Dec 2, 2019

Star 80

Despite the recent so-called Me Too movement where a bunch of bigwig Hollywood types, mostly of the Hebraic sort, were rather predictably exposed as sleazy sexual predators, the perennial semitic stereotype of the shiksa-defiling chosenite has yet to reach the mainstream public consciousness due to the mainstream media carefully portraying these pathetic perverts as ostensible “white men.” Indeed, while absurdly presented as “white,” disgraced Miramax cofounder and top Democrat supporter Harvey Weinstein—a physical monster of a man that was the subject of an article entitled ‘The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein’ at the Judaic publication Tablet magazine—is the virtual living and breathing physical embodiment of a nasty Nazi caricature straight out of Julius Streicher’s tabloid trash Der Stürmer. Of course, anyone even remotely familiar with the hermetic history of Hollywood knows that Weinstein was simply part of a grand Hollywood tradition of goy-gal-exploiting that, rather conveniently, has rarely been depicted in Tinseltown movies despite the fact that Hollywood loves making masturbatory movies about itself (hence the abject commercial and critical failure of a film like The Day of the Locust (1975) where the sins of Sunset Boulevard are laid bare). Of course, there are exceptions and it took a good degenerate goy boy like Bob Fosse—a rather handsome mensch born to a Norwegian-American father—to depict such a scenario, albeit in a somewhat atypical fashion that really underscores the innately sexually unsavory and sickening nature of Hollywood as opposed to focusing on the racial character of such corruption.

 Indeed, Fosse’s cinematic swansong Star 80 (1983)—a film depicting the meteoric rise and brutal demise of Dutch-Canadian Playboy model Dorothy Stratten who was infamously murdered by her Hebraic (ex)pimp husband Paul Snider—is a notable film in that, on top of being inordinately aesthetically alluring for the time, it depicts how a wholesome blonde beauty can be transformed into an international sex object and ultimately destroyed in Hollywood in such a short time in a deceptively captivating cinematic work that hypnotically highlights the heinous debauching character of Hollywood and the sort of conmen, parasites, whores, hucksters, and sociopaths that lurk there. In terms of being based on the real-life tragic death of an attractive young girl from a decent (albeit fatherless) family that got murdered after getting sucked into a lurid lifestyle in the (post)counterculture age, Star 80 is like the Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)—a film that also features an older Jew lover grooming a young shiksa and leading her on a road to ruin—of the 1980s, albeit all the more infuriatingly tragic. Undoubtedly, what makes Fosse’s film somewhat more provocative than Richard Brooks’ criminally-underrated cult classic is that it mainly focuses on the killer to the point of empathizing with his personal and professional failures as the discarded husband of a hot Aryan ‘it girl.’ 

 While Fosse fanatics—if they exist—would surely disagree, I have no qualms about confessing that, as a proud hater of musicals and everything they stand for, Star 80 is unequivocally my favorite flick directed by the dancer turned auteur. Indeed, while I can appreciate Lenny (1974) as an unconventional biopic despite my disgust for its titular subject and All That Jazz (1979) as the American answer to Federico Fellini’s surreally autobiographical masterpiece 8 1⁄2 (1963), I find Cabaret (1972) to simply be an aesthetically and sexually sickening film that, in my mind, can only inspire fantasies of defenestration. While some people might find the flick to be redundant as the Stratten-Snider story had already been depicted two years earlier via the totally mundane made-for-television movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981) starring the all-too-absurdly-improbable-and-masculine Jamie Lee Curtis as the eponymous lead, it is also an indubitable auteur piece where male fox Fosse finds great conflicted personal sympathy with a coldblooded killer and necrophile. Indeed, as Sam Wasson noted in his book Fosse (2013) in regard to the auteur and the overly wanton world that created him, “Bob Fosse was the best thing ever to come out of burlesque, and he would pay for it forever.”

In short, Fosse spent his younger years as an underage dancer being sexually exploited by old debauched strippers and it would have an imperative influence on how he looked at sex in the entertainment world. For example, as Wasson retells in his book, “Strippers—twice Bobby’s size in two directions, and twice as sharp—preyed on him before the show as he stood in the wings about to go on […] When the girls found out he wasn’t the eighteen-year old he said he was, they started messing with him. Feathered gorgons appeared […] They pulled Fosse from his Latin conjugations onto their laps, crushing his face in fingers and tongues, twirling his perfect hair and the cock in his tuxedo pants. Scared and alone, he did as he was told. Even if that meant doing what no good boy should do, he did it, because if he cried out, they’d blow his cover and he’d be out of the show for good, and what would he tell his mother? […] Something must have been seriously, shamefully wrong with him, because, despite everything he should have run from—the fondling, the sinning, the heckling, and the shirking—to him, having the strippers’ attention felt a little like being a star […] He was drawn to the girls, then hurt by them. ‘It was schizophrenic,’ Fosse said. He couldn’t get away from it and he didn’t want to.”

 Not surprisingly considering Fosse’s cumming-of-age story, sexual (and social) grooming is one of the main themes of Star 80, which is a film that rather fittingly takes its name from the real-life vanity plate on the signature black Corvette of psychopathic groomer-cum-killer Snider. Indeed, it is no coincidence that, early on in the film, the virtual antihero Paul Snider played Eric Roberts—a character that was largely influenced by both Fosse's own personal experiences and Montgomery Clift's tragic character George Eastman in George Stevens' A Place in the Sun (1951)—remarks upon seeing Dorothy Stratten for the very first time working at a Dairy Queen, “Get ‘em while they’re young,” which he proceeds to do. During his rather lecherous life, Fosse learned to go from prey to predator and, in that sense, he identified with sicko Snider in the worst sort of way, or as drama critic Martin Gottfried explained in his book All His Jazz: The Life & Death of Bob Fosse (1990) in regard to the auteur, “There can be little doubt that he identified with Paul Snider […] As Dan Melnick said, ‘Bob was projecting the worst part of himself on Snider.’ […] The differences between Snider and Fosse, of course, were greater than the similarities […] Like Paul, who depended on women to support him, Fosse had married strong, older women. Like Snider he turned to young girls, who posed no challenge and could be ignored. Like Snider, he had hoped to be a movie star, and like Snider he failed. Like Snider he was regularly criticized for being tasteless. Unlike Snider, he was not tasteless to his soul. Paul Snider created a star in Dorothy Stratten, only to be denied credit for it, just as Bob felt he had been denied credit for his part in Gwen Verdon’s success. ‘I was always interested,’ he said during an interview about STAR 80, ‘in the man behind the woman, especially the show woman.’”

In short, the film is like the Aryan goyization of a most monstrous coldblooded murder where Fosse somehow brings preternatural humanity to the innately inhumane in a manner that is, in many ways, hopelessly goyish yet ultimately more provocative than the real-life story. In fact, the film does not even mention the obvious fact that Snider was a member of the tribe despite the fact that the killer regularly wore a Star of David necklace and people knew him by the name “The Jewish Pimp.”  Of course, Fosse's glaring dejudaization of the subject matter is probably explained by the fact that Hebraic screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky was his friend and mentor. In fact, Fosse was hoping that Chayefsky would do a rewrite of his Star 80 script, but the screenwriter had already become completely disillusioned with Hollywood due to his nightmarish experiences on Ken Russell's Altered States (1980), not to mention severe health issues that resulted in his death in 1981 (and, like a surreal scene straight out of All That Jazz, Fosse even performed a tape dance routine at his funeral!).

 Although Jewish, Paul Snider was an uncultivated philistine who, in terms of verbal IQ, only managed to master the lowly art of remembering everyone’s name and redundantly (mis)quoting his degenerate virtual pimp heroes like Hugh Hefner. In terms of predatory street smarts as a parasitic bottom-feeder, Snider made quite the impression on the hopelessly naïve Dorothy Stratten who, on top of having very little experience with men (for example, she only had one previous boyfriend), she seemed to be looking for a father figure as her padre abandoned the family when she was young (born Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten, Stratten was actually a first-generation Canadian as the progeny of Dutch immigrants). As depicted in Star 80, Snider saw the perfect unconsciously beauteous victim to exploit in Stratten and the fact she was underage and nine years younger made this extremely easy for him, at least until she achieved fame and fortune on her own and finally came to the bitter realization that her beau was a no-good-bastard.  Indeed, Snider took it for granted that Stratten would always be her meal ticket, so naturally he became completely unhinged when she began to get famous and dumped him for a powerful Hollywood filmmaker that was previously in a much publicized relationship with famous beauty Cybill Shepherd.

The real-life Dorothy Stratten, who was blessed with rather large lips and shapely tits, was infinitely more beautiful than boyish Mariel Hemingway who portrays her in the film. Achieving virtual dyke status for her oftentimes unclad performance in prized Hebraic screenwriter Robert Towne’s overrated directorial debut Personal Best (1982), Hemingway was naturally not Fosse’s ideal choice for the role but she did have a certain innocent “unused quality” like Stratten and getting breast implants more or less sealed the deal for her in terms of the singular role. Needless to say, beloved male bimbo Eric Robert—an actor that is impossible to hate, even when playing degenerate junky criminals like in convicted pervert Victor Salva's The Nature of the Beast (1995)—is certainly more charming and handsomer than the real Paul Snider, but Star 80 is less a historical document (despite being largely factually sound) than an aesthetically pleasing exposé on the perils of sexual exploitation and fame-seeking in Hollywood in the age of (post)sexual liberation. Indeed, not unlike the hapless heroine of Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Dorothy Stratten is ultimately a victim of so-called sexual liberation and feminism as her rise and demise would be unthinkable otherwise, or as 20/20 senior producer Muriel Pearson recently remarked to the Montreal Gazette in regard to the new documentary The Death of a Playmate: The Dorothy Stratten Story, “The advent of the pill liberated women to make new choices about their sexuality. But it was, at times, a double-edged sword. We highlighted the duality of past and present by depicting a kind of double standard that was part of the PLAYBOY philosophy.” 

 While Playboy Führer Hugh Hefner—a supposed goy with certain semitic physical and political sensibilities—was very supportive of the production of Star 80 to the point where he allowed Fosse to use the Playboy logo and even granted him access to his mansion for research (in return, Fosse cast Cliff Robertson instead of Harry Dean Stanton to portray Hefner at the glorified pornographer’s recommendation), the film does not portray the ‘publisher’ in an altogether positive light. In fact, Hefner comes across seeming like a more pretentious and self-satisfied yet no-less-full-of-shit version of pathetic-wannabe Snider; or, in short, a scheming glorified pimp acting like a father figure to stupid lost girls. In fact, as depicted in the film, horn-dog Hef even attempts to pass off his porno company to Stratten as a family (and, in turn, the family she never had), even stating with a certain glaring lack of sincerity, “PLAYBOY is a very special magazine, Dorothy. There’s no other magazine like it. All the writers, editors, photographers, the girls, etc. We all have a very special relationship. It’s not like any other magazine. We’re all like a, well, we’re just like a family.” A pseudo-sophisticated creep that smugly roams around his own lavish parties in insufferably flamboyant pajamas while routinely having his soft ass kissed by a carefully selected collection of adoring ass-kissers and brain-dead whores, Hefner represents the superlatively shallow and soulless dream that Ashkenazi simpleton Snider is so senselessly chasing (in fact, Snider, who founded the Chippendales Dancers, modeled the look of these male strippers after ‘Playboy Bunny’ costumes).  Of course, both men act as the father that Stratten never had but, unfortunately for Snider, Hefner does a better job of it.

While Dorothy Stratten comes off looking hopelessly naïve like a lamb unwittingly be led to the slaughter, virtually everyone else in her life (sans her poor mother) is totally shallow and/or painfully narcissistic, including her covertly kosher plastic surgeon housemate Dr. Martin ‘Geb’ Geber (David Clennon) who brags that he owns a Rolls-Royce simply as “an investment” and not as a “status symbol,” as if that is some sort of important distinction. Needless to say, being a super shallow guy that is hopelessly high on his own supply and clearly only cares about himself, Geb is completely oblivious to the fact that his housemate Snider is a ticking time-bomb and is a great danger to Stratten, even after his girlfriend points out the obvious. In fact, when Snider acts with a certain lovelorn lunacy after Stratten leaves her, Geb responds by smugly complaining, “I can take a bragging Snider, I can take a conniving Snider. I just can’t stomach a sentimental Snider,” as if heartsickness and sentimentality are the same exact thing.  Of course, Geb is no different than anyone else in Stratten's life in that he ultimately fails her in the end, hence the value of Fosse including pseudo-interview scenes with these largely superficial and/or unsavory characters who talk a lot but never say anything that truly matters.  In that sense, Star 80 oftentimes feels like a sort of anti-murder-mystery where the murder is already solved and the characters seem incapable of offering any real clues.

 While Stratten reluctantly agrees to marry Snider despite Hefner hypocritically objecting due to the kosher Canadian having “the personality of a pimp,” she is killed by her hubby only after 16 months of miserable marriage after leaving him for a sensitive filmmaker. Indeed, while Stratten marries Snider because she believes “I owe it to him” since he was responsible for jumpstarting her career, she cannot help but swiftly dispose of him upon meeting ‘cinematic auteur’ Aram Nicholas (Roger Rees)—a fictionalized character based on filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich who unwisely cast her in his box-office bomb They All Laughed (1981) and made her the subject of his dubious memoir The Killing of the Unicorn - Dorothy Stratten 1960–1980 (1984)—as he is the complete opposite of her Hebraic husband as a kind, thoughtful, and empathetic ‘artiste’ that, quite unlike most men in her life, seems to see her more than just a tasty piece of fresh meat.  As a one-guy kind of gal, Stratten, quite unlike her hubby, is fond on monogamy and refuses to maintain the charade of her sham marriage after falling for Aram. Of course, after a series of disastrous business ventures that are all funded by the success of his wife, Snider—a hyper hypocritical huckster that regularly cheats on his lover throughout their rather one-sided relationship, including with less than lovely negress prostitutes that seem like insipid street slime compared to his positively pulchritudinous spouse—sees it as the ultimate blow to his already fragile ego when Stratten cheats on him with a big name Hollywood director.

While Stratten tries to buy him off with a relatively generous offer of $7,000, perennial loser Snider feels entitled to much more because, after all, he ‘discovered’ her. Needless to say, if Snider cannot have Stratten, no one can, so the Jewish pimp buys a shotgun and blows her brains out, but not before virtually ritualistically raping and brutalizing her. As if to confirm his position in the afterlife in some otherworldly Gehenna where he will be able to play pool with Oskar Dirlewanger and Carl Panzram, Snider then straps Stratten’s bloody naked corpse onto a ‘sodomy rack’ and then proceeds to commit necrophilia with his dead wife off-screen while the camera focuses on various nudes of the tragic heroine as if to starkly contrast her nightmarish reality to the pseudo-sophisticated erotic illusions that Playboy contrived. Before blowing his own brains out, Snider triumphantly declares, “You won’t forget Paul Snider” and the rest is history. Luckily for Snider, Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story—a largely forgettable TV movie turd of the subpar soap-era-esque sort that features the less than handsome Bruce Weitz portraying Snider—was not the only film made in tribute to his infamy, as Star 80 is a near-masterpiece in terms of style that somehow manages to be respectful to both the real-life murderer and his victim (whereas the TV movie only inspires feelings of apathy and banality as manly mischling Jamie Lee Curtis, who already looks rather ‘used up,’ seems completely incapable of expressing even an inkling of innocence or naivety, among other important nubile qualities that the real-life Stratten so effortlessly radiated).

 Despite featuring many morally dubious subjects, Star 80 is a strangely moral film, or, more specifically, the sort of covertly moralistic movie you might expect from a deeply troubled man that personally experienced the sins and debasement that it almost gleefully depicts as if to entice the viewer while mocking them at the same time by giving them unrivaled beauty and then ruthlessly ripping it to shreds with a certain understated elegance. On top of Fosse utilizing the film as a sort of covert self-criticism via the Paul Snider character, Star 80 acts as a sort of stylish cinematic condemnation of the people, places, and professions that the auteur was so personally accustomed to. Indeed, featuring an aesthetic that falls somewhere between a post-Cries and Whispers Ingmar Bergman film (notably, Sven Nykvist acted as the cinematographer) and, well, vintage Playboy smut, the film ironically utilizes glamour to goad the viewer into asking questions about morality in an era that basked in shallow spectacle and disposable escapism, hence the commercial failure of great dark 1980s films like Ivan Passer’s Cutter’s Way (1981) and James Bridge’s Mike’s Murder (1984), among countless others. While the film portrays the fictionalized Bogdanovich character in a mostly favorable light, Teresa Carpenter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice source article ‘Death of a Playmate’ is considerably less flattering to the point where it accuses both the filmmaker and Hefner of causing Stratten’s death. To make things somewhat creepier, in 1988, 49-year-old Bogdanovich married Dorothy’s 20-year-old little sister Louise Stratten in a dubious childless marriage that ended in divorce in 2001 (notably, as depicted in the film, Snider was already ‘grooming’ Louise when she was just a little girl). While Fosse was a philandering man, he certainly never reached the degeneracy of overrated auteur Bogdanovich who not coincidentally did a great job portraying a sleazy Hebraic psychiatrist on The Sopranos. If anyone can learn anything from the Stratten sisters, it is that girls abandoned by their fathers make easy prey for predators, especially if they are young, dumb, and beautiful. 

 As his films surely demonstrate, Bob Fosse was a considerably haunted and self-loathing man and while looking around a club on Sunset Boulevard during the production of Star 80 he even went so far as to confess, “I’m going to die in one of these places. Here’s where I was born.” While Fosse did not croak in a pile of his own vomit in some sleazy strip club surrounded by topless hags with saggy its, he did, not unlike his semi-autobiographical character in All That Jazz (1979), succumb to a heart attack and, rather fittingly, it was in the arms of his own virtual Dorothy Stratten, Gwen Verdon, whose career he made and (at least in his own mind) he never got enough credit for. Indeed, Verdon was Fosse’s wife-cum-muse and the auteur acted as the director–choreographer for both the stage and film musicals she was best known for, including Damn Yankees! (1958) directed by Stanley Donen and George Abbott.  As to what Fosse actually thought about the uxoricidal necrophile of his film, he would state, “Paul Snider was a guy who seemed a product of the sort of shallowness that comes from buying hook, line, and sinker the slick-magazine philosophy of what the American male should have. That is, if you have the right kind of car or the right kind of clothes, learn people’s names, learn how to say hello charmingly, and all that, then the world will be your oyster.” While I agree with Fosse to a degree, I believe he is bit too generous in his assessment of the semitic souteneur. After all, Snider came from a fucked family that, fulfilling the worst sort of racial stereotypes and surely using Talmudic reasoning, successfully petitioned a court to grant them all the assets of both Snider and Stratten after the murder-suicide because the Playmate died first and thus her homicidal hubby technically ‘inherited’ her wealth.  Speaking of strange familial connections, Bogdanovich virtually unwittingly predicted the casting of Star 80 when he opted to include a rather dark passage from female lead Mariel Hemingway’s grandfather Ernest Hemingway’s popular antiwar novel A Farewell to Arms (1929) as the epitaph on Stratten's grave marker. 

 While All That Jazz is a painfully personal film that makes Fosse seem like a self-destructive blackhole that sucks up everyone and everything around him, Star 80 is arguably even more uniquely unflattering, albeit in a considerably more cryptic fashion. Indeed, as Martin Gottfried argued in his biography, “‘In STAR 80,’ John Kander said, ‘Bob was saying the same thing he was saying in CHICAGO. That everything sexual is disgusting, [but] I never knew him well enough to understand what demons he was exorcising.’ Perhaps the demon was sexual guilt. Perhaps STAR 80 was an exorcism of that demon, or perhaps it was an expression of his anger with Hollywood and its failure to make him a movie star. Perhaps finally, in some way, he was linking both of these major themes of his life as reflections of the qualities that he feared might be discovered within himself: shallowness, fraudulence, a self who, like Paul Snider, he secretly believed was cheap, unmanly, incompetent, and unlovable. Riff.” Indeed, it is certainly hard to believe a heterosexual man would be such a great dancer, musical-theatre choreographer, and theatre director and it surely is not particularly traditionally masculine that he would utilize such feminine skills to woo women. Of course, one cannot also forget that Fosse was forced to experience being molested by much older predatory woman to establish such a career, which is certainly something that probably haunted him for the rest of his life. Indeed, as Gottfried also argued, “…what emerges in sharp focus in STAR 80 is Fosse’s inclination to blame public sex—as if something had to be blamed—for private lust […] But there is so much shabby sex in STAR 80 that even with the PLAYBOY sensibility as a theme, it seems excessive. Yet the brilliance of the movie, its power, probably could never have been achieved without the crass sex. It is as if the exorcism of Bob Riff required an overdose on sleaze.” Of course, ‘Bob Riff’ is the stage-name used as a teenager when he was being molested by slutty strippers.  As a victim of a group of virtual female Paul Sniders, Fosse ultimately learned to become a Paul Snider himself, at least in his own troubled mind.

 Not surprisingly, lead Eric Robert go into Brando-esque method-acting-mode during the filming of Star 80 to the point where he became a sort of demonic composite of both Snider and Fosse, which is apparent during the film, or as Gottfried explained, “As Dorothy’s assurance grows, Paul’s cracks. He changes his style and goes Hollywood in a clothing-store scene, putting together snakeskin boots, gold chains, and an unmistakable Fosse costume of black—black shirts, black pants. He would wear Fosse black for the rest of the film as STAR 80 begins its ascent to climax, and with full rhythmic music Fosse makes this wordless costuming scene into a virtual dance number.” Naturally, Fosse went further than making Roberts dress like him, or as the actor explained in Gottfried’s book, “He educated me on the life of the strip clubs. He wanted me to know it wasn’t about fucking, that every stripper who was a ‘lifer’—that’s what he called them—has the same issues as children who were molested. Bob believed that. He wanted me to know that this guy [Snider] had expertise, that this guy, if he weren’t a psychopath, would have been hugely successful.” And Fosse was successful because he was not a psychopath, but an inordinately sensitive man that could empathize with the damaged dames that both preyed on him and were assumedly preyed on themselves. As someone that has dated (ex)strippers and victims of molestation, I can safely say that Star 80 left a sick feeling in my stomach and reminded me of why it would be a blessing if both Hollywood and the entire so-called adult entertainment industry became the object of a complete scorched-earth policy.  While Paul Snider only killed Stratten and (thankfully) himself, one can only imagine how many souls he destroyed during his short pathetic life via sexual exploitation as a pimp.

 Notably, Star 80 begins with a potent opening credits sequence featuring glossy pin-up shot of Hemingway-as-Stratten juxtaposed with the tragic heroine stating to a journalist, “PLAYBOY’s motto is the girl next door. They look for girls that are wholesome and fresh and young and naïve. They look for all of that. So most of those girls do have that type of background.” During this same sequence, a journalist can be heard asking Stratten’s teenage sister, “Would you like to be just like your sister when you grow up?” and she replies, “Yeah. Because I’m proud of her.” Undoubtedly, in this opening credit sequence before the film has really even started, Fosse has established a clear anti-Hollywood/anti-porn message where both Hollywood and Playboy are blamed for the seduction and, in turn, sleazy sexual debasement of youth who come to believe that flashing their boobs and beaver will lead to fame and fortune. Of course, Fosse, who dreamed of being the next Fred Astaire as a child, knew this all too well and he paid the ultimate price, but luckily it at least eventually resulted in great films like All That Jazz and Star 80 where the shady side of show business begins to resemble a sort of metaphysical hell that not even the gloss and glitter, which the auteur's films have plenty of, can disguise the pangs of debasement and spiritual destitution.  In some ways, one could even argue that Stratten's death was an unintentional mercy killing as the beauty at least never had the opportunity to degenerate into a forsaken creature like self-slaughtering porn diva Shauna Grant or harpy-like ‘Me Too’ messias Rose McGowan.  Indeed, whereas McGowan now seems seriously possessed by some sort of fiercely demonic feministic force and (at least, to me) is quite hard to even look at due to her crazy-dead-eyes despite once being quite beautiful in her early films like Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation (1995), Stratten followed in the tradition of James Dean and will remain forever young and beautiful.

As for Fosse, Star 80—a film that the auteur expected would win him an Oscar—was so severely savaged by both film critics and former allies alike that the filmmaker decided to give up on filmmaking altogether and never directed another film.  Indeed, bitch boy Andrew Sarris went so far as describing it as “one of the most glumly misogynous movies ever produced on this continent” with “The gruesome ending, particularly, is the biggest treat for women-haters this side of the underground snuff circuit.”  A notorious beta, Sarris, who was not a bad film critic, seems to be projecting his own fantasies and/or conflicted feelings onto the film, as Star 80 derives its singular pro-female/anti-Hollywood majesty by devastatingly depicting the destruction of what Bogdanovich once somewhat rightly described as a ‘unicorn’ as Dorothy Stratten was a woman that was so strikingly statuesque and pure in her pulchritude that here mere presence in Galaxina (1980) is the sole thing that makes such stupendously stupid sci-fi-scat watchable.  Undoubtedly, what Sarris and other critics of the film cannot deal with is being forced to confront the fact that such a breathless beauty was so savagely murdered and defiled in the dream realm of Hollyweird in an aesthetically flavorsome film that utilizes a slick Playboy perfect style to underscore such frivolous post-sexual liberation fantasies of fame and fortune.  Indeed, to fully embrace a film like Star 80 one must reject the lies of feminism, sexual liberation, and Hollywood and accept a certain cultural cynicism where the exploitation and commodification of feminine beauty is seen as something virtually satanic and ultimately anti-human.  After all, the greatest celebration of Dorothy Stratten's beauty would have been if she had children with a similarly attractive man (as opposed to unattractive kosher conmen like Snider and Bogdanovich) and not as the heavily edited subject of a semen-soiled porno mag that some pussy-starved loser used as a quick masturbation aid.  In that sense, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that Fosse's film is the greatest thing to come from Stratten's life as a nearly cinematically immaculate warning on the perils of the road to stardom in a Der Stürmer-esque Sodom where girls must be virtual gorgons if they hope to survive, let alone thrive.

-Ty E

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