Thursday

Tuna
"American Wedding"

American Wedding (2003), or American Pie 3 should have been called the Steve Stiffler story, as it is mostly about him. For those than enjoy his character, it is a laugh a minute. For those like me that can do entirely without insensitive louts, it is a very long watch. There were two bright spots for me in the film, however. They were Alison Hannigan and and Eugene Levy as Michele and Jim's dad. They deserved far more screen time.

I ordered the Limited Edition Gift Set, which includes the UNRATED Widescreen edition so well described in Scoop's review, a special three hour collection of behind the scenes stuff for all three films, and a Stiffler T-SHirt. The nudity was provided by Amanda Swisten and Nikki Ziering as the bachelor party entertainment. This scene was greatly expanded in the UNRATED version with footage they shot for exactly that purpose. The material was never intended to be in the theatrical release, and did not cut in smoothly.

I am in the minority here, but liked this least of the three, and found very little about it funny, but it has a fairly wide level of acceptance, and is therefore a C+.

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  • Amanda Swisten (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Nikki Zeiring (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Happy New Year

    This is the 9th consecutive year we have published a New Year's Edition. The site began in Late 1995, just before Thanksgiving.

    Demonlover (2003)

    Sometimes one needs to form a lynch party to hang a hoss thief. and sometimes it's enough just to give him some rope. Let's skip the posse and let this movie hang itself, shall we?

    From the press kit:

    Director Assayas has defined art as "when you donít know where youíre going," and demonlover is a search for new forms, as the artist attempts to connect with the world around him; it may be that time itself has to catch up, as demonlover is a movie ahead of the moment.

    From a promo kit provided by the film's US distributors:

    Demonlover proves most compelling when it feels the least coherent or grounded in reality. Rather than keeping up with exactly which side of the game each major character appears to be playing on at a given moment in the story, viewers are almost better served just going along for the ride, letting the film take them where it will.

    From an interview with the director:

    I think demonlover tries to develop its own kind of narrative and its own way of dealing with very basic questions, like how do you represent modern reality? Isnít it time to question the classic tropes of storytelling, which were originally designed to deal with a world completely different from our own? I think itís useful, and possibly even important, to bring back some complexity to our representation of the world. Itís a way of bringing back a connection to reality that we seem to be losingóin cinema as well as in real life. Iím always a little surprised when people have trouble understanding in movies what they have no trouble dealing with in real life. I guess it has to do with the gradual disconnection between the world as it is changing and the old fashioned conventions of movie narrative.

    I think you have figured out by now that the film makes almost no sense to most viewers because it was made by a guy who "doesn't know where he's going". It was booed at Cannes. Think about that. The French booed it for being a pretentious and incomprehensible piece of crap. The French cineastes. These are people who love the pretentious and incomprehensible Antonioni, people who in fact worship pretentiousness and opacity as virtues, and even they find this movie too pretentious and incomprehensible.

    Now imagine how you will react.

    To tell you the truth, I didn't have much trouble with the plot. I seemed to understand it, perhaps because I am as corrupt and jaded as the characters in this film. It is a film about corporate espionage. When the spy is outed, her company doesn't fire her, and the other company that she was trying to destroy doesn't consider prosecuting her. Instead, everyone decides to exploit her.

    • Her boss decides not to fire her because he'd much rater sexually exploit her. After all, what can she do? If she quits, he'll expose her. If she files a sexual harassment suit, he'll simply retaliate by exposing her various felonies, some of which are on tape.

    • The other company, which runs underground porno sites which specialize in heavy-duty torture, decides simply to use her as a victim in its films. It isn't easy to get people to perform in these things, after all, and she really has no choice but to go along or be exposed.

    OK, to be honest, I would never actually do these things. I would have just fired her and turned her over to the police and the SEC - but by God these ideas would cross my mind if she looked like Connie Nielsen! So I understood the demented character motivations that most people with normal minds couldn't grasp. Therefore, while I found it as pretentious as everyone else did, I didn't find it all that baffling. Although I couldn't follow some plot points, and lost track of some details, I got the general idea.

    What bothered me was something completely different: the utter ignorance of the writer/director. In theory, this is a film about big business using espionage to gain an advantage in the internet porno market. Unfortunately, Assayas knows absolutely nothing about any of the following:

    • Business

    • Corporate Espionage

    • Pornography

    • The Internet

    These areas of ignorance make it rather difficult to make such a film effectively. Let's take a few examples.

    Business - at a big ol' meeting, one company's rep tries to impress another company's honchos by saying, "since we talked last, our business is up 35% and our market share has doubled." Now this may not mean anything to you, but it does to me, because I actually spent a quarter of a century attending meetings like this, doing instant analysis of just such statements, and I can do basic arithmetic. Think about it for a second. If your market share has doubled with a 35% volume increase, what has happened to the size of the market?  You can do that on paper later, if you care to, but the answer is that the total market has decreased 32.5%. Needless to say, if you made such claims trying to impress me, my response would be "why the hell do I want to be in a business that has shrunk by one third in six months? Your market share has obviously gone up because people are dropping out of a loser business, and because competitors are dropping out, your volume has gone up temporarily as well, despite the shrinking market for your product." Now I guarantee you if you go to a high-level meeting and make those claims, there will be somebody in the room who will notice the true meaning of those figures immediately. Corporations pay guys just to attend these meetings and NOT be stupid.

    Corporate espionage - so, do you think corporate espionage is done by people who carry guns, dress like Mrs. Peel, break into other people's homes, and poison the drinks of office rivals? Get real. Illegal corporate espionage means one of two very boring things.

    (1) One company pays the employee of another company for information or to exert influence. This can be done during the regular course of business activities, without clandestine meetings or coded messages. People go to lunch all the time.

    (2) Some geek sits in his house and hacks into the system of one company, then another company pays him for what he finds. This is far better than method number one above, because it offers complete deniabiity. The geek is not an employee of either company. He is an independent contractor working on his own. If he is caught, the company that would have purchased info from him doesn't even know who he is. If he is traced, the trace goes to his own computer, not to the offices of the company that benefits from his trickery. If anyone buys from him, they charge it off as "independent programming contractors".

    Neither of these methods make for very good movie magic, and the participants probably look like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. Not very sexy stuff. So directors want to show it all being done by sexy people in leather suits climbing walls like Spider-Man.

    The Internet - the best line in the movie, referring to some internet torture site, The Hellfire Club: "that site is very hard to find, and very profitable". Yeah, those two things go hand in hand, don't they? You can really make a killing by making your web site impossible to find. Of course, there are some products, like yachts, which can make a lot of money despite being hard to obtain because the manufacturers make a phenomenal profit per item, but this is not a web site which costs $100,000 to be a member. We see some suburban kid paying for the site with his dad's credit card. Oh, and by the way, he didn't seem to have any trouble finding the site! Oh, those kids today, with their fancy dial-ups and their so-called "keyboards". I'll bet he used one of those fancy new-fangled things they call a URL. You know, like www.thehellfireclub.com.

    Adult sites - Sure, just like this movie says, the adult internet business is just one big monolith, controlled by some big corporations with Lear Jets and fancy offices, all in league with the Russian mob. And we have to buy expensive Japanese animated porn to keep everything exciting. The next time you guys need any vodka or white slaves or anything, just let me or Mr. Skin know, and we'll bring them back from our next trip to Moscow. Gosh, I hope I can land my Sikorsky helicopter in your backyard when I deliver the goods. I think I can safely say that the guys who run worthwhile celebrity sites have no interest in barnyard animal sites, and even the barnyard animal guys have no interest in torture and snuff films. If you want to make a bazillion dollars on snuff films, you had better charge about a bazillion per film, because there's about one guy actually interested in this kind of material.

    If you think this director is no damned good, I have misled you. Assayas knows quite a bit about filmmaking. This movie will be incomprehensible to most people, but Demonlover has a really cold and slick look and feel to it, similar to De Palma's Femme Fatale.

    But ol' Assayas don't know jack shit about his subject matter. And that is something of a shame because he wants to comment on modern life, and he really has no clue what happens in modern life. Oh, sure, he could have brought in some businessmen to advise him on how things really work - but that would have been too darned easy! More to the point, if he had done that he would have had to give up his ignorant point of view, and that point of view is what prompted him to make the film in the first place, so there wasn't any chance he was going to strive for any semblance of truth. He simply didn't want any facts to get in the way of his preconceived opinions.

     

    The Human Stain (2003)

    I was hopeful that the screener for this film would result in much better images than we had before. The Kidman images are somewhat improved, but not that much. The Barrett images are not even an upgrade.

    Sorry guys, I guess we'll be waiting until the DVD.

    Good movie. Heavy with sadness, but also touching and profound in some ways. But it's one depressing mofo. Great cast: Hannibal Lecter, Kidman, Ed Harris, Sinese. Comments here.

     

    MAILBOX:

    Follow up to The Smoking Gun: Scariest Mug Shot Ever. Did you happen to notice that Chris Kemp looks almost exactly like a real life version of Beavis? Happy New Year
     
    T

    ======================

    Dear Scoopy:

    Just thought I'd drop you a note to say HAPPY NEW YEAR  and wish you the Best in 2004! I look forward to reading your site every day (that I'm in the country, that is...some folks HAVE missed a day in years!), and continue to think that it's the best of its kind (if not the best site on the entire www).

    Just today, for example, your link to the Nebraska coed ticketed for public nudity (can you say "career move," boys and girls?) enabled me to contact her directly and arrange to feature her in the "NudesWorthy" issue of Sleuth, with personal exclusive interviews and private pics. As our colleague Senor Skin would say; "Our parents must be very proud."

    Again, keep up the superb work...you're a credit to our genre...field...profession...uh, crap archives.

    Best,
    Sleuth

    ======================

    Uncle Scoop,

     

    Is there any truth to a Jessica Simpson video starting to float around where her and Nick were secretly taped during the filming of the MTV show?  Hope it's true. 
     
    Thanks

    Frankly, I don't know. There were some rumors to that effect about a month ago, but nothing has surfaced. The original rumors did specify that it would be some time before the tape surfaced.

    ======================

    Dear Uncle Scoopy:

    Sorry to hear of your bout with the flu, I've got the same problem myself.  

    I have figured out what the main problem is with the Matrixís two sequels. It is this; the Wachowski Brothers exhausted the source material in the first film.  No I don't mean Alice in Wonderland.  They had apparently forgotten all about Lewis Carroll by the second film.

    I realize that someone else has to have noticed this but I don't recall ever reading it any of the reviews.

    A cursory overview of the Matrix, strongly indicates that it was based on Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces.  

    Before you dismiss this as an Elvis Sighting, consider;

    From Hero With a Thousand Faces
    Chapter I:

    The call to Adventure                                    Matrix: Follow the white rabbit
    Refusal of the Call                                         Matrix: Hell no, I'm not climbing out on the ledge
    Supernatural Aid (AKA meeting the wizard)  Matrix: AKA Morpheus
    The crossing of the Threshold                        Matrix: Taking the red pill
    Into The Belly of the Whale                           Matrix: Being taken aboard Nebuchadnezzer (this has to do with entering a new world)


    Okay admittedly these are all pretty standard  plot devices.  From here, I could make a better case for all these points but you probably want to read a thesis on Campbell as badly as I want to write one. To continue:

    Chapter II:
    1.  The Road of Trials                                     Matrix: Getting bounced on the pavement?
    2.  Meeting the Goddess (getting advice)         Matrix: Meeting Oracle
    4.  Apotheosis  (Becoming more than human)  Matrix: Neoís resurrection

    Chapter III:

    2. The Magical Flight                                      Matrix: Superman thing.

    On the face of it my argument is still thin, but I am just going by chapter headings.  There's quite a few subtleties that I'm not bothering to cover.  His relationships with Morpheus, Trinity, Cypher and Agent Smith would shore this up quite a bit.

    At this point my Uncle Scoopy is thinking, ďRegardless Cataline old son, youíre forgetting something important.  Religious treatises are not high on the Wachowski brothers reading list.  One them just reads S&M manuals, the other only reads comic books.Ē

    True enough.  It was the one that reads comic books who came up with idea.  The odds of that three hundred pound Comic Store Guy from the Simpsonís, Andy Wachowski, not having read Neil Gaimanís Sandman (principal character named Morpheus) are pretty close to nonexistent.

    Neil Gaiman has been mining Hero With a Thousand Faces for a decade.  Wachowski probably didnít spot it himself but Roger Zelazny did, in an introduction to one of Gaimanís collections.

    Anyway they had a real problem when the ink dried on the contract for a sequel.  Namely that the Hero had finished the Heroís Journey as outlined by Campbell.  This doesn't allow for a sequel.  

    This has to have created a crisis of confidence in them.  The only thing they could do was go back to HWATF and repeat most of  the themes they used before plus a few that they didn't have time for the first time through, (i.e.) The Woman as Temptress, The Earning of the Keys, Rescue from Without, Master of the Two Worlds.  

    The result was that they knew they were making a retread and it showed.

    What do you think?

    Cataline

    Scoop's response: I don't know The Hero With a Thousand Faces, but I think I agree with your basic premise, which is that the original film was inspired by source material, and that the sequels were written after the basic source material had been exhausted, stranding the Wachowski's with their own strained devices. I've noted that there are a lot of similarities between The Matrix and John Carpenter's They Live. Of course, The Matrix is a gazillion times better movie, but write a one paragraph summary of each, and they are about the same, except one version of the matrix is a computer program, while the other is mass hypnosis; one is about aliens, the other is about machines - but you could interchange any of those concepts without substantially altering either film. The basic concept is also somewhat similar to another S/F masterpiece Dark City.

    I don't know where the Wachowskis got their ideas, but I like The Matrix. Too bad about those sequels. (I haven't seen #3 yet. I thought #2 was better than people said.)
     

     

     

    OTHER CRAP:

    Other crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for inclusion in Other Crap

     

     

    MOVIE REVIEWS:

    Here are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.

    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

     

    Other crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for inclusion in Other Crap

     

     

    MOVIE REVIEWS:

    Here are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.

    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    Brainscan's Amber-mania
    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    Amber Smith. See-through, topless, bum and full-frontal. Haaaaappppy New Year.

    There are 43 collages to complete the capping of the disk entitled, Amber Smith R.A.W. Here are the particulars:

    First up...a brown bikini, so small and so thin she shouldn't have bothered wearing it. Wouldn't have bothered me if she hadn't. First seven collages are in color. Number 8 is B & W, but in it, Amber peals back the top to reveal upper goodies.

    • Amber in a small bikini (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)


    and then....


    How about some mega-cleavage in a red dress, looking just like Rita Hayworth, I swear.

    • Red Dress (1, 2)


    and then....




    Upper goodies showing again as Amber wears only a couple dozen thin chains on top. This should be required evening wear for Jessica Alba's next public appearance. Links 6 and 7 of this batch are in B & W; the rest are color.


    Topless in a shower. Seriously topless. Links 8 and 9 are full frontal. I love this woman.


    Next up are a few B & W shots...


    Here are a few out-takes and candids (the DVD has many extras).

    • Amber topless (1, 2, 3)


    Then, to complete the extras, there are a bunch of stills in an extensive photo-gallery. I grabbed the best of them and stuck them together into five collages. Miss Smith does the full-frontal boogy in the last four.

    • Amber nude stills (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Hankster
    'Caps and comments by Hankster:

    Today we take a look at one of my favorite B-Movie babes Gabriella Hall, in a straight to video flick "The Erotic Misadventures of the Invisible Man" (2003).

    Is it a great movie, not even close. But it is well worth a look just for the sight of Gabriella's fantastic nekkid body!

    Happy New Year To All!

    Dann
    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Morvern Callar"
    A poor Scottish grocery clerk covers up her boyfriend's suicide and takes his finished but unpublished novel for her own and is able to get it published.

    A very strange but fairly interesting character study, although definitely slow-paced.