9 to 5
I am a child of the video age.
VCRs really got big when I was around 12 years old, and my technophile father bought one of the first ones in our town - a massive thing that clacked and whirred and cost about as much as a small car. I liked it - it opened up a new world for me. In 1982 there was only a very limited number of films released on video, and the choice for a Friday night's entertainment was eclectic, to say the least. I saw Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun and the 1970s animated sex-film Fritz the Cat and the outrageously racist and wonderfully old-fashioned 'documentary' Shocking Asia all in the space of a month. These were the films that shaped me. I also taped a selection of my favourite video-clips from TV music shows, and my sister and I would spend entire afternoons watching and re-watching and ultimately imitating such classics as Melissa Manchester's You Should Hear How She Talks About You and The Human League's Fascination.
When my cousins finally got a VCR it came with two free tapes. One was Flash Gordon (with its fabulous Queen soundtrack) and the other was, inexplicably, a tape containing just the first half hour of that great women's comedy 9 to 5.
This fast became a favourite, and every morning before school my cousin would pop that tape in and the entire family would watch that first half hour of 9 to 5 before heading off variously to school and to work. Pretty soon they had the dialogue down pat, and the entire family made mysterious references to key moments in that short piece of film that were imbued with a deeper significance.
Now, any film starring Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda has gotta be ok, right? Wrong. I just watched it again tonight, after a 24 year gap, and it is dire. Obviously they were aiming for a peculiar blend of high camp and social commentary, and mostly it just falls flat on its face. Lily Tomlin does a reasonable job with her tongue planted firmly in cheek, but Dolly (and I ADORE Dolly) is truly wooden. She may be many things, but she is not an actress.
The theme song is a true classic, but buy the soundtrack and give the film a miss.