Jump to content


Episode 114 - 9 to 5 vs. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (w/ Alan Scherstuhl)


14 replies to this topic

Poll: Episode 114 - 9 to 5 vs. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (w/ Alan Scherstuhl) (19 member(s) have cast votes)

Which Dolly Parton film enters The Canon?

  1. 9 to 5 (12 votes [63.16%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 63.16%

  2. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (7 votes [36.84%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 36.84%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Dalton Maltz

    Foruman

  • Moderators
  • 487 posts

Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:20 PM

Film editor Alan Scherstuhl of Village Voice/LA Weekly joins Amy this week for a Dolly Parton double-hitter! They pit Dolly’s 1980 landmark comedy “9 to 5” against the classic 1982 film “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Amy and Alan assess Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds as the epitome of the ultra-feminine and ultra-masculine, the historical significance of each film, and Dolly’s unique comedic chemistry with her co-stars in both pictures. Plus, we hear about how “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” plays with the idea of hypocritical politics and what “9 to 5” reveals about how much the workplace has evolved for women.

#2 sycasey 2.0

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 207 posts

Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:51 AM

I vote unenthusiastically for 9 to 5, but as stated in the "homework" thread I don't think either is a particularly worthy Canon film. I find the earlier film more worthy based mostly on cultural importance and the ubiquity of the theme song (yes, "I Will Always Love You" is also ubiquitous, but it's not particularly associated with this film and had been written and released before).

I tend to be more interested in filmmaking and/or storytelling technique than "star power" in selecting my favorite films, and let's be frank: Colin Higgins is not much of a director. Even with some improvement in directorial technique for Whorehouse, it's still little more than mediocre competence, as studio musicals go. Back in the 50s they made big glossy musicals with more technical competence than this almost every week. 9 to 5 looks like a sitcom from start to finish. If there's a directorial stamp on it, I can't discern where it lies.

Anyway, while I agree that the long action-comedy bits in 9 to 5 (the fantasy sequences, everything with Lily Tomlin stealing the corpse) are pretty bad and grind the movie to a halt, it does at least wrap up its thematic concerns in a reasonably satisfying way. I can see how this film makes a deliberate statement about sexism in the workplace and how it's still relevant. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, meanwhile, seems to be throwing ideas at the wall and by the end nothing sticks, it's just about getting the two biggest stars together for a happy ending. As disposable entertainment, it's fine, but doesn't rise above the pack.

#3 ijustliketowatch

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts

Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:32 AM

One of the few times I might actually support a neither vote. Neither film has aged particularly well and while both have some really fun performances, I'm not sure I'd want to inflict either of them on another person.

Since we have to choose, though, I say 9 to 5 all the way. I fully agree with every criticism Alan and Amy fire at it, but their praise of Whorehouse is a little generous. That film is soul-crushingly boring when people aren't singing and dancing and while 9 to 5's plotting is scattered and its pacing is terrible, it has more high points. Tomlin, Fonda and Parton have great chemistry and they are clearly having so much fun. Reynolds feels embarrassingly miscast in Whorehouse and Parton basically has to push that jalopy of a film up over the hill by herself.

9 to 5 also has the edge in terms of historical significance even if "I Will Always Love You" is one of the greatest contributions to culture of all time. I mean, "9 to 5" is no slouch musically either, but the film itself had more of an influence and more deliberately deals with big issues in way Whorehouse seems to do by accident.

#4 alt0782

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 35 posts

Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:38 PM

Dolly Parton is a wonderful human being, but I could have gone along just fine never having watched either of these.

#5 andyradicalpossumtackler

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 07 August 2017 - 04:07 PM

Enthusiastic yes vote for "Whorehouse", and I would say yes even if it wasn't half of a versus. It's breezy fun, comes from an underrepresented time in film history (in between the auteur 70s and the blockbuster 80s), is a good example of the musical, the star vehicle, the mid-budget studio film, and it was a popular hit in its time. All that, plus it's surprisingly satirical and subversive. The first iteration of The Canon admitted plenty of 80s cult favs, and I don't see why this shouldn't get in as well.

#6 phred2321

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 87 posts

Posted 07 August 2017 - 06:03 PM

n e i t h e r

#7 Johnny Pomatto

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 48 posts
  • LocationNew York

Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:11 PM

When Amy announced this versus my first thought was "the audacity!" Pretty brave move to put a much beloved, iconic feminist film against a middling 80's musical with what now has a cult following at best. But after watching 9 TO 5 again and listening to the episode, I realized it's a tougher fight than I initially thought. Right off the bat I'll say that I greatly prefer THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS. As a fan of both Burt and Dolly, I've always had a fondness for the film, though I never considered it to be a great movie. But that's also how I more or less feel about 9 TO 5. While I love all three women in the cast, (as well as Dabney Coleman, whose masterful mustache is second only to Burt's), and I enjoy the spirit and premise of the film, I too have never been all that wild about the overall execution. It goes on forever and part of me wonders if the film might have fared a little better if it had been taken more seriously, as originally planned. As a kid, I loved Lily Tomlin (I discovered her through her Edith Ann appearances on Sesame Street), and I loved the song and Dolly's non-sex boobs. I didn't appreciate Fonda's attempt at a comedic performance until years later after I discovered her dramatic roots. But I don't know if this film is the best representation of any of the three lead women, and while I think the premise is fun, it never fully takes off for me. It also, as a child, really bothered me that Dabney was eaten by cannibals, and still to this day try to imagine him in the climax of Cannibal Holocaust.

THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS on the other hand, is so much fun. As a fan of classic musicals, I was endlessly amused by the notion of a raunchy story about literal sex, as opposed to it hidden in the subtext like usual. I have fond memories of my dad dancing around the house singing Durning's "Dance a Little Sidestep." "I Will Always Love You" is perfectly at home. And I appreciate Burt playing stoically straight and noble amidst the madness. But I have trouble voting it into The Canon for a few reasons. One is that there are much better musicals that haven't gotten consideration yet, and to have this in there first would somehow feel wrong. Another is that only a couple months ago I tried showing my wife TBLWHIT and she absolutely hated it. I tried to relay its goofy charm but she'd have none of it and I had trouble arguing against her points, despite my own affection for the film. So I can't quite imagine calling this film "essential" when I feel it requires a specific taste to appreciate it in the first place. I also think that this shouldn't be the first Burt Reynolds film to be admitted into The Canon, and I promise you, Amy, that we can find a worthy Burt film that isn't necessarily car-centric that could be put up for consideration, (Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Nickelodeon, or The End, to name a few). I also just remembered that I think Boogie Nights won in a battle against Magnolia to get into The Canon so I guess this isn't the first Burt film, but it also needn't be the last.

So while I could make arguments for both of these films to be entered or excluded from The Canon, I think I have to pick 9 TO 5. I may not personally enjoy it as much as its counterpart, but I do think it's more socially relevant, is a stronger showcase for actresses in general, and has had a greater cultural relevance. It's a tough choice, and I may regret my decision later, but I say that future generations should probably watch 9 TO 5, even if I'll be taking that time to watch THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS by myself.

#8 HoldenMartinson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 320 posts

Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:04 AM

As someone who has always been anti-neither for the run of the show, this is my questionable Tom Cruise performance in Legend. This is the episode that takes me to the edge of whether or not a neither is justified. I could not think of a more beige pairing. While neither film is horrible, neither is all that great, either. While I'm certainly all for a solid middlebrow film, I don't think either of these fits the mold quite well.

Though, if I have to pick, I'd go with 9 to 5, if only for the cultural impact. As much as I enjoy the chemistry between the leads, and as funny as the film is, it's super uneven. Best Little Whorehouse is just so plodding so much of the time. I can't give much credit to a film that has me pausing and getting up to do other stuff this often.

So, 9 to 5 it is.

#9 FictionIsntReal

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:47 PM

It's not "fake news" at all. While Thorpe is painted as the villain, his reporting is depicted as accurate.

The 1980s were the decade with the largest influx of women into the labor force. Some have attributed this to the decrease in marginal tax rates, as they were the marginal workers.

While the presenters preferred the later film, I preferred the first one (even with less Dolly Parton). The fantasy sequences weren't that great in and of themselves, but I liked that the film was willing to do something completely different for a little while. And the bit where Tomlin steals a corpse is one of my favorites. Your guest acknowledges that 9 to 5 had more cultural impact, so for me there's no reason for the choice to be anything else.

#10 TheFanon

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:22 PM

I wanted to pick 9 to 5 for the sake of cultural impact, but I found myself a little more interested in BLWHIT. The musical numbers, goofy comedy, and sex positivity (despite the uncomfortably optimistic portrayal of prostitution) mostly worked for me. The ending feels like a studio mandated cop-out and drags the film down a bit, but it didn't ruin my experience overall. The themes of 9 to 5 are definitely sill relevant today, but the last half of the film features such belabored screwball comedy that just isn't sharply executed. As others have said, I don't think either are quite Canon-worthy, but I'll stick up for BLWHIT.

#11 Bruno Bolisarte

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:54 AM

Neither.

I believe Amy has violated the code of The Canon with this one. A versus only makes sense if it is two movies that are both excellent candidates for inclusion. Neither you nor your guest provided compelling arguments in favor of either - you just chose between these two unworthy films. The low turnout and multiple votes for neither back me up. The best decision here would be to accept that the votes for NEITHER are more than the votes for either.

#12 caringtype1

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:25 PM

This is such a tough one because I love both these films. I went with 9 to 5 because of the undeniable cultural impact. The stoner scene and the fantasies are the weakest part for me, the sequence with the corpse I thought was hysterical. Best Little Whorehouse in Texas changes far too many things from the musical for me to consider it one of the greats, but it's widely entertaining for what it is.

#13 Nathan Roberson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • LocationNew York, NY

Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:54 PM

Today a Nazi killed someone in America and the president said there were "many sides" to it. A very dark day. As the news unfolded I was watching The Battle of Algiers. That felt very awkward and surreal. Later in the evening I watched Nine to Five, and I felt empowered, committing myself to attending a rally at Union Square to protest the Nazis.

But damn if Whorehouse isn't charming as all get out.

Nine to Five gets it though. Watching Tomlin as Snow White killing her boss is incredible. Watching Dolly is always amazing. Let's overthrow our bosses and construct worker committee rule like these ladies do.
Check out my podcast, He Hates Superhero Movies, where I hate superhero movies and my friend tries to prove their merit--one movie at a time.

#14 NewAgeRetroHippy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 13 August 2017 - 04:52 PM

Gonna have to go with Best Little Whorehouse since Working Girl is already in the Canon (although I'd much rather have 9-to-5 in than Working Girl #NeverForgiveNeverForget)

#15 Dale Cooper Black

    The 3rd Corey

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,073 posts
  • LocationDisgraceland

Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:32 AM

Rhinestone
Guy Fawkes in Socks