The Best Movie Critic + review

Watching Hour Preview: Desperately Seeking Susan

I was under the mistaken impression that Desperately Seeking Susan – this week’s Watching Hour pick – featured Madonna playing some semi-fictionalized version of herself. I imagined Rosanna Arquette’s character as some kind of creepy super fan. Like a Misery-equse Kathy Bates for the urban New England Gen-X set. Boy did I have my facts wrong. Apparently both Madonna’s Susan and Arquette’s Roberta are fairly normalish people, except for some reason Susan is the recipient of an inappropriate amount of attention from newspaper want ad ‘admirers.’ Roberta becomes obsessed with Susan through these creepy personals ads, and through a series of wacky misfortunes – amnesia? mistaken identity? – becomes Susan.

If that is really what Desperately Seeking Susan is about, my brain is reeling. So many questions… Who the hell creepily hits on girls through newspaper personals ads? What kind of girl is this Susan, anyway? For that matter, what kind of girl is Roberta, developing a semi-psychotic lady-crush due to those same creepy personals ads? All the ‘pomo’ (postmodern for all you squares) kids claim Madonna as a symbol of their new hyper-aware, hyper-saturated trans-culture. So does Desperately Seeking Susan actually represent some early stage of Madonna’s involvement in mutatable postmodern hyperjunk subculture? Does Roberta really become Susan, cracking open the fascist fallacy of rigid identity formation and ownership? What the fuck am I talking about!? Where am I?

Out of all the subgenres of cult movies, 80s nostalgia flicks have to be the strangest. As I’ve said before, that generation isn’t mine. I don’t feel the uncanny pull of these movies. I liked The Last Dragon, but not as much as someone who, uh, lived it. Then again, I poo-pooed The Legend of Billy Jean before I saw it, and that ended up being a new favorite very dear to my heart. So what do I know? The only think I can say for sure is that I am a terrible predictor of quality in 80s nostalgia flicks.

This is the last week before Watching Hours kicks into 6 solid weeks of non-stop horror-y goodness. So if you are afraid of some ghosts and stuff, get your ass in the seat now before it’s too late… wimp.

Oh yeah, and there’s gonna be a Madonna lookalike contest.


The Watching Hour is a weekly film series at the Starz Film Center, highlighting new and old cult, genre, or otherwise bizarro movies. Quite simply, The Watching Hour is usually the best thing to do in Denver on a Friday or Saturday night. From Giallo to schlock, Blaxploitation to Aussiesploitation, zombies to martial arts to who-knows-what, and everywhere in between. This is good ol’ rock and roll cinema spectacle. Not to be missed. (See the schedule, buy tickets, get directions, etc. here.)

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Watching Hour Preview: Desperately Seeking Susan + review