Friday, April 6, 2012
Today is Marilu Henner's birthday, and to celebrate I thought it would be fun to reprint this review I wrote for her excellent TV movie Ladykillers. I reviewed it eons ago for another site, and I thought it was high time it made its way to my little blog dedicated to the small screen movies I adore. Ladykillers is one of my favorites. It's as fluffy and airy as cotton candy and just as sweet!
I actually wrote a shorter review of Ladykillers here at MFTVM when I first got rolling and I compared it to the other male stripper TV flick For Ladies Only. You can read the madness here.
Happy Birthday Marilu!
Original Air Date: November 9th, 1988
Let's face it, TV Movies get a bum rap. Just the other day my good friend was asking me if I had seen the Jan Michael Vincent/Charles Bronson action flick, The Mechanic, which he referred to as “One step above a TV Movie.” Don’t get me wrong, he practically froths at the mouth every time I mention the words Sweet Hostage, but he is also well aware of the confines of the Movie of the Week Syndrome. No foul language, no nudity and toned down violence can certainly dampen anyone’s good time. His casual insult kind of hits the mark when it comes to many TV movies, but Ladykillers simply isn’t happy being that kind of movie and this one goes all the way to becoming the hottest thing since feathered hair and roach clip barrettes and in my modest eyes, it’s a minor cult classic.
Originally released on November 9th, 1988 on ABC, Ladykillers is about a serious female plain-clothes detective played by Marilu Henner (sporting some serious cleavage in various scenes) who falls in love with a rookie named Cavanaugh (Thomas Calabro). Their first case together is to find a lady in an intriguing Tina Turner wig and a muumuu (or frock if you want to add a bit of class) who is stalking the male strippers at Ladykillers, the hippest nightclub in town. The veritable hotspot features bartenders in silver get-ups, an MC who says “All you sexy, sexy ladies”, various oiled up men dancing to the biggest hits of the year, women with NO shame and a club owner named Morgana (Leslie Anne Down with some awesome gravity defying hair!) who purrs lines like “My clients will devour him.” Unfortunately, our bold killer actually attacks the victims during their big number at the end of the show! And, ironically, it ends up being good for business. I mean, I kind of like G strings and carnage myself. To uncover the sinister culprit, Cavanaugh goes undercover as Mr. Chippendales himself! I won’t say much about my favorite Melrose Place alumni but his fabulous gorilla like dance moves have to be seen to be truly enjoyed. To do these steps yourself, just remember: knuckle drag – butt swing – knuckle drag – butt swing and you’ll have it!
Ladykillers is a movie that came and went, although it enjoyed a small release on vhs. It may just seem like another footnote to the hundreds of TV movies that came out in the 80s. However, where most episodic programming and small screen features were highlighting the latest music of the decade with remakes of current hits (obtaining the originals was often a very expensive venture), Ladykillers featured all original tunes including songs by Living Color, Midnight Oil and Jeffrey Osborne. I’ll admit it was quite startling to see someone in fur boots stripping to Midnight Oil’s profoundly political song Beds are Burning, but he got naked, so who cares?!? Oh yeah, and it’s a good song.
Jeffrey Osborne’s dynamic Stay With Me Tonight is the showcase song (i.e. it’s the one Calabro strips too) and for many years I enjoyed watching this movie just to hear it. Well, and to watch Calabro strip.
These fabulous photos come courtesy of TV Spielfilm.
And for more naked men mayhem, please read my article about Made for TV Machismo and Playgirl.