As Patrick completes his sensual solo twin dance within the confines of the semi he notices that the evil lady has tears in her eyes. He stops and wipes them from her face, “what’s wrong?” he asks, “isn’t this sensual dance to your liking?” But she shakes her head. “It’s great, but… but it’s like watching Hall without Oates, you know?… it’s just not that smooth Hall & Oates sound.” Patrick nods, “No, you’re right. So wise. This is a dance I used to do with my brother… but it’s not the same without him. I’m sorry.” She shushes him with a finger to his lips. “No,” she says, “I’m the one who should be apologizing. I’ve helped put a beautiful bald eagle into a cage. A cage where you can’t spread your wings. And now I need to set you free.” With that she opens the back of the truck, still speeding along. “Now fly, my beautiful bird. Find your Oates,” and with a swift quick Patrick is sent rolling along the highway. Bloodied and gravely injured Patrick comes to a stop on the side of the road. “Perfect,” he whispers from his broken face, congratulating himself on a job well done. That’s right! We are watching Perfect starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s a film about a journalist and aerobics instructor falling in love to the rhythm and dance of sexy aerobics. Hooooooo weeeeee, gonna be sexy. Let’s go!
“Rad!” Jamie yells in glee zooming about on his souped up hang glider with the man in black. “Is that New Angeles?” Jamie yells and the man in black nods. He points to the tallest building in the skyline and tells Jamie that it’s too dangerous to fly too close. They’ll have to go around. But that’s all that Jamie needs to here as he zooms away laughing, this bozo doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. He’s gonna take these hang gliders to the limit. But the man in black just smirks in satisfaction. That’s right! We’re also watching To The Limit starring Joey Travolta and Anna Nicole Smith. Yes, this is not only Travolta’s brother, but also a woman who goes by a three-part name is the co-star. Spooky stuff. Oh, this is about some mob or assassin shit. I don’t know. Looks real dumb. Let’s go!
Perfect (1985) – BMeTric: 43.5
(Still really low. How did this get made did this film as a live show in 2015. I don’t see much evidence of a bump in extra votes, but perhaps that is the reason it is climbing in the ratings a bit … but probably not, that seems like classic regression to the mean.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Rolling Stone reporter Travolta is writing an exposé of L.A. health clubs but finds himself attracted to aerobics instructor Curtis, whom he’s about the trash in print. A smug, overlong, misguided, miscast movie, with hints of intelligent intentions; written by Bridges and reporter Aaron Latham. Real-life Rolling Stones editor Wenner plays himself. Wait till you hear John and Jamie Lee expound on Emersonian values!
(I. Can’t. Wait. To hear Travolta talk about Emersonian values! Great semi-colon game as usual, plus an actual genuine accent on exposé. I’m loving it.)
(Dance Tunes the movie! I’m excited to see all these hot bods. Hip Thrust the movie. Scream While Exercising the movie. I’m so amped.)
Directors – James Bridges – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The China Syndrome; Bright Lights, Big City; The Paper Chase; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: He died of cancer in 1993. Started out writing screenplays including one for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)
Writers – Aaron Latham (story “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars” & screenplay) – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The Program; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: He wrote the article, Mr. Goodbody, for Rolling Stone that inspired the film. Weirdly he also wrote an article that inspire Urban Cowboy.)
James Bridges (screenplay) – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The China Syndrome; Colossus: The Forbin Project; The Paper Chase; White Hunter Black Heart; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for his writing for The China Syndrome and The Paper Chase.)
Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Carrie; The Taking of Pelham 123; The Thin Red Line; Face/Off; Savages; Hairspray; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Saturday Night Fever; Bolt; Urban Cowboy; Broken Arrow; Blow Out; In a Valley of Violence; Get Shorty; Look Who’s Talking; Ladder 49; Phenomenon; Lonely Hearts; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Look Who’s Talking Too; Staying Alive; Gotti; Killing Season; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; I Am Wrath; Michael; Two of a Kind; Eye for an Eye; Life on the Line; White Man’s Burden; The Forger; The Devil’s Rain; The Fanatic; The General’s Daughter; The Punisher; Mad City; From Paris with Love; Trading Paint; Basic; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Old Dogs; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Swordfish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Winner for Worst Actor for Lucky Numbers in 2001; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; in 1986 for Perfect; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 2010 for Old Dogs; and in 2019 for Gotti; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout in 1992; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Gotti in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Perfect, Staying Alive, The Experts, and Two of a Kind; and in 2010 for Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Lucky Numbers, Old Dogs, and Swordfish; Notes: On a very not good run as of late in his career. I think he’s been in something like 5 films in a row with 0% on Rotten Tomatoes prior to the release of The Fanatic later this year (18% on Rotten Tomatoes).)
Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Knives Out; Halloween; Halloween; Trading Places; Veronica Mars; My Girl; True Lies; Escape from New York; A Fish Called Wanda; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Freaky Friday; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Forever Young; Prom Night; The Tailor of Panama; From Up on Poppy Hill; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Blue Steel; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Virus; My Girl 2; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Terror Train; Halloween II; Queens Logic; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Perfect; Notes: One of the original Scream Queens. The daughter of Tony Curtis of Some Like it Hot fame.)
Jann Wenner – (Known For: Almost Famous; Jerry Maguire; Future BMT: Perfect; Notes: The actual co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. He effectively plays himself in this film.)
Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $12,918,858
(That is very very not good. Who would have thought a weird movie about a journalist creating a hard hitting story about (checks notes) … gyms / dating? Well who would have thought that wouldn’t be a smash hit … these guys apparently.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (3/16)
(Let’s do a consensus: Smug and manipulative. Ends up as a muddled mess that comes across as unintentionally hilarious more than anything else. Reviewer Highlight: Perfect is too superficially knowing to be a camp classic, but it’s an unintentionally hilarious mixture of muddled moralizing and all-too-contemporary self-promotion. – Vincent Canby, New York Times)
Poster – Perfecto (C+)
(I think it’s clever and that’s something. Slightly embarrassing… but clever. Usually I’d say too many words, but makes some sense here. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think the lighting / color on my face in the fake poster is off, but if you don’t have the actual poster right next to it it looks better. I decided just to do some swaps instead of making up new headlines because fonts are hard. Stay tuned for more shallow fakes!)
Tagline(s) – Reporter Adam Lawrence ignites two hot stories. One leads to love. The other could lead to jail. (C+)
The perfection of the body and the senses mean RHYTHM! JOHN TRAVOLTA and JAMIE LEE CURTIS in a one-hundred-thousand-volt Dance Ecstasy! (A++++)
(From the poster it’s clear the first one is the actual tagline. Too long, but it has some flow. I have no idea where the second one comes from but I love it so much that I kept it.)
Keyword(s) – aerobics; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 49.1 Repossessed (1990); 43.5 Perfect (1985); 41.1 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud (1989); 38.9 Club Dread (2004); 37.8 Private Resort (1985); 35.0 Meatballs Part II (1984); 31.7 Armed and Dangerous (1986); 29.1 Blood Diner (1987); 27.6 Legally Blonde (2001);
(Wow, really? We got to get that sweat going! We are slacking on our workout films.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Travolta is No. 1 billed in Perfect and No. 2 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.
Notes – Based on the famous Sports Connection (a giant up-scale athletic facility in West Los Angeles that also contains a restaurant and bar), which was known in the late 1970s and 1980s for its singles scene. (Weird!)
Jamie Lee Curtis trained for several months before shooting began. All the scenes that show her leading classes were filmed first, with the narrative and dramatic sequences shot next. The last sequence filmed was the closing credits workout. It is noticeable that Curtis had lost 10 pounds of muscle since the workout scenes had been filmed. She also filmed a music video with Jermaine Jackson to promote the movie. (Ah interesting. That makes a ton of sense actually)
This film is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. (Terrible book … but having watched it now he ain’t wrong)
Even though the film was a major box-office failure and temporarily derailed John Travolta’s A-list career, he claims he doesn’t regret doing it, mostly due to his friendships with the cast and the chance to work again with James Bridges. (So it really was about the friends he made along the way … huh)
Debut cinema movie of Rolling Stone magazine’s then real editor, publisher, and co-founder Jann Wenner who portrayed Rolling Stone magazine editor-in-chief Mark Roth in the film. Wenner said: “I think the film shows Rolling Stone as it really is. I think that the movie will explain Rolling Stone to a lot of people who may have misconceptions about what it is. The magazine covers a lot of arenas in addition to music-politics, cultural affairs, sociology, movies”. Wenner was actually cast in “Perfect” following a full screen test opposite actor John Travolta. How realistic did Wenner find the film? Wenner reported: “Dead-on accurate. There are naturally some liberties taken, but Jim’s movies are all somewhat journalistic in that they look at a scene and report it accurately. Jim [James Bridges] would frequently ask me, ‘Would you really do something like this?’ or ‘Would the magazine really do something like that?’.” (He is absolutely awful in the film, but so are a ton of people so I guess it didn’t make much of a difference)
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was eager to be in the movie: Curtis once explained: “I’m an athletic person, a minor sort of closet jock. Whenever I would take an exercise class, I would imagine myself giving one. But while I was certainly intrigued by the story, I was mostly excited about working with these people”. (Good enough reason)
The “Linda” character is based on Leslie Borkin aka Leslie Suzanne Borkin (now known as Leslie Suzan) who was referenced in a June 9, 1983 article from Rolling Stone magazine and was portrayed as a “sleaze.” The production notes for the film describe the “Linda” character as “one of the more promiscuous women at the Sports Connection” health club.
John Travolta and Marilu Henner were in a relationship at the time this movie was released. The picture was the first of two that the former couple have made together, the other being Chains of Gold (1990). (Fun)
Quentin Tarantino in a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone magazine said that this film was “greatly under-appreciated due to Curtis’ very tight performance”. Tarantino worked with John Travolta on 1994’s Pulp Fiction (1994). (I can’t tell if he’s saying that it is a good or bad performance … tight as in “effectively to the point” like a tight script? Or tight as in nervous? She’s honestly the best actor in the entire film so hopefully the latter)
The cover page of the main edition of Rolling Stone magazine in the movie that related to the film’s fitness center story had the same cover photo and headline “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars” as the real-life one used as an inspiration for the movie. The two are practically the same, bar the byline for the writers, Adam Lawrence (played by actor John Travolta) in the fake one, and Aaron Latham (Rolling Stone journalist and the film’s screenwriter) in the real one, which was published in real life on June 9, 1983, two years before this film came out.
After this film, John Travolta would not appear in another one for four years, until The Experts (1989) and Look Who’s Talking (1989). (Interesting)
According to trade paper Variety, John Travolta’s character “is a semi-autobiographical version of writer Aaron Latham, who based the script on a searing story he originally wrote for Rolling Stone”. (Ugh)
The newspaper photo of Jamie Lee Curtis’ character with her swim coach is from Love Letters (1983). (Oh, fun!)
The movie’s screenwriter Aaron Latham said of this picture: “Part of the film is about what’s wrong with journalism”. Latham wrote “Perfect” with director James Bridges, based in part upon articles Latham had written for Rolling Stone magazine. And indeed, the reporter in the film approaches his health club piece with a lack of objectivity, having more interest in getting his story than in how it affects his subjects. Latham added: “But the other half of the story is about what’s right about journalism”. (Nonsense)
Since it was impractical to shoot the film’s Rolling Stone sequences at the magazine’s headquarters in New York, an almost identical, two-story duplicate of those offices was built on a pair of sound stages at Laird International Studios in Los Angeles.
“Sports Connection” health club scenes were filmed in the actual real-life “Sports Connection” fitness center in West Los Angeles.
Like the two earlier John Travolta pictures, Urban Cowboy (1980) and Saturday Night Fever (1977), this Travolta movie’s screenplay was based on a magazine article. These earlier film’s source magazine articles were called “The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy” and “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” respectively. For Perfect (1985), the source material article was entitled “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars”. (What the fuck? There was actually a time when Travolta was in like three straight films adapted from magazine articles. What a bizarre and, frankly, terrible idea)
The “Looking for Mr. Goodbody” title of the Rolling Stone article in the film’s story referenced the earlier 1977 Mr. Goodbar (1977), based on the Judith Rossner novel which was about the singles bar scene, whereas this film is about the singles health club scene. (Hmmm, do I need to read a book)
On the media aspects of the movie’s storyline, screenwriter Aaron Latham offered: “Back in the 1930s and 1940s, you had this stream of newspaper writers who came to Hollywood and made these wonderful old newspaper movies. Well, there’s a ’40s newspaper drama embedded in this 1980s movie, only now he’s a magazine reporter covering health clubs. But nonetheless, it’s the story about a reporter who falls in love with his subject”. (Ugh, just a terrible idea. You can make the film about a magazine writer … just don’t make it about yourself as some noble magazine writer)
The movie’s “Perfect” title logo was designed in the same fashion as the font typeface of the cover masthead of magazine ‘Rolling Stone”. (I love font facts, that’s a fact)
The approach that director James Bridges suggested to writer Aaron Latham, was to make the Rolling Stone journalist the central character in the movie. The film, which Bridges went on to produce and direct from the screenplay he wrote with Latham, then was sculptured to take a look at both contemporary journalism and modern sexual mores. (Bad move Bridges, I think it makes it feel pretentious)
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta, 1986)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Marilu Henner, 1986)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Aaron Latham, James Bridges, 1986)