The creators of this movie had a great idea. Ben Stein comes on
at the beginning and gives a brief spiel about the youthploitation films of the
1980s, then announces that he's proud to present, for the very first time, a
lost 80s film which has never been seen because of prior legal and financial
difficulties. The idea, of course, it to create a spoof of the youth-oriented
films of that era. The central plot is basically a retread of Some Kind of
Wonderful, in which the tomboy chick helps her outsider male friend get a date
with the most popular girl in school, then ...
Well, I think you know the rest, even if you have not seen Some
Kind of Wonderful.
In order to hang on to the most popular girl, our hero has to
beat her ex-boyfriend in the decathlon. Since he has no idea how to do those
events, he needs a coach - Mr. Yamagushi - who teaches him how to plant the pole
vault with "sweep up, sweep back." I suppose you have recognized that this
opened up a running thread of Karate Kid references.
There is a secondary plot involving the younger sister of the
male outsider. She loves dance, but finds that her family has moved to a
California county where dancing has been made illegal because of some
unfortunate incidents in the past. She finds a group of dancers who still cut
loose in secret. This allows the film to run some references to Dirty Dancing
The film was produced by the VH1/MTV people, and they know a
thing or two about the 1980s, so the intriguing concept might have resulted in
an excellent movie, even though the exact same ground had already been covered
by "Not Another Teen Movie." It did not. Totally Awesome does run around the
right bases in the right direction, but that's about all it accomplishes. It is
obvious and consistently unfunny, with a weak script, odd casting, some
ludicrous overacting, and an appalling inability to recognize when a joke has
stopped being funny.
The main plot is handled more for sentiment than for laughs, and
is quite convincingly performed by Mikey Day, who chose to ignore the fact that
he was in a spoof and play the character as honestly as he could. That is always
the right acting decision when the script is good, but he just didn't have good
enough good material to work with, so he ended up like fish out of water - a
completely serious performance among a bunch of others who seem to be graduates
of the William Shatner Acting Academy. Worst among the violators are Joey Kern
as the rich ex-boyfriend of the popular girl, and Dominique Swain as the
dance-obsessed little sister. I would say that these two went over the top, but
they didn't even seem to be aware that there was a top.
The film's director made an interesting choice in casting the
dance instructor. Instead of casting a hunky guy who could handle both the
comedy and the dancing, he chose Chris Kattan, who dances about as well as Dr.
Steven Hawking, and has about the same body as well. Kattan made all the corny
1980s dance moves and acted as if he were all-that, just as if cock-of-the-walk
Patrick Swayze had been doing the part, except without the grace and agility and
looks. There were a few moments when Kattan's mock cool was funny, but the film
must have about 20 minutes of Kattan dancing and ... well, it was funny for
maybe a minute. Maybe. After that it was just surreal and, more important,
The same point applies to the casting of Brittany Daniel and
Joey Kern, actors in their 30s, as the popular rich kids. It's funny the first
time you see them dressed up as high school students, especially since the
youth-oriented shows and films of the 80s and 90s always seemed to feature
actors too old for the roles. Jason Priestly was also in his 30s in his later
episodes of Beverly Hills 90201. But the gimmicky casting only works for a
second. One laugh. After that, the film is stuck with a woman who looks old
enough to be the mom of the other kids. (Although a very sexy mom!)
Speaking of boring, Ben Stein's face appears from time to time
in an insert to explain the references. Equally boring, and totally unfunny, was
the fact that the screenwriter also chose to make the faux-Myagi character
(James Hong, age 77) a gay pedophile with sexual designs on our hero. You
haven't lived until you see James Hong sitting with his Kimono open invitingly.
But don't feel that the film is gay-bashing, because the dance instructor is a
heterosexual pedophile, and the younger sister is only 16! When the
dancer is forgiven at the end, the town's mayor makes dancing legal in his honor
then, as an afterthought, makes pedophilia legal as well! At last, fun
comes back to the town!
You think that was in kind of bad taste? In the deleted scenes,
there was kind of a Weird Science spoof where a dad and a little kid switched
bodies as the result of a science experiment, and the little kid took advantage
of the situation to slip in and fuck the daylights out of his mother!
Now that's wacky! At least they had the good sense to cut
The only nudity comes from Zara Taylor in a cameo. (I added a
new Zara Taylor volume to the Encyclopedia as well)
I did find one thing on the DVD to be pretty funny. The film
itself offers a half-hearted passing satire of Soul Man, and Tracy Morgan plays
the black guy in charge of teaching our hero to act black. The material in the
film is lame, to say the least, but the deleted scenes feature Morgan doing a
ten minute monologue about the inability of white people to understand the black
experience. That is, by far, the funniest thing on the disc.
This film is a D on our scale. I
will watch almost any genre spoof. I love them. I even liked the very similar
"Not Another Teen Movie," but I couldn't wait for this one to end.
"Jayne Heitmeyer used a body double in that Hunger episode.
She never did a nude scene with the exception of a nipple slip in Sci-Fighters
and partial boob in a Sirens episode. That particular Hunger episode had
about four face doubles.
---- Spaz ----
Third Party Videos:
Catherine McCormack. She's the
Braveheart lady, now looking very different, seen here in
Elizabeth David: A
Life in Recipes, last year's made-for-TV biopic about a women who was the Martha
Stewart of her time, i.e. back in the 1950s. Here's the official blurb: "Dramatization
of the turbulent life of Elizabeth David, the original domestic goddess. She
published her first book of Mediterranean Food in 1950, and went on to write
eight more books that have sold more than two million copies worldwide. Her
public image was of an elegant, respectable and somewhat austere figure. In
reality, Elizabeth was a deeply unconventional person with a profound passion
for food, life and men." Whatever. (Here 's the
TV promo spot,
if you're really interested.) The important point is that this is a surprisingly
hot sex scene for a 90-minute BBC movie. Sample captures below:
Anne Heche is today's
collection-builder. This represents all of her significant career nudity:
Everyone's favorite naked celebutante is back again with five more naughty
videos. Four of them are routine stuff with an occasional peek at a breast. The
exception is the one called "Naked in Bed 01," which features some pretty hot
hanky-panky, but no lower body exposure. Today's Paris
Hilton lot includes five zipped .mov videos. (67
meg worth of goodies.)
Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Fashionably L.A. (1999) is a no budget indie from first time film maker
Tamara Olson. Tamara felt compelled to tell the story of L.A. fashion models,
a subject in which she has substantial expertise, since she is a fashion model
in L.A. The film isn't about internationally recognized supermodels, but
rather the women who are blessed with height, looks, and more ambition than
sense, who work their tails off and spend inordinate amounts of money trying
to "make it" in the business. This film is a mockumentary that follows five
working models (one of whom is played by Tamara herself) through demeaning
assignments, problems with their significant others, acting classes,
auditions, etc. To emphasize the contrast between the workday drudgery of
their lives and the glamour of their profession, Olson decided to shoot most
of the film in B&W, but have the scenes where they were actually working in
front of the public in grainy color.
Every event in the film actually happened in real life to at least one of
the principals, including a "human mannequin" gig in a mall where shoppers not
only heckled but threw things at the models. I must admit I never thought much
about it, but this film makes it clear that these women put up with no end of
indignities and abuse, and most can't even pay the rent on what they earn. In
one of my favorite scenes, one of them is arrested on the street. She is in a
tight low-cut dress in a bad neighborhood, the vice cops see her appointment
book, and arrest her for prostitution.
Olson raised money for the film by selling shares to her friends and
family. At one point, she even organized a Model Bikini Garage Sale to raise
money to finish the film. (Film of the Bikini Sale is included on the DVD.)
She received a great deal of advice from many people, who almost universally
told her not to try and make a movie. They went on that if she did, make it a
simple character piece with a simple plot, one star and few locations.
Thankfully, she didn't listen and made a film which seems far more
professional than expected, given that none of the cast or crew were paid.
They even went so far as to record undiscovered musicians for their sound
track and music, simply because the cost of licensing music was way too
The lead characters are human and likable, and the film is an entertaining
glimpse into a world I knew little or nothing about. as created by people who
know it well. You know by now if the subject appeals to you. Assume that Chris
Guest's movies represent the best of the comedy mockumentaries genre and are
the C-plusses on our scale. That makes Fashionably L.A. a C.
- IMDb readers say 5.8. Those over 45 place it at 6.7. I agree with my
- NUDITY REPORT: underwear shots are common, but there was also some
nudity, as shown below
A short update today since the Time Machine is parked.
We have hooters from Tiffany Kristensen.
A professor (Michael Gross) is terrified by a young woman student (Karen Elkin) after he rejects an attempted seduction by her. Everyone he tries to get help from believes he did something to cause this
situation. The student moves to another city but keeps calling him threating his family, afte one of this calls, he goes to the police who tells him the girl has committed suicide three days ago. Did he
imagine everything?, is he crazy? I don't know, another episode that doesn't explain much, but the acting is ok and Karen is a nice looking girl.
Notes and collages
The Ladies of
Kicking off a new series with the "A" material:
Talk about hot.
Cyndi Williams. Woo-hoo! Kathy Bates, watch your back!
Pat's comments in yellow...
Zhao Gang of Chongging City, China, lost his wife three years ago in a car
crash that he survived, and his parents pressured him to marry again. But he
says he only did it because the new wife looked a little like his first wife,
and "I want to have a chance to make up for my mistakes." Now, he's pressured
his second wife into reluctantly agreeing to get plastic surgery to look like
his first wife. He said, "Maybe it's more or less unfair to her, but she has
agreed, and I will embrace her with all my love." But the hospital's head of
plastic surgery insisted they have counseling first, saying that plastic surgery
can't make two people look just alike and it's not the best way to sustain a
* It seems to be working for Melanie Griffith.
* His first wife was...Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that's
In the Netherlands, new rules for official ID photos allow head dresses for
religious reasons as long as the face is not obscured and people keep their
mouths closed and look serious. A man from Hellevoetsluis wanted to challenge
the rules, so he insisted on posing for an ID photo dressed as Batman's enemy,
the Joker, claiming he had to wear the costume because of his religious beliefs.
To his surprise, they caved in: he just got an ID card with a picture of himself
as the Joker.
* But how can he be a proper Joker if he had to look
serious? Religious persecution!
* Batman himself couldn't get one because his outfit is
too much like a burqa.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that his pal Fidel Castro is not only
recovering, he's up and walking, in fact, "almost jogging."
* Castro's doctors prepared for Chavez's visit by
watching "Weekend At Bernie's."
Paris Hilton is threatening to sue the creators of ParisExposed.com, claiming
they violated her privacy by posting medical records that revealed she has
* If they hadn't done that, we never would've suspected
she had an STD.
* If there's only thing Paris values above all else,
it's her privacy.