787 – Legend of Billie Jean | Tale of the Tape
Take two Slaters for a dreamy bedtime mis-remembering of the Legend of Bille Jean.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and friends beyond the binary, and all my patron peeps. Thank for keeping the show going, patrons. I couldn't do it without you. Like, really. You're helping me, I'm helping you. And isn't it a wonderful world when it works that way? Thank you. And let's get on with the show.
Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it to bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn off the lights and press play. I'm going to do the rest. What I'm going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever's keeping you awake. Whether it's thoughts, feelings, physical sensations. So, stuff you're thinking about or stuff you're experiencing or coming up for you. But it could be travel. It could be situational. Whatever's keeping you awake, I'd like to take your mind off that. I'd like to create a kind of safe place, as I said, where you could just sink in a little bit more, and I guess be distracted.
Like, what I'm going to do is I'm going to send my voice across the deep, dark night. Important going to use these lulling, soothing creaky, dulcid tones, pointless meanders. Believe me, I've got plenty of those. I've got an arsenal of, wen it comes to sleepy equipment, I put the arse in arsenal of sleepy stuff. I don't know if you, even I don't know I said, “Should I try to go with that, or no?”
Bu that's actually, anyway. Oh, some of those things will be at tangents, superfluous dialogue. A lot of, at the beginning of the show, particularly right now, I'd be like unresolved metaphors. I'm pretty sure, I don't want to say I invented that. I'm just the first person that isn't an English major that's used unresolved metaphors. Or this is the only place where it's like, it's not shade, you say. Well, the book was full of unresolved metaphors. And you say, oof, I mean, that was about as harsh, as I said, when you said Byron esque, and I didn't even know what that meant. But I know what unresolved. I think, is unresolved metaphor, is it anything like a simile that doesn't get finished? I know technically that one kind of did. But you don't know. Are we in the midst of a metaphorical dialogue right now? Oh no, it's imaginary dialogue.
Wait, so there's a part of my internal imaginary makeup that was an English major? Oh wow. It must have like did you, because that's great. I'd love to sit, of all my family members, I think by brother Ken would probably make the best English major, just because he has the ability to retain and discuss discreet things about novels that I don't necessarily possess. But I guess an imaginary part of me does. Oh no, you said you're an English major, not a, oh, you're not a good English, okay. What are we talking? Like C plus? Not quite. Okay. Well, is your tuition imaginary? Am I in charge of it? We got one out of two of those. Okay, well, we'll see.
Sorry, got distracted there by, that may be an unresolved metaphor. It's definitely unresolved for me because I'm like, who's this English major living in my collective unconscious? Or in my collective imagination? Imagination, oh you started imagination collective. Well, I thought you were an English major. Oh, like you have other interests? Okay. That's cool. I mean, maybe you could write a novel.
Okay, get back to the intro. Thanks. That is the most useful thing so far. Okay so if you're new, those are a couple of things, ways I'm going to kind of, I'm here to keep you company and to take your mind off of stuff. That's basically the basic. Structurally what to expect with this show, that's when it can become different because this podcast is outside of the norms of all things. Even proper usage of words. I mean, proper use, you say, “Not only does he have unresolved metaphors, he misuses his imagination.” And when I say when the nuns were telling me that, believe me, they didn't even know what, they didn't even know they had it right. Because I just giggled when they said, “You misuse your,” and I say, “Boy, if you only knew, Sister.” I say, but so where was I?
So okay, so if you're new, structurally what to expect, the show starts off with a few minutes of business. Then we have an intro where I try to make a metaphor about the show, but really what the intro is is your chance to wind down or fall asleep. Or you can skip ahead. Usually around 18 minutes is the best place to skip ahead to it, you'll be pretty close to the beginning of the next portion of our show. But for the majority of regular listeners say the intro kind of becomes part of their bedtime routine and they use it as a wind-down. Whereas more and more listeners use it during the day kind of just to they say, “Well, wonder what Scoots is doing? He's probably having trouble resolving his metaphors and that'll be a distraction from this real world stuff for about 20, 30 minutes.” So, it's kind of like an anti coffee break. Because, or maybe not. I don't know. If only I knew what the correct usage for that was. But I think you know what I mean.
But so, if you're new give the show a few tries, especially with the intro, because you say, “Well, you're not making any sense.” And I'd say, “Oh boy, do you got it right.” And you say, “By definition, you can't, well, I don't know if you can. Can you or can't you unresolve metaphors?” And I'd say, “Well, have you ever seen me try to fix anything?” Resolve that one. I think you'll see that there is like, find you're resolving in my unresolved issues.” That metaphor just sent me for a spin. It was like being, yeah you're right. Maybe I should've snuck a simile in there. You're right, cheap joke brain.
Okay, I think I was in the middle of trying to make another point, though. And not needing to listen to me. Oh, give it a few tries. It doesn't make any sense. Give it a few tries, because a lot of people find they say, “What are you talking about?” Or whatever. But I'm just here to help and to take your mind off stuff. So, sometimes it takes getting used to. Come I'll come back to that. Then after that, tonight we'll have a bedtime story. And if you think this intro was off, this will be a tale of the tape episode where I pick a movie I haven't seen in a long time that supposedly some part of my, like nostalgia, where is your nostalgia held? Is that, I don't know what organ's in charge of nostalgia. But whatever it is, I try to go and I say, “Oh, you said this movie's really important to us, eh? Well, let's try to remember the plot of it.” And that always goes very interestingly. So, I'll be trying to remember the plot of the Legend of Billie Jean, which may not even be the name of the movie. And it'll be a very bed time, even if I remember anything exciting, dot worry, I'll steer my way around that, like a scooter on beach sand.
And then the show will end with some thank yous and some good nights or some business between the intro and the bedtime story portion of the show. But really the whole show is a bedtime story. It's just a little bit different. And also if you're new, you don't need to listen to me. That's, you could turn, listen, that's why also you give it a few tries, because you say, “Well, I prefer to listen to Scooter, or I can't, what he's saying.” I mean, those reviews are very different. Like there's some people that like to concentrate, and there's some people that like to lower me to a mumble. There's some people that like to slow the show down. And there's some people that just kind of listen and fall asleep and then they listen all night long. Like there's [inaudible 00:09:07].
So, find what works for you. And there's no pressure to fall asleep. That's the other key part about this show. I'm here to keep you company as you drift off, to take your mind off of stuff. To be here at your side. I'm your ally in the deep, dark night. Because I've been there.
So, there's no pressure to fall asleep. That's why I make the shows over an hour or just over an hour. So, see how I got plenty of time. You could queue up episode after episode if you need to. So, there's no pressure to fall asleep. Here's the other thing that's kind of new. There's also no pressure to like this show. And I want to fully lean into that in some sense. That like there's no, there's only upside. I really want to help you, and if you give it some tries and you don't, it doesn't work for you, or you're already listening, you say, “Scoots, we're just not cut from the same jib,” or whatever. I say, “Well, I don't even know what a jib is.” But I do know what a bib is and if there was an adult bib requirement, would that be an ABBR? They would've signed it for me.
You'd see, yeah, California passed its first ABR law. ABR 107. The adult bib requirement just for Drew Scooter. He's required to wear a bib from now on. And you'd say, “Great, that's a law I can get behind.” So, does it have the little catch thing that the modern bibs have? Like the bib trough? And you'd say, “Here's something. I did see Gavin on a plane. On a regular plane. A Southwest flight. During campaign season. And first of all, I spotted his hair.” Literally, I said, “I thought it was a flight to L.A.” And I said, “There's got to be an A list celebrity on this flight. Because all's I saw was a four inch by four inch patch of hair in the crowd.” And he was on the flight. And I said, “Whoa man, I got to respect that move.”
But I'd say thank for, oh, I was going to say, “Gav, oh yes, Governor, Governor Newsom, do you think I could put messages on the bib, though?” “Okay, well we'll work that out.” Great.
I don't know what I was talking about before I came up with adult bib requirement. Oh, some people might not like me. That's what I was saying. Or the podcast might not work for you. And I have a new thing, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. There, pretty simple, you'll find some other sleep podcasts. You'll find some other audio that I've used in the past. And then if you say, “Well, Scootch, I strongly, the whole bib thing,” you could find options to kind of channel that energy too.
So, I think that's it. I mean, ideally I thought I'd have some more things, but I'll be doing a lot of thinking about, see can I get a copy, do I get a copy of that bill with the pen you've signed it with, since I'm the only person it applies to? Also who, oh, my collective imagination petitioned and they got a pass to, wow. The first bill passed, it was a referendum. First referendum passed was a budget of zero. We the people of the state of California declare that the passage of, the ABR, adult bib requirement.
It could be altered though, right? For other people. I didn't realize my, well, I guess I did, I guess. So, I guess that's it. If you're new, I really, honestly I hope this podcast can help you. If you're a regular listener, I'm glad you're back. Now you got something else to giggle about when you wake up tomorrow, you say, “Was Scooter talking about bibs again? I think he was. I think he was talking about, he was talking about bibs he was going to design for English majors. Lit majors. The book in a bib, he's going to call it. It's a new business he's launching because he's required to wear a bib. Some sort of marketing thing. And he also said it's great for exercise. Really increases like one or two muscles on your upper shoulder. It's called yeah, book in a bib. And he think there'll be a big market for baby showers and stuff, too.” Book and a bib. Bib and a book. Yeah, that's the thing.
So, that's another idea. Also, that's my idea, by the way. So, don't start taking it. You heard it here first. Either or either, bib in a book or book in a bib. Or bibbedy book. Because that's what I'd say, bibbedy book. Or bookedy bookedy bib. Lookedy lookedy. I've got a bookedy in my bib.
So, anyway. I'm glad you're here. I really hope I can help you fall asleep. I'm a bit silly because I want to make bedtime feel a little bit less serious. And I'm serious about putting you to sleep. I work very hard, I strive and I yearn to help you fall asleep. And thank you so much for coming by. Here's a couple of ways we keep this show going. All right, hey everybody, tonight's episode is another, I think it's been a little while since I've done one of these. It's a tale of the tape episode. And normally, usually these, sometimes these are seasonal. But this happened to be, I'll kind of walk you through the structure why, when his came up and then yeah. But like so structurally, what I'll do is the tale of the tape episode is basically taking a movie I used to watch as a kid, and to some of you these will be movies you have no familiarity with. But and you could check out. And a movie I haven't seen in a long time, and then try to remember the plot of the movie, basically. So, a movie that had great meaning to me when I was a youth. And say, “Well Scoots, if that movie was so important to you, what happens in the movie?” I say, “Well, good question.”
And I kind of found by accident that this structurally works, and then we kind of as we see how it unwinds. If we have time at the end, we'll kind of look up some facts about the movie or the plot and kind of some articles and see how it matches up. But to start with, I'd like to go in mostly with a little information. Though there has been times that it hasn't worked out. But so, but that's the beauty of editing and pausing it. And here's the first thing I'll misremember, but this just happened yesterday was I was driving. I was coming back from a road trip, and a song came on. And now I can't think of who sang it, but it's a 80s song and like it's We are Young, I think is the, and there's a couple of songs, We are Young. So, this might not be the one you're thinking of. And it's not sang by oh good boy. So, this is already, maybe I'll think of who sang it. It's not Debbie Harry. But it's like, so, but it's a 80s songstress. Maybe Linda Ronstadt? No, probably not.
I know who it is in part of my brain, because this was literally yesterday this song came on. And I said to myself, this is a song for the movie Legend of Billie Jean which comes up on the podcast. It as one of the movies I saw in my formative movie watching years, my formative, well like it wasn't my formative years. Becoming, growing from a boy to a man. I was still a boy. Because my blooming was a bit later than most. That's how I could keep such a youthful attitude now. But so, was it Linda Ronstadt? I don't know. It's not, who sings that other song? Really great song. Who sings the song that I used to make up a ton of parodies of it? I don't know. Like I Love Rock n' Roll. I don't think it's that person either. That's Joan Jett. But it's somewhere in that ballpark. It's a very Joan Jett-esque, or if Linda Ronstadt is who I think it is. I think today you'd call Power Pop, maybe.
But so that was one of the songs from the movie, and it made me think this movie The Legend of Billie Jean. And I have great fond memories of it. So, we'll get into, so we'll talk about it, I guess the, yeah, let's get to it, right? Okay, so the Legend of Billie Jean, I don't think I saw it in a theater, because I was probably too young. I'm almost positive of that. But then like I've talked about on the show, there was this great period in my life where there was some special for HBO or whatever the package is that we had HBO in my house for like two years. And this was when I was exposed to a lot of things that would permanently impact my life in a positive way. Not necessarily the news. Kids in the Hall. And I watched a lot of movies. I think they were probably on during the day. But so, and we would either tape the movie or we'd just watch it over and over.
So, this movie, Legend of Billie Jean, and again, I don't know how it holds up, but it really is a interesting movie. Zeitgeist-wise, I think. And in a powerful way, when you think about well how I remember storytelling. But I think in some way, it loosened my memory. I said, “Well geez, this si really a forward movie for the 80s.” And maybe not in what I'm exactly thinking, I'm thinking in some different ways, just because the 80s were kind of a time of like vanilla ice cream only and so you say, “Would you prefer Saltine crackers or vanilla ice cream?” Even if you were talking sub textually, you'd say, “Well, I'd like French vanilla.”
So, I don't know. I guess I'm mixing up my metaphors. So, whatever age I was, it was like late grammar school, what is, what do people call it? Elementary school, grammar school age. And this movie had, it starred two Slaters. Helen Slater and Christian Slater. And I believe this was probably Christian Slater's first film. And I think Helen had been maybe in on or two movies, like in a starring role. But she was the star of the film. And it did have like, I don't now all of the cast. But it did have Peter Coyote and oh boy, Yeardley Smith who plays Lisa Simpson, I think. Maybe not, maybe I'm, but anyway. Yeah. I may be wrong. So, I could be wrong on that one. Maybe, huh. Maybe, and I'm almost positive she's a voice of one of the Simpsons. Maybe bit's Marge. Because I think whoever plays Lisa Simpson was in another movie based on a TV show that's about to be rebooted. And I could be, I've been wrong before.
Also the actor who was also in Back to School, which must've come out before this, because I already had an affinity for him just because he was a relatable, he's not the lead in this movie. He was the lead in that movie. Because he's not like a big hunky male. So I said, I could relate to him. But it was the Slaters that like were the features I guess of the film. Did I say Peter Coyote was in it? He kind of was in it. And then one of the secondary characters from Top Gun was in it. I want to say his name was Hobe Cat, but I thin that's the name of like a pontoon sailboat. Maybe his name is Hobe, though. Hube was his name in the movie. I don't know. We'll look it up later.
But so, Helen Slater and Christian Slater I continue to have great affinity for. Particularly Christian Slater. He went on to be in Gleaming Cube and not that long after this movie, which is another movie. I don't know if I watched it quite as many times, like it's a movie I liked a lot. A couple of my siblings love it. And I think I would love it if I'd watched it more. But I guess I just loved this movie a little bit more than that. And I don't know what else to say. I mean I said, I mean particularly I'm proud of Christian Slater just because of like he's in Mr. Robot and he kind of had a career with a couple of different lives where he was expected to go one way. Then he kind of had a period where he was a little bit absent. And then he came back in a different direction. And he was really good in The Contender. I think that was the movie, which was his kind of comeback.
Then I'm not exactly sure, because I don't watch a lot of TV, but then I said, “Is that Christian Slater, Mr. Robot? Holy cow.” But maybe Helen Slater's best known to people, I think currently is in Supergirl. Was originally in the movie Supergirl. I think it was also in, what was that one Superman TV show that was like a rom com? Like Clark and Lois maybe it was called? I don't know. Louis and Clark? The new Superman, I think that's what it was called. But so, what was my point? Oh, I'm a big fan of the Slaters. That's I guess what I would do, like.
So, I guess we could talk about the movie now, if I can remember how it opens. And there is a bit of irony because one of the focuses of the movie is a scooter. And this was back in the 80s. And so scooters in the 80s are different than they are today. They didn't have, probably at some point they did have the foot power scooters or the electric scooters that people especially in cities in America. And I could say, okay, well it may be a subject that brings up feelings for people. And at some point like in the 80s and the 70s, people had things called mopeds, I think was what they were originally called. And when you would see romantic things like in Italy, people had scooters which were like, like a lower powered, like a less motorcycle. But still, you could get around.
Now I'm kind of thinking of the opening images. I'm pretty sure this is just where I get a bit mixed up. But I'm pretty sure the opening images to the film were Helen Slater kind of returning home from work, like whatever her job was in a beach town. Which I'd assume was like a service job in a beach town. Maybe they showed her working or getting off work. Maybe she worked in some cool beach-related thing, and then cruising, and it's kind of seeing that she was a very like well liked person. Maybe. And then going back to a beach house, which you say, what age range was it? And that's another good question. And I'd say I honestly can't tell if like in the movie, I'm trying to think if she was the adult, like maybe in her, like somewhere between 18 and 22? There didn't seem to be an adult figure. But I could be wrong. But she goes back to the house and her brother's there, Christian Slater. She's Billie Jean. Her brother is maybe Pyatt, or is Pyatt one of the, I don't know. But I can hear her saying it.
And she gets home, and I'm pretty sure right away, it establishes that she's very closer with her brother. She loves her scooter. But now I'm thinking that maybe her brother had a scooter. So, this is one point where I'll just definitely admit I'm probably wrong. This is what's the tale of the tape in my mind. But I'm almost positive I could see her on a scooter, right, in the opening of the movie, cruising and driving along. Though I could also be remembering a movie with Linda Hamilton, and maybe getting Linda Hamilton from a movie she was in with the Governator. And she's, okay, I probably am. I'm probably picturing Linda Hamilton riding back and her scooter to her house and equating that with Helen Slater. So, that could be, this is where the tale of the tape, you say, well, those tapes were, we dubbed over them and accidentally, we had to, this is back when you had to use a VCR.
But so the movie opens with Helen Slater. We'll just say that. Then we see her brother, maybe Pyatt, and I'm not sure about that. then we find out that her brother, Christian Slater, his pride and joy is this, his scooter that he saved up all his money for, and really loves. And then very quickly, I guess, to keep the action moving, maybe the other characters are established, which are two friends neither of which's name important going to remember. But one, two young women that are I guess friends or neighbors. And I don't remember the names. One had longer hair. One had shorter hair. One was probably played by Yeardley Smith or whatever, whoever's name. And the other actress, I just honestly don't know. But those were the tow friend characters. I don't know if there was any other friend characters. There definitely isn't that I'm remembering.
But like, so what happens next is we learn that, like something happens with Christian Slater's scooter. And what was the, I thought of that dude's name. It ends up that it's this, maybe his name's Pyatt? No, what's his name? Hobie? That's the actor's name. Hubie? Maybe that was his name and that's, maybe that's his real name. Maybe he's Pyatt, I don't know. But this total surfer brah. No offense to anybody out there. Just this is a caricature of it. Caricature. Yeah, he gets I don't know if he's jealous of Christian Slater's scooter or what, but they borrow it I think and like, something. And the scooter gets totally ruined. And they think it's all a big thing because this kid is rich also. And also, Christian Slater's feelings, more than his feelings get hurt. And I think he goes to try to stand up to them, and they say, “Well, we didn't do anything.”
And at some point that's when Peter Coyote gets involved. Yeah, he's like the town sheriff, like the beach town sheriff. And he kind of says, “What's going on here?” And they said, “Well, we don't know. Somebody, like it's a mystery. And he kind of stuck like within the bounds of his profession. He says, “Huh.” But Helen Slater, Billie Jean is not having it. So, she goes up to this, maybe he is Pyatt or is he Hubie? I don't know.
But she goes to him, surfer, and she says, “You got to pay for this.” And he goes, “No.” Now his dad and him own some store that sells trinkets to tourists. So, overpriced t-shirts and stuff like that. So, she goes to the dad and she says, “Your son destroyed my brother's scooter, and he needs to pay for it.” And he says, “No, I didn't, Dad. No, she's lying.”
And Helen Slater says, “No, and this is like, he'll pay for it.” And the dad is played by a actor that usually plays like slime balls. And so, but he says, “Sure, I'll pay for it.” And then what happens is quickly it becomes apparent that he doesn't intend to pay, and puts Billie Jean in a position where she further has to assert right and wrong, and her boundaries. So, I don't know what happens next except that like, this was before Christian Slater was in the movie, like was he in that movie? Like Young cowboys, I think it was called? With Billy the Kid. And even in this movie, he fantasizes about being a Billy the Kid type character. And so, at some point, he gets involved and he pretends he's Billy the Kid. So, I don't know if they take the money, which was rightfully theirs. And Billie Jean's saying, “Hell no,” to the dad.
But I don't know. I think it goes like, I don't know. It quickly goes awry because of Christian Slater pushing everything up a notch. And they have to bail. And like, oh yeah, so I think, oh yeah, because the dad, the [inaudible 00:33:18] he bumps his elbow. And he says, “Oh, I bumped my elbow because your brother bumped into me,” or something. The usual. And so, they have to bail. I don't know if they got any, I guess they didn't get any of the money. Yeah, but they still have to bail out of there. Because at this point, it's like the town rich guy and his bratty son. And so, they bail. They go back to their neighborhood. Maybe they lived in a, I guess they did live in a trailer park because maybe that makes sense. Like a trailer park near the beach. Just because they said, that will be the like, makes sense with the two of them. And they're just closest to their neighbors.
Oh, okay. Now I'm remembering a couple other things. Yeah, but basically what they do is they start packing up, the two of them. Because they know they're going to get busted soon. And then their two bet friends are like, “What are you guys doing? Why are you so worried?” Maybe they're even hanging at the house, or yeah, at their place. And they say, “No, no. We got to get out of here.” They ask the one friend with the shorter hair, “Can you drive us somewhere? Because we got to get out.” And she says, “Sure.” And then the two friends are like, “We're coming with you.” And the one friend, she's younger, with the longer hair. She's kind of like wanting to get away anyway.
And so, then they all end up like going, like they're forced to this call to adventure. But they go on this call to adventure, and they pack up a car, a station wagon. Now this is where I guess my memory gets mixed up, whether the station wagon, was the station wagon for, what's that place called, mini golf? Or if they go and they spend the first night, or maybe this is just a dream of mine. I mean, it is a dream of mine. The first place they go to hide out is like a mini gold place that I guess would be closed down maybe because it's end of the Summer. I don't know. But that they're hiding out inside a mini golf place. I mean, that that would make sense that there is a mini golf place. Or if they're just hiding out in the, what do you call it? The station wagon and it's just full of mini golf balls. But so, I'm not sure about that.
But somewhere they hide out. And then suddenly it becomes this big deal. Like because the dad, I think the dad puts up his own reward for busting Billie Jean. Because Peter Coyote's like, “Okay, we'll catch,” I mean, whatever. Like and the dad's like, “No.” So, he kind of makes a big reward to catch Billie Jean. And this is one aspect of it that it was like, this wold be the rest of the movie becomes what people now call going viral. Like over the whole rest of the movie. It becomes the legend of Billie Jean as she becomes viral. I don't exactly remember how, though. Like I remember what happens is [inaudible 00:36:41] they go to Seven Eleven and get food. They talk a lot, and you really establish that the four of them care for one another. So, there's that part.
Then they have to keep hiding out, so then somehow they end up trying to sneak into this house. And I don't know how they decided that or where, like a really fancy mansion or something, and they said, “Oh nobody's here. It's just a rich person's beach house or something, with a nice pool.” So, they go in there. What they don't realize is the guy that was, the actor from what do you call it? Back to School lives there. And he's kind of like a recluse and an introvert. And so then, there's some rising action, but it's more of a misdirect. And he says, “Oh, I know who you are.” And then for some reason, it just happens that Joan of Arc movie's on, so they watch the Joan of Arc movie. And Billie Jean's thinking about there's been already two levels of injustice, or three levels. I mean, literally at the hands of the patriarchy. I mean, in especially this upper class, a patriarch and his son, a future patriarch.
And it was all done in a kind of straightforward, I mean I think like without trying to bury it in subtext, and I think there's a good, like I don't know. That's what I'm surprised for the 80s was that part of it. One part was a surprise is, yeah, it wasn't like for me, whatever grade I was in, I was like, “Oh okay, I get this. I get the message.” And it's been delivered to me in a straightforward way, but not spoonfed to me at the time. But again, it might, I don't know if it stands up to time. But anther thing I thought great was that the casting, because I really thought, and again, this is just my memory, is that the four leads were even, I don't remember everybody's names. Like the friendships were very believable and that it wasn't like, I mean I realize they were all actors and actresses. But that they were professionalized.
There's something about the more people get into acting at a young age, the harder it becomes to get good performances from child actors and actresses. I mean, I don't know if you know what I mean. But you see movies where every kid, I mean I guess this would be a little bit younger, these were like high school to young adults. But the performances were at least at the time, I found them very relatable and believable and without being like, they seem like real people. And so, they're staying at this guy's house. And I think there's a ticking clock, maybe because his parents are coming home or something in a day or two. N they watch Joan of Arc. He kind of tells Billie Jean that he believes in what she's doing.
Then she kind of goes into this introspective mode. Also, the younger long-haired character, she experiences her own personal change and growth. And then, so Billie Jean's in her own kind of figuring introspective mode. But also like a planning mode. In an accepting mode of her needing to be, to stand up. But also to get this counter message out. Because this patriarch dude was like just, “I'm going to put up a reward because Billie Jean is a jerk.”
And so, she cuts her hair. I guess that's another point of the movie was that she had long, blonde hair, and that was part of her identity up until this point. So, she sees Joan of Arc. She cuts her hair. Also they didn't have any change of clothes, so she was wearing, so they all go swimming which I think probably happened earlier. And there's a water slide from the kid's bedroom into the pool from the second floor. Which was this dramatic and cool thing. But so, she cuts her hair. She gets this some sort of, what is it called? She starts wearing a wet suit top, which makes her look cooler. And then the guy tells her about the power media.
Like I think they had like, there's a 25-minute Marshall McLuen think piece in there. It wasn't even resolved. They were like, was it, and he said, “Well, now we have these cameras, we can get the,” like this would have made sense on the Internet, because this doesn't make sense in the movie. But at this point, for me, my belief was suspended, or whatever. My disbelief.
But so, she films this thing where she says, “Here's what really happened.” Or she says, “Let's settle this like it's two honest people,” she says to the dude's father. Like, “I'm willing to settle this. You pay for my brother's scooter.” Are something like that. And she sets the time again, like, “I'll meet you here.” I think that's what happens, because then it becomes this, and she also makes this speech where she says, “Fair is fair.” Which is basically like, “Your son damaged my brother's scooter. Needs to be replaced. Now you're making up all this BS to cover your son's tracks. And karma's coming.”
Now meanwhile, because of this, the father figure trying to hype all this, it becomes even more hyped.n what happens is everything becomes viral. Like Billie Jean becomes viral in this positive way. The dad keeps hyping up his reward, and she really does become this legend, and she was this inspiration for people standing up to all the White dudes, basically in just a self-actualization, I don't know if that's what it is. But of standing up for yourself and saying, “This is wrong.” I don't know if it's fair means fair. Yeah, I think it's fair means fair. So, they have some montages of them, wait, there's another point where they go somewhere to eat and they meet a bunch of kids who know who they are. Maybe they go to a party. I don't know if, it must've been after the video came out, where they go somewhere. But I think they went to a pizza place, they got free pizza and maybe a bunch of other free stuff. Maybe they went to a store and the kids that ran the store said, “Well, my parents own the store.” Like maybe some of them like that.
So, they start to get this groundswell of support for Billie Jean. And again, it might seem tropey, but even the dad starts to capitalize selling Billie Jean t-shirts because he liked to exploit, like commercially exploit her rebellious image. And I think then a radio station even offers to give them a scooter that's the brother's like, “We should just take a scooter from the radio station.” And they say, “Billie Jean, just come get the scooter. It's waiting for you.” And Billie Jean's like, “No. We're getting the scooter.” And I think the dad even, I don't know if it's the dad or somebody else erects this giant paper mache, but a 20-foot statue of Billie Jean.
And there must've been another plot twist, but at some point they have to go down to the beach now. This went viral, so there's tons of people at the beach waiting for, it's like Billie Jean Day. Like legend of Billie Jean. We see everybody's like, she's become a fashion icon. And then of course the hype that Billie Jean's like a subversive force because of the dad. So, there's a lot of, like Peter Coyote's stuck in the middle. And also, the two friends get dropped off with Peter Coyote. He says, “Okay, what's going on?” They say, “Nothing. Billie Jean just like,” but then Peter Coyote loses jurisdiction. So it becomes this whole big thing. And then they say, “Well, will you meet with her, like the dad? Like then we'll bring her in,” or whatever. Are you really going to give her the money?
And of course the dad, he's like slime. So, I can't remember what he does, but he says, “I'll give her the money and then you can bust her and then give me my money back.” Or something. Or no, he refuses to, so Peter Coyote has to put up the money, maybe. Yeah. So, but I don't know. So they, basically it all culminates at the beach meeting. And the dad pulls some stunt at the very end. And ti ends up like, no, no. It ends up like with this very dramatic ending. I don't even, like where, I think the dad hopefully, and the son get busted. Billie Jean's kind of shown, I don't know. Maybe he tried to turn the tables on Billie Jean one last time. But she kind of says, I think right in front of everybody she says, “Well, this is exactly what happened.” And I don't know. Then the dad pulls some stunt one last time. And then Christian Slater bumps his elbow. I think just because the dad pulled something.
So, then Christian Slater bumps his elbow. Peter Coyote's trying to keep everything calm. And everybody worries about Billie Jean. Then her statue gets knocked over. And the dad, all his merchandise gets wet, like a giant wave comes in basically and takes out his merch stand, which is great. And eh said, “No. No. I'm losing my Billie Jean t-shirts.” And I think that's how it ends.
But let me look up some stuff, just so you get some facts here. Because I really don't think I'm doing the movie justice. So, let's go to Wikipedia first. Yeah, so it came out in 1985. Made three point one million at the box office. What rating was it? I don't see what rating it was. Let's see. Rides with her younger brother on his Honda Elite 150 to go swimming. And Hubie Pyatt, oh, they wanted to live in Vermont, too. That's how it ends. But Hubie takes the scooter. And oh, the friends' names are Putter and Ophelia. And she goes to Peter Coyote, but he says, “Just wait until the scooter comes home with your brother. It's just kids' stuff.” Yeah, then Billie Jean tries to go get the money. Then Binx is the brother, escalates everything. Mr. Pyatt bumps his shoulder. Then Peter Coyote, Detective Ringwald realizes he should've intervened earlier.
Now Billie Jean's like, Mr. Pyatt has to won up. Oh, yeah. Then they meet Lloyd who's, oh wow. He's, okay, so there's a extra layer with the video, and Lloyd, because his dad is the DA, but they still film the video and everything. Billie Jean becomes the teen icon. Young fans follow her every movement. She brings Putter and Ophelia back. Ringwald, oh they cover, they use a bunch of Billie Jeans for distraction. Well, now it says Mr. Pyatt puts out the reward.maybe that's where the culmination is. Her and her brother go undercover. Then her cover gets blown. And Binx bumps his shoulder. Billie Jean gives Mr. Pyatt his deserved comeuppance and everyone saw it and everyone sees it. Oh, and then they take out his store. And then later Billie Jean and Binx are headed to Vermont, and Binx looks after a snowmobile.
Okay, so I did remember it. Let's see, soundtrack. Invincible was Pat Benatar. Did I say Pat Benatar? I don't think I did. WE will be invincible. We are young. But it's Invincible's the name of the song. Okay.
Okay, so let's look at Rotten Tomatoes, see how it did there. On the tomato meter, it got 40% but the audience score is 75%. Let's just see if there's any critics we know. I don't see any famous critics here on the first page. Let's just dig deeper. I'm trying to find actual reviews around when it came out. Not seeing anything earlier than 2005. So, we'll skip that.
Then, Film School Rejects actually has a post about watching, well let's, I'll read it. 28 Things We Learned from The Legend of Billie Jean Commentary. Let's see, I'll paraphrase. There's a lot of talk recently about the lack of female superhero films and great ones in particular. But one of us is, one people have missed out on stars Helen Slater and it's not Supergirl. It's Legend of Billie Jean. And has sidekicks, and a catchphrase “Fair is fair.” Not “Fair means fair.”
Okay. So, let's see. The story and character beats [inaudible 00:52:56] a fun and Excitement set to a catchy 80s soundtrack, a roster of familiar faces, Christian Slater, Yeardley Smith, Peter Coyote Keith Gordon and Dean Stockwell. And the dude from Top Gun. And oh wow, I might have to watch it. I'm going to find this on DVD. Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith are the commentators. Yeardley Smith says she still gets approached by people who ask, quote, because she became a woman in the movie. Like she had per first period, so it was a big deal for her character. One of her catch lines is, “When can I get a diaphragm.” Helen Slater's first comment is that Christian Slater's not actually her brother. Holy cow. She says people always assume they're related, “To which I can only reply guilty as charged.” Oh, that's like the thing. I thought they were related too. Holy cow. Both actresses joke about their terrible Southern accents. They said it was, might have been hard for Christian Slater because the three actresses kind of hung out, but he didn't have anyone who was his age. He was 15 and he had to go to school during it.
Let's see what else. They were like, the film was rewritten a lot of times, so much so that the original writer Walter Bernstein ended up uncredited. They both liked working with Peter Coyote. There's like, oh, it's PG13. There's a lot of F bombs, so they're surprised, because Helen Slater was like, even my daughter's going to watch this, think it's okay to swear. They talk about Richard Bradford, the dirt bag in the movie. The dad. And they talk about the other actress, Martha Gehman. They also had to do, Helen had to do a lot of shots in a wig because of re shoots after her hair was cut. Smith still has the stuffed bear that her character loved in the movie. Oh, they were shooting this movie when Supergirl came out, and some of the cast went to see it on opening day. They shot it in Corpus Christi, Texas and that's where it's set. And that they'd go to a mall during their time off during shoots. Helen said that was cool because there weren't malls in New York City. Let's see. Yeardley Smith was 20 when she shot the movie. Her character was 14.
Let's see. Both were watching the film for the first time in a long time, and Helen seemed very taken with the various themes woven through the simple plot. She comments on the power of media, truth and betrayal through the whole film while talking about the writer Bernstein's struggle. Billie Jean's transition from long to short hair happened off screen. Talk about the haircut. Let's see. Oh, they have Smith's most regrettable scene is Putter's first period. Smith asks someone if Keith Gordon was a good kisser. I don't know. I don't remember that scene. Smith asks Helen, I guess Keith Gordon is, oh, he must be the guy from sorry Keith. Keith Gordon is the actor that was in, I can't remember the other movie, Back to sChool. Helen says she still gets fans, people that approach her referencing this film more than any other.
Let's see. Putter's haircut protest scene originally called for Smith to cut her incredibly long hair, but she resisted or protested. So, she wore a wig. The big beach finale strikes both actors as a mystery. Neither remembers what happens. Same here. And then they remember that Christian Slater's wearing a dress. They regret not keeping any swag from the movie. Helen wishes she kept some of the frisbees they had. But they said one item Helen did keep was a sweater from the last scene in Vermont.
And the final thoughts from the Film School Rejects after seeing it three decades ago, it became one of those movies that I never sought out, but would watch again on the rare occasions I came across it on TV. But since picking up the new Blu-Ray, I've watched it twice more. Once to reacquaint myself and once with the commentary. And both viewings were good fun. The commentary shows Slater and Smith in good spirits even though as they humorously struggle to remember the movie they're commenting on. They recall plenty of small details, but having them wonder how the movie ends? Priceless.
Well, I'm glad I'm not alone. But in a sense, like it stands up. So, definitely a movie to check out. I guess it's like on our side a PG13 as far as language goes, but I don't know. I feel like it's a movie I watched a lot as a kid.
Thanks, and good night.