Roller Boogie - Disco

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Later, her idiot rich acquaintance Franklin gets slapped by Bobby for bothering him. Franklin thinks his nose is broken, and van Patten has a great laugh over it.

Roller Boogie - James Van Patten
It’s good being a van Patten!

Hold up a sec. Now, normally, the rich guy is the antagonist for the film’s hero, both of them fighting over the love-interest. Normally, he has many resources, a squad of goons to do his bidding, and some sense of style, which serve as a threat. Not in this movie. Franklin is stupid, has no style, no friends, is completely rejected by the rich girls, and to top it all off, he gets his ass kicked repeatedly by Bobby, the skinny dweeb in skates and short shorts. Folks, if Jim Bray can kick your ass, you just need to pack it in.

Roller Boogie - Christopher Nelson as Franklin
This is Franklin, a force to be reckoned with.
Roller Boogie - Franklin LOL
… and a suave lady-killer … (insert your own caption here)
Roller Boogie - fight on beach
… and macho tough-guy!

Back in 90210, Terry tells her mom that the flute sucks, classical music sucks, and she wants to skate to disco music from now on. Mom responds in what is probably the most amusing scene in the film – by pulling out the Valium. Watch as she goes through her purse:

“Diet pills, sleeping pills, diuretics, qualudes… valium!”

Roller Boogie - Beverly Garland
Nom Nom Nom!

This is what it is to be a parent in Beverly Hills. I like that she’s organized.

Later, Terry asks Bobby to breakfast. He offers to teach her the art of looking completely ridiculous in skates, for free. Yeah, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, what we’ve got are two schizophrenics – they’re perfect for one another!

Later at Jammers, they listen in as Jammer (Sean McClory, playing an Irish guy who drinks alot – how weird) is threatened by the mafia and forced into signing a contract to sell his rink. Phones unknowingly records the whole thing. By the way, the guy that threatens Jammer is played by Mark Goddard (Major Don West from Lost in Space. He’s accompanied by the goofiest set of 70s style mafia men I have ever laid eyes upon.)

Roller Boogie - 70s mafia dudes
As seen in the Beastie Boys Sabotage video.

There’s also a scene where Terry invites Bobby and his friends to a recital at her house. Obviously she got into her mom’s purse of goodies. It’s a collision course to wackiness as the guys show up looking like asylum escapees, say amusing lines like “You made me lose my whores doovers!” and completely ruin the recital. Of course it involves well dressed people falling into the pool. Why wouldn’t it? Terry is obviously pissed at Bobby for ruining her party. The question, of course, is why she would be dumb enough to invite him in the first place.

Ready for the Pool Party
These guys were let loose when Reagan closed the hospitals.

Later on, Bobby is feeling sorry for himself so he goes off alone to skate in the dark.

Jim Bray plays Bobby James
You can make up your own caption here also.

Terry finds him (she is obviously a masochist at this point) and the two of them make up for the tenth time. After some more drama crap – honestly, I don’t feel like going into it – Jammer decides to keep the rink open for one more night so that the little roller babies can have their contest. But not before Thatcher and his goons track them down, trying to get the taped evidence. There’s a very exciting scene involving the mafia guys being attacked by fruit. Tension! Watch, as our lovable couple make sure to put on their goofy red helmets before being chased on their skates by a Cadillac stretched limo. It’s dangerous, but not too dangerous, because they have their necessary pads and helmets!

Roller Boogie - Escape on Skates
Let’s get out of here! But let’s do it safely!

The goons follow the couple to the rink and pull their guns. Guess who saves the day? Complete Control Conway, of course! Oh, did you forget about him? Sergeant Danner, the good cop, shows up too. And Terry’s lawyer daddy Roger Barkley, who arrives and complains about a kangaroo court. He must have gotten into his wife’s stash of pills because I thought I was looking at a crime scene. Anyway, Phones manages to play the tape of Jammer being threatened over the rink’s audio system. Daddy lawyer has a change of heart (was it really a change of heart, or did he realize like anybody with a brain would, that he’d never be able to win a case with that kind of damning evidence?) and declares the contract invalid.

Roller Boogie - Roger Perry
It’s a living.

Finally we get to the contest, where Terry and Bobby compete in a skate sequence set to Michelle Aller and Bob Esty singing “Love Fire”. Linda Blair’s body double does some amazing skating moves! I had no idea that Linda’s body double was so good! (In fairness, Linda did do some skating herself – she even got bursitis in her hip because of it. But sometimes, when you make a masterpiece like Roller Boogie, the lumps are worth it). Anyway, in a surprising and unpredictable move on the film’s part, the couple win the contest, which made me very happy because I was worried for a second that they wouldn’t.

Roller Boogie - Linda Blair Competes!
Don’t hate!

In the denouement, the two lovers share a goodbye as Terry finally comes to her senses and leaves town. She offers Bobby the trophy but he says his place is too small. He offers it to her, and she says there’s no room in her suitcase. LOL! Nobody wants to be reminded of the travesty that is their relationship!

Jim Bray and his stupid trophy
I has a trophy. Nobody interested in stealin.

Terry tells him he’ll be a famous champion and Bobby says “I might even get to New York one day…”. Yeah, right. We all know he’ll be in Venice Beach next summer still wearing uncomfortably tight shorts while working the skate rental stand, and she’ll be in Manhattan hooking up with a famous violinist. But at least Bobby has skating! Yes, the skating fad will never die and neither will “boogie” music! Right?

– Bill Gordon

Susan Miller has the definitive Roller Boogie site. Check it out.

Soundtrack information here.

Buy the Roller Boogie Original Soundtrack

Musical numbers were staged by David Winters. Who is David Winters? He’s only the guy who directed the completely awesome Space Mutiny.

Director Mark Lester, of course, would later bring us his masterpieces Class of 1984 and Commando.

Buy Roller Boogie on DVD

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