I Saw A Film!

Another revisit to near childhood, with baby stars, and Ry Cooder and Blasters music. This film is just representing that 80s retro phase when even Neil Young suddenly went rockabilly. The film kind of has Diane Lane reprise her role from Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982), as the singer for a twee rock band upstaging the remains of the Sex Pistols (or the Professionals / Jones and Cook at any rate).

I guess I forgot Michael Pare. Though I remember watching the hell out of Eddie and the Cruisers, still I wholly lost track of him after the mid 80s, along with the adorable Power Puff Girls voice Elizabeth Daily. Who we did not lose track of is Willem Dafoe who continues to alarm and charm especially in Wes Anderson productions where he often stretches his odd looks to entertaining extremes.

Streets of Fire, 40 years on, rather than exercising stylish fusion just seems confused. So when we’re looking at late 50s era giant boat cars (when we all know in 1984 the compact was king) and duck’s-ass hair on my man Lee Ving (singer from LA punks Fear), and lovely Diane coming out and pounding her fist in the air with a bunch of skinny-tie wearing Knack look-alikes playing guitars that sound like they were mixed through the world’s biggest phasing device . . . well, you get the drift. I’m not sure what was meant to emerge from this style mash-up, but it was definitely in the air of the moment.

Some of the outfits are pure weirdness (thinking mainly of Dafoe’s butcher’s rubber overalls), and you’re going to see a lot of gas-bomb explosions, and all the dialog is like noir-era tough-guy talk, “Last time I checked . . .” and “Let me tell you something . . .” and “Wanna try that again?” etc . . . nothing happens that a character can’t wise-crack.

So the fun part is that Dafoe and company literally grab singer / pop star Diane Lane right off her stage in the middle of a concert. Not a thing can be done to stop them literally shoulder-carrying her away, plopping her on a motorcycle and making off with her. And it seems like the only real reason is that Dafoe wants to be her boyfriend. Huh. Meanwhile manager Rick Moranis (keep in mind these are all BABY versions of these actors, chubby cheeks and floppy limbs, neoteny on display big time) hires on Pare to bring her back, because, well, he was her boyfriend back in the day . . . and somehow that qualifies you to rescue kidnapped people.

The film’s progress keeps getting impeded by fashion revelations. I kept expecting Sha Na Na to suddenly pop in, but we get a kind of RnB vocal group that just inexplicably joins in the action, and the big finale is, of course, a giant musical extravaganza with all the oddball musical influences merging. You’d think you were seriously being sold something, but I don’t think there was much of anything to buy. I mean Ry Cooder’s band covers Link Wray’s Rumble and you can’t really beat that, but whatever it is they’re having Diane sing to sounds of The Fixx, well, that was a forgotten moment in time. It reminds one of that blink of a moment in the film Cocoon when suddenly one of the elderly characters suddenly break dances. We’re not likely to remember the refrain about it being all about what it’s like to be young. We’re cringing, and laughing, and shaking our heads but it’s OK it’s a movie

Pare is walking off into the dingy night carrying his luggage–not a good look for a hero, but never mind, things are looking up.

This runs you 3.99 on Prime and it’s a fun blast from the past, even if it comes across like everyone involved in the design was pretty stoned.

4 thoughts on “Streets of Fire (1984)

    1. I sure did then! But I was 22 or so and was easily moved by the visuals. And of course by Diane who I just read was only 18 when they started filming definitely had my heart! Omg what a cutie. There is an important moment in the film when Lane’s Aim says to Liz Daily that she just sings the stuff she doesn’t write it. Which, struck me as a kind of admission of guilt in an era of rising concerns over integrity with the punk rock boom kind of reaching a crescendo. Why would they have Aim shrug off a fan’s love and then have the fan do her best to rescue Aim’s input (saying something to the order of – but delivery is important)? I’m not sure, except that perhaps the Aim character was meant to feel used and or abused, and that her voice was not really her own. It seems an odd step to take with so much riding on the variety of music being impressed into the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I guess it would be hard to have a female character take credit for some of the most masculine songs ever written! But it doesn’t pose a problem here; if I had $10 million to spare, I think this would be an awesome stage musical, for all it’s faults, it’s got tunes, heart and a cool retro look!

    Liked by 1 person

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