Like The Godfather, But With More Whipped Cream
July 26, 2007 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Bonus factoid, for obsessive collectors of JonsonTrivia(tm), this movie was the first movie I saw in theaters without my parents taking me. It was in a double bill with Race for your Life, Charlie Brown.
posted by jonson at 9:21 PM on July 26, 2007

"If you see only one film featuring prepubescent children being drenched in white cream this year, make it this one!!!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:24 PM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

Thanks. Thanks a whole frickin bunch, jonson. That painful movie was finally out of my consciousness, and now you bring it to the fore. It was my personal version of The Game, and I lose.
posted by The Deej at 9:31 PM on July 26, 2007

What did we do to deserve this?
posted by mazola at 9:45 PM on July 26, 2007

Weird. Not 10 minutes ago I looked up Paul Williams on wikipedia after the wife rented The Secret of NIMH on the free cable movie channel. Paul wrote tuneless song played over the end credits. He also wrote and sang in Bugsy Malone.
posted by Tacodog at 9:55 PM on July 26, 2007

Come and see Tallulah:
We can chase your troubles away!
No one south of Heaven's
Gonna treat you finer...
I'll never say goodbye
Because the words upset me:
You may forgive my going,
But you won't forget me!
posted by Firas at 10:07 PM on July 26, 2007

Man, I'd forgotten how much I love this movie. I forsee a visit to Videon this weekend to hire a copy.
posted by shelleycat at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2007

It sucked then, it sucked when it was on "Pay TV" non-stop when I was a kid, and I am not going to watch it. I just want to register my opinion that this is a suckass piece of shit.
posted by autodidact at 10:17 PM on July 26, 2007

After years of avoiding it, I recently bought the official Bugsy Malone (still creepy) soundtrack off of Amazon... and it showed up at the office... today! Crazy!

These songs are buried so deep in my subconscious — there's a cassette recording of me singing along with them at like age three and I didn't know they were still in there until my friend Jason busted out his vinyl version.

(Also, if I can embarrass myself further, Paul Williams last memorable song-writing gig was, in my opinion, his underrated work for The Muppet Christmas Carol. The closest you'll get these days to that classic bouncy Williams vibe is "I Can't Decide" by the Scissor Sisters off their album Ta-Dah!)

Let us never speak of this post again.
posted by cabel at 10:22 PM on July 26, 2007

The Post of Which We Do Not Speak.
posted by The Deej at 10:24 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bugsy Malone was one of those films which I never saw beginning to end - only chunks at a time. I suspect I may have to rent it soon, catchy songs be damned.
posted by djgh at 10:43 PM on July 26, 2007

Yeah, and he also wrote and appeared in the first Muppet Movie and wrote several Carpenters songs. Understandably, I'm torn on the guy.
posted by Tacodog at 10:44 PM on July 26, 2007

Not to mention Three Dog Night's Just An Old Fashioned Love Song. But his best work came in a little known movie with an all child cast, set in the prohibition era & featuring song & dance numbers galore...
posted by jonson at 10:52 PM on July 26, 2007

posted by fair_game at 10:54 PM on July 26, 2007

Is this something I'd have to cheat on Newsies to understand? Because Newsies and I are in a healthy monogamous relationship, built on passionate and scrappy adolescent urban boydance.

I didn't realize this was the "Flying Dreams" guy... Wow. Paul Williams is one of those artists whose LPs are the secret key to the existence of thrift stores. There's usually at least four in a given dusty milk crate. And he's, well, gnomely. So flipping past some ELO to one of his big glossy vanity covers is usually cause for a chortle.

Which is why it was funny growing up friends with this Paul Williams. (shameless plug)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:49 PM on July 26, 2007


My DVD collection ranges from the ridiculous (e.g. Dark Star (self-evidently), Weekend At Bernie's (1 & 2)) to the sublime (e.g. Tmavomodrý svet, Tampopo, Shall We Dansu?). And yet, in amongst this collection of the great and the not-so-great, there are two movies whose reason for being there baffle me. For they are movies which, for reasons I do not understand, I own, despite them being the very epitome of "movies I should hate".

Even though I'm a person who craves order and understanding, I have to satisfy myself with placing them in the not-very-satisfying category of "guilty pleasures". Very occasionally, often trigged by some subtle and nearly-invisible reference, I think of them and I allow myself a small smile. Even more occasionally I find myself taking one out of the DVD stand and, hating every fibre of my irrational emotional mind, inserting it into my DVD player for a night's viewing.

Bugsy Malone is one of those two movies.

(Ambrosia, I'd gladly take any ELO LP's you come across off your hands - except I already own the whole catalogue, from beginning to end, on both vinyl and CD. What can I say, I'm a product of my time and my upbringing...

In my defence, I can say that nowadays my tastes are a little more eclectic - the current mix of music in my car consists of cub, The Beards, Dance Hall Crashers, Johnny Cash, and the Brandenburg Concertos.)

posted by Pinback at 2:51 AM on July 27, 2007

Thurmont, Maryland. Camp Airy. Summer, 1993 (or thereabouts?). A young Faint of Butt appears as a gangster in a stage adaptation of Bugsy Malone.

I think my mother still has the camcorder footage on VHS somewhere.

He's a sinner
For all his friends
He always seems to be alone
But they love him
Bugsy Malo-hooooone...

posted by Faint of Butt at 3:18 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I see your Bugsy Malone and raise you one Trilogy of Terror.

Not sure what it was about these two flicks, but in the days before Tivo and even VCR's, when one of these movies came on you knew the gods of local broadcasting were smiling upon you.
posted by bardic at 4:02 AM on July 27, 2007

Parker should have continued to do films with all-children casts. Pink Floyd The Wall would have been so much better!
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:55 AM on July 27, 2007

Alphaille, Kamikaze 1989, and Cemetery Man would also have worked well with minors.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:27 AM on July 27, 2007

posted by Smart Dalek at 5:28 AM on July 27, 2007

I have a confession, Metafilter. I was 'Babyface' in our school production of Bugsy Malone. Once a night and twice at weekends, I became a baseball bat wielding hobo that had to pluck up courage to take on the mob.

That is all.
posted by triv at 6:33 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Mississippi Burning and Angel Heart. Parker didn't do a single movie that wouldn't have been better with singing children. Except The Commitments, which already had one.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2007

Oh, THIS movie!!! I had never heard of the thing until I was in high school and my boyfriend's mom got a copy. These people never watched TV or movies, in fact the only TV they had was in the closet of the bedroom his ailing grandmother lived in. For some reason, they thought this was the best movie ever and roped a whole bunch of people into crowding into gramma's room to watch it one night. All I had been told was that it was a Jodie Foster movie. No one mentioned the li'l gangster aspect of it. I had blocked it from my memories until now.
posted by Biblio at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2007

Pinback, what is the second movie?! You can't wind up and walk away like that.

Anyway, I've known the songs for years, had no idea this is where they came from, and the very recent nostalgia fad for e.g. "Give a Little Love" (such as the Coke ad) had me wondering. It must have been the Blair exit smackdown that clued me in.

I remember seeing the trailer, and it must have been at a movie theater, but I don't remember if it was first-run or not.
posted by dhartung at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2007

maybe it was Phantom of the Paradise (another Williams schlockfest?)
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on July 27, 2007

Spike Jonze's video for Notorious B.I.G.'s "Sky's the Limit" was meant to be a tribute to Bugsy Malone.
posted by kalimotxero at 8:06 AM on July 27, 2007

Bugsy Malone (along with Taxi Driver and Foxes) fed my childhood crush on Jodie Foster, and then Hinckley had to go and make that creepy.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2007

Pinback: If I gave you my ELO, I would be standing around screaming Tigga Tooda BooOOooo! sans accompaniment and I would be put away.</small
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:34 AM on July 27, 2007

You're gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:36 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I always think of Little Darlings along with this movie. can you imagine pitching these movies today? ok, it's a mobster movie, except with kids, and it's a musical. love it? love it!

and oh yeah, I've got a treatment here for a summer camp movie where two fifteen year old girls compete to get Matt Dillon to pop their cherry first! c'mon, imagine Tatum O'Neal and Kristy McNichol as the leads, who wouldn't want to see that?

sooo bizarre.
posted by killy willy at 9:38 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks Jonson -there was a link to Paul Williams posted a few weeks ago - I can't even remember if it was on The Blue or just a comment, and can't be arsed to look. But I fell in love with Jodie Foster right about then.

I'm pretty sure it was one of the first movies I got to see without my parents too. Town Hall Theatre, Galway. The place was jammed to the rafters, and the crush outside meant that the rather flimsy doors were forced open by some aspiring Galway Mobsters (ahem) and we didn't even have to pay.

I remember all the words of all the songs to this day.
posted by Sk4n at 10:10 AM on July 27, 2007

Bugsy Malone (along with Taxi Driver and Foxes) fed my childhood crush on Jodie Foster, and then Hinckley had to go and make that creepy.

It's why I shot the President!
posted by tkchrist at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2007

Okay, so what I just realized but didn't catch when I was a kid?

Paul Williams? Wanted to be Nillson. BADLY. In comparison, I guess Kermit was Paul's John Lennon (go to 2:30). Not sure if they've done quite as much heroin together though...
posted by miss lynnster at 12:34 PM on July 27, 2007

Bugsy Malone (along with Taxi Driver and Foxes) fed my childhood crush on Jodie Foster, and then Hinckley had to go and make that creepy.
You know she's gay, right?

(Foxes was a very cool movie tho--with a fab theme song)
posted by amberglow at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2007

You know she's gay, right?

Which only helps validate my crush, on the other hand.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2007

Paul Williams will always be Little Enos to me.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2007

God, I was obsessed with this movie as a kid. My sister and I had the soundtrack, the novel, the comic book version, AND the published script; we entertained big dreams of a "hey kids, let's put on a show" kind of neighborhood production one summer (she would be Tallulah; I would be Blousey). We were done in by our complete befuddlement as to who to cast as Bugsy.
posted by scody at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2007

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