TRASH REHASH

Flashdance is Everything Wrong with Eighties Romance Movies

Brought to you by Richie Blazek’s fedora

Grace Ombry
12 min readNov 5, 2023

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Screenshot of Alex’s water bucket dance routine. Flashdance © 1983 Paramount Pictures
The famous Flashdance water bucket dance scene. Flashdance ©1983 Paramount Pictures

One of my favorite humor podcasts, The Bachelor Zone, was poking good-natured fun at the opening credits of season 9, episode 1 of Bachelor in Paradise. They’d picked up that it was an homage to an old movie but none of the thirty-something hosts could name it. As an Old, I found myself shouting “It was Flashdance you guys!”

I can’t really fault them even though this dance-centric romance with an infectious pop soundtrack was the top-grossing film of 1983. That was forty years ago, after all.

This rehash is teeming with unapologetic spoilers. But can you truly spoil a movie with a plot thinner than Scott toilet paper? Even Paramount Pictures gave up and put the final scene in the original trailer.

Set in Pittsburgh, the story centers on Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals), a gorgeous teenage welder by day and burlesque dancer by night. She lives with her pit bull, Grunt (Jumbo Red) in an enormous warehouse apartment. I’ll skip over the trite subplots involving secondary characters, like fry cook/wannabe comedian Richie Blazek (Kyle T. Hefner), a character so utterly forgettable that he has to wear a fedora in lieu of his missing personality.

The big romance begins

Alex’s welding job boss, Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), spots her doing a chair and water bucket dance at a beer and burger joint called Mawby’s. The routine involves whipping her soaking wet hair around to splash the drooling patrons like a golden retriever fresh out of the river.

He is smitten. And undeterred by her age (18). And the fact that she’s his employee. Naturally, he starts hitting on her at work. She brushes him off with “I don’t date coworkers.” Reasonable. Though she could have added “Especially when they’re old enough to be my dad.”

After a few rounds of rejections, a contrived dust up in Mawby’s parking lot gives Nick an opportunity to “save” Alex. He then goes all May I escort you home safely in my Porsche, m’lady? Alex says she already has a ride and whips a 10-speed Schwinn Independent Gal out of her ear. She pedals home with Nick following slowly in…

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Grace Ombry

Pop culture maven about town, author of the novels Smokin' & Cryin' and State of Love & Trust. Here to get ignored by a much wider audience.