Nostalgia Girl reviews "Labyrinth"
June 25, 2010 12:12 PM   Subscribe

A video review by Nostalgia Girl of the movie Labyrinth and of David Bowie. Particularly a review of David Bowie's Area. Areaology has been discussed a couple of times previously.
posted by rmd1023 (45 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I made my girlfriend watch Labyrinth for the first time with me a little while ago "if not for the story, then to see David Bowie's bulge. You really ought to see it..."
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:32 PM on June 25, 2010

Ahhh, I love that movie.

Also, I think I have a crush on the girl in the video, regardless of the pig tails and bow tie.
posted by codacorolla at 12:33 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

The glass ball work that was the second most memorable thing in Labyrinth was performed by French juggler Michael Moschen. Here's some video of him doing the type of work on display in Labyrinth.

I highly recommend watching any of the related videos of him. His work will drop the jaw of the most jaded absorber of entertainment.
posted by Babblesort at 12:44 PM on June 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Someone showed me this awhile ago and I think it's simply terrible (if I was not forced to be polite to these aquaintances I would have turned it off after less than a minute). They are horrifically awkward and unfunny, and seemingly miss the entire point and joy of Labyrinth. Everything about it is just a joykill, they couldn't be bothered to actually purchase some spotted dick for their incredibly lame jokes, etc, etc, etc. If she could decide on either a) revelling in the campy joy of a wonderful film like this or b) critically reviewing a movie's faults they might have something. Instead it accomplishes nothing except wasting your time.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:49 PM on June 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

Dance, Magic Pants!
posted by trunk muffins at 12:55 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Michael Moschen has showed up on the blue before if folks want more links for contact juggling goodness.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:56 PM on June 25, 2010

The Labyrinth soundtrack has David Bowie's strongest and most consistent material of the entire 1980s, IMO. Only five songs, but not a dud in the bunch, and much of it is (especially for the audience the film was aimed at) surprising and experimental (see "Within You", e.g.).
posted by Prospero at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2010

One of the more interesting things at the otherwise disappointing Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, AL, is a display case containing the Hoggle costume.
posted by crunchland at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

I love Labyrinth on so many levels. A female-centric hero's quest in which she learns about personal responsibility AND how to avoid unwelcome seduction, where brains win out over brawn and the final message is that it's okay to be a grown-up and still indulge your childhood joys? I mean, what is NOT to like about that concept. Wrap all that up with the Lucas / Henson bow and wrapping paper of David Bowie and Trevor Jones music? It was hardly in the theater for any time at all, but I remember seeing it several times during its very short run.

1986 was a remarkable year for film releases, actually. The list includes 9 1/2 Weeks, Big Trouble In Little China, Blue Velvet, Down And Out In Beverly Hills, Down By Law, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Fly, Little Shop Of Horrors, Luxo Jr., Manhunter, The Mosquito Coast, The Mission, The Name Of The Rose, Platoon, Ruthless People, Star Trek IV, and many many others.
posted by hippybear at 1:15 PM on June 25, 2010 [5 favorites]

Jareth... the gateway drug to Ziggy.
posted by kimdog at 1:25 PM on June 25, 2010

I read that list of 1986 titles and I just think of the depressing video store around the corner from me in 1987-88. Great movies, but -- seen it, seen it, seen it, seen it...
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:32 PM on June 25, 2010

This seems to accurately simulate the experience of watching a classic movie of the eighties with someone really annoying who thinks they're a lot funnier than they are. So now I know what it was like to be friends with me as an undergraduate. What an unwelcome epiphany.
posted by him at 1:42 PM on June 25, 2010 [10 favorites]

Loved this movie so very much. I made my parents take me to a music store in the same shopping center where we saw the movie to get the soundtrack immediately after.
posted by GriffX at 1:47 PM on June 25, 2010

Nostalgia Chick.
posted by pyrex at 1:48 PM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

The Labyrinth soundtrack has David Bowie's strongest and most consistent material of the entire 1980s, IMO.

Please. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) 1980.
posted by VikingSword at 1:49 PM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

I once went to a Labyrinth costume party as David Bowie's crotch.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 1:50 PM on June 25, 2010

Please. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) 1980.

Scary Monsters, though dated 1980, is officially '70s Bowie—hence its inclusion in the Rykodisc Sound and Vision series. '80s Bowie officially starts with Let's Dance. A TRUE FAN WOULD NOT DISPUTE THIS
posted by Prospero at 2:00 PM on June 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

I used to love this movie until I read somewhere that it was not, in fact, a cool puppet movie with goblins, magic and optical illusions (seriously, CGI falls so flat compared with what the set designers did with perspective and camera angles) but rather an allegory of growing up and relinquishing the foolishness of youth. Since then I can't get the innocent enjoyment out of it I once felt.

Oh, and the Nostalgia Chick herself is quite cool - check out her other pieces, especially the one about the My Little Pony Movie, since that one contains a hilarious side plot about her friend Nella playing with pony dolls (it's much funnier than it ought to be).
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2010

Scary Monsters, though dated 1980, is officially '70s Bowie—hence its inclusion in the Rykodisc Sound and Vision series.

No. Rykodisc included it because it was an RCA release - Bowies last with them. It had to do with rights.

Also, Scary Monsters wasn't merely released in 1980. It was also recorded in 1980. Recording started in February 1980.

Since it was both recorded and released in 1980, in no way can it qualify as 1970's - unless Bowie went back in time.


As a true fan since the 70's until today, someone who has bookshelves of Bowie-related books, all his official albums (in various editions) and vast numbers of bootlegs and concert downloads - I most certainly dispute this :)

The most you can say is that SMASC is artistically a direct descendant of his 70's work (Low, "Heroes", Lodger). But the album is Bowies work (as in recording and laying down tracks) from 1980.

Do not get into Bowie nerdery with me. You will lose :).
posted by VikingSword at 2:18 PM on June 25, 2010 [6 favorites]

posted by adipocere at 2:26 PM on June 25, 2010 [7 favorites]

You're right. He did go back in time - have you seen his recent pictures? Looking like this, he went back in time and did Tony Scott's The Hunger - they didn't even have to use any makeup.
posted by VikingSword at 2:28 PM on June 25, 2010

I just came into this thread to be an intolerable pedant and say that anything recorded in 1980 would be an example of 70s Bowie, since Jesus was born in year 1 and Reagan was inaugurated in 1981.
posted by condour75 at 2:35 PM on June 25, 2010

David Bowie has been dead for nearly 30 years.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:36 PM on June 25, 2010

and yes, I know Jesus wasn't born in year 1.
posted by condour75 at 2:37 PM on June 25, 2010

Actually, this is a bit more complex:
posted by VikingSword at 2:38 PM on June 25, 2010

Sorry, about the above. I was going to link to the whole idea of "common use", and under that definition 1980 would not belong to the 70's, no matter when Jesus was allegedly born. Nobody is going to say, back in the 70's, in February 1980... etc. And common use rules how we use the language. As an amusing side note mathematically, it would be preferable to start with 0 not with 1 in any case, as long as we are on that tangent:

"If we had it to do over again, we would probably have used the number
0 for the year in which Jesus Christ was born. Then his first birthday
would have been in the year 1.

As it is, it would be a lot of work to renumber the years so that
there is a year 0. Either we would have to rename AD 1 to AD 0, and
likewise with all the years after - so that this is 1998, and the
millennium is still a year away - or we would rename 1 BC to 0 AD,
and every BC date would change, so all the ancient history books would
need to be altered.

(By the way, if we were going to renumber the years, we'd probably
want to correct Dionysius' other problem: his date for the birth of
Jesus Christ was most likely 5 or 6 years late. This year really
should be AD 2004; we missed the millennium.)"

posted by VikingSword at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2010

I saw that movie at age 12, and it definitely did a few things to my psyche.

The first thing was give the 12 year old me an infatuation with Jennifer Connelly. David Bowie's crotch I didn't much notice at that time, though as an adult I do find it to be amusingly prominent. Maybe it should get separate billing?

It also gave me an obsession with mazes as settings, I found that book "Maze: Solve the World's Most Challenging Puzzle", and never much cared about solving the puzzle, but really liked the atmosphere of the illustrations.
posted by sotonohito at 2:59 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

You guys fixated on Bowie's crotch are aware that there's such a thing called a codpiece, right?
posted by crunchland at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2010

crunchland: I have heard two contradictory codpiece-related stories about Bowie's Labrynth costume: 1. That he wore a codpiece specifically because of all of these crotch-high muppets that might be bumping into his AREA. 2. The costume was going to include a codpiece, BUT THEY DIDN'T NEED IT.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:25 PM on June 25, 2010

David Bowie's area definitely deserves separate billing. And its own hat.

Also totally unaware of how I missed it as a child.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:25 PM on June 25, 2010

Mick Jagger told me there was no cod in that piece, just electric eel!
posted by furtive at 3:33 PM on June 25, 2010

Ah yes. The movie at which I, along with thousands of other prepubescent girls, thought, for the first time: sure, he's the Bad Guy, but . . . wouldn't it not be so bad if she just . . . ?

It's not the best film. It's got two narratives going on, the questing fairy-tale hero and the maiden with the demon-lover; one's bright and childlike and the other's considerably more Angela Carter-y. Neither of the arcs are very well served at the end. But like the rest of the Internet, I will never be tired of this movie.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:49 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

The most you can say is that SMASC is artistically a direct descendant of his 70's work (Low, "Heroes", Lodger). But the album is Bowies work (as in recording and laying down tracks) from 1980.

This I agree with. That said, (and yeah, I have a pile of Bowie-related albums and boots and whatnot, too), I still say that when people colloquially refer to "Bowie's 1980s output," they usually mean the sequence from Let's Dance to Never Let Me Down, not the sequence from Scary Monsters to Never Let Me Down or Scary Monsters to Tin Machine, neither of which make much sense to discuss as a whole. (It's a matter of common use, if you will.) But no matter.
posted by Prospero at 3:52 PM on June 25, 2010

Well, how do we establish "common use" here? If we go by wikipedia as a stand in for "crowd sourced" authority, with emphasis on crowd and the common person, then they clearly separate the 70's from the 80's and clearly include SMASC as belonging to the 80's period:

"1980–89: From superstar to megastar

In 1980, Bowie's style retrogressed, integrating the lessons learnt on Low, Heroes, and Lodger while expanding upon them with chart success.[52] Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) included the number one hit "Ashes to Ashes", featuring the textural work of guitar-synthesist Chuck Hammer, and revisiting the character of Major Tom from "Space Oddity". The imagery Bowie used in the song's music video gave international exposure to the underground New Romantic movement and, with many of the followers of this phase being devotees, Bowie visited the London club "Blitz"—the main New Romantic hangout—to recruit several of the regulars (including Steve Strange of the band Visage) to act in the video, renowned as being one of the most innovative of all time.

While Scary Monsters utilised principles that Bowie had learned in the Berlin era, it was considered by critics to be far more direct musically and lyrically, reflecting the transformation Bowie had gone through during his time in Germany and Europe. By 1980 Bowie had divorced his wife Angie, stopped the drug use of the "Thin White Duke" era, and radically changed his concept of the way music should be written. The album had a hard rock edge that included conspicuous guitar contributions from King Crimson's Robert Fripp, The Who's Pete Townshend, Chuck Hammer, who at that time was working with Lou Reed, and Television's Tom Verlaine.[52] As "Ashes to Ashes" hit number one on the UK charts, Bowie opened a three-month run on Broadway starring in The Elephant Man on 24 September 1980."

Also keep in mind, that Let's Dance didn't come out until 1983. There was a lot of "80's work" before 1983 from Bowie, including collabo with Queen (Under Pressure) and the whole Baal thing.

Regardless, it's not that important, so I'm gonna drop it.
posted by VikingSword at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2010

Labyrinth is one of those things that makes me mourn Jim Henson again. Think of the glove puppets in the well. So much invention.
posted by Trochanter at 5:46 PM on June 25, 2010

Children, please. Bowie transcends your primitive notions of time and space; he has no more use for your "decades" (except for "Art Decade") than he does for such quaint concepts as "gender" or "genre". Our primitive pre-ubermensch minds couldn't possibly comprehend all that is Bowie; we can't even be sure if his left eye was damaged in a childhood fight, as the official account has it, or if he modified it by sheer psychic force of will into a quantum tunneling aperture so that he could communicate with pulsars in their own language. All we can do is venerate his Area for helping us to Turn And Face The Strange.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

That's interesting. I had no idea that Smirnoff is the "most awarded name in vodka." Neither did I know that they have their own trophy melting factory. In Vegas.
posted by JHarris at 6:50 PM on June 25, 2010

David Bowie has been dead for nearly 30 years.

He didn't die, he just went underground in order to lead THE GUILD OF CALAMITOUS INTENT!
posted by JHarris at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

Having carefully reviewed the links and considered my own formative experience seeing this movie in the theater when it came out (as a fifteen year old girl, even) I have this to say:


codpiece codpiece codpiece codpiece codpiece

*giggles like a maniac*


posted by louche mustachio at 6:57 PM on June 25, 2010

David Bowie could never die. He'll just go to sleep one day. Baaaabyyyy he won't ever let you goooooo! All he seeees is all you know! Let's find another wa-ayay down!
posted by No-sword at 7:27 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this movie was one of Bowie's best business decisions ever, since I'm yet another one of those zillions of women who watched it when young and were primed for life to have a crush on him (among other weird man-crushes). It's also perfect for gleefully nostalgic costume parties.
posted by dreamyshade at 7:35 PM on June 25, 2010

I saw this in the theater when it came out (8 years old), and I feel like I have been condemned to wander through life searching for someone who has something remotely as interesting in his or her pants as Bowie does in this movie.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 9:01 PM on June 25, 2010

My friends had been talking about Labyrinth for years, but I didn't see this movie until I was well into my twenties. So, I think I am doomed Not to Get It. I had been led to believe it was a romance; my friends had talked a lot about the ballroom fantasy scene (which turned out to be disappointingly short). But instead it was a lot of muppet slapstick and bad jokes and kind of a boring, episodic plot. Bowie was cool, but I figured I could listen to Ziggy Stardust instead.

But I love the Nostalgia Chick. She does such a great job of explaining pop culture things. And she explained Labyrinth in a way where a non-Labyrinth fan like myself could finally understand why her friends had been obsessing about it for all these years.

I still giggle sometimes at her line about "the loneliest LARPer in town." Hee!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:28 PM on June 25, 2010

I know a mother and daughter who have each been fascinated by that movie in their teens. Now I'm starting to see why.
posted by pracowity at 11:28 PM on June 25, 2010

"No! Not the Bog of Eternal Stench!"
posted by mneekadon at 4:50 AM on June 27, 2010

« Older What we need now is a database of internet movie...   |   Japanese art Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments