So, love is not a battlefield?

Hi, I’m The Jerk. You may remember me from such blog posts as; “Surefire Ways to Kill Your Readership,” or “You Can’t Write That, Hallie Lord Might Be Reading!”

Simcha gave me the week off, hoping I would drink myself into a stupor during that time and forget the blog password. Heh, that’s why God made tattoo parlors, friends. Now I’m back, relatively sober, and ready for whatever controversies ensue.

A word about that: Enough with the death threats, Hallie. You don’t scare me. And the voodoo dolls – while stylishly dressed – have no impact on a guy like me. I’m already banned from the Opus Dei swimming pool, I regularly get obscene phone calls from Alice Von Hildebrand, I once fought the entire La Leche League legal team. You’re gonna have to try much, much harder.

La Leche League Attorney, Dame Judy Drench

On to the movie!

The Legend of Billie Jean

I gotta be honest with you folks, this movie is a heck of a lot worse than I remembered it. We’ll dive into that in a second, but the biggest disappointment I had watching this was the music. In my mind, I always heard Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” whenever I thought about this movie, or Helen Slater, actually. Umm, let’s not think about why too much, OK?

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Great song, right? But that’s NOT the theme song from The Legend of Billie Jean. It’s really “Invincible” by Pat Benatar.

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See what I mean? It’s like eating Reese’s Pieces when you thought you were getting M&M’s. Something so close to what you wanted, and yet so sucky at the same time.

"Like wanting to watch 'Tango & Cash' but watching 'Cliffhanger' instead?

Exactly.

The movie concerns the semi-tragic story of Billie Jean, a trailer-dwelling beauty forced into a life of crime because some red necks trashed her younger brother’s scooter. It’s just like The Iliad, except instead of Helen of Troy forcing characters to fight to the death (or fight to the near-maiming in this movie), a Honda scooter is the vehicle of fate. Or, maybe not. I dunno. Look, I thought I had a joke for this.

Billie Jean, played by Helen Slater, and her brother– umm, Bing?– played by Christian Slater (no relation) just want $608 to repair the scooter after said local roughs scratch it and pull the mirror off. Seriously, how much damage can you do to a scooter? And for $608 in 1980′s dollars, couldn’t you buy a whole Ford Fiesta?

Billie Jean goes to the father of one of the youths to get the money back. She totally does not see it coming that this guy is a creep, despite the fact he looks like this:

Hey good lookin'.

The Gulf oil spill was absorbed by his hair.

Predictably, Senor Fancy ‘Stache tries to take advantage of Billie Jean. While our heroine keeps her honor, her numbnuts brother accidentally shoots the villain.

It's like Gilligan joined the NRA.

Billie Jean, her brother–umm, Bick?– and the gang from the trailer park hightail it to the other side of town in a not at all conspicuous station wagon with waves painted on it. These kids never leave the greater Corpus Christi, TX  area, and yet the cops are stumped. If this movie drums nothing else into the viewer’s head, at least it get across the very clear message that Texas law enforcement leaves much to be desired.

Oh, fun fact, one of Billie Jean’s accomplices is played by Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson.

No, no, Bart's the Scientologist.

Fun’s over, back to the movie. Billie Jean and the gang have only one ally in the grown up world, a police detective played by Peter Coyote. This is a guy I really want to like as an actor, but he spent his career making crap like this. Look, I may be the one guy to have seen Exposure, and like I said, I really dig Coyote as an actor, but he is the poster child for wasted talent.

Didn't you like me in "Patch Adams"?

Ugh.

Now that our youths are officially misunderstood fugitives, they decide to break into a house they think is empty. Instead, it is home to Lloyd, the one Jew in Corpus Christi.

Mazel Tov!

Lloyd does the kids a mitzvah and tapes Billie Jean’s statement of righteousness so they can get the word out about how she is just a crazy, mixed up kid on the side of justice. Billie Jean gets ready for the big show by donning a wet suit, parachute pants, and cutting her hair in that way girls do after a bad break up.

She's now going to spend the next three weeks listening to The Cowboy Junkies and smoking Capris.

This tape inspires girls all over Nueces County to cut their hair as a sign of solidarity. I guess this is where the “legend” part of the The Legend of Billie Jean comes from. All the kids spout her slogan, “Fair’s Fair!” too. Maybe the film makers were hoping for one of those big cultural moments being sparked by this movie, with a mass youth movement inspired by Billie Jean and her, uh, legend. You know, like when the kids went crazy with Fanny and Alexander fever.

I want a scooter, but it will make me sad.

It’s at this point some sub plot involving Lloyd’s district attorney father, portrayed by Dean Stockwell, comes into play. Like much of Stockwell’s acting career, it never really goes anywhere, so don’t worry about it.

Hey!

Sorry, Dean. You were great in Quantum Leap.

There is a grand finale on the beach, Christian Slater gets shot, Helen Slater is burned in effigy, and our oily villain gets his comeuppance.

The movie ends with Billie Jean and her brother — Binx! — safely in that magical land of happiness, Vermont. This is where the movie makers really show their ignorance. Vermont is not an escape from a sleazy trailer park. The entire state IS a sleazy trailer park. With snow.

Next week, assuming Simcha hasn’t changed the password, I will review one of three choices. Again, I will leave the poll open through Friday.  Your choices are: Last week’s runner up, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, director George Roy Hill’s ‘classic’ that is just not as good as you think it is; Yentl, director/star Barbara Streisand’s feminist musical that is as bad as you think it is; or The Man Without a Face, director/star/lunatic Mel Gibson’s ode to deformation and learning that is just God awful.

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  • RC2

    Did no one in this flick schtup Angela Lansbury? My day is ruined.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Sorry, perv.

  • http://harvestthehome.blogspot.com Paula

    Ah yes. Yeardley Smith, of “Maximum Overdrive” fame. Who can forget her famous line……”Cuuuuurrrrttttiiiiiiiisssssss!”

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Hmm … I forgot it.

  • http://www.bettybeguiles.com Hallie Lord

    Sigh. Why can’t you people see that I’m just trying to help?

    (As an aside, I’m still not clear who gave you the impression that you could just waltz into the blogosphere and steal all my haterz. Clearly, we’re going to have to do this the hard way…

    Consider yourself warned.)

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      My new attorney, Ms. Drench, says this is harassment.

      • http://www.bettybeguiles.com Hallie Lord

        She doesn’t intimidate me. I have the Lord Almighty on my team.

        • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

          You fanatics are all alike.

      • http://www.bettybeguiles.com Hallie Lord

        Well, now I’m hurt. I do have feelings you know.

        • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

          Settle down. You’ll get all worked up and go into labor.

      • http://www.bettybeguiles.com Hallie Lord

        Actually, if you could pull that off I just might concede. I might even pen an ode to the greatness that is “The Jerk.” That is how ready I am to be done with all this gestating business. ;)

        • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

          You got yerself into this mess.

  • Bob

    I’m trying to care, but I can’t.

    OK, I’m not really trying.

    Why does Billie Jean have a bottom-fishing rig dangling from her ear? Or is that Biff? Bipp? Bique?

    You know what, I don’t care.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Give in to your feelings, Bob. Fair’s Fair!

  • barboo77

    You forgot about the love story between Billie Jean and LLoyd and Lisa Simpson getting her first period on the run. I really liked that movie back when it played repeatedly on HBO. I don’t think I completely fell in love with Christian Slater until Heathers, though.

    I saw an interview years ago where Christian said that he was totally in love with Helen Slater and liked the fact that she wouldn’t have to change her name if they got married.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      I think I saw the same interview.

  • Sue

    Brilliant as usual — especially the La Leche League attorney. I hope she’s at the next “nurse in.”

    “Invincible” is not such a bad song, but “Love is a Battlefield” is classic 80′s teenage angst. So many girls I knew wanted to achieve the look at the end of the video for prom.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Ms. Drench does not do nurse ins. She does not let her professional life spill over into her personal life.

  • Sheila

    Opus Dei has a swimming pool??

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Apparently, they call it a ‘swimming ool.’ Wish they made that more clear before the unpleasantness.

  • Bob

    Y’all should switch things up and have Hallie do a movie review while The Jerk does a fashion review. Fair’s fair.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      She looks better in skirts than I do.

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  • Sarah

    I don’t know, that Invincible is a pretty rad song. I haven’t seen enough moves with Christian Slater. Except for Star trek VI. I’ve seen that a lot. He’s in it briefly.

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      We’ve all seen enough movies with Christian Slater.

  • http://stmonicasbridge.wordpress.com Kristen

    Lmao, all I remembered from that movie was “Fair’s Fair” and the scened where Yeardley Smith gets her period. And I laughed remembering, yeah, that movie was worse than I thought it was!

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  • justine

    Dear Jerk,

    You are a funny guy.

    I wished you liked me.

    -Justine

    • http://datelineapocalypse.wordpress.com thejerkdoesnotlikeyou

      Not too needy, are we?

  • justine

    Hold me!

  • Another Julie

    I really had this movie confused with Ode to Billy Joe. Just try reading your post and coming down from that mind trip.

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  • http://www.peltiercooler.net Peltier Cooler :

    at home we have a kidney-shaped swimming pool that is well maintained, i love swimming on it all day long “”

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