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JulyDiaz

Episode 128 - Streets of Fire: LIVE!

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LIVE from Largo in Los Angeles, Golden Globe Award winner Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and HDTGM All-star Jessica St. Clair of Playing House join Paul and Jason to discuss the 1984 rock & roll fable Streets of Fire. They'll cover everything from Rick Moranis being a bad ass to the Michael Pare slap fight. Plus, everyone asks why Dottie from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is in the movie during Audience Q&A!

 

Don’t forget to check out Blake Harris’ Oral History of Streets of Fire over at www.slashfilm.com!

 

HDTGM: LIVE! returns to Largo at the Coronet on March 19th at 7pm and 9:30pm! Get your tickets now over at www.largo-la.com!

 

 

Attention: The Crash Test special that Paul & Rob Huebel performed on a 60 foot glass bus is available online on Comedy Central! Get yourself a BB-8 “What Is Its Mission?” T-shirt or Tote Bag over at http://howdidthisgetmade.bigcartel.com/! People of the internet: Watch Paul in Fresh off the Boat on ABC and a while ago, Paul and Rob Huebel did a comedy special on a 60 foot glass bus that traveled around LA and now you’ll be able to see it. Go to https://itun.es/us/3M4J9 now to buy it! You can also see Jason in Transparent on Amazon and in Dirty Grandpa in a theater near you! Also, check out June in Grace and Frankie available on Netflix, and in all the episodes of NTSF:SD:SUV:: on HULU for free, and Jason in The Dictator (he’s still in it!).

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I actually really enjoyed most of this movie, especially the sets and the "fuck the police" attitude that everyone had. I only made a few brief notes, and they were:

  • The opening credits are a mishmash of different styles and it doesn't really work. Stick with one!
  • The dirty homeless guy who tells them where Ellen is being kept is Stan Sitwell from Arrested Development (Ed Begley Jr.)
  • Is McCoy a lesbian? Is going to the military a metaphor for her coming out?
  • Tom punching Ellen in the face was genuinely shocking.
  • The last note just says: "Sledgehammer battle?! The whole 3rd act is fucked."

 

Some of these might count as omissions, I haven't listened to the episode yet. I wish this actually was made into a trilogy though, as was originally planned. Now that I've seen this one, I'd watch all three for sure.

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Fun podcast, I was surprised there wasn't more commentary on the music. It's not a musical (any more than Saturday Night Fever or Flashdance are musicals), but the music is a big part of it. How can you talk about this film and not bring up the epic overblown but awesome Jim Steinman bookend pieces? And stuff by The Blasters, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks...pretty solid stuff. Some hipster needs to retool this as a modern musical. It's way better raw material than the original Corman Little Shop of Horrors.

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They covered not knowing how much time was passing in the movie. The one I was most curious about was how long after the final showdown with the Bombers was Ellen Aim re-doing that concert? I'd like to think it was less than 24 hours. Billy Fish making her get right back up on that horse.

 

May god forgive me but I was really liking the tire tread wipes.

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This movie has some of Jim Steinman's most unhinged and delightful songs. I am obsessed with "

"
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They talked a bit about Willem Dafoe's gang and how they "stole" Diane Lane. My biggest takeaway from this is that they are super polite kidnappers. They walk in the door with a good 30 seconds left in her song, but they don't rush the stage immediately. They wait patiently in the back for Ellen Aim to finish her song, and THEN they go kidnap her. And the whole gang was all on board. Like, did they have a planning meeting for this where Raven said, "Look guys. We're gonna go steal this lady, but if we come in during the middle of a song, just play it cool. We don't want to interrupt. I mean, it's her homecoming show, after all."

 

According to IMDb's trivia page, McCartney was actually offered the role of the kidnapped rock star, not the Tom Cody role.

 

Also, not only did the cop call him a juvenile delinquent - as mentioned in the episode - but the dude that came in to bust up Reva's diner called him a "pretty boy." Did no one know what he looked like? Unless "pretty" means "having the most expressionless face known to man," it's not a word I would use to describe Michael Pare.

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Great episode, but I have to say, I'm leaning more toward Jason's interpretation of the movie. Here's what I thought the movie was doing.

 

First of all, right from the jump, the movie labels itself, and straight up tells the audience, that this is a "Rock & Roll Fable," and what is a fable besides a story told to convey some greater meaning beyond its literal telling? When you start to look at it from that perspective, a lot of the pieces start to fall into place.

 

Let's start with the characters:

 

Tom Cody (Michael Pare)--He represents the "Body" and the purest form of Rock & Roll. He's a drifter, a rebel, and embodies the freedom of Rock & Roll. While he can be dangerous, he is not irresponsible with his power and uses his abilities for the greater good. However, to the world at large, he is nearly indistinguishable from people like the Raven.

 

Raven (Willem Dafoe)--He represents the "Poser" aspect of R&R. For him it is about control. He wants to keep R&R for himself and his gang. Like Cody, he is also a rebel, but he is misappropriating R&R for his own ends. He doesn't "get it." He just thinks that by wearing the clothes and listening to the music, it makes him a "Rock & Roller."

 

Billy Fish (Rick Moranis)--He represents the corporate side of Rock & Roll. He loves it just as much as Cody, but from a more commercial stand point. This is why he can seem cold and dickish for the majority of the movie, but when push comes to shove, he's willing to defend it as much as anyone.

 

Ellen Aim (Diane Laine)--She is the "Spirit" of Rock and Roll. In a real sense, she is more of an object or idea than a woman or fully fleshed character. This is why she can be "stolen" rather than "kidnapped." She is the goal that Rock music "aims" for or strives to be.

 

So given these interpretations, you have to look at the movie from a different perspective.

 

The Raven has stolen the Spirit of Rock and Roll and has hidden it away in his fortress. Since Rock Music is for everyone, if the Raven is successful in stealing it's "soul," R&R will disappear forever. The music needs to get back to it's roots, so Cody "rescues" the music from those that don't understand what it "means" and would therefore corrupt it. In other words, Cody, as the physical embodiment of Rock, needs to "go back" to where he's from (his hometown/the Fifties) and retrieve his Spirit--which he has lost because of "the War" (...I'm guessing Vietnam) I also don't think it was a coincidence that the music played at The Bombers club, is old school, rockabilly. They have already "captured" that voice, and it has been left to fester and stagnate in their clutches. Later on, Cody defeats, but doesn't kill, Raven--the canker that threatens to ruin Rock for everyone, saving it...for the time being.

 

In the end, Cody and Fish have a conversation (again, try to think of Ellen as more of a concept than a person) where Fish says, "She loves you" and Cody replies, "Yes, but she needs you." Basically this is saying, the Spirit loves the Body, but ultimately, if he were to tie the ethereal to the corporeal, he would be no better than the Raven, and would be selfishly keeping her for himself. The Spirit needs to be married to the Corporate, even if it is somewhat loveless and contentious, because that allows the Spirit to reach the most people, thereby allowing it's messages of love and freedom to be spread across the world, and that's what is most important.

 

As far as the other questions regarding the film, I feel that it does occupy a space out of time, however, I think this choice was deliberate. By the time this movie hit theaters, the people who grew up with the first wave of R&R during the Fifties would now be in their forties and probably had teenagers of their own that were listening to music that they no longer understood. By keeping time and space amorphous, it is telling the adult audience, "Remember when your parents didn't get your music or how you dressed? Well, now you're the parents and you don't get the music of your kids. However, the only thing that has changed are the notes, the Spirit is still the same." By the same token, the kids watching this movie might glean an understanding of where their parents are coming from. To New Waver teens in the eighties, seeing someone riding a motorcycle and wearing a leather jacket, would not seem very rebellious at all. To them it would seem antiquated, "That's Happy Days," "It's a cartoon." However, if you tweak the look a bit and put them in "murder aprons" instead of leather jackets, they might get an idea of how "alien" that look would have been for people at the time, just how their Flock of Seagulls hair-dos might look "alien" to the adults in their era.

 

Well, shit...that was a whole lot of blathering on for a film that I don't even much care for...let's hope it made sense!

 

tl;dr Everything in the movie was intentional, and in my opinion, executed competently.

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Cameron, I thought of you when they were like, "I hope Rick Moranis gets lots of blowjobs."

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Cameron, I thought of you when they were like, "I hope Rick Moranis gets lots of blowjobs."

 

I hope everyone does...especially Rick Moranis.

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So, Larry King is in suspenders animation?!?

are you talk'in about Larry King the master of Christmas horror,
?

 

 

b4xr3k.jpg

and I now we all know who Paul Scheer would play in streets of fire. or better yet who would play paul scheer in a life network movie about him, The Paul Scheer story.

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NO FUCKING JUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

some bikers must of kidnapper her.

 

657p7s.jpg

 

hands down best scene in movie.

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NO FUCKING JUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

some bikers must of kidnapper her.

I was kind of bummed about that, but Jessica St Clair is so wonderful. I vote for her as permanent June understudy.

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The whole movie takes place on that one street from The Warriors. It felt like there was just a grid of subway lines on top of every single street, especially in the car chase scene.

 

Also, why didn't Tom just kill Raven after they rescue Ellen? In that scene when after he has just murdered tons of people on motorcycles Raven comes out (in his murder overalls) and says "I'll be coming for her, and I'll be coming for you too". Why doesn't Tom just kill Raven right there? He clearly has no problem killing MANY people.

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The Sorels - I attended the show and forgot how we didn't get to touch on them enough. Crazy side characters.

 

1. First off, wanted to know what a "sorel" even was and could not find a definition beyond a French philosopher, Sorel, who "advocated revolutionary syndicalism and preached the creativerole of violence and myth."

2. Also, with the blend of 80s and 50s, did anyone else think the Sorels were on their way to play the Enchanted Under the Sea dance?

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The whole movie takes place on that one street from The Warriors. It felt like there was just a grid of subway lines on top of every single street, especially in the car chase scene.

Well it was was done by Walter Hill, who I honestly think was just trying to make a PG version of the Warriors. And I feel vindicated that Jason mentioned that Diane Lane is basically Pat Benatar in this movie.

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When you announced this, my only wish going in was that Jason would dig it. Wish granted! I'm a fan of the film and the soundtrack. I'm surprised the soundtrack didn't come up. The Jim Stienman penned Fire Inc songs in particular are a huge part of the film's following and really do feel like "lost" Meatloaf songs and "I Can Dream About You" was a top 10 hit. The bookend piece "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" which seems to be the favored of the two (I prefer "Nowhere Fast") was actually a rush job. They were certain they would secure the rights to Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Fire" and even filmed the finale to it. Bruce rejected it when he learned a female vocalist would cover the song, not use his original. Stienman wrote the replacement in a matter of days and they had to reshoot the ending, which of course added more to the already overblown budget (like you mentioned, $1 million for a tarp!)

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This wasn't ALL filmed on the Universal lot. There was actual location shooting in Chicago at the famed intersection of Milwaukee/North Avenue/Damen. Here's a screen cap from Streets of Fire:

 

tTeuMbH.jpg

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/1547+N+Damen+Ave,+Chicago,+IL+60622/@41.9097963,-87.6779741,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x880fd2c7676cc191:0x66a8fcbfbf3c4720

 

This is the Damen Avenue Blue Line el stop, looking North down Damen. This intersection is also seen in Flatliners, when Keifer Sutherland is walking across the street and is surrounded by bicycles before he walks down an alley and gets his ass kicked by his karma (that alley is also in the Kevin Bacon movie Stir of Echoes, making this an alley with a Bacon number of one; you can see the alley in this shot - there's a break in the sidewalk just past the streetlight/Lily's Cleaners & Shoe Repair - that's the alley).

 

Also, just across the street from this train station in the screen cap from Streets of Fire is the The Double Door, which in an incarnation under the name 'Main Street USA' was featured prominently in Steven Segal's debut "Above The Law".

 

This intersection at North/Damen/Milwaukee is also seen in Robin William's Club Paradise, the Belushi/Arnold pairing Red Heat, and in Cusack's High Fidelity.

 

When you guys do a show in Chicago, I will happily give you a tour. :D

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Well it was was done by Walter Hill, who I honestly think was just trying to make a PG version of the Warriors. And I feel vindicated that Jason mentioned that Diane Lane is basically Pat Benatar in this movie.

Since she's singing Jim Steinman songs, isn't she more like Bonnie Tyler?

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