⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The ancient struggle of the working class plays out against the trappings of a modern day battle of the (Philadelphia Seventy) Sixers in director Miles Standhoff’s fifth effort, Bohemian Rhapsody.
But don’t worry. The music is twentieth century so the film is twentieth century too. No Greek tragedies or dusty relics.
Just possibly moldy old Dad albums with some preeeeeety good shizzle on some of ’em if you took the time blah
Ronny is desperate. His best girl won’t speak to him unless he buys a car for the big dance. His best friend has a car he’s trying to sell, but he won’t sell it to Ronny.
So what does Ronny do? He buys his grampa’s old Buick, a 1964 Crylark with all original paint. Immaculate.
So Ronny rolls up in his ride at the big dance with his best girl. Happy ending, right?
Wrong, it’s the opening montage.
Next we watch Yolanda, Ronny’s best (but not his favorite) girl as she lays waste to her detractors with a retinue of doofuses in tow. Or is it doofusi? Either way, she looks stunning and she knows it, soaking in all the envy while she rubs it in the faces of those who in her mind deserved it most. Although speaking objectively they still kind of deserved it. Positively glowing as she steps into Ronny’s car, Yolanda epitomizes the everyman fantasy as well as her own, as the reaction from both sexes seems the same.
Envy and desire. Both sexes want her and or despise how they can’t have her. Both sexes feel intimidated and belittled as well as emboldened and loquacious around her. She knows most everyone there would gladly be her slave in return for some payment by carnality, but as of now she only has eyes for Ronny.
Mostly because she defines herself as having a boyfriend (who now has a cool car); specifically “Ronny’s girl” or “Ronny and Yolanda” or “Ro and Yo.”
Just like how Ronny defines himself as dating a hot chick (and having a cool car now); specifically “Yolanda’s boyfriend Ronny” or “Ro and Yo.”
And so the struggle rages on.
The music is excellent, the performances are good, the script isn’t bad and the direction is competent.
But the basketball scenes are spectacular, filmed as they were with headband-velcroed GoPeo cameras for one of a kind bird’s eye views of the hardwood. Alley oops and fast break slam dunks never looked so good, here making for wonderful scene transitions.
The Philly paint comes alive in vibrant color to the strains of Elton’s “Philadelphia Freedom” as the Sixty Sixes (as 60 was the minimum age for the fan-unfavorite cheering dancers) mostly hop and lumber back to the dressing room to dress their wounds. Once the old EBA ballgames flicker to life on the gigantic sized monitors, however, the crowd erupts in long silenced video judder and our boys take center stage.
Expertly cut into the dazzling ‘6ers b-ball footage are:
Moody, excellent driver but no license yet- small forward
Goose, bad at school but great on a schoolbus- point guard
Baff, who’s big and tough but also dumb and gullible (seeing as “smart and gullible” wouldn’t’ve made sense)- center
Funny but timid Donutz, who everyone calls Liver on account of how they all like liver as much as they like him- shooting guard
And of course Ronny, at power forward, king of the road, king of his small corner of the universe, who’s about to lose it all before becoming a legend. Ronny whose prior claim to fame was being the younger brother of Jonee, the only student to ever expel the principal and have it stick, is going to meet someone who will ruin his life for the next twenty seven years.
Enter Gaby, super cute and amazingly appealing especially to Liver and Ronny. And Goose too once he finds out they both like her.
Ronny accidentally bumps into Gaby who spills her drink. Their eyes meet and he gets that look on his face. She smiles and it’s over. They’re done.
Trouble is, Gaby is a layabout; a shiftless sleepyhead who’s just looking for a place to crash for a few days. With some of her hairier, less pleasant smelling friends to boot. So by the time Goose gets around to talking to her, he’s gotta offer her at least a couch to sleep on for the night, and maybe a hallway or a porch for her friends.
Our Goose shows her the folks’ basement where there’s an old Murphy bed and tries to keep the greasies confined to the backyard but one slips by and accompanies cutie Gaby downstairs, leaving Goose uncooked. Eventually he wakes his dad and tells him “there’s a bunch’a bums sleepin’ in the yard” and races back to his friends.
After relating the details about Gaby and her sackmate, you can guess where they decide to go: to the cellar window to try to catch a glimpse of the titular sensation. As good a reason as any, I guess, but how do Goose and the gang intend to win Gaby’s heart and still make the big game?
You’ll have to see it to find out.