Can’t Stop the Music (1980)

By: Bill Leon (Six Beers)

The screenwriters of Grease, Bruce Jenner from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and the Village People walk into a bar… and decide to make a movie together. Can’t Stop the Music inspired the Golden Raspberry Awards and won its first Worst Picture award. It is essentially a vanity project meant to launch the Village People from disco novelties into superstars… but it ended up being a big flop and probably harmed more careers than it helped. The screenplay was written by Bronte Woodard and Allan Carr who wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Grease in 1978. Between 1978 and 1980, the disco craze died down considerably and this film- despite its claim that it holds the “new” “fresh” sounds of the 80s- is gleefully stuck firmly in the disco years of the late 70s.

The film attempts to tell the story of the Village People- albeit a cheese-tastic fictionalized version of whatever that story is. Steve Guttenberg is an up and coming songwriter with stars in his eyes. He has an ex-model friend who wants to be a music manager and together, they put together the next HOT musical act made up of a bunch of flamboyant men with no musical charisma.

Have some Steve Guttenberg on roller blades

A Toast

I found this highly entertaining and that’s probably just me and my fondness for big, bloated rock-star vanity projects. Certain parts of the film are guilty pleasures, but I’m not sure who else would see what I see in it. This is no The Who’s Tommy, but if you like that film for the same reasons I do, you might find something to enjoy ironically in Can’t Stop the Music.

Beer Two

This script is laughably bad. Everyone in this universe is severely deluded and full of themselves. Everybody’s important. Everybody’s going to make it. Everybody’s going to be star. It’s a magic night!

It’s exactly like this but with more costume changes… a lot more.

Beer Three

The musical numbers and accompanying visual sequences are- for me- some of the best bad “music video movie” sequences of all time. Almost from top to bottom, I enjoy them all. It’s also funny how far they go to avoid the topic of any Village Person’s sexual preference throughout the entire film-AND IN SOME CASES PORTRAY THEM AS COMPLETELY HETEROSEXUAL… very awkwardly I might add but when it comes time to do the big “Y.M.C.A.” sequence, it is wall to wall dudes with one female who… I don’t want to offend anyone here but is it possible for a woman to have as much fun as she’s having around what appears to be at least 50 dudes and NOT look like a whore? … No comment…

Don’t get me wrong… the film is fabulous… and I kind of love it.

Beer Four

None of these actors are great… in fact, most of them, particularly the Village People, are pretty bad. Surprisingly, Bruce Jenner isn’t all that bad. He’s arguably better than Guttenberg is in the film. the Village People are awful though. Just wretched.[1]american-hustle_2756552b[1]

Possible inspiration? You decide.

Beer Five

The “Milk Shake” song sequence… which is preceded by a milk commercial where the Village People are portrayed as children in their Village People costumes… this gets its own beer. It is this film’s crowning achievement of blunder.

Is this glamorously horrendous or horrendously glamorous?

Beer Six

The film is just so joyously dumb. It is SO unaware that what its portraying is wrong but it is so incredibly delighted to be portraying it for you. Its sense of downright gleeful confusion is part of what makes it so fun.


Six Pack

Can’t Stop the Music is a bad film. A very bad film. If you find enjoyment in 60s-90s films that play out more like a collection of music videos than an actual film… it is entertaining as all hell. “Fabulously Awful” are the only words that can sum it up. The film is (currently) available on Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every musical number

Take a Drink: when the musical numbers rape your brain

Take a Drink: when each member of the Village People first enters the film

Take a Drink: when anyone talks about “making it”

Take a Drink: when anyone talks about the new sound of the 80s

Do a Shot: when you realize the “new sound of the 80s” is disco

Do a Shot: for the “Milk Shake”

About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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