Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Boy In The Plastic Bubble (1976)

Sure, everyone remembers when John Travolta had his "breakthrough" in 1977 as the disco dancing swine Tony Manero in the classic flick "Saturday Night Fever."

But how many people realize 1976 was arguably, an ever bigger year for the "only Sweat Hog with a future" who had a very prominent role in the horror smash "Carrie," an abominable soft-rock hit single called "Let Her In." And, perhaps most distressing of all, was his decidely odd turn as Todd Lubitch--the lad who was born with an immune system deficiency--in the aggressively sucky television drama "The Boy in The Plastic Bubble."

In our feature presentation, Bubble Freak is kept in a germ free enclosure in his room in his parents' house and has no actual contact with other humans. Still, he's secretly popping a boner over the girl next door (as was I), Gina (the preternaturally adorable Glynnis O'Connor). Gina is a pot smoking, booze-sucking high school senior who--quite reasonably--thinks Todd is a complete turd.

But the casting of Todd's parents is the REAL story here! Former Brady Bunch dad Robert Reed is on hand to play Todd's permed father, and his mom was portrayed by Diana Hyland--who Travolta was supposedly dating, and who was fated to tragically drop dead from cancer the following year--saving her from an embarassing few years on "Eight is Enough" tolerating Willie Ames.

Amyway, this hellish load of horse manure of course lurches to a phoney "happy ending," as Travolta throws caution to the wind and bounds out into his yard looking to get his bad self down with the (by-now lovestruck) Gina. Everyone is grinning foolishly and all is well with the world.
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