Times Square (1980)

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Times Square (1980) Poster

Two ill-matched teenage girls form a punk band and soon have New York City by its ears.


6.8/10
1,195

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  • Trini Alvarado and Peter Coffield in Times Square (1980)
  • Robin Johnson in Times Square (1980)
  • Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson in Times Square (1980)
  • Tim Curry in Times Square (1980)
  • Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson in Times Square (1980)
  • Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson in Times Square (1980)

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8 September 2005 | vertigo_14
6
| Punk Movie Ethic: The Fabulous Revolt of the Spectacularly Alienated (spoilers)
Times Square is a film inspired by a young woman's diary found by director Allen Moyle. It was many years before I was finally able to obtain a copy of 'Times Square,' although I was ultimately disappointed with what has established itself as a steady cult classic (to no surprise) that represents the old days of real New York (filmed entirely on location) and the emergence of New Wave (not so much punk, despite the "official" synopsis).

Robin Johnson plays gutsy social street misfit, Nicky, who is placed in a hospital because, for some reason, "reasonable" doctors have attributed her crude behavior with some sort of mental defect. There, she befriends quiet, shy Pamela (Trini Alvarado) who is being tested by doctors in the hospital much to the urgings of her wealthy, but misunderstanding father who is unwilling to listen to Pamela and realize that she's just a normal kid that needs some attention and natural affection.

Nicky, never willing to be held down (as characterized by her "Feed Me/I'm A Dog" song later in the film), helps Pam bust out of their little prison to become street nomads, doing what they have to for cash. But, they become youth idols and popular rebels when Pam's father gets together his team of social workers and legal aid to track Pam down under the assumption that she has been kidnapped. With the help of Nicky and their assorted troublemaking around New York, Pam eventually breaks out of her shell while speaking back to her father through local radio DJ, Johnny LaGuardia (Tim Curry!), among other things.

It's the typical punk rock ethic movie, though not done quite as harshly nor probably as honestly as other punk rock ethic films have (such as Suburbia or the more light-hearted selections). That is, the tales of the misunderstood youth who try to vocalize their frustrations to the very people (usually some form of dogged authority such as parents or school officials or law enforcement) through some of revolt. Here, it happens to be a culturally motivated one. The story, then is nothing new, and could've been much more enjoyable, at least for me, if there was more variety within the story. As the movie progresses, it becomes too much about Nicky, and I know that this was obviously done for a reason--because while Pamela can reform to at least some sense of normal, this is something that Nicky has never really known (or no longer knows) and has no one else to turn to. Besides, her personality means that she would never acquiesce as easily as Pam did (although Pam had her reasons, too).

However, Tim Curry fans or cult classic fans, particularly those who enjoyed cult classics motivated by the punk/new wave culture themes of youth alienation and good-natured rebellion and alienation (like Suburbia, Repo Man, Rock N' Roll High School, Tokyo Pop, and, outside of this music-influenced genre, The Legend of Billie Jean), then this is at least worth giving a try.

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