Junebug (2005)

The premise: a monosyllabic North Carolina boy takes his high-falutin', citified, polysyllabic, foreign-educated wife home to meet his monosyllabic family in their small town. The wife is a sophisticated art dealer who combines the trip with a recruitment push for an autistic "outsider artist" who lives nearby. It is difficult for her to gain a foothold toward acceptance into the closed dynamic of Southern life. In the film's climax, she has to choose between landing the coveted artist for her gallery or supporting her new family during a crisis.

Here is what Variety wrote about Junebug's commercial prospects in the thorough review in the Sundance Edition: "contemplative pic will need favorable word of mouth and critical support to thrive in theatrical rollout."


The film had very favorable word of mouth, nice write-ups in the IMDb, and some of the most enthusiastic critical raves of the year. Two thirds of all IMDb voters scored it 8 or higher, and it scores quite well across all demographic groups. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% of its reviews were positive. As it happens, that is exactly the same percentage earned by Brokeback Mountain, which seems like the likely Best Picture winner as I write this, two months before the Oscars. 88 is a higher percentage than that earned by such distinguished films as Munich, Walk the Line, and Pride and Prejudice. Junebug also got four stars from Roger Ebert and some other high-profile major print critics. In other words, it got everything Variety said it needed to succeed, and still could not venture beyond 143 theaters. It grossed less than $3 million in the entire United States.

The paragraph above should tell you two key things about the film industry.

  • First of all, it shows that even a concerted and widespread show of critical enthusiasm has very little impact on a film's performance.

  • Second, it demonstrates that the industry's most savvy publication doesn't really realize that fact.

I suppose what Variety might have written is this: "Although we consider this to be a very good film, it is contemplative, character-driven, and populated entirely by unknowns. There is absolutely nothing which can be done to transform this from a festival film to a marketable film. The best it can hope for is the middle ground - some success in arthouse distribution with targeted marketing at discriminating film fans."

As for me, I didn't even agree with the general praise for the film. It's filled with the usual Southern stereotypes, but we have such a strange dynamic in this country that this film was praised for the depth of its stereotypes! Strange, that.

The mother in the family is an controlling shrew. The father is a monosyllabic, taciturn man who spends most of his time looking for his screwdriver. The younger brother is a monosyllabic, resentful, sullen, uneducated, antagonistic man who makes no effort to be pleasant. The brother's wife is an awestruck pregnant motormouth who plays the usual character moviemakers come up with when they need a sympathetic Southerner - the moron with a heart of gold. As usual in movies, all small-town Southerners are quaint, eccentric  Bible-thumpers. And then there is the painter being pursued so ardently, a guy who demonstrates that in the South even the geniuses are morons! He's a simple-minded racist, and his art is a series of primitive works depicting the Civil War as a matter of bearded stick characters with large semen-spewing penises. He ends up signing with the wife when he discovers that the rival New York gallery owners are Jewish.

I live in the South. I am 57 years old, and have spent exactly 25 years in Dixie, another 25 in the North, and seven years overseas. I have spent about an equal amount of time in small towns and big cities, and am not aware of particularly dramatic differences between the places where I have lived in America. I lived in Temple, Texas for years and dated a woman who came from a really tiny town in the center of the state. I ran the 7-Eleven stores in Western Florida. In no case, not even when I visited my girlfriend's family or interacted with my store employees, did I feel any special culture gap with the locals, or any substantial sense of resentment at my presence. Rarely did I hear anybody mention Jesus. Oh, yeah, we have our morons down here, but it seems to me that the percentage of ignorant, lowbrow morons is about the same in small-town Texas as it is in New York City, where I lived for four years. When I was a small boy, before the country became so homogeneous, it seemed to me that there were dramatic differences between various parts of the country. I'd travel with my parents through the Carolinas and not be able to understand a word spoken on TV by the news anchors. Then came network simulcasting, interstate highways, and corporations like McDonald's and 7-Eleven which operate identical facilities across America and move their middle managers around from state to state. Today everyone eats at the same chain restaurants with the same menus, shops at the same mall stores, listens to the same music, surfs the same internet connections, watches the same movies and TV shows, and gets their news from the same nondescript local TV anchors with the same generic Midwest American accents. The only differences between us are matters of degrees.

Despite the relative homogeneity of our culture, movies seem to perpetuate the myth that all white Southerners are ignorant, bigoted, Bible-thumpin', beer-swillin' morons. Well, I'm here to tell you that ain't so. Some Southerners are ignorant, bigoted, Bible-thumpin', moonshine-swillin' morons.

We call them "aristocrats."

Oh, and you know what? Here in the rural South we don't generally need anybody with an English accent to explain Huckleberry Finn to us, any more than the people of small-town Wessex need me to help them out with their understanding of The Mayor of Casterbridge. Oh, yes, there really are small-town Southerners like the people in this film, but there are also people capable of complex thoughts and art appreciation, and our IQs distribute within the population with the same pattern as anywhere else. So where should we look to see the rest of us, Hollywood? Where are the lawyers and doctors and scientists and hard-hitting journalists? Where are the Jewish people and the black people and the Vietnamese? Where this movie is unfair is not in showing that its characters exist, because they do exist, and the film shows us real people doing real things, but it fails to show us that they are only a portion of the population.

So if the film is not very sophisticated, and the critics went ga-ga over it, surely it is brilliant because of the camerawork, right? Well, yes, if what you love is long still-life portraits of inanimate objects. Say, there's some trees. Um ... yup ... there are the trees. Trees ... trees ... umm-humm ... trees. Say, why did we look at those trees, anyway? The camera did not zoom in to show us what was going on in that forest, nor did it pull back to show us how the forest related to something else. It just sat there, a-watchin' them-thar trees. I guess that was to recreate the traditional Southern evening experience of sittin' on the back porch, a-whittlin' and a-watchin' the trees. At any rate, if you liked that, the director repeated the same still-life technique with rooms of the house, allowing us to study them in meticulous detail. The Raisin Bran. The cigarettes. The pictures of Jesus.

As I guess you can determine, I was disappointed by this film. Frankly, I can't see why it is praised so effusively. I'm not saying it is a terrible movie. It has some good moments. But I think the state of our Union is perilous, and our stereotypes deeply ingrained, when we hail a filmmaker for adding some character depth to the usual Southern stereotypes, as if to say, "Yes, we are morons in the South, but - looky here - underneath, we morons have the same feelings as all of you."

Well, no shit, Sherlock! Yes, just like those sophisticated Northerners, we can cry and bond with our families when our children die.

Whoda thunk it?


Embeth Davidtz




  • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated. Find some excellent caps of Patricia Barzyk from that Mocky film which ICMS did earlier this week.


Other Crap:

Bill Clinton unveils deal to slash price of AIDS tests
  • No wait - it's just his volume discount.

Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan's Bogus Journey to a Strip Club

  • The Enquirer people are going to have to create a new tabloid just for Lindsay, or nobody else will make it above page five. This is only the 12th day of the year, and she's already into 2007's headlines!

Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan's Most Excellent Dark Room Adventure

Eli Roth Talks Hostel 2!

Peter Bergen talks to Jon Stewart about his book "The Osama bin Laden I Know."

  • The Osama I knew, I Osama I loved - the Osama with a song in his heart.

The Daily Show: "By examining our reasons for being in the Middle East we are cupping Osama's balls."

The Daily Show: "A look at what medical science promises, and what it can actually deliver."

"SEN. BIDEN PRODUCING DANGEROUSLY HIGH LEVELS OF CARBON DIOXIDE ... Talkative Lawmaker Creating Environmental Threat, Scientists Fear"

Body mistakenly taken out with funeral home trash

The line-up for Survivor 12 - Panama

Build your own motivational posters!

  • "Armed with a digital camera and that non-stop wit of yours, you now have the power to turn a simple photograph into an inspirational message that will burn forever in the hearts and minds of dozens. Print it, frame it! Make two -- we know you've got hundreds of digital images and photos to spare! But don't worry if you can't think of anything... remember, there's an old proverb that says just about whatever you want it to. Discussion and comments about this application here."

Astute critic notes that there may be a subtle homosexual subtext in Brokeback Mountain

  • Actually, I like his reviews. Like The Filthy Critic he uses the same funny and disingenuously casual attitude to disguise some serious thoughts

This is for real - Medical journal: removing ear wax with a Super Soaker

Another real headline: "Penis is too much for Swedish sex exhibition"

  • The text of the article is (intentionally??) funny as well. "The director of the museum, Jan Sundström, didn't like the look of the man's penis. It ... was too much for the museum management to swallow."

The trailer for The King

  • A troubled man (Gael Garcia Bernal), recently discharged from the Navy, returns to his childhood home in Corpus Christi, Texas to reunite with his father.

The trailer for 'Just My Luck', a high-concept rom-com with Lindsay Lohan

  • In this comedy, Lindsay Lohan plays Ashley, a young professional just out of college. She also happens to be the luckiest woman in the world, who has lived a super-charmed life and has always taken her good luck for granted. When she kisses a handsome stranger (played by Chris Pine) at a costume party, Ashley accidentally swaps her good fortune for his horribly bad luck, and her charmed life turns into a living hell.

This is a real headline: "Germany's cannibal back on trial for eating Internet volunteer"

The Daily Show: Schwarzenegger's lip, the only part of him not hideously swollen, was injured in a car accident.

The Daily Show: It's time to figure out what Senator Ted Kennedy's eye roll and headshake were all about!

The Daily Show's Ed Helms "profiles a sleepy Texas town that changed its name to Dish and got free satellite TV."

"Albert Brooks talks to Jon Stewart about performing in Pakistan for 'Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.'"

The preview video for the Colin Farrell sex tape

"Thomas Edison's neighbor is upset that Edison doesn't share his electricity."

Inadequate Body Armor Fatalities: President Bush Threatens to Shut Down New York Times for Revealing the Super-Duper-Classified Military Secret that Our Troops in Iraq are Sitting Ducks (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)

Lots of new images from Basic Instinct 2



Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.




Reform School Girl (1994)

An Unmarried Woman (1978) is a comedy from Paul Mazursky about the divorce and recovery of Jill Clayburgh. She was more or less happy as the wife of a successful stockbroker and part-time gallery manager. Sure, their love-life lacked intimacy, but she coped, and never suspected that hubby was seeing another women until he took her to lunch and announced their divorce for dessert. The film chronicles the way she emerged as a strong, self-reliant, and happy woman, with help from an analyst and her best friends.

For most of the film, I was bored, feeling like I had seen this story before, up to the point that she and her support group of friends started getting really honest about how they felt, and how divorce attacked their feelings of self worth. This, to me, was the strongest element of the story.

Clayburgh shows breasts in two scenes.

IMDb readers say 7.1, and it was nominated for three Oscars. It was a matter of timing. First, the messages about what Clayburgh was feeling, and how she emerged were nearly the agenda for the feminist movement at that time. Second, it was one of the first films to accurately depict divorce from the women's viewpoint, and hence was a fresh idea. As is typical of a Mazursky film, it is technically sound, insightful, and well acted. While it is as true today as it was then, it is a little dated now, in that the topic has been well covered in the two plus decades since its release. This is a C.



Jill Clayburgh


The Stoned Age (1994)

Stoned Age, which takes place during one long night, is a comedy about two stoners on a quest for chicks. The coolest of the stoners, Bradford Tatum, is a real ladies man, while his best friend, Michael Kopelow, is more sensitive. They decide to score with two women that, in their crazy world, "belong to" another of their group. The rest of the film is a comedy of errors with them pursuing Renee Griffin, a sexpot, and her friend China Kantner, supposedly the ugly duckling, while scoring as much booze and dope as they can, and avoiding arrest.

Renee Griffin shows breasts and partial buns.

I suppose the two characters are derivative of Cheech and Chong, but I could not relate to them at all. It has elements of road trip, buddy, and coming-of-age themes, but ultimately, I couldn't relate to the characters, and didn't find many of the gags humorous. As an example, Kopelaw loses his dinner of Schnapps and rum, and vomits under a chair cushion. IMDb readers have this at 5.7, with males over 49 giving a 4.9. Since I am part of that group, it clearly must resonate with those younger than I am. It is technically sound, and clearly entertains its target audience, so is a C.




Renee Griffin









Dann reports on Empire of the Wolves:

Excellent 2005 French action/thriller (with English soundtrack) is exciting throughout, with a lot of twists and turns. It can be somewhat confusing, but if you pay attention, you'll be rewarded with a very good story.

Arly Jover plays Anna, a woman who is experiencing spot amnesia. She has times where she forgets certain things, even her husband. As she seeks help for her condition, things begin to emerge that point to a much more sinister explanation for the memory problems than amnesia.

Meanwhile, a local police captain is on the hunt for a serial killer who has killed three women. The women are all redheads, and in each case, the body was purposely mutilated to destroy the victim's face and make identifying her nearly impossible.

Although they don't know it, Anna is linked to the detective's problem in an unimaginable way. Things continue to twist and turn as both stories unfold.

Telling you any more of the plot will ruin the movie, but it's a top-notch effort, and great to watch. The movie is based on a novel by Jean-Christophe Grange, and some people complained that the movie is not faithful to the book. While I can't comment on that, having never read the book, I can say the movie on its own is exciting and well worth watching.

Monica Davidescu









Limousine Confidential (2004) is a strip-and-wiggle DVD from Peach. What story there is to all the proceedings involves a limousine driver who picks up one gal after another and watches in the rear-view mirror as they strip. And wiggle. I'll be getting to the others soon enough but today is given over to Rachel Elizabeth. Ms. Elizabeth has done a Skinemax thing or two but her specialty is to prance around in these Peach videos. Here she shows off a pair of not-at-all obnoxious robo-hooters and...well, a view of her nether regions that is long and lingering. Way nice looking gal, right nice looking nethers.











A little "Grab Bag" today.

Beran Holt with some "Hankster Light" bra cleavage in "Elvis Has Left the Building".

Jenna Jameson shows of the robos with a "Babe in Bondage" scene in "Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain" 

Gina Gershon has a "Babe in Bondage" scene in "Palmetto," fully clothed.

Wrapping up the day, also from "Palmetto," is some "Hankster Extremely Light." It's Elisabeth Shue in scenes where she really shows nothing but some great legs, but still looks extremely sexy.






Today we go 20 years back in time in order to see a still natural looking Demi Moore in "About Last Night..." (1986). Breasts and buns are clearly on display, maybe even more but very dark, in the following six fullscreen clips from Flemish TV.  (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Scoop rated this movie B- in his review in the Movie House, Tuna was a little bit less generous with C+.

Regarding Rome episode 10 "Triumph" I can be short.
  • Nudity: nihil.
  • Plotwise not much happened either, this episode merely seems a step-up for the two remaining ones. Caesar stabilizes the Roman institutions, Lucius Vorenus rises on the social ladder while his friend Pullo has a lot of trouble adapting to civilian life. Servilia starts to foment a coup against her former lover.
That's it for today, hope to be back soon.






Lita, exposing a breast on WWE RAW. The submitter wrote: "I'm surprised no one has sent this in yet.  During Raw, on Monday night, Edge and Lita were going to have live sex in the ring to celebrate Edge winning the WWE title the night before. Naturally, they were interrupted before things really got going.  One of the cameramen was at the wrong angle for a few seconds during all of this. The American broadcast censored this scene, but it played out normally for the British broadcast and showed Lita topless for a few seconds. Attached is the best shot I've seen of it, hopefully one of your British readers can provide a better copy.
Maggie Gyllenhaal. Submitter wrote:  "I stumbled upon these caps from Strip Search, the Maggie Gyllenhaal TV movie, and I did my best to enhance and enlighten. "


Pat's comments in yellow...

Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, found a new source of the greenhouse gas methane, which environmentalists say is threatening the Earth.  The source is plants.  In controlled experiments, they found that living plants emit about 10 to 30 percent of the methane released into the atmosphere each year.   It explains the huge plumes of methane that have been spotted over
tropical forests.

*  The good news is, at the rate we're burning down rain forests, we should
be able to save the environment.

*  President Bush finally agreed to do something to stop global warming: he
declared war on trees.

Tuesday, the natural grocery chain Whole Foods announced that it would get all its electricity from wind power.  The president said the cost would be offset because it reinforces their core values of environmentalism and will "help convince a customer to drive past three or four other supermarkets on the way to Whole Foods."

*  Don't worry, I'm sure their customers' SUVs are all wind-powered, too.

Andromedical, the maker of a popular penile-extender, did a study into the myths related to penis size in various nations.  After researching data from 15 countries, they determined that the longest penises were in France (average erect length 6.2 inches).  Runners-up were Italy (5.9"), Mexico (5.8"), and Spain (5.5").  In the U.S., the average is 5 inches.  The smallest studied were in South Korea (3.7").

*  That explains why they don't mind driving Kias.

People magazine reported that reps for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie confirmed that Jolie is pregnant and will give birth this summer.  Tabloids had noticed she'd been wearing baggy clothes for the past month or so and had applied to rename her adopted kids "Jolie-Pitt."  But just last week, Jolie's rep was furiously denying she was pregnant, and so far, Pitt and Jolie have yet to admit they are more than "just friends."

*  That's Angelina's definition of "friend": "People I have sex with."

*  The paparazzi are trying to figure out how to attach a telephoto lens to
a sonogram machine.

*  If there's such a thing as karma, this baby may turn out to look like
Howard Stern.


Heath Ledger said he found it "hilarious and immature" of Mormon society that a Utah theater wouldn't show his gay cowboy movie, "Brokeback Mountain," adding, "I heard a while ago that West Virginia was going to ban it, but that's a state that was lynching people only 25 years ago, so that's to be expected." 

*  For the record, lynching was not legal in West Virginia in 1981. But then, neither was gay cowboy sex...In fact, that might still be
illegal in West Virginia.

*  He meant 1881...He's REALLY bad at math.


Nick Lachey gave a post-separation interview to Elle magazine and was not very tactful.  He complained that "women argue in ways that aren't rational to men," and described his next ideal woman, who sounds like the opposite of his blond ex, Jessica Simpson.  He said he wants a "sexy Latina" like Jessica Alba or Eva Mendes, who's had "10 or under" previous sex partners, who will understand his love of sports, and "respects my music."

*  Yeah, I'm sure the world is overflowing with those...

*  Right, sexy Latina divas are famous for arguing in a manly, rational

*  And she has to know the difference between chicken and tuna.


The New York Post reports that Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan jumped on
stage at Scores and pole danced, with Moss yelling, 'You're a pro, Lindsay!
You should do this for a living!'

* At the rate she's going, she soon will be.