There are a number of ways that you can tell a movie is bad. For example, if it features a famous actor portraying the mentally retarded, or if the emotional core is built around the soundtrack instead of the thinly drawn characters, or if Robin Williams is in it. Another way that you can usually tell a movie is bad is if the title of the movie is spoken in the dialogue (example: “We’ve got to get away from these Pirates of the Caribbean!”), and another way that you can usually tell a movie is bad is if the opening credits inform you that it’s “based on articles from Rolling Stone.” Both of these things happen in the 1985 movie, Perfect, starring John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rolling Stone founder JANN WENNER? What?
Perfect centers around journalist Adam Lawrence (John Travolta) who writes obituaries for a local paper in New Jersey for a couple minutes before the opening credits, and then after the opening credits is a reporter for Rolling Stone. (?) OK. He is in the midst of an important article about a businessman who something something computers Russia drug dealer? It’s not important, because he’s simultaneously working on another article exposing a Los Angeles gym as just being a replacement for the singles bars of the ’70s. Whoa. What a scandal. That’s where he meets Jamie Lee Curtis, who is the most successful aerobics instructor in the tri-state area. She’s cautious around Adam at first because she hates interviewers because of the Olympics, because that’s a thing, “hating interviewers” is a thing, but then they have sex and then they are lovers but then she remembers that she hates interviewers and she calls him “a sphincter muscle,” and she deletes his article. Then Jann Wenner sends John Travolta to Morocco so that he can secretly print a story about gang bangs in the Fitness Center parking lot under Adam’s name, and then Adam smashes Jann Wenner’s office with a baseball bat. Then he goes to court because the government wants the audiotapes of his interview with the computer drug dealer Russian but he is all Judy Miller and won’t release his tapes to the government, and that’s how Jamie Lee Curtis knows he’s telling the truth (?) and they go home and do it. Probably he won the Pulitzer Prize, too, for being the best aerobics reporter in the game.
Now, I could go on all day about the hows and whys of what makes this movie so terrible, or I could just present you with 5 of the most insane and hilarious minutes from any movie ever.
Whoops, that exists.
It’s comforting to think that this movie is just a curiosity of the ’80s, tucked away on a dusty shelf of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium to be gently laughed at from the elevated perch of our highly evolved cultural awareness. But that’s unrealistic. I could totally see this being made now, with like Will Ferrell playing the ace reporter, Ben Stiller as the gym owner, and Elizabeth Banks as the world’s greatest aerobics instructor. It would be really cheap to make, too, because they could cast all their extras by laying out glue traps baited with Pabst in Williamsburg.
Then again, it would be a comedy, which this is not. What this is is an animated GIF factory. Wall to wall animated GIFS.
That’s aerobics? I’ve totally done aerobics. With a bunch of girls you don’t know. From Canada.
Did I mention Jann Wenner’s in this?
What? Why is Jann Wenner in this? And if Jan Wenner is in this, which he is, and he plays the editor in chief of Rolling Stone magazine, which he does, THEN WHY IS HIS CHARACTER NAMED MARK? But it’s really a sign of just how bad a movie is when Jann Wenner is far from the worst actor. This lady, though, is very close to the worst actor, by living inside the worst actor’s body.
This is a very bad movie!
Next week: we break from our normal schedule to talk about Family Stone, in a special CHRISTMAS EDITION of TWOAT. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.