Al writes... Blow Out was on late Saturday Night, and I love this movie. Why? It's got John T at his prime for one, and I'm not talking slim-as-a-punctuation-point John, like Saturday Night Fever - this was early 80's John, slightly paunchy but still great looking and rocking that too-cool-to-fuck attitude. This was right after Urban Cowboy, where all John does is drink beer and get the shit kicked out of him by Scott Glen, and a couple years before the greased-up steroid show that was Staying Alive.
Some people might love this film because it has Brian De Palma directing, but Carrie five years earlier, and Scarface straight after show him off better. There's even a slow motion chase up a long flight of stairs at the end of Blow Out, foreshadowing The Untouchables, which he messes up. As you have no idea if John (racing to save an innocent victim who's about to get offed), is anywhere near the damsel in distress that he's pushing through a crowd of revellers to get to. Actually, maybe that's the way it was supposed to be shot. Damn, he's good.
It's got Nancy Allen as the lead actress; putting on a Barbie Doll voice almost identical to the squeaking prostitute babe Steve Martin is going to murder in The Man With Two Brains. Slightly annoying in other words, and a little comical. But it makes what happens to her even worse, because she really is innocent and unwitting.
The man doing these bad things is John Lithgow, a go-to stooge for shadowy business hired to embarrass a politician out of running for office, but decides to just off him instead. And then kill a lot of women to distract the police into thinking the one woman in particular that he wants to kill, is a victim of a serial killer. He loco.
John Travolta is the thing in Blow Out though. Watch this, Urban Cowboy, Grease, Saturday Night Fever and then think of what he's done lately, and I say you will shed tears. Something happened to poor John during the 80's. If you wanted to be succinct you could say "Perfect and Staying Alive" - but I prefer to think that Richard Gere snaffled the parts John would have been great in (and I think, may have done so after Travolta passed). Stuff like An Officer And A Gentleman and American Gigolo. Definitely not No Mercy though.