crush Wanamaker’s out of existence.

There’s lots of bad music, terrible acting and cheap film tricks throughout the film as we learn to feel for the guy who has a crush on an oversized doll. I’m reminded of Electric DreamsHer and men who love blow-up sex dolls. Although painful, I did make it all the way through.

 

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7 comments on “Nothing’s gunna stop us now

  1. […] Nothing’s gunna stop us now. […]

  2. Joann says:

    Being children of the eighties this is one of mine and my husband’s favorite movies. Mostly for the music of which we are still huge fans of. Our children are the brunt of many jokes because we filled their heads with this instead of “real” music like Zeppelin : )

    • That’s funny. Have you seen this film recently. It really is bad. But I have a special place in my heart for bad movies, so please don’t think I’m judging people who like it.
      That said, I have to agree with the idea that rock from the 60s and 70s definitely feels more real to me too. The good thing is, it’s never too late! I grew up with a very outsized portion of Cher and Linda Ronstadt in my house and now I like that music more than someone of my generation should. My son’s own taste is all over the map. He definitely likes music of the current top 40 stations (examples escape me), but he also gets something out of stuff from the 50s – 80s. The only hole in his repertoire is that he thinks 90s grunge music is just noise.

      • Joann says:

        Our music taste is ALL over the map but the eighties play in my car almost always. My oldest listens to stuff from all over too and has an earthy jazz voice herself. We watched Mannequin probably a year ago and it is horrible but still on our list of favs!

  3. I’ve got lots of favorite things that are not as good as I want them to be. Lots of movies – a ton of music. Even some books that I wish were just a bit better than they are. There’s no accounting for taste though, I just think of things as either – I like them because they’re good or -I like them because I like them.
    I use Pandora in the car and I must have five different stations that are all different aspects of 80s music.
    1. A Depeche Mode station
    2. A Bowie (80s) station
    3. A Men Without Hats station
    4. two or three different Cure stations
    5. ‘You spin me right round’ – who’s that, Pete Burns’ band – can’t remember what it’s called?
    … and some others that pick up less popular stuff.

    I’m glad to hear that we have some common tastes.

  4. I prefer 90s grunge music rather than 80s, although Depeche Mode is still one of my favs. For many years I vehemently denied having grown up in the 80s because of the music, the hairstyles and the leg-warmers – LOL! I did a road trip in Namibia a few years ago and bought a 5-CD 80s compilation which I enjoyed. Now everytime I play it it brings back those memories. Since then I’ve been ok to say that I grew up in that decade, kinda…

    I loved Mannequin when I watched in the 80s, sweet romantic that I was, but if I had to see it today I would probably cringe.

    • Although it’s not quite the truth, I often say that I gave up on music after Kurt Cobain died. It also lowers my expectations to such a level that I am often pleasantly surprised.

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