Soul Men

Vita brevis breviter in brevi finietur,

Mors venit velociter quae neminem veretur

When we remember and talk about films, the focus is usually on what actually happened on the screen. In this case, the off-screen subtext is actually more important. One of the stars and a supporting player died during this film. The star was a likeable and talented comic, Bernie Mac, and the bit player in this movie was no bit player in life, but a giant of soul music as a producer, performer, composer, arranger, and even as a starring actor in blaxploitation films. Tha's right, I'm talkin' 'bout Eye-zak "Chef" Hayes himself.

Their deaths change the film substantially. It probably shouldn't be that way. During Soul Men's feel-good ending, we should probably be thinking about the characters and the catharsis produced by wrapping up their stories, but we aren't. The closing credits are running over Isaac's mellow voice. His song is saying the words "Never Can Say Goodbye," but we realize that he is doing exactly that, and the film's emotional resonance deepens. The silly comedy suddenly seems like a memento mori. Bernie Mac then appears in outtakes and "behind the scenes" footage, and we are made even more aware of the swiftness of time's winged chariot.

The fourteenth century Latin couplet cited above means:

Life is short, and shortly it will end;

Death comes quickly and respects no one

Ain't that the truth.

Man, those 14th century monks were some cheerful-ass guys, were they not? If there had been movies back then, those depressing dudes would have been nominated for every Oscar.

Back to the point.

The film is about two back-up soul singers who are asked to perform a farewell tribute to their frontman. The group split up three decades earlier. The lead singer went on to become a soul legend. The back-ups soon left the business. They tried to form their own act, but it wasn't viable. Let's face it, nobody buys a Pips album unless Gladys Knight is singing lead. Their friendship soon followed the same direction as their careers because they were both in love with the same woman.

After all the years, the Pips still don't get along, and the two men are as different as can be. One became a successful entrepreneur who is now living in the splendor and ennui of a gated golf course community. The other turned into a bad-ass criminal who is now an ex-con struggling in menial jobs, living in squalor. The two men grudgingly agree to work together for the farewell at New York's Apollo Theater, but they live in California and one of them refuses to fly, so they have to spend several days together during the car ride. Along the way they encounter the daughter of the woman they once fought over. They realize that she may or may not be the daughter of one of them.

Before the poignant ending, which would not have been so damned poignant if everyone in the cast could have stayed alive for a few more months, the film can be summed up in one short list of attributes: good music, funny dialogue, solid performances, tired plot. As for that plot thing - child, don't you pay that no never mind. It's well worth the watch if you like the music of the early Motown and pre-rock eras, and/or if you enjoy Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson, who both did a great job. You would expect those two guys to handle comedy and some light drama with ease, and they do. The pleasant surprise is that they are also convincing as a couple of guys who once made a living singing and dancing and charming audiences.

Soul Men has a few cringe-worthy moments and a predictable plot, but that just doesn't matter as you watch it. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, and watched several scenes a second time. All of which goes to show that you can make a good entertainment film with just about any plot - just as long as you don't lose sight of what makes it entertaining. Let the musicians play. Let the comedians joke. Give Samuel L. a chance to bluster in righteous and profane indignation. Voila! You got yourself a pretty decent movie.

It is rated in the 5s at IMDb. That's absurd.

1. Men score it 5.8, women 7.9. It's obviously not a chick-flick. It's a raunchy R. There is obviously some hanky-panky in the IMDb votes.

2. There are 71 votes for 1/10. There can be no sensible defense of that score.

3. The IMDb arithmetic mean is 6.9, and the median is 7.0. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 60% of the top critics gave it a positive review. James Berardinelli and Roger Ebert each awarded a 3 out of 4. All of those facts are perfectly reasonable and consistent with one another, and reflect the film's true merit.


The only significant nudity came from former porn star Vanessa Del Rio, who is now 56 years old and exposed her mammoth chest in a sex scene with Bernie Mac. Sample right
In this comedy scene. Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge) flashed a lot of cleavage at Bernie Mac, and Sara Erikson offered a quick flash of bum when she got felt up by Samuel L.
It appears to me that Samuel L Jackson's face has been Photoshopped into this orgy scene. Sample right.
This scene has nothing to do with nudity. It's just fun to watch, if you are interested. The two antagonists get stuck in the desert when their car breaks down. They almost kill one another, but eventually bond over one of their old songs.




Took a look at the clip from Van vlees en bloed in Sunday's Fun House and I'm not sure what I'm seeing in the clip (attached captures).  It seems that the guy is really enjoying the scene. Either way it's worth another look at Maaike Neuville.




  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.









Layer Cake


High definition film clip of Sienna Miller. Samples below.


High definition film clip of Kinky Kerry. Who knew that John Kerry was a big enough Kinky Friedman fan to name his daughter after him? Samples below.









A clip to accompany yesterday's caps.



Scary Movie


Carmen Electra's sexy scene that kicks off "Scary Movie. No nudity, but it was a hot scene. Caps and two clips.



CBS Evening News

Over in TV Land a little leg from Katie Couric on the evening news.







The Hoax


Richard Gere plays Clifford Irving in The Hoax (2006), a movie made from Irving's book about his adventures in passing off a great fraud on the publishing world. In previous movies - from Breathless to Mothman Prophecies - Gere has shown himself to be less than a sum of his parts. He just had not been up to the task, pretty much no matter what the task might have been. But in The Hoax he is fucking fantastic. And as a result this is a kickass movie, perhaps a bit too full of itself but entertaining and more than a tad thought-provoking. The 6.9 it has earned at IMDb is about a half-point too low in my book, but who am I to quibble?

The only exposure in The Hoax comes from the lovely Julie Delpy as Irving's feckless mistress and ersatz celebrity, Nina van Pallandt. I am old enough to recall the real Ms. van Pallandt coming across as a golddigger, whoring herself for fame rather than money. That's how Ms. Delpy plays her... to perfection. Julie gives up brief flashes of boobage in a post-coital talk- and cuddle-fest with our anti-hero. It is a sexy scene despite or because of the limited exposure.

Julie Delpy film clip. Collages below.








One Night Stand


This is not the 1997 film with Nastassja Kinski, Wesley Snipes and Downey Jr, but a 1984 Aussie film from John Duigan, who directed Sirens, the Citizen Kane of celebrity nudity.

Cassandra Delaney clip here. Sample below:







Notes and collages


"Las Vegas"

Jumping forward to season four. Nikki's appearance has changed.

s4, e4

s4, e5


s4, e6










The latest film clips from from Defoe. Part 1 of 2 or 3 this week.

Constance Dolle in Fool Moon

Geraldine Pailhas in Didine

Marie Kremer in Marc Orlan

Nathalie Boutefeu in La Vie Lointaine

Valentine Catzeflis in Nos 18 Ans











Blu-Ray demonstrates that Natalie Portman did, in fact, appear partially topless in Closer


Film Clips

JoBeth Williams in Teachers. Sample right.
Julia Jennings in Teachers. Sample right.
Cordelia Bugeja in The Crew. Samples right.
Carrie Fisher in a bikini in The Man With One Red Shoe. Sample right.
Former porn star Brigitte Lahaie, one of the few in the industry to cross over to non-porn, discusses her career in several aspects of the porno world. (It's in French, but the accompanying pics are universally understandable.)

Kristin Novak in Cemetary Gates.

Brazilian film legend Sonia Braga in Gabriella. This is only VHS quality, but is a great scene with Marcello Mastroianni. Wouldn't you love to see major American actresses do scenes like this? Not many would, and the exceptions would not really fulfill our fantasies. Sigourney Weaver would, but she's 60. Mimi Rogers would, but once again her sell-by date has passed.

If Lohan would do a scene like this in a "prestige" movie from a  top director, Winslet style, she might actually win an Oscar. (Assuming, of course, that she would also put the necessary work into the job.)