This ninety minutes of juvenalia goes by very slowly and isn’t much aided by the fact that most of the humor revolves around some awful masculine stereotypes and business managers getting repeatedly racked in the batteries by offended ladies. The writers of this film had an endless appetite for that groan-worthy gag, but it isn’t the worst of the humor. You also get, a blind guy who knocks everything down with his cane, Larry Storch as a guy with earphones in and doesn’t hear anyone (1977!), a pair of really bad stick-up men, one played by Ed Bagley Jr. (who is probably the best known actor in the film), gay bashing, fat-bashing, and a few straight up penis jokes to boot. Had I been thirteen when this came out . . . wait, I was thirteen when this came out, why didn’t we see it?
You also get Ted Lang (Issac from The Love Boat) as a suave, dancing store musicologist, Frank Gorshim as a disguised shotgun bearing robber (there’re a lot of robbers in this film), Gallagher, already swinging his mallet and smashing shit, and Kinky Friedman (though without his Texas Jewboys) doing a fairly nice Slim Pickens impersonation as a beloved music star visiting the shop.
Soon enough a traveling talent contest arrives and we get some spectacular song and dance routines from some fabulously overdressed performers interspersed with some Gong Show level nonsense. Weirdly, no one’s lives are really going to be changed by the extravaganza and so it’s largely just a distraction to the main plot of . . . well, the main plot is really a pile-up of competing hook-up tales, none of which seem to come to any fruition. Oh I forgot to mention Ruth Buzzi. Ruth plays an ugly little woman named Olga who a few dopey jokes are created from. Since the writers really weren’t after any point, despite the fact that the manager of the shop tries to push a new hire into having sex with him, and the owner of the shop (oh, I forgot to mention the very famous TV comic Jack Carter) apparently owes some money to the mob and a Japanese strongman dressed obviously like the old Bond Villain Oddjob smashes up his office, what we really get are just slap stick moments strung together. No romances work out, no nerds are revealed to be secret stars, and no stick it to the man messages are impressed upon us.
In the end some clunky out-of-shape cops manage to catch a crook.
Ed Bagely does a pretty good beat-box gimmick for the talent contest way before “it’s a thing”.
This is free on Prime, I thought it was another similar movie, but hung around to see Kinky not perform any songs. Not happy about that.
4 thoughts on “Record City (1977)”
Now THAT is an eclectic cast!
Yes it definitely IS it’s hard to keep up with! At different moments you feel a bit like you’re immersed in a strange pilot for a bizarre series that never launched. But I also remember a car wash movie, and a radio station movie (which had a Steely Dan theme song made just for it) which all had a similar kind of “all in” feel to them. Lots of cheap stars, which seems smart enough as there have to be oodles of unemployed star-power, and a collection of nonsense skits that really don’t link to any overarching story (which frankly is real life!). In a way a movie like this, despite its fanciful sequences, is a bit more realistic than many plotted Genre films! which are always streamlined affairs fitting together like perfect Agatha Christie puzzles. Honestly such things get tiresome fast! But, this film is a batch of hard to watch defective tools as well! :p
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I kind of like how that Altman fragmentation bomb informs late 70’s movies like this; I noticed Supervan turning up on Prime which has a similarly ‘anything goes’ approach…might just be up your alley!
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Ha! It might be! I think I’ve scrolled by it a time or two and have been tempted!