50 Movies for 50 States Part Two: The `80s – #22 – Minnesota, Film – One More Saturday Night / Patti Rocks

#22 – Minnesota, One More Saturday Night and Patti Rocks

Minnesota: A state so fine it gets a twofer. That’s right. Two for the price of one — the price of one being nothing, of course.

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One More Saturday Night (1986), directed by Dennis Klein, written by Tom Davis and Al Franken, with Tom Davis, Al Franken, Moira Sinise and Meshach Taylor, filmed in St. Cloud, Minnesota and other locations

First up, One More Saturday Night, starring funny guy turned politician Al Franken. Franken is a Minnesota native. Now he’s a U.S. Senator representing the state of Minnesota.

I like Al Franken … but can I really call myself an Al Franken “fan”? Politically, we seem to get along — I enjoyed reading “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” back in my college days. I thought he did a good job during the early years of Saturday Night Live. I had never realized the extent of his contributions until I went back and watched all of SNL’s first season for this Web site. Behind-the-scenes, Franken had a lot to do with some iconic SNL moments –Dan Akroyd’s Julia Sweeney impersonation and Steve Martin’s “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber.”

But there’s plenty about Al Franken that I just don’t get. His Stuart Smalley character, when featured on SNL, I never found to be that funny. I’ve never seen the spin-off movie “Stuart Saves His Family.” According to Wikipedia, Gene Siskel “praised” it, which does raise my interest a bit.

And then there’s “One More Saturday Night.”

Judging from some of the comments on IMDb, there are a handful of people who feel One More Saturday Night is an extremely underrated film. I didn’t get that impression. Critics were indifferent to the movie. It disappeared into obscurity. I stumbled on it and was underwhelmed.

As an attempt to be a sort of American Graffiti for the 1980s (or a Dazed & Confused for the 1980s, depending on what generation you’re from), One More Saturday Night succeeds … kind of … sort of. Although I didn’t find any of the characters particularly memorable, as an ensemble they do succeed in capturing a very specific time and place in history — Minnesota in the mid-1980s. That being the case, One More Saturday Night is the kind of movie that people who grew up in Minnesota from 1980-1989 might really enjoy, the same way that Wrestling is a movie that upper-middle class kids who grew up in Delaware from 2000-present might really like. That’s a pretty specific group of people to which I might recommend One More Saturday Night.

I say “might” because One More Saturday Night isn’t particularly funny. Its characters aren’t that memorable. The one thing you might take away from the film is that it has a really catchy theme song, which isn’t anything to sneeze at since catchy theme songs are a very important part of 80s movies.

The theme song is not to be confused with The Grateful Dead song “One More Saturday Night.” However, Franken is a fan of The Dead and the film is named for the song. Confused? Me too.

FUN FACT: If you Google Image Search “One More Saturday Night,” page six contains a graphic picture of a all-male circle jerk. If you click on that picture, it takes you to a photo of a man having sex with a horse. I have no idea what any of this has to do with One More Saturday Night, either the film or the song (both The Grateful Dead version or the theme to the movie), but if I can pass any advice along to you — don’t Google Image Search “One More Saturday Night.”

One More Saturday Night: Less painful than having sex with a horse.

Speaking of sex, let’s talk about Patti Rocks.

Patti Rocks (1988), directed by David Burton Morris, written by John Jenkins, Karen Landry, Chris Mulkey and David Burton Morris, with John Jenkins, Karen Landry and Chris Mulkey, filmed in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

Patti Rocks is directed by David Burton Morris, a Minnesota native and independent filmmaker who has one a boatload of awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Sundance Film Festival for his movie Purple Haze. He’s Minnesota’s resident auteur and probably would have had a more critically lucrative career had his career in film not peaked in the 1980s, before the Kevin Smiths and the Spike Lees and the Quentin Tarantinos made independent film big business. As a result, most people don’t know David Burton Morris from Neil Patrick Harris or Daniel Day Lewis or Long Duck Dong.

It’s a road trip film — probably the only road trip film that I’ve seen which spans one night and contains itself to only one state. Chris Mulkey (Who I know best as Hank, the domino-sucking con of Twin Peaks) and John Jenkins star as Billy and Eddie, two old friends reconnected for one night over an unfortunate set of circumstances.

Billy, who fancies himself a bit of a womanizer, has impregnated a young lady named Patti (Full name: “Patti Rocks”). The problem being, Billy’s married. So he calls Eddie and convinces Eddie to drive out to Patti’s place, where he plans to tell her about his marriage in the hopes that she’ll choose to terminate her pregnancy. Eddie agrees, because — well — Billy is very convincing. Also amusing, if not a complete knucklehead.

And that’s the first two thirds of the movie. Billy and Eddie drive. They talk about sex. They drink beer. They talk about sex some more (In very graphic detail — Patti Rocks was originally rated X by the MPAA because of its porno level of dirty talk.)

Finally, they get to Patti’s apartment, at which point the film takes a twist in character development. Patti Rocks is very much about how people wear different faces — metaphorically speaking, of course. All the macho talk and bravado and bragging and “braggado” which Billy displays during the first part of the film seemingly dissipates when confronted with Patti. Patti, played by Mulkey’s real life wife Karen Landry, winds up being a confident, smart, independent woman quite the opposite of what we’re set up to believe. Billy turns into a little boy, once again — metaphorically speaking.

As for Eddie — I’ll leave that one for you to see. Eddie’s a more complicated beast.

For a talky, kind of slow-paced, character-driven ride of an indie film, Patti Rocks sort of rocks. What makes it more of a gem is the fact that it takes a little maneuvering to get a hold of (Sundance Channel has shown it on occasion. I bought a copy of it on VHS off Amazon for a few bucks).

Next week: MISSISSIPPI

The great One More Saturday Night title theme:

“28 inches from nip to tip”:

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