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Review: Good Times (1967).

June 17, 2011

The Scoop:
One of the fun things about the film industry in the 1960s was the trail blazed by the Beatles, which opened the door for all sorts of rock and pop acts to star in their own movies. There wasn’t much to these movies – mostly just some simple plot cliches and light comedy stringing together a series of musical numbers. They varied widely in quality, and none of them could match up to “Help!” or “A Hard Day’s Night.” I miss those – I mean, who today wouldn’t want to see a wacky comedy starring The Arcade Fire or Bruno Mars filled with musical numbers?

“Good Times” is Sonny and Cher’s entry into the 1960s rock film sweepstakes, and is definitely not one of the better ones. For their movie, they opted for a plot about making their first movie. After signing a contract with a megalomaniac producer (a past-his-prime George Sanders), the duo just wander around talking about plot ideas, then act them out in daydream sequences. There’s some talent involved – besides Sanders, there are two future Oscar winners in Cher and director William Friedkin, making his feature film debut. Unfortunately, “Good Times” is hampered by Sonny Bono’s poor acting and Friedkin’s discomfort in doing comedy. And the weak script by TV veteran Tony Barrett doesn’t help matters either.

On the plus side, Sonny and Cher have a bit of chemistry and the music is fun, if fairly typical, late ’60s pop. There are certainly worse ways to kill 90 minutes, but “Good Times” shouldn’t be on the top of your list if you’re looking to explore the genre.

Best Bit:
The chimps shooting craps.

Side Note:
This movie was such a box office flop that even though Sonny and Cher were under contract to Columbia for another film, Columbia wanted nothing more to do with them. Even though their next project, “Speedway,” was already in development, Columbia sold the film to MGM, who replaced Sonny and Cher with Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra.

Companion Viewing:
“Head” (1968).


Take a Look:
The trailer:

Sonny and Cher sing “It’s the Little Things”:

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