Monday, September 21, 2015


"Saturday Night Fever" (1977)
Directed by John Badham
"Grease" (1978)
Directed by Randal Kleiser
"Pulp Fiction" (1994)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

    Why can't John Travolta catch a break and win a dance contest without something horrible happening? In John's three most famous films, he enters a dance contest, but has to live with a tainted victory or bad memory attached to it. Poor Barbarino.
 "Saturday Night Fever":
   Every time Tony Monero graces the dance floor of Brooklyn club, 2001, he dazzles the crowd. When he and his dance partner win the big dance contest near the end of the film, he feels awful. His dance routine is followed by a Puerto Rican couple that gives such an electric routine, Tony feels they should have won first place. Instead, they win second and Tony wins first, upsetting him into feeling the whole thing is rigged, nothing more than a popularity contest. As badly as he wanted to win, he couldn't with the knowledge that he was not the better dancer, perhaps curing him of his Saturday night fever.
   Danny Zuko wins the televised contest at his high school dance, but not his preferred way. Originally, he begins the routine with his date, Sandy. Half way through, she is pulled off the floor (for reasons still unknown to me) by Sonny. Before Danny has a chance to go after her, Cha Cha Digregorio (the best dancer from St. Bernadettes with the worst reputation) grabs him to finish the competition. How is this not against the rules? Were the judges not watching? Although, Danny wins the contest, he is more interested in winning the heart of Sandy. When Cha Cha grabs that trophy and dances with it, she seems more interested in having won the contest than Danny. She doesn't even go to Rydell. Once again, I point out the poor quality of the judges. How could you not do your best to judge a competition with live music by Johnny Casino and the Gamblers?
 "Pulp Fiction":
   This seems like the closest John will get to winning a dance contest that is not somehow tainted. Yet, it's still attached to a couple of things that really suck for his character. Vincent Vega wins the Twist off at Jack Rabbit Slims with Mrs. Mia Wallace. This is the only dance contest that he enters without wanting to, Mia forces him. How does she even know that he can dance? Maybe, because he's (according to her) an Elvis man. Two reasons this is not the happy memory for Vincent that it could have been:
   First, his dance partner is his boss' wife. Although he is very attracted to her, he knows she is off limits. His boss is a huge scary gangster who is not above going medieval on his ass if the moment should call for it. After all, didn't he throw Tony Rocky Horror out a window for giving her a foot massage?
   The second reason is because Mia ends up overdosing on his Heroin, mistaking it for Cocaine. What's more memorable: Winning the dance contest or stabbing your date in the heart with a huge adrenaline needle?
    I'd like to send out a warning to John Travolta. If you are ever tempted into entering another dance contest, they don't always go well for you, so think twice. Then again, these moments are attached to the three most popular films you have ever made! Forget what I just said, dance if you must, just be on high alert. Sometimes you win your girl back at the carnival and drive off in a flying car, and sometimes you just end up getting shot by Bruce Willis. 

(Artwork by Isaac Keith Martinez)

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