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Starstruck Two Disc Special Edition

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This is THE New Wave/post-punk musical… and the only one I’ve ever heard of (I’m counting Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains as a punk rock film here). Starstruck is full-on 80s pop culture to the extreme, including teased, colored hair, laced and sequined clothing galore, and neon lighting schemes. The music channels everyone from Devo and Cyndi Lauper to The Toy Dolls and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Starstruck took a classic backstage (let’s-put-on-a-show) musical plot line, and updated it for an 80s teen audience. With a talented cast that earned the film three Australian Academy Awards, director Gillian Armstrong brought this musical comedy to the big screen in 1982 and catapulted it to cult status.

Centered on a young girl’s desire for pop-stardom, our quirky heroine, Jackie Mullens, is just a girl who wants a band, and wants to sing her little heart out. With her 14-year-old sidekick/manager/lyricist/cousin, Angus, Jackie pulls a tightrope walking stunt (wearing a costume with fake boobs) to gain media attention and a spot on a top TV show. Naturally, the show is holding a talent contest right around the time her loving family’s pub goes bust, and Jackie and her band must break in and literally steal the show. The costume design in this movie rivals anything a certain other alternative 80s redhead ever wore, and the colorful and eccentric style of the film was concocted by production designer Brian Thomson, who worked on both the theatrical and cinematic versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The film accomplishes what all like-minded musicals should: to be relentlessly cheerful and extravagant. Starstruck goes above and beyond by not stating some sort of direct “message” outright (if we all work together, we can do it!), rather, opting for celebrating difference in all its forms. A definitive film for any adolescent who dreams of becoming the greatest singer that ever lived, this is just the film for starry-eyed little dreamers.

* For parents that are sensitive about nudity, there is an extremely brief chest shot towards the beginning of the film.

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