A middle-aged man dolls himself up like John Travolta and spends his Tuesday after work painting the town red. Here is our review of the micro-short comedy film Tuesday Night Fever.
Saturday Night Fever was a great movie, iconic images, iconic songs, and an iconic actor, of course, thanks to Airplane a few years later it also boasts an iconic parody. Now it is the turn of filmmakers Sarah Zimmer, Chris Neri, and Christine Heiner to attempt a parody of the movie, as they try and eke out every last piece of humour from the 70’s classic.
Saturday Night Fever was not only an emotional rollercoaster for audiences in 1977 it also contained a number of themes that are just as relevant today as they were back then. It is these timeless themes that Tuesday Night Fever also manages to include in its short 3 minute and 13 second run time.
First, there is the desire of all young people, although in Tuesday Night Fever’s case our protagonist Joe Fishel seems much older, to escape from a life sentence of boring work and attain their version of glamour and success. Secondly, the difficulty that some men have in relating and behaving towards their female counterparts.
There is a scene in the short where our ‘hero’ Joe Fishel dressed as Travolta sneaks past his female work colleague without her noticing, is he embarrassed? What is obvious is that she has a higher status in this working environment. During another amusing scene, he is left sitting alone on a park bench after approaching another girl.
The short follows the basic premise of its major influence. Fishel is an office worker bored and lost in the busy world of a 40 hours a week desk job. Opening to the tocks of a ticking clock he wipes his brow and begins to get restless as the time closes in on his 5 pm finish. Then wearing a dour grey and black trousers and shirt combo he enters the office toilets where we are treated to a montage of him fixing his shirt, tying his shoes, fastening his tuxedo then adding a necklace and shades. He emerges like a retro Superman dressed all in white onto an unsuspecting world.
Strutting his stuff like Travolta in and around his local area he unleashes himself onto a somewhat uncaring and unmoved public. Fishel is a genuinely good sport during these moments obviously having been asked to improvise around his surroundings, he marches towards the public and local amenities some obviously set up while others are a little more difficult to tell. He does silly things, creates some inane movements and works hard to make himself look purposefully stupid. I would have liked to have seen his funky dance moves come in handy during the basketball game though, as I think that could have been a very funny sequence. Never mind though because as it stands Fishel is obviously having a lot of fun and because his feelings are obvious on screen the audience has some fun with him too.
The three directors seem to combine well and the choice of filming in 8mm is a genuine plus. Although I can’t actually be sure that it is filmed in 8mm because we are never told, it is possible they used the 8mm after effect. That said I always enjoy the use of 8mm because it gives whatever project it is used for a sense of old fashioned timelessness. This technique along with Fishel’s jerky movements, insipid dance moves and comedy moments brings to mind the silent clowns of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd.
Of course, that is like comparing apples to oranges and I am in no way suggesting that this piece is up there with the genuine masterpieces of those three it is just that 8mm has always reminded me of films from the silent era. The musical choice of the song Get Off by Foxy is also a good decision as it is a funky number that gives weight to Fishel’s moves and as the clock ticks around to another 5 pm finish all of us are left tapping our feet and wanting to once again strut our stuff like Travolta.