Movies That Suck is a feature where I watch a bad movie and share my reactions to it in real time. Sort of like live tweeting without the tweeting. I watch it so you don't have to! This will be spoilery I guess by definition, but since you probably won't want to watch these anyway it probably won't matter? But heads up anyways. So get comfortable, grab a favorite beverage, and let me tell you about a movie that sucks.
This weeks awesome selection is... Desperately Seeking Susan. One of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, starring Madonna and Rosanna Arquette. Oh and New York City too, because this film uses the setting to propel the plot in such a way.
So we start out to music (this is an 80's movie, after all) and Roberta Glass (Arquette), a bored housewife, is at the spa with her sister-in-law Leslie. Looking at the personal ads.
Desperately Seeking Susan
Keep the faith Tuesday 10am
Battery Park, Gangway 1
Who's Jim? Who knows?? But Roberta is of course captivated, because excitement! Mystery! Something her life is clearly lacking. Her charming sister-in-law Leslie just sneers, of course. Roberta helpfully explains that Jim follows Susan around the country, and they hook up by sending messages through the personals. Clearly Roberta has encountered Jim/ Susan's ad before. So who is Susan? Well funny you should ask, because we shift to the woman herself, in a hotel room with some guy who's asleep. She is liberating some money from him and steals some funky looking earrings from him as well, after seeing Jim's message in the personals. "Jimmy! It's about time!", she says- so clearly she's happy to hear from him. Oh and she has a bottle of tequila brought up for breakfast.
She passes some skeevy looking guy on the way out (apparently named Nolan - thank you subtitles) so it's not hard to imagine she left in the nick of time? Gee- do you think the earrings are important?? Roberta meanwhile is handing out snacks at a party she and her husband Gary are hosting- and it doesn't take long to divine that Gary is an asshole. Gary, you see, is a hot tub salesman, and quite pleased with himself over his new commercial, which comes on and everyone has to watch. Oh and can I just say- the 80's style is more real in this one than a lot of nostalgia films because, you know, this was made in the 80's. Just saying.
So we've established that Gary is an ass. No wonder Roberta's bored, right? There's even a moment where she looks out her window at the night lit New York skyline- so wistful. Clearly she needs more... meanwhile Susan is arriving in said NYC and changing her clothes in a subway bathroom, or maybe it's a train station? I don't know. She looks at the earrings again, to remind the audience that they're important, and then stows her case in a locker. She then goes to some dump called The Magic Club where her friend works, because she needs a place to stay, naturally. What are friends for? In Susan's case they seem to be about whatever they can do for her. Oh and we get one of the better lines of the night, when the cigarette girl at the club says they thought she was dead. To which she replies "No. Just in New Jersey."
Roberta the next day drives into the city - she's going to Battery Park! - and ooh check out that Mustang! 80's y'all. At the park she passes a guy who asks her for a light, and it turns out he's Jim when he spots Susan down by the gangway. An iconic scene actually. Jim and Susan catch up while Roberta spies on them through one of those touristy lookout things. Creeper much? Jim wants to know why Susan never said good bye last time, but she blows that off. She's got bigger news- the guy she was with in Jersey was apparently a mob guy who fell to his death from the hotel. Gee was it that creepy Nolan guy? Oh looks Nolan is HERE. Looks like he's taken an interest in Susan as well.
Not to cut things short, but Jim tells her he's heading to Buffalo with his band and they're leaving RIGHT NOW. He wants her to come but she says nah. Um, what else does she have to do? So they smooch some more and Jim gives her the number for his friend Dez, in case she gets into any trouble. Susan then goes shopping, and creeper Roberta follows her around the East Village. In another iconic scene Roberta follows her into Love Saves the Day (a real store- but it closed in 2009), where Susan trades her pyramid jacket for some boots. Roberta then buys the jacket, which used to belong to Jimi Hendrix, you know *rolls eyes hard*.
Later, at home, Roberta discovers a key when it falls out of the jacket. Remember the locker? Where Susan's stuff is? Mm hmm. So she places a personal ad to Susan.
Desperately Seeking Susan
Meet me Battery Park Thurs 4 pm
To which Susan replies "Good going, stranger." And Jimmy in Buffalo sees it and is all like "What fucking stranger?" Ah, I'm liking this film.
So we meet Dez now! Jimmy calls him up to have him check out this Battery Park meet, and it's not really convenient as Dez is super busy at his movie theater job- he runs the projector at some dump- but he finally agrees. He gets to Battery Park and sees "Susan"- but it's really Roberta wearing the jacket that Jimmy described to him. Yuppers. Nolan is there though too, and after accosting Roberta she tries to run away and hits her head. Oh no, amnesia! She no longer has any idea who she is- and meanwhile Susan doesn't make it to the meet because she gets busted for stiffing her cab driver.
So Roberta doesn't know who the fuck she is and Dez takes pity on her, giving her a ride back to his place on the Dragon Scooter he borrowed from some takeout joint. Although first they go to retrieve Susan's case after finding a key in her jacket. Ooh look the earrings! Dez wants to hightail it out of there and get back to his happening life, but Roberta has nowhere to go, so he offers to let her stay at his place. I'm shocked. But he does seem like a decent guy. Maybe too nice? They get back to his place only to find it being cleaned out by his ex. Victoria (the ex) assumes they're together and tells Roberta that Dez is a nice guy, and they'll be happy together. Oh and I love her outfit.
Meanwhile at home Gary and his sister are discussing Roberta's disappearance, and we learn that Gary is having an affair! And Leslie wonders if Roberta has orgasms. You know, w/ Gary. I'll let her explain.
So yeah. Roberta and Dez are having takeout on his roof while a sax plays nearby (ah the city!) and they are starting to get attracted to each other. Roberta might be a little drunk, and she moves in for a kiss, then apologizes. Aww. Later they're sleeping on the floor (he has no furniture anymore) and both of them obviously want to be sleeping together, but... they don't go there. She is with Jim, after all, right? And creepy Nolan is following them around. Man he's a skanky looking thing. The next day they're having breakfast at a coffee shop and apparently Susan is well known there, as they tell Roberta she's gotta leave (she's wearing the pyramid jacket). Dez comes to her defense and gets thrown out. But... dun dun dun Roberta finds a postcard for the Magic Club in Susan's stuff. Now we're getting somewhere.
Speaking of the Magic Club, Susan's friend just got fired and they're looking for help... and of course Roberta shows up, looking for clues. She's hired! And Gary finds a clue- Roberta's bag from Love Saves the Day. After going down there he meets the real Susana and together they decide to find Roberta. Meanwhile Roberta is working her first night at the club, and she's... not very good at it? Oh and look Nolan the creeper is there. Does he do anything but follow her around? Clearly he wants those earrings...
Okay I almost need to fast forward here. But it's picking up a little. Gary meets Susan at a club and is sorta out of place?
Susan makes herself at home at Gary's house while Roberta gets arrested after being mugged by Nolan. Apparently in her get-up the cops think she's a hooker. So she's in the clink while Gary and Susan are getting high back at her house. Hearing them giggle on the phone, she calls Dez instead, who gets her out. They kiss again and these two clearly have the hots for each other. Watch out, Gary. Meanwhile Susan sees on TV that Nolan was implicated in the theft of some Nefertiti earrings from an Egyptian collection- that explains his interest! Apparently the guy who went skydiving out a window in Atlantic City was his accomplice.
So we're getting down to the wire here. Susan leaves a personal for Roberta to meet her at the Magic Club on Saturday night. And Roberta now apparently remembers who she is- in the afterglow of their woo-hoo time she tells Dez who she really is, but he doesn't believe her. Then- hey!- Jimmy shows up! And Dez knocks him out, thinking he's the guy stalking Roberta. Afterwards they talk and Dez tells Jimmy he slept with Susan- that goes well- although she's not Susan, but neither of them know that. Well she tried to tell Dez, but he's an idiot.
Jimmy of course is not happy, and tells Dez that Susan wouldn't settle down- he should know, he's been chasing her around for years. Dez kind of in an asshole way says he thinks Jimmy's wrong. No, Dez, actually you are. He's not really the brightest bulb though... okay so it's Saturday night at the Magic Club. Everyone's there (even Leslie)! This should be fun. Susan's drinking a triple tequila sunrise, because of course. And Leslie's date thinks Susan's gorgeous, to which Leslie replies "Beauty fades." Leslie is the dry humor element of this movie, I like her.
Jimmy reunites with Susan at the club (I kinda like those two as a couple) while Gary and the others are shocked to see Roberta on stage doing magic tricks. Ooh and Nolan's here too, of course, and finally grabs the earrings off Roberta. It's taken him days, seriously, to do that. Everyone freaks out and Gary meets Dez- that's not awkward. Afterward Roberta and Gary have a heart to heart in the dressing room and Roberta's leaving him. Nolan tries to escape using Susan as a hostage and Roberta clinks him over the head with a bottle. Susan and Roberta finally meet! And here comes Jimmy, to save the day, but no need- Roberta's got it.
So... some last thoughts! Cute movie, not too bad. 80's as all get out, I mean the clothes. Worth seeing for that. And Laurie Metcalf was in it as the sister-in-law Leslie, so there's that.