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Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979)

| October 26, 1979

Skatetown, U.S.A. is a real study.  It was obviously made to cash in on the roller disco trend, stitched together by filmmakers who thought that they could sell the movie based on a lot of high-energy shots of roller skating and disco music, but were totally buffaloed when it came to what the movie would be once the characters left the rink.  They had a theory but didn’t quite work their way into logic.

For the off-the-floor stuff, we get the half-realized story of Ritchie (Scott Baio), a fast-buck operator whose big game is getting his buddy Stan (Greg Bradford) and his sex kitten sister (Maureen McCormick) to win the big prize at the roller disco competition.  Are you hyped yet?  Didn’t think so.

The center of all this excitement is, of course, Skatetown U.S.A., a roller disco located at Santa Monica Peir which is festooned with so many lights that it must run up an electric bill that costs $500,000 a night.  Not so bright is Skatetown’s managed by Harvey (Flip Wilson) who is being intimidated by a mean bully (Patrick Swayze) into fixing the contest for him.

That’s really all you need to know.  The rest of the movie is endless shots of skating, lights, the D.J. and pretty girls which are sporadically broken up by stupid one-liners.  This wouldn’t bother me so much if I had any sense of reality to this place, but the movie employs a weird gimmick in which the D.J., named The Wizard, appears in a white afro wig and shoots lasers out of his fingers to make the skaters appear in the rink and to routines.  Who are the skaters?  Where did they come from?  What is the reality of this film?  Is this a magical unreality?  A side-road in Star Wars maybe?  Why are Arnold Horshack and Marcia Brady necking in a convertible?  You tell me!

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized