Freaky Friday (1976): They’ll Play Batdance At Our Funeral

Freaky Friday (1976): They’ll Play Batdance At Our Funeral

In which Jason and Jack Walsh review the 1976 trailer for Freaky Friday. Part of a series of trailer reviews for body-switching comedies of the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. 

JASON

Jack, according to the trailer, here’s what we know for sure about the events of Freaky Friday—Barbara Harris is a teenage mother, Jodie Foster is a middle-aged daughter, and John Astin is a “confused male chauvinist.”

Listen, Jack—John Astin’s not going to let a little thing like not having any idea what’s going on stop him from sexually harassing you. He really captures the befuddled horniness of the 1970’s. If he was being drawn by a caricaturist, he’d have a cartoon question mark above his head and a huge boner.

Also, is that a witch on water skis jumping over a guy buried in the sand? Now I’m the one who’s confused with a boner.

JACK

I knew I should have trademarked the phrase “Confused With A Boner” before I put it on my business cards. Now everybody’s throwing it around like just another “YOLO.” It’s just as well, I guess. Angry phone calls from the manager of Chili’s were all that tossing that card into the “Win a Free Lunch!” fishbowl ever seemed to get me. But, what can you do? CWAB, baby!

When I agreed to review the trailer for Freaky Friday, I’d assumed that it would be the full theatrical trailer and not a quickie TV spot. There’s hardly anything to go on here, especially since I’ve been asked not to mention Lindsay Lohan in this, the one Scene Missing trailer review where it would have actually made sense. Are you sure I can’t convince you to do the trailer for Gorky Park like I wanted to? What if I told you that it’s a changing-places movie, too, and that William Hurt and Lee Marvin do the old Moscow Switcheroo? I mean, I know that isn’t the case, but even if Hurt and Marvin were just to walk past each other in the film, it would have to be a more convincing persona-swap than the one suggested by the special effects in the Freaky Friday trailer.

You know what was a real missed opportunity back in the day? A Lee Marvin/Lee Van Cleef switch-up. I always got those guys confused because a) Lee, obviously and b) they were both in movies with Clint Eastwood that my dad made me watch. Now I’m kind of sad that the world never got that iteration of Freaky Friday. Then, instead of somebody really getting into Jodie Foster and shooting President Reagan, you would have absolutely nobody getting really into Lee Marvin and shooting anybody. Except in The Killers, where I’m pretty sure Lee Marvin shoots Ronald Reagan. But maybe, just maybe, it was Lee Van Cleef all along.

JASON

Well, Jack, why don’t we just call up the President of Disney?! “Oh, Mr. President, could you make a longer trailer for Freaky Friday? Poor Jack Walsh can barely make any jokes at all. He’s breaking out his Lee Marvin material. Yeah, his tight five on Lee Marvin. What’s that, Mr. President? Lee Marvin? He’s an old man actor or something. What’s he been in? What do I look like, IMDB? Look it up YOUR DAMN SELF.”

Of course, I’d be saying all this while doing a Marilyn-Monroe-style “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” striptease. I know, it seems odd to berate somebody while doing a burlesque show for their birthday, but that’s what he’s into. And it’s my ticket to getting cast in the new Disney Star Wars movie. He said I can play Jar Jar Binks’ great-great-grandson, Jay Jar Jar Tolkien.

JACK

My mistake. I’m not one for hyperbole – in fact, I’m the least hyperbolic person in the world ever – but this 30-second trailer is so rich with substantial brilliance that I will never need to watch a movie ever again. It was just too much for me to absorb at first. I stand humbled, Jason.

I am, however, trying to figure out what they were trying to illustrate by having both mother/daughter and daughter/mother do tricky waterskiing and skateboarding moves. I mean, whether before or after the switch, shouldn’t that be out of character for one of them either way? I really need to get stuff like that sorted out before I get too far into my Freaky Friday/Parent Trap crossover fan-fiction. It’s coming along, although roughly half the dialogue is a supporting character saying something like, “You haven’t been acting like yourself lately…”

Do you think they played around with all of the days of the week before they came up with an agreeably alliterative title like Freaky FridayWhacky WednesdaySilly SaturdayLee Marvin Monday? Or did the aforementioned president of Disney just rush into the office one day and say, “I’ve got it! We’ll do a movie called Freaky Friday. It’ll be a hit! Get me Jodie Foster! And, also a plot. Possibly a script.” Either way, I’ll bet Prince was peeved when he was writing a song for the Bangles and discovered that he only had six days left to choose from. His later song, Seven, is actually about his frustration with the days of the week during this period.

Wait. Sorry. I’m thinking of Batdance.

JASON

You know what’s crazy? There’s a collective of neurons in your brain, and they only exist to preserve Batdance memories. Not even Prince can send a legal takedown notice to your neurons, like he constantly does to all the Batdance videos on YouTube. He can try with all his might to wipe Batdance off the internet, but he can’t wipe Batdance out of your mind. This must infuriate him!

Jack, your brain is safe from Prince—for now. But can we take a moment to look towards the future? When we’re all in a coffin, and our Batdance neurons have dissolved into dust? I mean, we’re not going to be in the same coffin. Unless—did you want to talk about that? Maybe splitting a coffin? I got five on it. Our future loved ones would probably hate that. But if they know what’s good for them, they’ll play Batdance at our funeral, so our legacy as the gatekeepers of Batdance synapses will live on.

Good luck finding it on YouTube, future loved ones of Jack Walsh and Jason Mallory. You’ll have a better chance of prying it out of Prince’s skull in his Goonies-style pirate ship, where he is buried fifty years from now. Ahhh, who am I kidding?

No one will love us in the future.

JACK

Jason, you know Prince isn’t trying to be a dick with the Batdance takedowns, right? Just as indigenous peoples devised dances to summon the rain, the batdance was an ill-conceived shamanistic ritual that brought very little agricultural benefit, unless, for some reason, you are growing crops that are nourished by falling bats, rabies and the occasional outbreak of vampirism.

So Prince, benevolent, diminutive, purple god that he is, banished Batdance from our realm, sparing us damage to our windshields, roofs, and drainage systems. And from the guano. My God, the guano…

Prince says you’re welcome, Jason.

Of course, this is not to be confused with the Babsdance, which is what I assume Barbara Harris is doing in those mirrors in the Freaky Friday trailer. Just as the multiple Batmen, Jokers, and Vicki Vales (grammar – Vickis Vale?) had their dance-off in the Batdance video, Barbara Harris foreshadows the danse macabre that will bind us all together in the end.

Sure, Barbara has an extra spring in her step and a twirl in her skirt with the teenage soul of Jodie Foster inside, but Jodie Foster’s soul just lost 20-something years of life with the transfer. And then, she goes heedlessly flinging Barbara Harris’s decidedly non-teenage body over that bench? It’s a shame this trailer doesn’t show the scene where she is struck by the grim realization of her own mortality, a scene which I can only assume this film includes, mind-bending, soul-searing, existential navel-gazer that it is.

And what of Barbara Harris’s consciousness now parasitically inhabiting the much younger body of Jody Foster? Will this malevolent fiend get away with it? Will the one man who suspects the truth, a gruff, loose-cannon policeman presumably played by Lee Marvin, be able to reassemble his car that improbably split when it ran into…wait, what was that, anyway? Like, the tallest traffic median ever? That seems unsafe.

Anyway, will he be able to Unfreak Friday Before Friday is Freaky Forever? I’m dying to know. When is this movie released? We should go check it out. Want to grab lunch beforehand? I just dropped my business card in the bowl at Chili’s and I’m feeling freaky.

Sorry. Lucky. I meant lucky. This time.