Stay Hungry

A dodgy businessman (Jeff Bridges) tries to buy a gym in 1976 drama Stay Hungry, not a film so much as an answer to the trivia question: name the movie for which Arnold Schwarzenegger won a Golden Globe.

Arnie does such a bad job of portraying an Austrian bodybuilder that one can only assume opportunism on behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press, keen to hitch their wagon to a rising star; a move that ultimately backfired as they’ll forever be the organisation that gave Arnold Schwarzenegger an award for acting. The only categories this movie can really contend are “Weirdest Cast”, “Gayest Ending” (above) and “Worst Austrian Bodybuilder Pretending to Play the Violin”.

Joining Bridges and Schwarzenegger on this race to the bottom of the Arnie filmography are Scatman Crothers as our hero’s racist-stereotype servant, Sally Field as his trophy girlfriend, and also Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund; so if nothing else this film could be called Freddy Vs. Terminator. Every character seems deliberately objectionable, closer to the rich villains in Animal House or the loathsome teens of a slasher movie (dangerous considering Freddy Krueger is right there) than dramatic protagonists.

Not content with looking nasty and displaying an alarming level of misogynistic violence, the film is also horribly told, lurching between disjointed scenes of ugliness and irrelevance. One moment you’re watching Bridges and Field yelling at each other on their plantation, the next you’re at a banjo festival for some reason, then Field gets assaulted and drugged, and finally two minutes of the bodybuilding promised by the setup. It’s like if Gone with the Wind and Boogie Nights had a car crash.

Stay Hungry is so meandering, misogynistic and racist that you fully expect Sylvester Stallone’s name to appear in the credits; a horrifying glimpse into a parallel Mr. Universe.

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