SATiSFACTiON is a 1988 teen flick about a young rock group called ‘The Mystery’, who get their first big break playing a summer gig at a high end resort. It fits perfectly in the vein of any I-Was-Never-The-Same-Again-After-That-Summer type of film, and at the time boasted quite the promising cast.
JUSTiNE BATEMAN, hot off the heels of her success on t.v.’s FAMiLY TiES – plays Jennie, leader of ‘The Mystery’ and as we learn early on, she is also the glue that holds the rest of this promising yet troubled band together. I had to remember just how much I loved JUSTiNE growing up, and to watch it again I did see a lot of promise, certainly in her acting but definitely not with her singing. But I am getting ahead of myself. While Jennie is accepting her diploma and giving her valedictorian speech at SATiSFACTiON’s opening – fellow band members are being assembled and go as such: bass guitarist Daryle (played by a very young JULiA ROBERTS) is accepting a marriage proposal from high school sweetheart Frankie. Within the group Daryle is for all intensive purposes, ‘The Slut’. Though hardly the role actors dream of – it’s not difficult to see how JULiA ROBERTS went on to achieve her own success in film because similarly to PRETTY WOMAN, she lights up the screen with that JULiA smile/hair and at times you forget she trying to pull off that she’s actually a competent bass player (the camera never even shows her playing it!).
If any of you remember other such 1980’s films like STELLA (with BETTE MiDLER) and UNCLE BUCK (with JOHN CANDY), you might remember teen actress TRiNI ALVARADO who plays the band’s drummer and gang member Mooch. She’s tough as nails and hates everyone. And to be quite honest, I wanted to smack this bird a couple of times myself – such a NEGATiVE NANCY! I kept thinking to myself – this girl has iSSUES. With the help of guitarist Billie (BRiTTA PHiLLIPS) and the bands lone boy/keyboardist Nicky (SCOTT COFFEY) they become ‘The Mystery’ and land themselves an audition at a high end summer resort.
SATiSFACTION’s basic premise is this: They go to a bar on the coast and play during the summer. Jennie falls in love with the owner of the bar, Martin (played by LiAM NEESON). They get an offer to play in Europe and perhaps become famous. But are they ready for it?
If you have your doubts – you should – but what SATiSTACTiON lacks in good writing it makes up for by being a good nostalgic laugh. Take for example a pivotal moment in the film when it’s clear that Jennie has begun to lust for the faded out 1960’s songwriter Martin Falcon. Young and nubile, and oh so ready to learn from a ‘pro’ – Jennie asks Martin if he wouldn’t mind taking her under his wing for the summer and teaching her a thing or two about the music business. At first of course, Martin, now a drunk and struggling club owner – wants nothing to do with her other than to pay her for her singing services rendered. But eventually he too can’t resist Jennie’s raw talent and street smarts. Like I said, I love JUSTiNE but other than wriggle around while furiously hitting a cow-bell and lip-synching the film has very little to offer in actual good music.
By mid-way through summer however, Jennie’s sheer determination to hold the band together and rock the clubs has Martin inspired to write music all over again – helping him to write these fine lyrics:
No one to touch you
No one to catch you when you fall
Like the wind talks to the trees
Like a soft, whispering breeze
Like the birds sing to be free
Talk to me
Talk. To. Me.
It’s poetic and fresh enough to land Jennie and the older Martin in bed together! Well at least for the summer. But as all summers have to end, so does the love/fling between Jennie and Martin – which is intended to be bitter-sweet. But faded 60’s songwriter OR LiAM NEESON, the relationship is better off DEAD because they have zero chemistry. And Martin Falcon was right to eject the young and fresh Jennie from his promises – in fact he says to her: “I don’t want you to turn your life upside down just to hang out with me.”
Jennie : You’re really sexy when you try to be a shit head.
Martin: I’m being serious.
Jennie: Well, don’t worry because this is my life and I’ll take the wave.
Spoken like a true go-getter JUSTiNE! Poor young thing – she had no clue. Jennie accepts this fate like a good little girl and decides to pack up the band and head home, so she can begin to plan out her Fall school term!!!! Yay!!! So a Europe tour no longer becomes an option but hey, Jennie and her band ‘The Mystery’ are still in fine shape by movie’s end. In fact, love has been found for everyone in some fashion by the end of SATiSFACTiON and I suppose that is what satisfaction is all about.