Adam is a journalist looking for a story. What he doesn’t expect to find is love (awww). While writing a puff piece about LA gym culture, he encounters an aerobics instructor, Jessie, and immediately falls in love. Can he get the bog scoop (and still get the girl) before it’s too late and he ruins it by being an asshole? Find out in… Perfect.
How?! Act I: Adam is a journalist. But just not any journalist. He’s got integrity up the wazoo. He’s got a big ol’ story in the works and it might even be a book… but while he waits to find out if he can score the big interview he decides to start his next story: a sexy puff piece about young singles who frequent the gym. Sexy. Act II: Adam arrives in LA and is immediately like “woah, who’s that?” about Jessie, the top aerobics instructor (in the world? Probably). As a result, a funny thing happens on the way to writing the story when he totes falls in love and realizes that he actually wants to write about how gyms are the next philosophical frontier (you dig?) as society attempts to take responsibility for oneself and become… perfect. Unfortunately this all crashes and burns when despite scoring the big interview he needed he also inadvertently ruins what he has with Jessie. Act III: Under pressure from lawyers regarding the big interview and also suffering heartbreak, Adam decides to write the original puff piece anyway. This ends up double backfiring when Jessie attempt to reconcile but discovers what he’s done. Attempting to make up for it, Adam writes the Emersonian version of the piece, but his editors are like “this is clearly the writings of a pompous asshole” and write an even worse version of his original story. Even worse he’s heading to jail for contempt of court for not giving up his notes from the original story. Gah! Lucky for him, though, Jessie is a first amendment fanatic and they reconcile upon his release. THE END.
Why?! It’s pure journalism, baby. Adam is just all about that first amendment and won’t compromise on anything. Whether it’s writing about financial crimes or the Emersonian nature of the gym, he is a totally uncompromising asshole. It’s only when Jessie realizes that he’s only an asshole because of the first amendment that she can be like “oh, I love him.” Her motivation is like… life, man. She just wants to win and be the best and be… perfect.
Who?! Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner played himself as did Carly Simon in a cameo. I believe there are a number of other cameos in the film, including thanks given to Mick Jagger who allowed photos of himself to be used in the film. There are some notable special thanks as well including Kathryn Bigelow. I still can’t figure out how she was involved in Perfect in any way.
What?! Every once in a while we get a film that is basically just a long commercial for something. Here it’s Rolling Stone, which is depicted as more than just a music magazine… it’s got journalistic integrity for days. Look at all that goddamn journalistic integrity! It’s oozing off John Travolta’s body like sweat.
Where?! There is a fun minor setting of Morocco late in the film, but this is a NYC-LA production with a slight edge to LA because that’s really where the sexiness and love occur. That’s actually a big part of my grading: how sexy is the setting. I think this is an A-. Both NYC and LA are pretty indispensable for the plot… perhaps only Miami could have swooped in and ruined it.
When?! Near the end of the film they set up the exact time frame. Takes place over a number of months culminating in the publishing of the article and portions of the final trial at the end of July. They give an exact date for a few of these times. It’s actually pretty solid. B+.
I’m not sure what to even say about this film. It felt like the longest movie in the world. Took me at least three full days to watch and yet the clock told me it was only two hours. There are long stretches of just male and female hips thrusting in your face for reasons unknown… probably to convey how people would easily see this and think “new singles bar of the 80’s” but this would be wrong. They are Emersonian philosophers, duh. Beyond the length, I think the biggest crime is the self-serving, pompous attitude of how journalism is depicted. Gets really tired as the film drags on to see Travolta stand up six or twelve times to declare his journalistic integrity. The only positive, weirdly, is that I genuinely think Travolta and Curtis had *gulp* sexual chemistry. That seems weird to say. As for To the Limit, that film may in fact be the single most confusing thing Patrick and I have watched. We tried to recap exactly what happened in the film to each other and it is simply put absolute nonsense. Throw in Anna Nicole Smith barely acting in a monotone voice and several playboy level sex scenes and we got something that’s… well… it exists I guess. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! As I sculpted my Perfect bod I thought of Emerson and the pursuit of man’s true physical potential. Also I thought about beating up dweebs. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I had only heard of this film via How Did This Get Made? basically. I knew it was about aerobics and that it is supposed to be terrible. The connection between Stallone and the director seemed interesting. What were my expectations? I just hoped it was just in your face aerobics sexy action. Without that why am I even watching this film?
The Good – There is wall-to-wall aerobics action … which I’m going to say is good. Jamie Lee Curtis I thought was great. And in a different universe where the aerobics story didn’t exist, the trial that occurs during the film could have been an interesting story. Instead it comes out as absurd, but the idea is a kind of in the weeds interesting story. Quite a thin section this week, but the film is very weird and hard to “enjoy” in traditional terms.
The Bad – The acting. Travolta is only the most high profile offender. The Rolling Stone founder plays himself and he is straight up terrible at acting. They just hired a load of aerobics instructors as actors and it shows, all of them are incredibly stilted and distracting. There are very very very long aerobics scenes, they last forever, it is crazy. The entire thing comes across as just the most snobbish trash. It really seems like the guy wrote a story where he nobly goes to jail for his craft (magazine writer), and nobly stands up for the dignity of subjects … give me a break. The entire thing just seems like a giant pat on his own back from a writer who really thinks he does things that are important … and people should know it.
The BMT – Yeah. It is a very unique film. About a sport (arguably) which really doesn’t have another film made about it. Made about a profession (magazine journalist) which gets overshadowed by their newspaper peers and thus doesn’t feature in films very often. And the acting is almost second-to-none terrible. I was intrigued by the film and would definitely watch it again with someone. Did it meet my expectations? More than I could have imagined. There is a crazy number of aerobic scenes with those full body suits that have thongs, and guys gyrating their hips. It is great. Highly recommend those scenes, they last forever.
Roast-radamus – This is actually a really good example of Product Placement (What?) … since the entire movie is a placement for a product: Rolling Stone magazine. They fight for the truth! Decent argument for Setting as a Character (Where?) since the strangeness of Los Angeles plays a huge role in the story. Outside shot at BMT, otherwise I don’t think it really has much of anything. I would have went with a specific temporal setting (since the magazine article was published specifically on June 6, 1983), but that is kind of unconfirmed, and also we have enough holiday films that that would never actually be nominated this year.
StreetCreditReport.com – Amazingly this has two giant pieces of cred. First, it is on Siskel and Ebert’s worst of list of 1985 which is obviously enough in and of itself. And then second it was features on How Did This Get Made? which is a rubber stamp for amusingly bad movies. I have to imagine this is the worst film ever made about aerobics or about a magazine journalist as well, although I have no proof of that.
Bring a Friend Analysis – With any John Travolta film we obviously have to watch a Joey Travolta film. To this end we watched the Anna Nicole Smith feature from 1995 called To the Limit. Full disclosure: I barely remember this film. Like, I straight up don’t understand what happened. I think it is because the movie was written strangely. It is like they had a plot sketched out on a napkin (A man’s wife is killed and friend murdered because of a mysterious CD-ROM. His friend’s wife, secretly a CIA agent, helps him to take down those responsible while keeping the disc safe), and then thought “that is too straightforward … let’s add some twists.” But then … they only do half twists because they don’t really know how to adapt their story (oh no, a girl is kidnapped! Oh wait, she just ran away and is back now. And then our main character is kidnapped! Oh no, he just ran away and is back now. And Anna Nicole Smith is a bad guy! Nope nevermind she isn’t). Anna Nicole Smith is a marvel to behold and kind of makes the whole thing worthwhile. The film is soft-core porn though which was just sad and gross. I’m going to give it a C+. I wouldn’t want to watch it again or anything like it because it is 90s pornography. But Anna Nicole Smith’s acting is just insane enough to legitimize the initial viewing.