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Saving the Community Center One Movie at a Time

September 14, 2010

I believe in the beat!

I am a sucker for any movie which uses the Save the Community Center trope*. Particularly, if it involves putting on a show, getting the gang back together or the redemption of some previously fiendish scoundrel. I will throw down on a bunch of impassioned folks singing, dancing, Shakespearing themselves in front of the bulldozers – real or metaphorical – of oppression.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

  • In the much maligned Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo developers threaten to destroy the community in favor of some kind of condo situation. As both a condo dweller and a community center enthusiast I found my loyalties tested, though ultimately, much like the film, I came down on the side of what’s right. And contrary to what MST3K fans seem to believe, the use of “Electric Boogaloo” as a movie suffix has been in existence long before they appropriated it. We’re talking hours after the release of the film. And I remember a local Air Forces Radio DJ calling First Blood: Part II – “First Blood: Part II: Electric Boogaloo” during a screening at The Bad Children’s Theater and he got NO LOVE. Too soon, I suppose. The only thing I remember seeing this in the theater on the weekend it screened at the Bad Children’s Theater was how much I wanted to pair hot pink and yellow together, preferably in some kind of heat seeking stretch material.

Bustin’ Loose

  • The forgotten Richard Pryor gem Bustin’ Loose doesn’t so much save the community center but the community itself. Namely, some kids of varying levels of ability, emotional stability and adoption potential and their freeze dried social worker played by Cicily Tyson. The lulz are constant and there are scenes hot off the “I can’t even believe this shit” presses that totally make me howl merely by thinking about them. There are all kinds of wonderful moments of poignancy, cheesiness and if Robert Flack’s Children’s Song doesn’t break your heart or make you stand up and cheer while crying happy tears, well then you’re just an awful person. Trust me, I’ve done the legwork.


What are your favorites of this “genre”?

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*The sole caveat being the community ITSELF must be doing the saving.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Tony permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:36 am

    The first movie that came to mind when I started reading this was Sister Act 2. Save the floundering school/church/neighborhood! Singing nuns! Children with home problems who overcome adversity by singing AND saving the day. Lauryn Hill!

  2. September 14, 2010 9:54 am

    Hells yeah, Sister Act 2!

    I can’t think of many with the “Community Center” trope (except for the abysmal Two Weeks Notice), but I can think of things like The Country Bears where they have to save Country Bear Hall or whatever. Frankly, I was rooting for Christopher Walken through the whole movie.

    Also, The Blues Brothers is pretty good in the whole “must go, must save, must have music!” trope.

    And now that I think about it, there was some movie about saving the rainforest or something where they raised money by dancing “the forbidden dance.” Which now has me thinking about the Twizzler commercials with “my wiggle, my twist, my forbidden dance!”

    Ok, I think I’ve had too much sugar.

  3. IrishUp permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:05 am

    Well, it’s not so much the community center, as the whole community. But – GOONIES!!!!!

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/cindy-lauper-the-goonies/4e06238c1432e046b3384e06238c1432e046b338-165684380651?q=goonies&FORM=VIRE8

  4. Lani permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:34 am

    Hmm, one that pops to my mind is Weird Al’s movie “UHF” in which the strange and eclectic crew that runs the popular UHF TV station has to save it from his uncle’s gambling debts and the evil local network station bent on shutting them down for good. Bonus music videos from Mr. Al himself and strange ads for imaginary stores (“Spatula City! We sell spatulas–and that’s all!”) do a pretty good job at rounding out the illusion. I loved it as a kid but haven’t seen it in years, I wonder how it would hold up nowadays.

  5. September 14, 2010 11:43 am

    Lani: I’ve actually been thinking about UHF lately and wondering how it’s held up. We recently found out VHS (!) copy of it, so maybe there’ll be a “From The Vault: UHF” sometime this week. Stay Tuned!

  6. September 14, 2010 12:05 pm

    I loved UHF!!! LOL Spatula City!

  7. Lani permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:54 pm

    @eieioj: Awesome! Oh I will look forward to that post, yes indeed! Thanks for spilling the beans too! That just made my day.

    @Snarky: Seeing that youtube clip just put the biggest grin on my face. I can’t watch it here (public computer lab; all speakers are disabled) but I will totally load that up when I get home.

    Now I really need to hunt down a copy of UHF and give it a gander!

  8. September 15, 2010 11:27 am

    Let’s toss out the old “Partridge Family” episode featuring Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett Jr.!

  9. September 15, 2010 1:48 pm

    Does Major League count? Though that’s more “save the franchise”…..

  10. September 15, 2010 2:19 pm

    Didn’t anyone see the magic that IS Honey? Jessica Alba and assorted culturally diverse adorable moppets save the community center with the power of Hip Hop/Jazz dance.

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