The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My top 5 It’s Raining Men usages in film and television

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Humidity’s rising, barometer’s gettin’ low
According to all sources the street’s the place to go
Tonight for the first time just about half past ten
For the first time in history it’s gonna start raining men

Can you hear it? Of course you can. It’s one of the stickiest songs I know of. And I curse the moment when the idea to write this post popped into my head. Once again it runs on repeat in my head and I can’t find the button to make it stop.

I’m obviously not the only one who finds it catchy. When look closer at it, it has had a lot of appearances in movies and television over the years. And no wonder: the song text as well as the bouncing, energetic beat works well with scenes that give conclusion and release of hidden emotions. What you can’t formulate in sentences, you can express in a dance.

First I’ll give an honorable mentioning to some of the other appearances that are listed on Wikipedia. I’ve got the feeling this list isn’t complete, so feel free to share in a comment if you have additions to make.

Easy Money (1983)
Eraser (1996)
Scary Movie (2000)
Khabi Khusni Kabhie Gham (2001)
Stuck on You (2003)
Vampires Suck (2010)

The British sitcom Miranda: in the episode “The New Me” in series 2, the title character Miranda dances to the Weather Girl’s version of the song in the streets, later the song was heard in the episode’s credits.

The Simpsons: It’s Raining Men is Homer Simpson’s favorite song. In the episode “Fear of Flying, Moe pulls the record out of the jukebox and tosses it onto the street when he banishes Homer from his bar. It appears again in the episode “What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting” when Fat Tony’s gay horse plays it on a stereo.

And now over to the top list. This is my personal ranking of the It’s Raining Men appearances I’ve seen. It’s based on how well it fits into the context, what emotional impact it has and entertainment value.

5. Friends – from the episode “The one with Chandler’s dad” (2001)

Chandler and Monica go to see Chandler’s drag queen father playing at a club in Las Vegas. The scene is quite emotional and It’s raining men comes in towards the end as a comic relief around the 4 minute mark in this clip. It’s a shame it’s so short, I would have loved to see the whole song, with Chandler.



 It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men Amen
I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna let myself get absolutely soaking wet
It’s raining men, Hallelujah it’s raining men, every specimen
Tall blond dark and lean rough and tough and strong and mean

4. Magic Mike (2012)

It’s not one of the best dance numbers in Magic Mike and the version of the song is somewhat slow and unenergetic. But Channing Tatum’s hip movements – what can you say? Amazing!


God bless mother nature
She’s a single woman too
She took for the Heaven
And she did what she had to do
She taught every angel to rearrange the sky
And each and every woman could find her perfect guy

3. After the Wedding (2006)

This scene contains a lot more than just some random dancing at a party, which you know if you’ve seen the film. It conveys love and sorrow, the past and the present and the future, all brought together in one last bittersweet dance.



It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men, Amen
It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men, Amen
It’s raining, it’s raining, oh it’s stormy

I feel stormy weather moving in
About to begin about to begin
With the thunder don’t you loose your head
Rip off the roof and stay in bed


2. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

I don’t remember a lot of this movie, apart from the fight scene between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Extra points for moving the fight into the street: “Street’s the place to go.” (Song starts around 1.50 in this clip)


God bless mother nature
She’s a single woman too
She took for the Heaven
And she did what she had to do
She taught every angel to rearrange the sky
So that each and every woman could find her perfect guy
Oh it’s raining men, yeah

1. Queer as Folk, UK version season 1, ep 8 (1999)

Sadly they only made ten episodes of this brilliant British TV series about a few gay men in Manchester. It’s Raining Men appeared in the final scene of the finale of the first season. And just how great doesn’t it fit in? Stuart and Vince have been struggling quite a bit with their on-off relationship throughout the series. Then finally they reunite, dancing ecstatically to It’s Raining Men, after sorting things out in a beautiful conversation across the dance floor where words are replaced by looks, smiles and nods.

It only lasts a brief minute (you can fast forward to 9:17 at the clip I’ve included), but watching it again puts just a big smile on my face as it did when I watched the series on Swedish television so many years ago. This is the unquestionable winner.


Humidity’s rising, barometer’s gettin’ low
According to all sources the street’s the place to go
Tonight for the first time just about half past ten
For the first time in history it’s gonna start raining men

It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men, Amen
It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men, Amen
It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men, Amen

The original
We’ve come to the end of this It’s Raining Men odyssey in movies and television. In case you didn’t know it, It’s Raining Men was originally performed by The Weather Girls I’ll finish this post with a link to their lovely music video. Enjoy it one last time. And then try to get this song out of your head again. From my own experience it might take you a while.



filmspanarnaThis post is a part of a blogathon from the Swedish network Filmspanarna. The theme was “Rain”. Here are links to the other posts :

In English

Fredrik on Film

In Swedish

Fiffis Filmtajm
Fripps filmrevyer
Har du inte sett den
Mackans film
Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord

Written by Jessica

October 1, 2014 at 6:00 am

One of those movies that make everyone remain seated

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“When everyone remains seated during the text credits, you know it was a good movie”, the projectionist remarked after the screening of The Fisher King at our local film society.

Every Thursday night we show two movies after each other in our theatre, which is one hundred years old and has been restored to the original look. The old interior gives the room a lovely, timeless atmosphere, suitable for an association of cinephiles, but to be honest the seats are rather uncomfortable, as I suppose seats usually were historically. They’re not anything like the soft, cushioned armchairs we’re usually spoilt with. This means that you really don’t want to sit down any longer than you need to. It takes a very special movie for you to linger in the seat, contemplating what you just have seen, enjoying the “long tail” of the film, to use the vocabulary of wine testing.

The Fisher King was one of those films. If we hadn’t had the next movie starting within minutes and if the seats had been a tiny more comfortable, we could have stayed long after it finished. The air was dense with emotions and thoughts following what we just had seen: a drama, a comedy, a fantasy, a romance, a tragedy all at once in the crazy mix of genres that constitutes The Fisher King.

I hadn’t watched The Fisher King since it came out in the early 90s and I remembered very little of it. I remembered a frightening red knight. I remembered a homeless Robin Williams poking in a garbage bin in a dark city. And I remembered that I loved it deeply, so much that I had it among my favourite movies. Considering this you’d imagine I’d re-watch it once in a while over the years, but for some reason I hadn’t. I think it’s a movie that isn’t high in the public consciousness; it’s hidden in the shadows.

The reason why we showed it this particular night was of course the passing away of Robin Williams. It was our tribute to him, and we couldn’t really have picked a better one. In this movie he really gets to show his whole range.

I’m actually not going to say so much about the plot. If you haven’t seen The Fisher King, I recommend you not to read up on it before you see it (which you obviously should). It’s a well told story with some twists and turns and I think not knowing anything about what directions it goes into may add a little bit more to the enjoyment. However I want to give you a warning: if you’re very sensitive about violence, there is particularly one scene which is horrifying and shocking. It’s normal for a horror movie or even an action movie these days, but you’re probably not prepared for it in a film that stars a funny Robin Williams. The contrast is brutal, but it’s also a part of what makes this film so special that you remain in your seat even if your butt aches. It doesn’t shy away.

From now on I won’t let it pass over 20 years between my viewings of The Fisher King. There are so many reasons to see it: to enjoy the performance of Robin Williams (and for that sake of Jeff Bridges, who is fantastic as the main character), to break the wall between reality and imagination and what can come out of it and to enjoy NYC from its best perspective, naked on a lawn in Central Park under a starry sky.

The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam, US 1991) My rating: 5/5

Written by Jessica

September 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

Posted in The Fisher King

Sometimes you wish you had a secret recorder

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Nick Cave in 20,000 Days on Earth. Picturehouse Entertainment

I’ve never ever recorded a movie in a theatre. Of course I haven’t. It wouldn’t only be illegal, but also against my personal moral principles. However I can’t help wishing I had recorded 20, 000 Days on Earth. I wouldn’t have used the camera (even though there certainly are some visual highpoints in it). But I would have liked to record the sound so I could get back to everything that Nick Cave says in this movie about him, about art, about creativity and about life itself. (I guess I could have written some of it down in a notebook while watching it, but I don’t take notes while watching films. I want to enjoy them to their fullest, immersing myself into them completely, which is undoable if you’re writing at the same time).

There are so many clever, inspiring, truthful, beautiful lines that I wish I could share with all of you. It’s the kind of quotes that you can cut out from a magazine and put on your refrigerator by help of magnets. I don’t remember the exact wording; I just remember how well they were written. It’s a bummer I can’t sprinkle this post with at least a few of them. It would have helped me to make you understand what a beautiful, interesting and heart breaking film it is. (And in case you wonder, I have checked IMDb for quotes, but there’s none there yet)

So how shall I describe this film? It’s not a pure documentary, but not a feature film in its normal sense either. It’s hanging there somewhere in between. But the theme of the movie is the artist Nick Cave, the version that Nick Cave has chosen to use for this movie, since he’s participated in the writing. Yes, I said writing. While there are a lot of “interviews”, they’re all kind of staged. It’s not as if there’s been an invisible person hiding in the shadows with a secret camera that makes everything feel “authentic”. It’s far more arranged. And yet – I think in a way it feels more honest and naked than many documentaries with shaky hand cameras are. Perhaps we don’t get close to the private person Nick Cave. But we get close to the very heart of his creativity. We can its beats; we can breathe the oxygen that fuels it.

I don’t know how familiar you are with Nick Cave. Probably you’ve heard more of his music than you think. IMDb credits him for 69 soundtracks in music and television. Sometimes he’s just the writer, in other cases he’s the singer as well, such as in Lawless from a few years ago, which became a way better movie than it otherwise would have been thanks to his soundtrack. If you’ve seen Wings of Desire you might also remember him. The band that performed in the movie was Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

To be honest, Nick Cave’s music probably isn’t for everyone. But even if it’s not for you, don’t let it deter you from seeing it. It’s one of the better films I’ve seen about music or, more correctly, about creativity. Anyone who creates things, be it music, writing, painting or something physical such as a dance, can probably relate to this film and feel inspired by watching it.

20, 000 Days on Earth (Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard, UK 2014) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

September 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Is it possible to make a boring movie about serial killers? Yes.

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Liam Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones“Crime, drama, mystery”. These are the labels that IMDb uses to describe A Walk Among the Tombstones. They come with certain expectations. “Drama” signals emotional depth and weight. “Crime” makes you think of engaging detective work, the urgency to learn about the truth. And if something is announced as a “mystery”, you’d assume that it’s something that will challenge your intellect, something that will get you on the hook and won’t leave you until it’s solved.

Sadly neither of the expectations is met. This sounds weird, I know. You wouldn’t expect a movie about the chase of kidnappers and serial killers who are on par with the craziest ones in Dexter, to be boring. But it was, to me. Utterly, utterly boring.

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is with it that kept me from engaging with it. One aspect is the stakes, or rather the lack of it. It’s not the private detective’s wife who has been abducted. It’s the wife of some unsympathetic drug dealer that you don’t know a lot about or care for. And what is problematic is that you know even less about his wife. She’s just a piece of meat, as they put it in a great discussion on the latest episode of /Filmcast. Not a person.  It’s obvious already in the pretexts, as the body of the victim is slowly and sensually is exposed, as if she was portrayed in a lifestyle magazine. It reminds me a bit of the Dexter signature, but in Dexter it is Dexter’s morning ritual that is on display. Not the suffering of the victims of a serial killer.

It doesn’t help the movie either that Liam Neeson’s detective is such an uninteresting character. He never raises above the stereotype of a lonely, drinking, miserable former cop who turned into a private investigator after something went terribly wrong. Every now and then we see him attend AA meetings, but what they’re supposed to represent I’m not sure of. Perhaps it’s just an excuse for inserting quotes from the twelve steps programme here and there, for no apparent reason. It feels as if they should mean something, correspond to the killings or to how the investigation is proceeding. But I failed to see the connection. It was all empty, like so much else in this movie.

I can’t see any reason why you’d choose to watch this movie when there are so many other movies and TV series in the same area available which are likely to engage, thrill, scare, grip and mystify you way better. Avoid it.

A Walk Among the Tombstones (Scott Frank, US 2014) My rating: 2.5/5

Written by Jessica

September 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Solidarity beyond a retweet – are you up for it?

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It’s not that hard to display solidarity as long as you’re at a safe distance from the object of your sympathy. You can retweet the call for help from someone in distress, you can show them support by liking them at Facebook. You can run long discussions about what society needs to do to even out the odds for people who are born under economically vastly different circumstances. It’s so pleasant to participate in this kind of actions. It makes you feel good about yourself. And it doesn’t cost you a penny.

But what if solidarity became a real thing, not an issue for a vague collective, but something that is required by you, personally? Imagine that someone asked you to refrain from a raise of salary so that someone else who needs it as well, or better, would get it instead. How would you react?

This is the theme of Two Days, One Night, which is the latest movie by the Dardenne brothers. Marion Cotillard plays a young woman, Sandra, who recently has gone through a depression, which has kept her away from work. Now she’s back, but during her absence the employer has found out that they could do without her as long as her colleagues work some overtime. The workers have been given a choice: Either Sandra is fired and everyone else will get a bonus salary. Or Sandra is allowed to keep her job and they won’t get anything extra. The choice is theirs. As the movie begins, there’s already been a voting, where the outcome was that Sandra would be fired. Because of some issue with the voting, it’s been decided that she’ll be given a second chance. A new voting will take place. And we get to follow Sandra as she tries to persuade her colleagues to vote differently this time.

Surprisingly exciting
This is a concept that unavoidably makes you think of 12 Angry Men, where also a man with only words as his tool tried to talk an entire group over to change their unanimous decision. What makes it different is that it doesn’t take place in a closed room where the group is assembled. Since it takes place during a weekend, Sandra has to look them up one by one in their homes, confronting them individually. Another difference is that Sandra isn’t particularly eloquent in the way she presents her case. She just asks everyone pretty upfront to let her stay and refrain from the bonus and leaves the choice to them.

Whether Sandra succeeds or not is in the spoiler territory, so we won’t go there. But I can say as much that it was surprisingly exciting to follow her in her mission. You could easily imagine that it would be a little bit repetitive to watch someone putting the same question over and over again to different people. But somehow it never gets dull; you’re always curious about what the response of the next person will be.

In this way it reminds of the last Dardenne movie I watched, The Kid with a Bike. At a quick glance, both of the movies are small and quiet. But at the same time they’re full of big human issues, in this case about your obligations as a human being towards yourself and your closest family and towards others. How much do we need? At which point is it time to share? When is not sharing an option? It raises all those questions, but refrains from providing all the answers and refrains from getting preachy, examining the choices of the individual from a morale standpoint rather than a political. It’s only 95 minutes long, but still manages to provide a lot of food for thought.

Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014) My rating : 4/5

Written by Jessica

September 25, 2014 at 8:08 am

Posted in Two Days One Night

Guardians of the Galaxy – the amnesia version

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guardiansI’ve fallen behind in my writing about movies I see. It’s been more than a month since I saw Guardians of the Galaxy and admittedly this is a little bit long to wait before you put your thoughts together in a post.

My more disciplined fellow bloggers write about the films they watch right away after they’ve seen them. Some even take notes during the screenings, just so they won’t forget any detail. I have a more laidback, not to say lazy attitude towards movie blogging: I write when time and enthusiasm are available in equal measures. And here’s no particular order in my writing. I write about whatever comes to my mind. Sometimes it’s the movie I watched yesterday. Sometimes I watched it months ago.

The Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those movies that have been scrambling around in my to-write-about-list for far too long. And now I barely remember a thing about it. And actually this fact per se, probably says something about what impact it had on me. Which is none.

There are a few things about it that I remember:

  • Explosions
    As I remember it there were lots of them. Too many if you ask me. I love science fiction and I love movies that take place in space, but only if they come with cool, mind bending ideas. If it’s all about explosions, it’s not much of science fiction to speak of. Not in my world.
  • “I am Groot”
    There was a character who had the form of a tree, a midge version of an ent, who kept delivering this one line over and over and over again. Thinking about it, it was probably the only line he had. Somehow it stuck with me and it gave me some giggles. I assume the actor did a good work in the timing and delivery. If you only have one line you can put your energy into performing it well, I guess.Hooked on a Feeling. Oh, that song brings so much nostalgia for someone who grew up in Sweden in the 70s. Björn Skifs made it to the top of the billboard back then, and now he’s apparently done it again. He’s not my favourite artist by any means, but he seems to be a genuinely nice guy and hearing the song again makes me smile.
  • The struggle to stay awake
    I know there are a lot of fans of this movie out there; basically I’m the only one who didn’t fall in love with it. It must sound ridiculous to all of you, but I need to be honest with you: I was bored and disengaged to the extent that I was close to falling asleep throughout the movie. I had to slap myself constantly not to. That’s something I usually only have to do with slow, bloodless art house movies. It shouldn’t happen watching this kind of film. But it did. Not a good sign.

Since my memories of it are so scarce and vague I’ll refrain from giving it a proper grade. But it’s not an overly wild guess to say that it wasn’t for me. If it had been, I should have remembered something more about it shouldn’t I?

To all of you out there who loved it – and I know there are many of you, basically everyone except me – congratulations on a fun, exhilarating movie going experience!

I was bored. [takes cover]

Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014) My rating: ?

Written by Jessica

September 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

On the need of transparency about cliff hanger endings

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maze runnerIn the marketing there’s nothing that indicates that The Maze Runner is anything else but a standalone movie.

The main movie theatre chain in Sweden gives it the following description on their website:

“Thomas wakes up locked into a gigantic labyrinth. He’s not alone and the only chance to get out alive is to collaborate and put together the clues they find, which appear to lead to an organization called “W.C.K.D”. The movie is directed by Wes Ball and based on the bestselling book by James Dashner.”

I had no idea what I was in for as I watched it, but I totally expected to get a full story. Imagine my surprise when it suddenly ended, without any conclusion or closure. We were almost as confused as we’d been throughout the movie about the purpose of the labyrinth and the greater picture of this world and its inhabitants, although at a slightly higher level.

We’re used to see this kind of cliff hangers in season finales of TV series. But when you go to see a movie you’ve got different expectations. You expect a movie to have a clear end, and if it doesn’t, you’ll know that on beforehand. The first Spiderman movie works perfectly well on its own. The first Hobbit movie doesn’t, but it was so clearly announced before that this was one book that would be made into three movies, that I don’t think that it can have escaped a single person in the audience. If you went to see it, you knew what you were up for: a three-part series. And yet – the first Hobbit movie is more of a finished story than The Maze Runner is.

Have they done this on purpose? Are they deliberately deceiving the audience, luring them into watching what they think is a movie, to then leave them hanging a third way into the story, so that they have to see the sequel to make any sense at all out of the first movie?

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that it’s more about sloppiness than calculation. They assumed that everyone already knew that this was yet another three-part adaptation of a young adult book series. But they were wrong. Everyone didn’t know.

The Maze Runner on its own is about as finished as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and they should be more transparent about it. A correct title of this film should be: “The Maze Runner: Part 1”.

Cliff hangers as such are acceptable in movies as in TV series. But we should be able to make an informed choice before throwing ourselves into an entire series of films.

Refreshingly free from love
After this little rant it’s time to say something about the movie. The Maze Runner operates in the same field as The Hunger Games and Divergent: young adult fiction about teenagers fighting to survive in a competitive environment in a dystopian world. I would describe it as a crossover between The Hunger Games and Cube, with a bit of a Lord of the Flies vibe.

Funny enough, considering how much I’ve complained about the lack of resolution, the movie is better the less we know about what’s going on. The initial mystery intrigued me; the hints about the explanation towards the end of the film not quite so.

What I also liked about the film is the look of it. It didn’t come as a surprise when I learned that the director has a solid background in the art direction department.

The characters are a little too many and a little too thin for me to keep them apart from each other. For some reason (not explained) there are only boys who are brought to the labyrinth. With one exception. Following the pattern from the previous franchises in this genre, I would have expected some kind of love drama to appear around this one girl. I was so happy when this didn’t happen. This film is refreshingly free from love triangles. (Apparently it deviates from the book in this aspect, so I’m not too hopeful that future installations in the series will remain love free).

All in all it’s a nice popcorn movie for all of us who think that The Hunger Games and Divergent are entertaining rather than terrible. A little bit on the thin side, a little bit forgettable, but thrilling enough to keep my attention throughout the film and perfectly ok within its genre.

The Maze Runner (Wes Ball, US 2014) My rating: 3,5/5

Written by Jessica

September 23, 2014 at 1:00 am

Posted in The Maze Runner