Looking for Mr. Goodbar
1977, starring Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Tuesday Weld
I’ve been looking for this movie for a while. I had seen it in the movies when it came out in 1977 and maybe, probably on HBO in the mid 80s. I checked Amazon, Netflix, Fandango. No luck. Then for a lark I checked YouTube and there it was!
Oh my is it dated. It’s actually based on a true story. But the film makers picked popular 70s themes: Catholic sexual repression, sexual revolution, the generation gap, disco/rock music, free love, and women’s liberation (70s style). Theresa Dunn lives at home with her large Irish Catholic Family. The noisy household is stuffed with busy looking 70s furniture, papers, people and a tv that’s always on. In the Dunne house, the phone rings constantly, dad bellows from his chair in the living room about “young people these days”, mom’s in the kitchen cooking, so many siblings (all girls) I can’t count. Theresa is attending college to study as a teacher for the deaf and works part-time for her sexist, hipster MARRIED professor. In class she writes papers about Confession and how sorry not sorry she feels about the sins she’s committed. Oh and she has scoliosis. That comes into play later. It causes her to have a tiny limp. What’s a good Catholic girl to do when she’s being repressed? Have sex with her married misogynist professor ( who says lame crap like “I detest talking to a woman I just fucked”) of course. He also has one of those 70s caucasion men afro perms. swoon. Her older sister Katherine, a DIVORCED stewardess (70’s lingo for a loose woman), has suitors in every major city with an airport. Katherine is blonde and doesn’t have a slight limp and puts out so she’s very desirable. Katherine commits the good Catholic’s girl second best revenge (after becoming an unmarried wanton slut). Becoming a wanton slut who MARRIES a wealthy Jew! Eeeeks.
When not smoking dope, watching porn and being swingers, Katherine and her new hubby invite Theresa to move into the apt. house they just bought. Theresa takes them up on their offer. Lickety split a few scenes later, Katherine leaves her Jewish hubby, who is now shacking up with a teenager. Ah the 70s. Katherine departs the apartment building to go find herself leaving Theresa there alone. For the first time Theresa is an independent woman
Theresa takes up with two men: a do-gooder social worker named James who still goes to Church and a thug named Tony (played by Richard Gere in one of his first movie roles) she picks up in a bar. James treats her well and is on an intellectual par with her. Tony ? well Tony is mad bad and dangerous to know. He treats her like crap. So of course Theresa prefers Tony! Tony introduces her to great sex, hard drugs like cocaine so she starts missing work. In spite of her “active social life, Theresa is actually a very good teacher. So when her other life gets in the way of her job THAT’S BIG. Then she gets busted for possession of drugs and is fired from her job. All of this irresponsible behavior is the fault of the repressive Catholic Church of course. It represses Theresa into being a slut. Bad repressive Catholic Church.
James and Tony continue to pursue Theresa. James goes so far as to buy her a STROBE LIGHT (true love!) ! This features heavily later in the movie. Theresa begins to resent the intrusions and demands from her family, Katherine, James, her dad and Tony. On NYE she says, “aw fuck it !” and joins noisily revelers in the streets. So what’s next? Does Theresa’s wanton ways catch up with her? Does she pick James or Tony? How does the strobe light figure into all of this? To find out what happens watch the movie!