Totally Awesome

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 and Footloose.

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, boring.

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 that one.

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.



  • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated

  • There is a new Encyclopedia volume for Zara Taylor


"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.

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 expensive. 

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 demographic.
  • NUDITY REPORT: underwear shots are common, but there was also some nudity, as shown below
Ania Sikorska shows buns, and the sides of her breasts.


Jenya Lano shows her breasts.



Miranda Gibson shows breasts and buns.



Tamara Olson shows buns and the side of her left breast.








The Butcher


A short update today since the Time Machine is parked.

We have hooters from Tiffany Kristensen.







The Hunger

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.


Karen Elkin







Notes and collages

The Ladies of Sci-fi/Fantasy


Kicking off a new series with the "A" material:

Sigourney Weaver








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 relationship.

* It seems to be working for Melanie Griffith.

* His first wife was...Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that's the ticket!



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, claiming they violated her privacy by posting medical records that revealed she has herpes.

* 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.