‘Can’t Stop the Music’ – A Conservative masterpiece
March 16, 2010 by William K. Wolfrum
Has it really already been 30 years? Three long decades since one of the most important Conservative moments overran this fine nation of ours?
Yes, it was 30 years ago since the stellar conservative film “Can’t Stop the Music,” with its themes of hard-work, love of country and personal responsibility hit theaters.
“Can’t Stop the Music” begins the way many an honest tale of heroic self-responsibility begins – with Steve Guttenberg roller-skating through a busy music store. Looking to follow his dreams of unique individualism, Guttenberg asks for a day off. When rebuffed by his manager, Guttenberg then extravagantly quits his job. He’s an American, and he dares to dream.
To showcase his joy at daring to dream, Guttenberg then roller-dances around the streets of New York.
Life Tip: Dare to Dream!
After the dance, Guttenberg runs in to friend Valerie Perrine. Guttenberg calls her fat, thus showcasing his natural dominance. The two head back to her place, where they meet Indian, who had broken in to watch TV.
There we learn that that Guttenberg quit his job so he could be a fill-in DJ for a night at a club. This is a remarkable achievement and showcases Guttenberg’s endless will, for he has no rhythm whatsoever. Indian, however, has rhythm to spare.
“My son, recording his very-first backyard album. Why, it’s just like Judy Garland,”- Steve Guttenberg’s Mom.
Still, Guttenberg will not be stopped. His are the dreams of the Henry Fords and Thomas Edisons. He will become a composer/DJ and nothing – not the color of his skin or utter lack of rhythm will stop him. All he asks for is a chance. And if it doesn’t work, it’s back to dental school like his father wants. Guttenberg’s a good boy.
Life Tip: Have a fall-back plan, like dentistry.
From there we go to the club where Guttenberg’s dream is beginning to become a reality. Indian works at the club, and is unfailingly polite and helpful.
At the club, we learn that Valerie Perrine was a top fashion model, but that she gave it all up to stay home and be worried like a good All-American girl. Then, everyone dances, with alpha males vying for Perrine’s attention on the dance floor. On the dance floor, Perrine meets Cowboy, who seems like just a fine fellow.
“Music is magic. I want to make that magic,”- Steve Guttenberg.
Indian dances for the benefit of the entire club. We meet Actor dazzling on the dance floor and finally suggestively cutting the rug with Perrine. Everyone continues dancing.
Perrine decides Guttenberg should make a tape of his music and they should present it to a record executive. Guttenberg experiences his first pangs of fear of success. “But, but, but, it’s impossible,” says Guttenberg. Luckily, Perrine has dated most the important men in the music world, so it should be cool.
We go forward to the next day and we see Guttenberg hard at work writing music. This, people, is the key. Sure, Guttenberg could stay at home pouting, cursing his fate as a rhythm-less guy with little more than addle-brained enthusiasm. But, no. He Works to achieve his goals. Don’t let this lesson be lost on you.
Life Tip: Rhythm is overrated.
Perrine – dedicated to be a patriotic, stay-at-home woman – rebuffs her agent begging her to make a modeling comeback, intent to clean clothes and listen to Guttenberg bang on things rather than work.
Sadly, Perrine makes an incredible discovery – Guttenberg can’t sing. He’s going to need some singers!
In order to think about this dilemma, Perrine goes for an ice cream, where she meets Indian. He is upset because his feather doesn’t fit correctly. He can, however, sing, and Perrine quickly hires him.
Perrine then runs into Cowboy. He can’t sing, and Perrine quickly hires him.
Perrine meets up with Cop. He likes Judy Garland, but for strictly selfish reasons. A music video breaks out. Cop can’t sing. Not a lick. And Perrine quickly hires him.
We meet Olympic Champion and Great American Bruce Jenner. He has apparently just fled a prom. He gets mugged by an old lady, signifying just how bad the culture has gotten. In the meantime, Valerie Perrine’s agent decides the best way to get her client back to modeling is by skulking around New York looking conspicuous.
There is serious chemistry between Indian and Valerie Perrine’s friend Lulu. The two are old-fashioned, however, and neither acts on their carnal desires.
With Indian, Actor and Cowboy, Guttenberg gives his singers direction on his song. It is quickly obvious that Guttenberg has no knowledge of music whatsoever, doing little more than making spasmodic hand gestures while repeatedly changing lead singers. His lack of any actual music knowledge makes his pursuit of his dreams even more noble.
Life Tip: If you don’t know something, fake it!
Showing that she has her own weaknesses, Lulu offers Guttenberg a marijuana joint. Guttenberg – being young and easily misled by the charms of the older Lulu – succumbs to this gateway drug.
Bruce Jenner turns up at Valerie Perrine’s apartment. He lives next door to her sister and was delivering a cake to Perrine. Because that’s the kind of Patriot Bruce Jenner is. He is, however, rightly angered by the state of the world and the fact that he got mugged by an old lady.
Cop shows up. He can sing. And he’s apparently a real cop. He thinks Indian looks ridiculous.
Guttenberg and Lulu re-emerge from a room, quite stoned. Lulu says next time she\ll bring him some “Magic Mushrooms.” She won’t be happy until Guttenberg’s on the streets, destroyed from drugs and the kindnesses of older women.
Life Tip: Say no to drugs.
Showcasing his stoic, staus-quianism, Jenner openly wonders why there are people dressed like cowboys and Indians. No real answer is given and again. Guttenberg’s mom shows up and the question is never broached again.
Perrine’s agent skulks near the party. While her techniques are controversial – even, self-defeating – one must admire her go-forward capitalistic approach. Perrine is money in the bank. And her agent refuses to give up on her.
While everyone is eating, Guttenberg’s Mom – showcasing how much the elderly have to offer society – gives a rousin speech that lifts everyone’s spirit. Cop, Actor, Indian and Cowboy take their spots. And perform. It’s quite catchy. There may be hope for Guttenberg yet.
It’s finally all too much for Jenner who storms out being very judgmental about all the hard-working patriots singing and dancing at Perrine’s home.
A day passes and Perrine is coming back from shopping Guttenberg’s music to producers. They are all depraved animals, all demanding sex-for-sales. Perrine refuses. She will make it the old-fashioned way. By hitting up an old boyfriend who is in the music industry.
Life Tip: Use your contacts!
Guttenberg admits he has sworn off relationships until he’s made it in the music world. His earnestness knows no bounds.
Perrine goes to meet the Ex-Boyfriend record producer. She lets it all hang out, knowing that success is something we all have to fight for in life. Her ex-boyfriend says he changed (but really he hasn’t.)
Perrine’s act works as she gets the ex-boyfriend to commit to making a demo tape for Guttenberg, Cop, Indian, Cowboy and Actor. Like Guttenberg, however, Perrine admits she has taken a vow of chastity until her group is a hit.
“Hey, how’s the Indian?” — Bruce Jenner
As it turns out, Jenner is the ex-boyfriend’s tax lawyer. The movie is terribly ironic that way. Jenner meets Perrine as she’s leaving, and works his way out of the doghouse with her, and – in allowing them to use his office to rehearse – is the latest to join Team Guttenberg Cowboy Indian Cop Actor Perrine.
Perrine and Jenner start to hit it off. Jenner is married, but getting a divorce. So it’s cool.
Life Tip: Don’t get all flustered when someone says they’re married.
Needing two more members Team Guttenberg Cowboy Indian Cop Actor Perrine Jenner holds open tryouts in Jenners’ office. A bevy of hopefuls show up, including Buster Zawinski, who comes out dressed in a blue costume and lifts weights while singing a few verses of “Macho Man,” and then stripping. Some in the group – mostly Cowboy – feel he’s extremely talented.
“Anybody that can swallow two SnoBall’s and a Ding-Dong shouldn’t have a problem with pride,” – Steve Guttenberg.
But this is an important decision and no one can be overlooked. The success of the band demands more singers (due to Guttenberg’s complicated music making). But Jenner’s parents arrive at his office and you can see the Mommy & Daddy Issues come pouring out of him. Will Jenner be able to fight for this dream (which, mind you, is only his dream due to the need to impress Perrine).
But, as if to show how hard work and dedication is always rewarded, Jenner’s mom inadvertently comes up with the name of the band.
They are the Village People.
First, however, they must find two more singers. The first new singer is biker, who regales them all with a heart-breaking, old-fashioned version of “Danny Boy.”
Before they can get the second singer, Jenner and his father have it out with Jenner’s father telling him that he should stick to tax law. Jenner explodes with an Ayn Rand-ian flourish of fiscal responsibility: “This country is over-taxed and so am I! I quit!!”
Life Tip: Cut taxes.
Finally, the Village People are a full group – Indian, Cowboy, Cop, Actor, Biker and Soldier – Soldier never having actually been offered a spot, but hanging around because he has a uniform, apparently.
A music video about the YMCA breaks out. Young, healthy boys playing sports and dancing around shirtless. What could be more American.
The Village People arrive for the demo taping day with Perrine’s ex-boyfriend/record producer. “I hate Halloween,” says the ex-boyfriend producer.
The boys deliver a toe-tapping song called “Liberation,” and the ex-boyfriend/record producer is not impressed. “My intuition tells me not to get involved,” he says. But he makes a low offer and Perrine angrily refuses.
But Jenner and Guttenberg – like any good men – have been working overtime and have found a club for Village People to play. The press and opinion makers will be there! There will be a big profit! The Village People are going to put on a show!
But to show that she is no ordinary model, Perrine convinces her agent to do a commercial with her and the Village People. Everything is working out!
Life Tip: Life will work out.
In the guise of a milk commercial, a music video breaks out.
But the video doesn’t work. Jenner goes back to being judgmental and rightly castigates Perrine for dressing so provocatively in the commercial. Also, the Milk people didn’t like it. Not at all.
Life Tip: Don’t get risky with the milk people.
Jenner’s Mom comes through, however, as she finds the perfect place for the Village People to perform.
Now Jenner is jealous of Perrine, thinking she’d sleep with her ex-boyfriend/Record Producer to get the band a record deal. Jenner shows that sometimes being born with everything isn’t enough. Will he be able to show Perrine that he’s not a judgmental, jealous and a jerk?
After a brief interlude on a private jet, the Richie Family gets its own music video.
It finally all comes together. The team has a two-record guaranteed album. Jenner’s dad comes back groveling. Jenner proposes to Perrine. Lulu takes over as roadie. And then, finally, Indian, Cowboy, Actor, Cop, Biker and soldier take the stage.
When all is said and done, it’s easy to see why “Can’t Stop the Music” maintains its Conservative gravitas until today. It is a story of average Americans – Steve Guttenberg, Valerie Perrine, Indian, Bruce Jenner, Actor, Cowboy, Soldier and Biker – who have dreams, follow them and achieve them. In America.
Hollywood is endlessly sending out liberally biased movies that disenfranchise the conservative movement. But just remember, 30 years ago, it all changed. “Can’t Stop the Music” is a true Conservative treasure.
–Dedicated to Jon Swift.