How to Party (1986) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
1Sep/110

How to Party (1986)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

I'm an anti-social nightmare. I've thrown parties that I'm embarrassed to admit that I've attended.

Thank god for How to Party. A VHS I first discovered long ago in the 'Educational' section at a Family Video, it's a fifty minute instructional video that's less of a serious look at the cultural stigmas of parties and more like a stream of consciousness spoof.

Highly reminiscent of the go-for-broke mentality that one may find in their Attack of the Killer Tomatoes movies, How to Party devolves into a series of sketches, some reoccuring. The highlights among these:

  • "Believe It-- Or Else!" - A series of party factoids that are meant to stimulate conversation (or, if you're lucky, get laid). Example: "In 1833, French psychic Pierre Francois Dumwa changed his name to Pat Benatar. Believe it... or else!"
  • Party Tips -Ways to make your party better. For instance, if the cops show up, don't offer them a beer! Offer them something more sensible-- like a chance to sit and listen to your Yoko Ono album with you.
  • And products for sale. We're pitched several spectacular items, including a brand of confidence boosting toothpaste and the spectacular Rope on a Stick. It's a rope attached to a stick! Think of the possibilities!

I picked this picture because I'm a perv. Believe it-- or else!

Okay, okay, I'm violating Groucho Marx's old belief that movie critics put all of the best gags in the reviews, and I'm trying to sincerely resist. It's hard to judge a compilation film like this that lives or dies on its cheesy gags, and, in as bluntly as I can put it, this movie will only work for you if you think extremely goofy faces are hilarious.

I do. I can also appreciate other aspects of the film, namely that the video is the dedicated work of two very funny and versatile people, Ron Stevens and Joy Grdnic. They take turns between personas and skits, each giving the other time to shine and act their strangest. There are a few misses among the hits, but the sublime oddness that enmesh this non-educational educational film are enhanced by the performers honest glee in getting a chance to act their maddest. It's YouTube-ian before such a thing came to be.

I will admit that I also find fascinating is what this film does reveal is just how little has changed in the act of partying over two and a half decades. The beer, the social awkwardness, and the futile attempts to get laid are all covered in the short's over the top manner. The phones may be bigger, but by attacking these issues with a merciless glee without abandoning its weirdness, the film succeeds at being an eclectic tribute to both itself and the 80's.

Posted by Danny

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