Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Times Square

Written by Cristina Cacioppo

In 1980, New York City’s Times Square was not the Disney World that it is today. People lined the sidewalks, usually peddling something nefarious. Herein we find the stomping ground of Pamela and Nicky, teen heroines in the film Times Square, a place they make their own in a spirit of rebellion and friendship rarely found in the movies.

In 1980, New York City’s Times Square was not the Disney World that it is today. People lined the sidewalks, usually peddling something nefarious. Herein we find the stomping ground of Pamela and Nicky, teen heroines in the film Times Square, a place they make their own in a spirit of rebellion and friendship rarely found in the movies.

Pamela (Trini Alvarado) and Nicky (Robin Johnson) meet in a hospital, where they are both in treatment for{mosimage} supposed mental illness. In reality, they are merely two teens who have broken away from mainstream “good girl” ideals. Nicky, an orphan at fifteen with the raspy voice of a seasoned rocker, wins over Pamela, a well-mannered daughter of a politician, by talking back to the doctors and defiantly eating rose petals. She blasts the Ramones on her boom box to lure Pamela into running away with her.

Once they get out, the girls track down an abandoned warehouse to make into a home and start their own renaissance. They dub themselves the “Sleez Sisters” and write poetry, fashion strange outfits out of everything from blankets to garbage bags, dance in the streets, and sing like the punks they need to be. Keeping tabs on them the whole time is Johnny LaGuardia (played by cult icon Tim Curry), a radio DJ who broadcasts their story to a growing fan base of girls.

Nicky grows hungry for fame when she creates her stage persona, Aggie Dune, and begins performing with a band at the Cleo Club, the duo’s hangout. The girls become more sought after—by other teenagers as well as by police—when they start dropping televisions off rooftops. When Pamela and Nicky publicize that Aggie Dune will perform on a rooftop in Times Square, girls flood the streets, belts clasped around their garbage bag dresses, black bars painted across their eyes. They walk confidently among the hustlers on the street.

The film is full of the fun in rebellion and the strength in friendship. Nicky and Pamela inspire creativity in each other, and they become powerful, turning the tables of fanaticism with a famous radio DJ following their every action.

Along with the weird but wearable styles, Times Square has an amazing soundtrack of '80s music, including songs by Talking Heads, the Cure, and the Pretenders (the soundtrack is not available on CD but can be tracked down on vinyl, if you’re so inclined). The DVD features a commentary track from director Alan Moyle and actress Robin Johnson. In the commentary, Moyle admits he got the idea for the movie from a diary he found in a used couch he once bought. See it for yourself—and be inspired to start your very own renaissance.

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