Friday, July 1, 2011

CRYSTAL HEART (1986) - inspiring boys without immune systems to hope for the hair metal starlet of their dreams

“honey, in order to succeed in life, you have to find something you love to do, and do it better than anyone else”
-Tawny Kitaen’s mom talking to Tawny circa the mid 70’s

Pretty damn sound advice if I do say so myself. Sure, it may seem like a cornball cliché, but many a successful life story was built upon such supposed postcard drivel. Some cliches are cliché for a reason, I guess. That could also go on a postcard now that I think of it.

ANYWAY, with a dream in her pocket and her mother’s words etched in her heart, Tawny hit show biz looking to make it, chock full of grit, tenacious tenacity, intestinal fortitude, indomitable spirit, tenacious fortitude, intestinal grit and, of course, the eye of the tiger. It took her awhile, but she eventually found her niche within the entertainment industry, becoming the greatest car fucker the human race has ever seen upon the release of Whitesnake’s video for “Here I Go Again”. The song shot to number one on the Billboard charts on the back of Tawny’s vehicular schtupping. Granted, she had to date and eventually marry David Coverdale to get the car humping gig, but if you have a dream, you do whatcha gotta do.

Lost in this epic ascension from small town girl to big time car fucker is Tawny’s transitional period, which amounts to the previous year’s Crystal Heart. Fucking a car is not something you just do and do comfortably right out of the box, considering you need to develop your technique, not to mention the sharp angles and cold steel, both hell on a pair of supple cheeks. As it turns out, she eased her way into the car humper profession by getting steamy and grindy with something half man/half machine…a boy in a bubble.

Now, I know what you’re thinking folks. Screwing a boy in a bubble is a recipe for disaster. If this guy isn't even allowed to breathe air, I’m doubt he can go muff diving (keep in mind I’m not a doctor). Realizing her plight, Tawny does the only sensible thing a young woman can do when faced with this situation…she fucks him through the bubble.

Now, I know what you’re thinking folks (I like it when you guys use your noodle, for the record). There is no way a movie exists where Tawny Kitaen fucks a bubble boy. None. Well, au contraire mon frere. Not only have I seen this movie, I own this movie. Not only do I own this movie, I OWN THE FUCKING SOUNDTRACK. And you thought car fucking was perverse. Well, here’s a video for proof:

The “plot” involves Tawny, an up and coming video rocker, receiving fawning letters from a going nowhere (well, he can’t go anywhere) bubble boy and budding songwriter who wants to write songs for her. His parents are super rich, and pamper this bubble boy like no bubble boy has ever been pampered before. His bubble is an absurd futuristic structure, complete with a big screen T.V., tanning bed, wood paneled synthesizer, a recording studio, a mini-gym, the entire Sharper Image catalog (not the actual catalog, just everything in it), as well as BOTH an Atari 2600 and a Commodore 64. That may not sound like much, but this was some cutting edge gaming circa 1986. All told, this structure might be the pinnacle achievement of the Reagan economic boom. It’s that fucking sweet, folks.

ANYWAY, Tawny is hanging around by the pool with her agent, reading over Bubble Boy’s letter, considering his proposal. She asks her sleazy agent (with the token stache, exposed chest hair, and gold chain) for advice, and the conversation goes something like this:

Tawny: "I couldn’t…I wouldn’t know what to say!"
agent: "Say exactly the right thing!"
Tawny: "You think so?"
Agent: "I know so!"

Fifteen percent for that shit? When Tawny meets at him at his office, asking for career advice, does he say “the important thing…is to succeed!”. Thanks asshole. Either way, she meets Bubble Boy and they collaborate on a couple of songs, their friendship develops, but things start to get complicated. Bubble Boy’s mom isn’t too keen on him hanging around the tastiest redhead in the universe, since his health is all fucked and what have you (my medical journals are currently boxed up in the closet and I’m not digging them out). Tawny even gives Bubble Boy a dog as a present, but the dog causes his mother to knock over some milk. This leads to a haunting piece of dialogue that exemplifies the friction between mother and son:

Bubble Boy: "It’s just some spilled milk!"
Mother: "No! It’s more! It’s MUCH more!"

Hair. Worship fuckers.

Things get even weirder when Bubble Boy proposes marriage to Tawny, proclaiming “my parents have a lot of money!”. She’s not overly interested, considering he’s incredibly annoying, whiny beyond belief, dorky beyond comprehension, sucks at music, and has both a hideous curly afro and an immune system that is frankly dogshit. He’s played by Lee Curreri (of Fame fame), in a truly terrible and grating performance. Folks, he can’t even keep up with Tawny Kitaen. Let that sink in a little. Oh yeah, he also lives in a bubble and can’t come out. On the other side of the table, Tawny might’ve been the hottest stuff going at the time (at least for teenage boys hooked on MTV). Remind me again why she should bother with this clown? Oh yeah…money. My bad.

As it happens, opportunity knocks (not the movie, that thing blows). Tawny can somehow snag an opening gig on a European tour if she can get on the cover of the National Enquirer, and to get on the cover of the National Enquirer, she has to pretend to be in a relationship with a rich bubble boy. Calling this a stretch as a plot device does a disservice to deus ex machinas the world over. It’s akin to god interfering with a plot, saying “I'm not quite able to get these two characters together, so I’ll need my own deus ex machina to interfere and assist my godly powers”. Personally, I think it’s awesome.

So, the obvious next step in this rickety plot ladder would be for the relationship to continue as a farce, with hot stuff video dancer Tawny pretending to like Bubble Boy to further her career, demolishing his heart in the process. Instead, she ends up fucking him through the bubble, consummating the relationship in rather direct terms. It’s maybe the unlikeliest love story in movie history, and quite a surprising turn for Tawny’s character. This out-of-left-field character transition is handled, not with scripting and what have you, but rather, a crucial montage featuring a cock pop song (that’s a pop song played with a slight cock rock edge) so catchy it smooths over logic itself. The song (featured in the clip above) is “Let Me Believe in You”, by Jay Ferguson, former lead singer of Spirit. How you go from "Nature’s Way" to this song I’ll never know, buy Jay brings the heavy wood and knocks it out of the montage park.

Ominously, Tawny has a nightmare later that night (after boinking the dude without the immune system) where she crashes naked through a shower stall four god damn times. I’m not quite sure what this dream is supposed to signify (except maybe that bad shit is gonna happen) but lordy does it look rad. Anytime a Tawny Kitaen is completely naked (the whole shebang folks) and covered in blood, after having crashed through glass in slo-mo, I’m a happy camper. Instead of causing her to rethink this possibly doomed relationship, she goes on a big shopping spree the next day using his parent’s money. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, I guess.

Bubble Boy should be ecstatic that another human being would even talk to him, let alone his amazing good fortune with Tawney up to this point. Unfortunately, things go awry when Bubble Boy tries calling her a couple of times, but she doesn't answer the phone! Desperate times call for desperate measures, and he breaks out of his bubble by throwing a metal Sharper Image chair through a glass panel (that’ll teach his parents to upgrade to bulletproof glass). Bubble Boy roams the neighborhood (I guess he’s just “boy” at this point, but I’ll stick to "Bubble Boy" as to not confuse the reader), mesmerized by the wonders of lawns and twigs, like a kitten discovering yarn for the first time.

The movie is a Spanish/U.S. co-production, and the Spanish title is "Corazon de Cristal", which is also the Spanish translation for Blondie's "Heart of Glass". So, I propose that the title of the movie was inspired by the title of "Heart of Glass". I have nothing to back this up except blind stupidity.

You’d think Bubble Boy would have trouble navigating the rich parts of greater Los Angeles in order to find Tawny. Luckily, he immediately comes across a very helpful paperboy by the name of “Abdullah the Fooler the Big Bad Bowl Ruler” (don’t ask, although I wouldn’t know the answer if you did). He drives him to Tawny’s pad, and along the way they have the following conversation:

Abdullah: "Don’t I know you from somewhere? Are you an actor or something? Weren’t you on Miami Vice last night?"

Bubble Boy: "Yeah, I wish. You probably saw me on the cover of the National Enquirer."

Abdullah: "You the bubble boy, ain’t ya! Well…how come you ain’t in your bubble?"

Bubble Boy: “Twenty years in the same room…I needed a change of scenery!"

Well, that’s a pretty big change of scenery, from stuck inside a bubble to exploring the entire world. Either way, he finally locates Tawny, and this leads to, you guessed, a spectacular love montage, amped up by the fact that it contains an occasionally naked Tawney Kitaen and some annoying dude that may drop dead at any moment. I think the word is “epic”. The other word that comes to mind is “stupid”.

The obvious comparison is to The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, which actually had a believable romance between a young hunky John Travolta and that hot chick that was in Ode to Billy Joe. People may laugh at that earlier film and the “after school special” simplicity of it all, but it presents, at its heart, a tragic love story for the hypochondric age. Like Romeo and Juliet (or, maybe more appropriately, the two lovers from Rappaccini’s Daughter) , Travolta and what’s-her-face are soulmates, separated by an impenetrable wall. Laugh if you must, but this is probably the most direct rendition of the two lovers tragedy that has ever been conceived. I believe it was Lao Tzu that said “when love is impossible, death is inevitable”. Either that, or it’s a Whitesnake lyric. Boy, I really need to clean my brain out.

Crystal Heart would seem to be the cynical, technological version of the bubble boy love tragedy, where the impenetrable wall that exists between two hearts is merely an opportunity for crass exploitation. However, the movie ends up as a “love conquers all” tale, as evidenced by the previously mentioned love montage and the following concert performance:

However, as I stated earlier, this “love affair” is probably the most forced love affair in cinema history. If I’m to believe that Tawny really falls in love with this Bubble Boy, I’m forced to conclude that she subconsciously tricked herself into loving him in order to gain monetarily and further her career. When viewed in this light, Crystal Heart becomes a fitting love story for the pop commercialism age, a bullshit “love conquers all” carrot dangling at the end of a road of hi-tech products and MTV flash, paved with terminal disease being used as fodder for melodrama (maybe a metaphoric stretch, but I like it). After all, it might’ve been Lao Tzu that said “love may conquer all, but money talks louder than love, and when bullshit walks, it can trample your heart in the process”. I know that may be a little difficult to unravel, so I’ll go in another direction: this movie fucking rocks. Yeah, it's retarded beyond belief, but so was Troll 2, and that there's a fucking masterpiece. Crystal Heart also leaves us with an important lesson: relationships with bubble boys (or girls) are a dead end. They can be big time assholes (see the Seinfeld episode for further evidence), and even if they’re not, bubble relationships can only end in tears. Boy that sounds like a Smiths song.

No comments:

Post a Comment