Something happened between 1977 and 1994 that made Travolta go from this:
This “something” follows the laws of Paul McCartney: Macca was very attractive for a very short window of time, and has looked more or less like an old lesbian since 1971. But the events which transpired to turn a tightpantsed disco dancer into the dude who died on Bruce Willis’ toilet have to be even stranger than those of Sir Paul. Yeah, Wings sucked. So very, very much. I can see that writing a silly love song called “Silly Love Songs” could suck all the maleness right out of you, but Travolta is the kind of guy who can watch a genius’ career go as dark and uncomfortable as the racial references in “Ebony and Ivory” and just tell the world that he can do ‘em one better, goshdarnit.
Ah, look at that full head of hair, so lush, so full of promise. This is the first major film Travolta was in, but he wasn’t the star; Carrie telekinisized a car over his body. Because she was magical and pissed off. Or something. All that movie did was make me think that menstruation was really, really scary.
2. BOY IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE
This TV movie inspired both a Seinfeld episode and a Paul Simon song. It also began the upward trajectory of J-Travs’ fame. Fun fact: Travolta wanted to use bubble again in 2005, this time as a fat suit to play Edna Turnblad, but it was too snug.
3. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Ah, yes. Fever busted Travolta’s balls, both as an actor and as a man wearing flares with tight crotches. I already found a photo of this for the intro, and there really isn’t a better representation of what that film’s all about. It’s about Saturday. It’s about nighttime. It’s about disco fever.
Grease is a very important film because it taught me how essential it is to change my personality and clothing and take up cigarettes in order to get a man to like me. I actually do like the movie; it’s fun and campy and everything I secretly wanted high school to be. This, right here, is Travolta’s peak. Note his jawline, his pompadour, his leather jacket. It’s kinda all downhill from here.
5. PULP FICTION
Ah, okay. So, now, let’s review: last we paid attention to John Travolta, he was dancing and singing about Sandy. He was tall. He was suave. He had nice hair.
Now, look at this:
He has a mantail and a bolo tie. You just don’t recover after that. This is one of my all-time favorite movies (yeah, super original), but God. It’s like he shrunk four inches and his face doubled in width. His eyes, once beauteous and striking in their blueness, are now fucking creepy. If this man started dancing with me, I wouldn’t be telling him how my chills where multiplying. I’d be hoping he wouldn’t end up stabbing my heart with a needle by the end of the night.
6. GET SHORTY
Yeah. I never saw this. I think Danny DeVito’s in it. Probably made Travolta look more attractive than he actually was.
I was thoroughly confused about what photo to choose for this. Like, do I choose John Travolta? Or Nic Cage? Because Nic Cage is supposed to be John Travolta on the inside, and John Travolta is really Nic Cage, except that he still looks like John Travolta, because technically it is John Travolta, but it’s John Travolta playing Nic Cage.
This seemed to capture the mindfuck:
If you didn’t know, Face/Off is about a face off between two men who take their faces off, who then face off until they can take their new faces off and get their old faces back off of each other.
Also Nic Cage happens.
Fucking LOVE this movie.
So, some more things happened in the life of J-Travs. He bought a plane, joined a cult, shit like that.
HE BECAME A WOMAN.
I’ve heard that Scientologists are pretty homophobic. That’s why Kevin Spacey is still technically in the closet, and why Will Smith is afraid to reveal that his daughter Willow is actually a drag queen alien from space.
But you don’t get to be John Travolta by caring about the limitations of your religion and/or cult. You just ignore them. You ignore them, you put on a dress, and you create eerily appealing chemistry with Christopher Walken.
Which makes me wonder – did Walken and Travolta reminisce about their time in scenes together in Pulp Fiction? Did the anus watch ever come up in conversation?
So, that’s it. That’s what it’s like to go from John Travolta, sexy dancer badass, to John Travolta, guy from Battlefield Earth. Travolta the Revolta. Greasy Lightning.
Who do you think of when you hear the name Travolta? Share your thoughts.
Megan Lent is a wonderfully unsuccessful blogger who likes to whine about literature at http://apostrophetothestars.blogspot.com/, and occasionally contributes to the steamy world of small-press fiction at Metazen and Housefire. She was the 62nd best speller in California in eighth grade, and used to run a brothel out of her parents’ house in Chicago. She lives in LA.