Soundtrack Saturday: “Fast Forward”

Written by Film, Soundtrack Saturday

OK, look — I know many of you haven’t seen this movie, so I’m being a little self-indulgent by writing about it. But I’ve been searching for this soundtrack far and wide for many, many years, and now that I’ve found (most of) it, I just had to share.

Now, you all know how much I love ’80s dance movies; I’ve written about a few of them and will no doubt write about many more. Fast Forward (1985) is a film I’d never even heard of until I caught it on cable a decade ago, but after one viewing I was hooked.

I’ve tried to catch it every time it’s aired, which isn’t very often, so I was delighted to find it on Netflix Instant last winter. I managed to DVR it when Encore aired it right after New Year’s, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve watched it about ten times since.

If you’ve seen Fast Forward you probably (a) think I’m insane for loving it so much since it’s not that great, or (b) agree with me 100 percent on its ’80s-dance-movie brilliance. If you haven’t seen it, too bad — it’s not available on DVD, and it’s long out of print on VHS. Your best chance of seeing it is probably on cable, like I did, but as I said, it doesn’t air often.

Here are a few things I love about Fast Forward:

1. It was directed by Sidney Poitier. Yes, that Sidney Poitier.

2. It’s about a bunch of kids from Ohio (Sandusky, to be exact) who are trying to “make it big in NYC” by calling themselves “The Adventurous Eight.” Really? Are you a music/dance group or a bunch of comic book characters?

3. DANCE FIGHTS! Dance-offs/dance fights in ’80s dance movies are the best thing in life. It’s a fact, people.

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4. The cast. It’s chock-full of actors who, when you see them, you say to yourself, “Hey, wasn’t he/she in…?” For example …

  • John Scott Clough and Don Franklin, the male leads in the film, have both guest-starred in a whole heap of TV shows and movies.
  • Karen Kopins played Jim Carrey’s love interest in the 1985 vampire comedy Once Bitten.
  • Irene Worth is best known for her stage work, so in her case you’d be more likely to ask, “What the hell is she doing in this movie?”
  • Dancer-actor Michael DeLorenzo was in the TV series Fame and Head of the Class.
  • You’d probably recognize Sam McMurray from Raising Arizona (he played Frances McDormand’s husband) and his work with Tracey Ullman on her various TV shows.

5. Lots and lots of leg warmers.

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6. The dancing, in general. The choreography is really quite good, and very, very ’80s.

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7. The costumes. For a bunch of kids from Ohio, the Adventurous Eight have some very coordinated, colorful costumes. My favorites, though, are the hoodies and matching hi-top Chuck Taylors.

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8. Did I mention DANCE FIGHTS! I mean, dancing gangs are one of the best concepts ever created. Seriously. This one is especially amazing because … NUNCHUKS!

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9. The last dance number. It’s truly inspired.

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10. The soundtrack, of course. It’s a helluva lot of fun, but, sadly, it’s really, really out of print.

An interesting thing to note about Fast Forward‘s soundtrack: the songs on the album aren’t the same versions that appear in the film. Most of the songs performed by the Adventurous Eight in the film have vocals that are credited to John Scott Clough. However, on the soundtrack album they’re performed by Deco, which, as far as I can tell, is a group comprised of Attala Zane Giles and Phillip Ingram. Several other tracks are performed by Siedah Garrett, who backed Michael Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” in ’87 — one solo, one with Deco, and one with David Swanson. Most of the songs in the film were written, or cowritten, by Narada Michael Walden (I know you know who he is), Brock Walsh, and Mark Vieha.

I’ve gathered all the songs from the official release, which some kind soul somewhere in the ether ripped from vinyl, as well as a few that are listed as being in the film but didn’t make it onto the album. Most of what I don’t have in MP3 format you can find in the YouTube clips above.

I hope that even if you don’t like ’80s dance flicks as much as I do, you’ve enjoyed my post about Fast Forward, if for no other reason than SIDNEY POITIER DIRECTED A MOVIE FEATURING LEG WARMERS AND DANCE FIGHTS.

Narada Michael Walden – That’s the Way It Is
Deco – Breakin’ Out
Deco – Survive
Pulse featuring Adele Bertei – Showdown
Deco featuring Siedah Garrett – Curves
Siedah Garrett – Do You Want It Right Now
Deco – Taste
Herbie Hancock – Hardrock
Deco – Fast Forward
Siedah Garrett and David Swanson – Long as We Believe