Fame (1980)


Genre: Drama

Cast: Lee Curreri, Irene Cara, Paul McCrane

Synopsis: The film follows a bunch of teenagers as they go through their studies at a top performing arts school and get into all sorts of angsty 80s teen shit.

If there’s one thing I love (excluding weed, movies, and sarcasm) it’s taking the piss out of histrionic people with no clue. Throughout my years, I’ve met a whole myriad of people from different walks of life and, on the whole, I’ve found actors and dramatists to be the best source of hyperbolic craziness. When I decided to watch Fame, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was I would be getting. Would it have the optimism and exuberance of Flashdance, or the infuriating teen angst of Beautiful Creatures. It turns out that Fame has a little of both but this is a good thing: it creates an viewing experience whereby you can enjoy the fruits of the performers’ labour but then laugh at them when they have their dreams crushed…like when figure skaters fall over.

ice-skating-fallsSchadenfreude, making me feel glad that I’m not you

It’s not that the characters are unlikeable. In fact there are some really nice ones in this film. They’re all bright-eyed and bushy tailed….but that’s what is so God damn irritating about them. They have all the optimism in the world and they need to be taken down a peg. One of the good things in this film is that it shows how badly life can mess with you so you had better toughen the fuck up. For instance, unwanted teen pregnancy is a thing so if you want to be a prima ballerina you had better find a doctor who knows how to keep his mouth shut and ask few questions. Similarly, there are people in the world who will try to get you to take your clothes off in front of a camera…for free. Learn to say no to these people and walk out the door, which isn’t even locked.

I did sympathise with two of the characters a lot though. The first is the creepy ginger kid who has inappropriate relationships with both his mother and his shrink. Turns out he’s gay but back in 1980 it must have been tough. Then there’s the girl whose mother is bat-shit insane and makes her perform in the way an organ grinder makes his monkey perform, only sans handjob. These two are likeable because they do fucking weird acting exercises like sitting in the snow and pretending to be poor and Russian. It’s this kind of weirdness that I like…although the girl almost ruined it by giving a monologue while looking pensively out the window while wearing a fucking beret. Fashion advice ladies: no-one ever looks good in a beret.

Prince Harry Tours Jamaica To Mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee….I stand corrected.

If I had a major criticism about the film it’s that it can seriously disjointed. Some of the storylines are introduced but then left without a conclusion or any sense of resolution. Take the girl who gets naked on camera. Nothing happens to her after that. She just graduates and that’s that. Similarly, does the black kid learn to read and does the posh girl get the abortion? Who the fuck knows? I’m the kind of guy he believes that every plot should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Fame may have the first two parts down, but some of the characters don’t get an ending and that bothered me. Graduating is not the end….there’s still a ton of fucked up shit that can happen and I want to see it happen!


  • The film is set in that really gritty 80s New York…the one we all secretly wish it was still like.
  • That black kid is such a queen…it’s hysterical. I feel bad for his audition partner though. She’s probably in the strip joint now.
  • “You don’t have it Lisa!” Yeah Lisa, GTFO!
  • The ginger kid and the Jewish girl being weird.


  • Some of the characters don’t get their ending.
  • Although I was born in the 80s, it’s a shame that I never got to experience the craziness of the decade.


I had fun watching Fame. I don’t think it’s quite as good as Flashdance, but it manages to mesh the optimism of the 80s with the horrors of reality, which is much appreciated. Because of the film’s foray into both the lighter and darker side of life, you’d best watch this when you yourself are feeling balanced. If you’re unhappy, then the optimism will annoy you and you may take a little too much pleasure in the misery…not all of it is funny. Some girl gets accosted by a junky, which is pretty fucked. Similarly, if you’re happy then the hard dose of reality may bum you out. You need to have your shit together to enjoy this film.




Filed under Drama, Good

2 responses to “Fame (1980)

  1. moviebelle

    Really funny, great review. I remember when I saw it feeling kind of short-changed on the endings and finding certain characters annoying (when they were supposed to be likeable). I pretty much liked it but was let down by the hype.
    However, then I saw the 2009 remake and suddenly the original seemed like Citizen fucking Kane.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s