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Disco Week#3: Roller Boogie (1979)

Nutty’s Disco Week still continues with an infamous Disco film starring Linda Blair: Roller Boogie.

Since I talked about two Disco movies that mainly take place in discotheque, it’s time to talk about the giant elephant in the room: Roller disco. Back then, this craze was extremely popular just like breakdancing in 80’s. I have no idea how to rollerskate, but I know that roller disco was also popular in my country during 1982-1988. That’s right. Our taste in pop culture was slower back then, but at the time building a roller disco was like printing money. Speaking of roller disco, let’s talk about the film I’m going to review today: Roller Boogie.

Everyone knows this film since it’s starring Linda Blair, who rarely appears in non-horror films. So many people instantly hates this film since it has Linda Blair in a non-horror role, Disco music, and dated fashion. Even Rotten Tomatoes rates this film 0%! Is it that bad? Let’s find out…

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Classic tale that fits 70’s fashion

The plot is kinda cheesy and predictable. Terry (played by Linda Blair) is a girl who is fed up with upper-class lifestyle and tension from her parents, so she gets out with her friend (played by Kimberly Beck. You know, a final girl in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) to a roller disco. There she falls in love with skater named Bobby and develops an affair with him. Of course, it’s not that easy. Class differences between them and a subplot about the mafia trying to take over roller disco to build a mall instead are waiting for them… (sounds familiar?)

Surprisingly, I enjoyed watching this film more than watching TGIF. Okay, we all have heard of this cheesy stupid plot before and although it’s not as over-the-top as Breakin‘ 1 and 2, and other films that cash-in on popular dancing trends.  I think this film isn’t as bad as others say. The characterization is okay, the soundtrack is slightly better than TGIF, and there are funny moments that make me smile. What about comic relief in this film? We have sex-crazed upper-class guy who always embarrasess himself due to his stupidity. This shows us that old formulas (both slapstick jokes and the plot) still works with 70’s Disco fashion like this.

But that’s not the real deal of this film, some people who praise this film love it for one reason.

Roller Boogie: Ultimate guide for Disco fashion

According to a Wikipedia article, an American Apparel shop in New York played this movie in store windows because they loved the fashion in the film and they tried to bring back this style of clothing back again. That should tell you something here. It’s really rare to see an apparel store playing a movie in the store because there are only few movies that captures fashion and trend around the time. Luckily, Roller Boogie is one of them.

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As you can see above, lots of teenagers back then liked to wear colorful apparel and chicks loved spandex clothes.  Recently, I found out that spandex pants for women is making a comeback again. This time, they’re called “Disco pants” (well, at least that’s what it’s called in my country). I think I don’t have to tell you how many times I look at girls who wear these pants. Not only is it attractive to a guy like me, it also proves that some trends can make a comeback under the right conditions. Hey, wait a minute. I’m here to review movie. Not to talk about fashion.

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Another fashion is roller skates. It amazes me since Rollerblading was extremely popular when I was young and there was a time when I thought that roller skates and rollerblades were the same thing. In this film, we see teenagers skating everywhere from the beach to the roller disco. It might sound weird today, but keep in mind that we had similar fashion in early 2000’s. It’s called skateboard.

So if you’re interesting in 70’s fashion, this is a movie that you’ve been waiting for.

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Overall, the film is surprisingly better than what I expected. It’s NOT that good but there are moments that I enjoy.

Thumbs up

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Tomorrow I’ll talk about another roller disco movie that’s so rare…it’s never been released in any home entertainment format.

About The Author
Nuttawut Permphithak
Nuttawut Permphithak
A student who's studying in marketing. He usually spends his free-time on watching movies, listening to music, reading books, and creating things you're probably reading/listening right now.

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