MAID TO ORDER (1987)

You guys…YOU GUYS.

This movie is not to be confused with Maid in Manhattan or any of number of maid themed porn videos that can be found online.  This is also not the American answer to Downton Abbey.

I had totally forgotten this slice of ’80s heaven  until it found me. So I sat down, took it in and was immediately whisked away to a magical place called 1987 where I drank apple juice, ate tuna fish sandwiches and watched this movie when I was done practicing my violin. There might have been a My Little Pony sitting next to me at the time, I don’t know.

The question is, how has this movie held up now that almost 30 years have gone by?

The plot for those of you who never saw it is that Ally Sheedy, years after her stint in breakfast clubs and St. Elmo’s Fires (possibly around the same time as Short Circuit) plays a spoiled rich girl who is about to get un-Cinderellafied, thanks to a fairy godmother who comes in the form of the mom from the Vacation movies. So she becomes a maid and learns important life lessons like how to treat other maids and how to hit on hunky chauffers with budding music careers.

Behold, the most ’80s title cards you will ever see…

I need to point out first and foremost that the fashion in this movie is AMAZING. True, there will never be an occasion to wear a top hat with a giant tulle bow in the back, but this movie gives you hope that maybe someday there will be. Also, this movie would like to hit you over the head with the Cinderella metaphor.

My impression of a cool sort of adulthood was doing exactly this.  I’m sorry to report that this movie lied to me and I have never gotten to do this while wearing that.

Behold another still from the adulthood I’ll never have -looking chic in a ragged ballgown and sunglasses, sitting on the street.

Ally Sheedy doesn’t deserve the life a princess because she asks her father for money and questions charities. I think we’ve all been there.

Enter the fairy godmother – she smokes and in all honesty, is pretty awesome.

Our heroine goes on her first job interview in the best outfit ever (see torn ballgown from above) and is promptly hired to be a maid based on the fact she’s never worked before and that she’s white. She also eats the interviewer’s donuts. This is another lie this movie perpetrates about adulthood – although I’ve never tried any of these tactics while job hunting.

 The story posits that because our heroine is rich and has never had a job, she doesn’t know what hair plugs or that you shouldn’t point at people’s bandages and ask what happened. 

Once again, a classic movie trope – the sassy black friend!

“She’s white and therefore I have no faith in her as a maid.  Also, I’m a cook and not a  singer. Not that you asked.”

I don’t care how much life experience you have – ironing Spandex is difficult. It should also be said that leopard print ones should never been allowed in the first place.

The other maid hates her – she’s also sassy but in a non sassy black friend sort of way.

Behold the best part of this movie. THESE TWO. Honestly, they should have been given their own movie. Or a show. I spent this movie wanting to spend more time with them

Our heroine spends her day off wearing a Prince shirt, high waisted jeans and going through her coworkers stuff.. I’d criticize her, but I think we’ve all been there.

She learns how to ride a bus – I think this was the low point in her character arc.

“Girl, I am a cook and not a singer, so stop bugging me to sing for you.  Don’t make me sing, because I’ll do it….”

 “Look, I’m just a poor chauffer that’s actually a talented songwriter who no one will give a chance.  Also, you’re the only available girl here so we’re going to start up an obligatory relationship despite a differences in background. Wanna go eat Mexican food in a seedy, non health regulated restaurant?”

 Seriously, these two should have their own movie.  SOMETHING.

 “Well, you earned minimum wage and made friends with people from a lower tax bracket than you. I’d say you learned your lesson and get your old life back. I hope the lesson sticks because I’d hate to put you somewhere where you’re actually surrounded by a lower class.”

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Beverly Hills Madam (1986)

 

 

 

 

 

Folks, there’s nothing more than I enjoy than over the top 80’s grandeur that fits neatly in a TV screen, which Beverly Hills Madam has in spades.Champagne in chilled decanturs! Bejeweled shoulder pads! Floor length furs! Sheer white nylons!

So put on your best fluffy slipper pumps and strap in.

Actress extraordinaire Faye Dunaway IS the Beverly Hills Madam and she runs a tight ship. She employs the blonde from Bosom Buddies, Flash Gordon’s girlfriend and…wait for it…Robin Givens.  Time to enjoy that chilled Shasta soda.

We’ll not only watch and see the trials of running a top Beverly Hills escort service, but we’ll also see the career trajectories of these girls.  One’s got the seniority, one’s fresh off the wagon, one’s in school and one’s black.  This movie has layers.

We open on Lil Cummins. She’s fierce, she goes shopping, she wears color coordinated separates.

She has lunch with her most experienced show pony, who’s come with some bad news. She’s getting married and out of the game.  I immediately recognized her

 

from one of my all time favorite movies….

Dale Arden from Flash Gordon? After he conquered Mongo, did they realize it just wasn’t going to work out? Is that why she works for Faye Dunaway?

Meanwhile this fresh faced kid has just come to LA. She’s lost and upset. So naturally….

Faye Dunaway’s recruitment skills are amazing. She’ll happily take you to the Sunset Strip and give you an aggressive sales pitch at the same time.

Seriously, its impossible to walk down the streets of LA WITHOUT being offered a job.

Meanwhile, we have Robin Givens being scoped out…

Its stressed that the Beverly Hills Madam does lots of background checking before handing her girls off to them. You have to – there’s a lot of creeps out there.

Any second thoughts?

Eh – he’s probably fine.

Let’s say you’ve been in the high class prostitution industry for awhile and you meet someone in high class society…

A slight occupational hazard is your fiancee introducing you to someone you’ve already slept with.

“Look, in the six weeks that we’ve known each other and gotten engaged, she would have surely said something!”

Weirdly, I think LEGO Friends makes this exact same playset.

Yep.

Robin Givens isn’t just a high class prostitute. She’s got DREAMS.

Also, I like this arty shot of us looking in a reflective mirror at a girl who doesn’t know that despite her potential for greater things, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Meanwhile in the City of High Class Failure, Flash Gordon’s girlfriend deals with life’s disappointments by seducing a delivery guy from a liquor store.

Since when do liquor stores do deliveries? What kind of magical time was the 80s anyway?

Faye Dunaway’s idea of a job orientation is to send her to Captain Kangaroo lookalike for personal evaluation. This movie found itself a new bottom in the Creepster Basement.

Flash Gordon’s girlfriend comes to beg for her job back despite being broken hearted and a budding alcoholic. Thankfully, Faye is in a good mood and happened to be rehearsing for her role in On Golden Pond.

She’s ready to go back to work. I know she is, because she keeps a liquor bottle next to her makeup.

Its makeover montage time!

She doesn’t know it but Julia Roberts is taking notes on this performance. The notes being “Make any face but this.”

Wait, one of the girls is pregnant?Who saw that coming?!?!?

Also, I didn’t know the dress code of the 80s prostitute was “Second Grade Teacher.”

The new girl has her first job – some father hired her for his son who just turned 18.

Aaaaaaaand this movie just went down in the Creepster Basement and discovered another flight of stairs going even further down.

If you had asked me to describe a Beverly Hills madam’s bedroom, I would have never guessed something out of a JC Penney catalog. So many frills and plaid.

“Wait a second – I’m having sex for money?!?!? But that’s just cheap and degrading! Why didn’t anyone tell me!”

“What? A guy who is using me for my body might not treat me well? Well, this is just unexpected!”

Flash Gordon’s girlfriend comes back with a vengeance and wrestles power away from Faye Dunaway becoming the new Beverly Hills Madam. The last thing we see is her answering the phone and booking girls that she doesn’t have, given that the ones on staff have all quit over creative differences, gotten pregnant or murdered.

Faye just stared into the mirror and saw her career sliding away…quietly into the night as if her Oscar nomination never happened.

“My sister? My daughter? How did it go again?”

Beverly Hills Madam – thank you for teaching me on how to live and love again.