Podcast time: Movie busts of 1981 (aka ... the real meaning of S.O.B.)
Stuck in the '80s' series of greatest movie busts of the '80s finally continues this weekend with our "Movie Busts of 1981" podcast. To recap, we're defining this series as movies from each year in the '80s that were either critical or box office disappointments -- but we still love them anyway.
It is NOT, as my co-host continues to argue, a series about bust sizes in the '80s. Ironically though, 1981 does feature perhaps the most famous "bust" movie of them all: Julie Andrews in Blake Edwards' S.O.B.
I was a mere 14 years old when this movie came out, and yet I remember seeing it without parental guidance on numerous occasions. God bless HBO. Why my parents thought it was a good idea for me to see a topless Mary Poppins, I don't know. I do recall being baffled by the movie's title and reluctantly seeking out an definitive answer. S.O.B.? You mean sob? Is someone sad? No, my dad explained, thinking fast on his feet. "It stands for Short of Breath," he declared.
That made absolutely no sense, but for years -- decades even -- I accepted it and had little clue what S.O.B. (*standard operational bulls---*) really stood for. None. I think I finally figured it out the same day someone also explained SNAFU and FUBAR.
As for going topless, I'm sure Blake Edwards got tired of explaining his rationale behind the monumental scene. He was trying to drag Julie away from always being typecast a certain way, he told interviewer after interviewer. (See him grudgingly do it again with Merv Griffin below.) What he really accomplished, I'd argue, is allow a 10-second scene become more memorable than the rest of the movie combined.
Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. S.O.B. could never be called Edwards' finest work -- perhaps not even breaking his top 20 flicks -- but it's definitely his most infamous. And it's easiest a guilty pleasure worthy of being included in this week's podcast of movie busts. No pun intended.