Saturday, May 12, 2018

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY (1978) (Mill Creek Blu-ray Review)

40th Anniversary Edition

Label: Mill Creek Entertainment
Region Code: Region Free
Rating: PG
Duration: 89 Minutes
Audio: English PCM 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD WIdescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Robert Klane 
Cast: Donna Summer, Jeff Goldblum, Debra Winger, Teri Nunn, Valerie Landsburg, Chick Vennera, Ray Vitte, Mark Lonow

Thank God It's Friday (1978) is a sort of it-happened-one-night-at-the-disco-fueled fantasy that takes place at a fictitious disco club in L.A. called The Zoo which on this particular night is hosting a dance contest in addition to a live performance from the band The Commodores. The parade of characters include married couple Sue (Andrea Howard, Pink Motel) and Dave (Mark Lonow, The Wedding Singer), the wife dragging her dull accountant husband top the disco where she is spotted by smarmy club owner Tony (Jeff Goldblum, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) who makes a bet with the platter-spinning DJ Bobby Speed (Ray Vitte, Car Wash) that he can seduce the woman before the night is over. He might not be wrong about that, he's a smooth operator and the couple seems mismatched from the get-go. While she goes off to dance with Tony the husband distracts himself with disco-weirdo Jackie (Marya Small, Zapped!) who drugs him, leading to some bananas adventures for the usually straight-laced accountant.  

Also on the disco scene are underage teens Frannie (Valerie Landsburg, TV's Fame) and Jeannie (Terri Nunn, of 80's New Waver's Berlin) whom are trying to crash the disco hoping to win the prize money from the dance contest so they can buy tickets for the upcoming KISS concert, which is an admirable pursuit. There's also a mismatched couple on a blind date set-up on a computer dating service, the short and foul-tempered garbage man Gus (Chuck Sacci, The Choirboysis rather annoyed that his blind date Shirley (Hilary Beane, Zapped!turns out to be an academic, apparently he wasn't looking for a smart broad, and adding insult to injury, she's quite a bit taller than he is. Then we have the comically near-sighted Carl (Paul Jabara) and his nice-guy friend Ken (John Friedrich, The Final Terror) who arrive looking for dates, while friends Jennifer (Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married) and Maddy (Robin Menken, This Is Spinal Tap) show up looking for guys. Hmmm, I wonder if there'll be a connection there? 

Let's not forget disco-diva Donna Summer who appears as an aspiring singer named Nicole who keeps pestering the DJ looking for her big break, while the Commodores roadie Floyd (Otis Day, Animal House) keeps getting stopped by the cops on the way to the club with the band's gear in the back of his van, having to pull out the instruments and play them each time to prove he didn't steal the equipment, which puts him behind schedule getting to the club, causing some frustration for the DJ whose job hangs on the line if the Commodores don't perform on schedule for a live broadcast on the radio. Oh, and then we have a leather-clad Latino man named Marv (Chick Vennera, The Terror Within II) who is a disco-dancing machine, it's he who gets the most dancing done onscreen. Strangely, for a disco-themed movie there's not a whole lot of Saturday Night Fever-esque focus on the actual disco-dancing itself, though Marv gets a nearly Fred Astaire (Singing in the Rain) worthy sequence in the parking lot of the club, disco-dancing across the top of Cadillacs before falling through the soft-top of a convertible.  

There's a lot of characters here and not a lot of story to be told, it's a night at the club and we're the voyeurs peeking in on everyone's business over the course of the night, it's light-fare but I found it charming and entertaining, and this is coming from someone who loathes disco music, so if you're not a fan like myself I will give this movie props for rising above the soundtrack, on the other hand if you're a disco-nut I would assume this thing exponentially gets better. It was nice to see an early Jeff Goldbum playing a sort of slimy character, he wasn't too offensive, which can be said of the most of the characters here, there's no real bad people, just different folks out looking to hook up and shake their and/or get some booty.

Audio/Video: Thanks God It's Friday (1978) arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment in 1080p HD framed in 1.85:1 widescreen, it looks good with a few nitpicks. There's plenty of dirt and debris throughout in addition to white speckling, and the grain looks strangely manipulated at times, creating gauzy texture, and around the 24:59 minute mark I did see some horizontal artifacting, but I didn't find it too bothersome. The 70's disco colors are vivid and there's some decent detail to the image, skin tones look decent, though features are a bit undefined in the close-up, but overall I was pleased with the image. The uncompressed English PCM 2.0 stereo audio sounds good, there's not a lot of depth to the dialogue or the disco soundtrack which features prime-cuts from Donna Summer ("Let's Dance"), Love & Kisses ("Thank God It's Friday"), and a live performance of The Commodores "Too Hot ta Trot", with the band in full-on disco superhero suits, the disc includes optional English subtitles.  

Despite being labeled a '40th Anniversary Edition' this release comes with no extras whatsoever, having only a start-up menu screen that offers a section to play the film with or without subtitles. 

The single-disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a one-sided sleeve of artwork, I am not a fan of the Donna Summer starring artwork on the sleeve, but it includes a slipcover (o-card) featuring variant artwork which I prefer, which looks to be a variation on the original illustrated one-sheet movie poster. The artwork is nice and vibrant and it look great sitting on the shelf. The disc itself features an excerpt from the slipcover artwork. 

Special Features: 

- None

Thank God It's Friday (1978) is a fun slice of 70's nostalgia from the prime disco-era, while I'm not a fan of the music, not even in an ironic retro sort of way, I did enjoy the movie for the whimsical it-happened-one-night comedy that it is. It's got a fun cast of colorful, fun-spirited characters out to have a good night and if you're just looking for something light and breezy this should fill the bill. 

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