Satisfaction (1988 film)
Satisfaction (also titled Girls of Summer) is a 1988 American comedy-drama film directed by Joan Freeman and starring Justine Bateman and Liam Neeson. Primarily known today as the first credited big-screen role for Julia Roberts, Satisfaction is also one of the few theatrical productions by either Aaron Spelling or the NBC network.
|Directed by||Joan Freeman|
|Written by||Charles Purpura|
|Produced by||Aaron Spelling|
|Cinematography||Thomas Del Ruth|
|Edited by||Joel Goodman|
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Jennie Lee is the lead singer of an all-girl rock band in Baltimore named the Mystery. At her high school graduation, Jennie gives her valedictorian speech at the ceremony while fellow band member, bass guitarist Daryle is accepting a marriage proposal from her high school sweetheart Frankie. Jennie and the band are planning to go to Florida to audition for a gig at a nightclub in West Palm Beach, Florida for the summer. However, problems seem to plague their plans when, first Jennie's older brother (and caretaker) doesn't want to let Jennie go because he feels it will dissuade her from continuing her college plans; second, the band's keyboardist has unexpectedly left the band, and third, Mooch (the drummer) insulted a gang member who then in turn destroyed the band's van. Mooch tells the band that she borrowed another van from her friend but in fact, assisted by the help of guitarist Billy, she stole the gang member's personal van.
After recruiting a male keyboard player Nicky, the band heads south to audition for the gig. Arriving at the nightclub after closing hours, the band fears they have missed their audition. Not wanting to have to return, the band finds the owner Martin Falcon's home address and decide to make him listen to them play. However, when they arrive at his beach house, they let themselves in and find Falcon is not home. They do find Hamlet, Falcon's pet Doberman Pincher dog, who, after Billy sings him a song, becomes fast friends with the band. Falcon arrives, drunk and assumes the band are thieves. Explaining who they are, Jennie pleads with Falcon to listen to their music, but Falcon informs them that they are in fact a day early, the auditions for the gig isn't until the next night. Having very little money and no place to stay, Falcon offers them the room that the winners are supposed to be staying at for the summer. The "room" turns out to be a tool shack with room enough for 5 beds. The next night, the band auditions and the overwhelming applauding crowd response convinces Falcon to hire the band for the summer.
The band members stick out like a sore thumb in the preppy beach side area they temporarily reside in, especially Mooch, who refuses to take off her black leather jacket, although the weather is hot. Daryle (who has broken up with Frankie) starts dating a local rich boy and tries to get the band invited to his parties. Billy, outside her comfort zone, starts taking more pills than usual to cope with her depression. Jennie encourages Mooch to spend time with Nicky, who seems to have a crush on her, and Jennie begins a romantic relationship with the older Falcon. Falcon tells Jennie he has a music agent friend who books bands for gigs all over Europe, and is going to be coming to the club to watch the band perform. Falcon, after learning from Jennie that she is considering moving in with him, breaks up with Jennie because he doesn't want her to give up any opportunities because of him. Billy nearly overdoses, and Frankie causes a small riot when he goes to the club and sees Daryle on stage being ogled by the local guys.
On the night the music agent goes to the club, Jennie runs out just after performing a song written by Falcon especially for the band, and the street gang finally catches up with Mooch for stealing their van. The band all help out Mooch as she fights off the leader and, finally, Hamlet the dog chases the gang from the club, who are then arrested. When asked about what the music agent said, Jennie implies that the agent loved their music but she turned down his offer for the band to play in European clubs. Upset with Jennie that she would turn down such a huge opportunity, Nicky explains to the rest of the band that the music agent did not want the band; he wanted only Jennie to stand in front of studio musicians, but Jennie decides that it wouldn't have been any fun without them. Jennie says goodbye to Falcon, and the band heads home with Hamlet now a part of the band.
The film was a theatrical film made by NBC Productions, an offshoot of the NBC network, then under Brandon Tartikoff. It was a vehicle for Justine Bateman who was then on the network's popular sitcom Family Ties.
"I admire her courage to stand up there and sing," said Bateman's brother Jason, who was starring in the sitcom Valerie's Family at the time and had also just made his starring debut in a feature. "You can bet her movie is going to do better than [my feature] Teen Wolf Too."
""The film is about that time in your life when you want to do something with your life within a creative environment in a constructive way," said Bateman.
Bateman took singing and guitar lessons and she and the cast rehearsed for six weeks. Filming took place in South Carolina. Bateman could not sing but said "Luckily, we're just supposed to be a garage band because my voice is very far from Sarah Vaughan's."
Bateman's Family Ties co star Michael J. Fox had recently made a rock movie called Light of Day. "The only similarity between the two movies is that both characters are in a band," said Bateman. "I wouldn't call Satisfaction light comedy, but it's . . . remember the Jodie Foster movie Foxes? It's similar to that feeling."
"I can't worry about 'changing my image' or whether I even have 'an image,'" said Bateman. "It's just me. I've done enough work that illustrates I'm just acting. Mallory [her character in Family Ties] is one character, the character in the film is another. I don't have any great plan, or feel that I need one. I feel I've balanced things pretty well. I try not to take myself too seriously. I'm 21, after all—you can't plan your life out till you're 80."
A soundtrack for the movie was released in 1988. Billed as being performed by Justine Bateman & The Mystery (as Jennie Lee & the Mystery in film credits), the instruments are actually performed by session players, with Bateman on lead vocals and co-star Britta Phillips on background vocals. The lead vocal on "Mr. Big Stuff" was sung by Phillips. The soundtrack also featured songs by other artists.
- "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Knock on Wood" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Lies" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Mr. Big Stuff" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Rock and Roll Rebels" – John Kay & Steppenwolf
- "Iko Iko" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "C'mon Everybody" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Talk to Me" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Mystery Dance" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
- "Maybe" – The Chantels
- "Love Theme from Satisfaction" – Michel Columbier
- "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Version 2)" – Justine Bateman & the Mystery
The film received poor reviews. The New York Times called it "a typical, low-budget summer movie, where everyone has a hot romance, a good body and an expensive haircut." The Los Angeles Times critic Michael Wilmington called it "a movie—supposedly about an '80s rock band—where the songs date from the '60s, the language and sexual attitudes suggest the '70s and the plot is pure '50s." A DVD Talk reviewer said that it was "no wonder these gals can't get any satisfaction; their combined musical "talents" make Brittney Spears look like Aretha Franklin, their clothes are freaking ridiculous, and they're stuck in a movie that looks precisely like a "girls on vacation" episode of Beverly Hills 90210, or worse yet, a pre-teen version of Coyote Ugly."
The film opened at eighth place earning $2.3 million.
Satisfaction currently holds a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on five reviews.
- Satisfaction at Box Office Mojo
- Tim Stack (2018-10-25). "A tale of two Julias: Inside the making of the edgiest roles of Julia Roberts' career". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
- The trouble with Tartikoff's tart tongue: Collins, Monica. USA TODAY 21 Jan 1988: 03D.
- Justine's satisfaction;Our little Mallory is growing up: [FINAL Edition] Green, Tom. USA TODAY (11 Feb 1988: 01D.
- Ties' star finds Satisfaction: [FINAL Edition] By Bart Mills Special to The Star. 20 Feb 1988: C1.
- NEW GIG FOR JUSTINE: 'FAMILY TIES' STAR PLAYS ROCKER IN FILM VARE, ETHLIE ANN. Philadelphia Daily News; 16 Feb 1988: 44.
- "Movie Review – Satisfaction – Film: Justine Bateman in 'Satisfaction'". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Satisfaction' Gets Caught in a Time Warp – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1988-02-17. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Satisfaction : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Vietnam comedy's still box office hit: [ONT Edition] (AP). Toronto Star 18 Feb 1988: C4.