Movies We Love: Roller Boogie
This edition of "Movies I Love" takes a trip down disco roller skating lane, yes there is such a thing. This sparkling exploitation feature stays true to the heart of Venice Beach roller skaters. It's practically a documentary with better looking teenagers, colorful outfits, and Linda Blair's bodacious curves. Roller skating is truly a lost art that only roller derby girls like me try to keep alive. Speaking of the sport, roller derby is mentioned in the film as the owner of the skating rink was the best jammer in his day. Hence the name "Jammer."
On with the absolutely, mind-numbingly stupid plot: Terry (Linda Blair) is a rich young girl with a passion for WAIT FOR IT..... roller skating. She also plays the flute and has a scholarship to Julliard. Her pill popping mother and lawyer daddy spend an awful lot of time ignoring her and her rebellious actions as she takes off in their expensive cars and occasionally runs away. "I thought I'd go down to the beach and commit suicide." The mother isn't impressed, "That's nice dear."
Any way, Terry and her friend (Kimberly Beck) hit up the boardwalk one sunny day where they meet a skate rental shop employee named Bobby (Jim Bray) who has a major boner for Linda Blair's gigantic tata's. Bobby is quite the ladies man but he is having a hard time sealing the deal with this rich chick. "Why is this babe not digging my charm?" I don't know Bobby. Maybe it's the suspenders. Bobby is the best skater in all of Venice Beach so Terry decides to pay him $10 an hour to improve her shitty skating skills. Makes me wonder how well Blair can actually skate and how many hours were spent in the editing room, switching out with her stunt double. The two have an off and on again affair with more quarrels than the average romance comedy. This broad is obviously bipolar and cannot seem to make up her mind, "Do you have a mental problem or something? First you want to skate then you don't want to skate." Poor Bobby. In between fights he decides a little solo skating to pseudo-intellectual power ballads therapy is in order. What a cheesefest. It seems that Terry has two love choices. There's Bobby and then there's Franklin, the rich handsy douche bag that practically tries to rape her. She could also go for this muskrat but ultimately chooses Bobby after they win the roller boogie competition.
Nice yellow shorts. Meanwhile, with this lucrative plot going on we reach the unpleasant and over-the-top sub-plot. Jammer is harassed by the mob as they want to shut the roller rink down. So he gets shmammered then announces to the roller skaters that he's shutting down the rink. LUCKILY, our token black guy named "Phones" recorded the startling conversation between Jammer and the mob so Terry gets her lawyer daddy involved. There's an overly dramatic pool party crashing that results in the upper class falling into the pool by 'accident.' *Face in palm* Lets face it, the plot is borderline retarded. I just watch it for the skating.
At the end of the day, Roller Boogie is no worse than beach party films like 'Where the Boys Are." Were they trying to cash in on Saturday Night Fever's success? That's pretty obvious. "I got it! Lets put them on roller skates!" Clever. The opening is really neat with skate tuning and cleansing. There's some groovy music, some by Cher. I assume I don't have to go through the trouble of telling you how poor the script is. the acting wasn't all that terrible though. Roller Boogie would be a lot cooler with guns. This just so happens to be directed by one of my favorite directors, Mark L. Lester. Also responsible for Class of 1984, Commando, and Firestarter.