Songcatcher (2000) is a Maggie Greenwald film about a female musicologist who is passed over for a full professorship at an anonymous eastern private college, and joins her sister at a mountain "settlement school" in the mountains. There she discovers a tradition of ballads going back to ancient English and Scottish ballads, literally unchanged from when their ancestors first immigrated.

The story is set at the turn of the century, which is several years early for this discovery, but nonetheless is based on an historical event that marked the beginnings of country and western music. In a good commentary track, Greenwald explains exactly where she took artistic license and why. Where she didn't take any license at all was in the music, which was performed exactly as collected in the 20s.

Settlement of the mountain folk was prompted as much by coal mining companies and their desire to strip mine the land as anything, but the initial contacts were by missionaries encouraged by them who started schools to turn the hill folks into modern citizens, and lay settlement schools, privately owned, who had the goal of educating, but preserving the local culture. The musicologist, played by Janet McTeer manages to become accepted by the suspicious residents and starts collecting this amazing work. Meanwhile, we learn that her sister, played by Jane Adams, is in a lesbian relationship with the director of the school. Greenwald essentially doesn't belive that all school teachers were sexless old spinsters, and wanted to give them some sexuality. IN fact, she had a love interest of some kind for every woman in the film. McTeer herself ends up falling for one of these crude hill folk.

Adams shows breasts when McTeer discovers her sexual secret, and McTeer's large breasts are pretty clearly outlined in period lingerie. IMDb readers have this at 7.2 of 10, and it garnered many awards and nominations, including a special jury prize at Sundance. I adored this film, but then it is decidedly my sort of film. As a 60s vintage folk aficionado, I recognized most of the songs in the film as the ones that influenced people like Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio, and Bob Dylan. I also enjoyed the cultural insights. Again, that is my kind of material. The scenery was breathtaking, and the performances very convincing. Overall, however, it was the music that carried the story. Taj Mahal even stopped in long enough to write and perform a traditional sounding banjo piece.

I suppose this is a C+. If you don't like folk music and have no interest in the culture, you won't find much to like here. If this is your kind of film, it is amazingly good.

  • Thumbnails

  • Jane Adams (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Janet McTeer (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Body and Soul (1981)

    This was a movie that had a lot of potential, almost all of it unfulfilled.

    The basic idea was to update an eponymous 1947 boxing movie with John Garfield, which is a little-seen film which seems to be regarded positively (8.2 at IMDb). Since the original provided some good material and had not been widely seen, it really seemed like a perfect candidate for a remake in 1981. Since the ethnic composition of the boxing world had changed dramatically between 1947 to 1981, it also made sense to have the script updated by African-Americans, to star black and Latino boxers. Leon Isaac Kennedy took on the remake as a vanity project. He and his wife, a 5'10" beauty queen turned sportscaster named Jayne Kennedy, played the leading roles. Jayne, formerly Miss Ohio, was one of the most beautiful women who ever walked the earth. Several gorgeous women got naked, including three former Playmates (Azizi Johari, Rosanne Katon, and Ola Ray). The greatest living boxer, Muhammad Ali, took a major acting role, playing his cocky self as the mentor of the fictional boxer. I liked some of the musical score, especially a romantic duet with Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright (once Mrs. Stevie Wonder).

    The publicity machine was also oiled well for this film. Jayne Kennedy was a fast-rising and much discussed star. The Playmates' presence  guaranteed good coverage from Playboy. Muhammad Ali was - well, only the most recognizable man in the world.

    The right pieces seemed in place. It should have worked ...

    Unfortunately, Leon just didn't have the right stuff to pull all that off. Despite the gimmicks, it wasn't a box office success, and it just wasn't a good movie either.

    Mind you, Leon was not such a bad actor. He was no James Earl Jones, but he was able to create a character who seemed both cocky and sensitive, and he also possessed star looks and zero percent body fat. But his boxing just never looked right. His footwork seemed smooth enough, and he did have a conditioned body, but he never seemed to learn to throw a punch. He delivered his blows while crouching over, with his weight way back, and he used no shoulder power, just a little limp arm-waving and occasionally a big stiff-armed roundhouse swing.

    Float like a butterfly

    Sting like a ... smaller, weaker butterfly.

    Leon's real weakness, however, was not the boxing, but the writing, which he inexplicably chose to do himself. He just didn't have the skills and savvy to deliver a polished movie script. His characters are unrealistic caricatures, his dialogue isn't natural, and the storyline is about as syrupy and trite as possible.

    The star is an amateur boxer planning to go to medical school, but forced to turn pro to earn money for the care of his little sister, who has sickle cell anemia. His mama hates his boxing. His girlfriend thinks at first that he's a cocky scumbag and leaves him, but comes back to him when she finds out that he's really fighting for his dying sister. At first our hero stays aloof from the temptations and corruption of boxing stardom, but then he gets caught up in his own hype, starts getting corrupted by the temptations of the good life, and is persuaded by some  promoters to throw a big fight. At this point, his girlfriend leaves him yet again. But maybe, just maybe, he'll defy the evil gamblers and fight the big fight to win, thus saving his soul and winning his fickle girlfriend back yet again, even though the gamblers and promoters will kill him if he does so.

    Or maybe not.

    The big fight makes up the last 20 minutes of the film, and the direction is clumsy. Show some ring action. Show Muhammad Ali's reaction. Ring action. Mama's reaction. Ring action. Little dyin' sister's reaction. Wave to little dyin' sister, get punched by bad guy while waving. Get way behind, need a dramatic knockout to win. You know the drill.


    Leon does not throw the final fight. He sees it through, and wins, even though his opponent is a real bruiser. The fight strategy was similar to Ali's own rope-a-dope strategy against Foreman.


    The sappy story and clichéd dialogue were not good, but boxing movies seem to be able to work around those problems, as Rocky did. The bad acting from Playmates and Peter Lawford might have been ignored. I was ready to forgive the dyin' sister and the fact that Jayne woke up in the morning with her hair done and her lipstick unsmudged. Even Leon's wimpy punching style might have been overlooked, except ...

     ... except that there is also a complete deal-breaker which makes the film just downright irritating. The script simply didn't deliver on its own promises. The end of the fight is the end of the movie.

    He wins. He raises his hands.

    Credits roll.


    Every single plot thread ends unresolved. I was actually starting to get into the soap opera elements of the plot - you know how it is, even with corny movies -  and then when it ended so abruptly, I had no idea what happened to any of the elements that they had used to hook me in.

    • What about all the gamblers/promoters who threatened to kill him.
    • What about all the wiseguys that those gamblers were indebted to.
    • If Leon survives the gamblers and wiseguys, will he finally quit boxing and go back to med school?
    • What about the mother who hated his boxing, no matter how successful. Is she proud of him now that he may have saved his sister?
    • What about that dying sister? Is she gonna make it?
    • What about the girlfriend who kept leaving him? She came back to see the big fight. Since he did not throw it, are they together again?

    What the hell? I really wanted to like this film, and forgave it a lot of mistakes, but this crazy ending was the last straw.

    Maybe I saw a print where they forgot the last reel. 


    According to IMDb Jayne Kennedy starred in an unreleased movie called "The Dorothy Dandridge Story" in 1980. Ultimately, the story was produced by HBO and starred the 90s equivalent of Jayne, Halle Berry.

    Leon Kennedy disappeared from show business altogether in 1987. IMDB says he is now a preacher, and a partner in Smokey Robinson foods. (Smokey was the best man when Leon and Jayne got married.)

    You will find some pictures and links to reviews and such fol-de-rol at The Movie House. I made quite an elaborate page. I feel kind of a connection to this film. Even though it is a shit movie (rated in the threes at IMDb, and barely released to theaters), it has a lot of cool stuff in it, although that stuff has have nothing much to do with the actual movie.

    • Ola Ray (a Playmate in 1980) (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Azizi Johari (a Playmate in 1975) (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Rosanne Katon (a Playmate in 1978) (1, 2, 3)
    • Ingrid Greer (1, 2)
    • Jayne Kennedy used the ol' "breasts behind the frosted glass shower door" trick.

    Three naked Playmates? It's like a "made for Brainscan" production.


    Other Crap:

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

    Click here to submit a URL for Other Crap




    Here are the latest movie reviews available at


    • 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.


    Words, pictures, and vids from ICMS

    "Desperate Housewives" (TV - 2004)

    Desperate Housewives" (2004) is a real come-back for Teri Hatcher who didn't hesitate to lock herself out in the nude in her street in episode 3. Although she looks to be completely naked, nothing is really visible here, FCC obliges, but I thought it might be nice to have another peak at Teri in her embarrassing situation. And in these two clips that show Miss Hatcher's entire coy appearance from this episode you get the Dutch subtitles as a bonus for no cost at all !



    "Don't commit impure acts" (1971)

    "Non commettere atti impuri" (1971; Don't commit impure acts) is yet another of those silly 1970's Italian "comedies" that mainly present viewers with stupid jokes and naked girls. I'll spare you the stupid jokes but the naked girls might hold your attention. Two actresses were called in for nude duty. Today you'll get a better look at one of them, namely Barbara Bouchet who managed to keep her pubes hidden although she got entirely naked. The second actress who showed her charms is Simonetta Stefanelli and she will appear on this page tomorrow. In case you would like to know what this movie is about, please read the only commentary about it in the IMDb where it is still awaiting 5 votes. I think it'll take much time for this to make it to commercial DVD, if ever ;-)


    Scoop's notes:

    1. I made the .wmv versions of each of the ICMS videos. (He makes the .avis, of course.) The latest codecs for these: Windows Video V9, Windows Audio 9. The upside of these is that you know the codecs, and they'll play in the Windows Media Player. The advantages of these are (1) that they are compatible with any up-to-date windows OS, and (2) the file sizes are economical. The downside is that the quality is inferior to the originals.

    2. There is no point number two.

    3. If you have trouble with the .avi videos on this site, there is a tool designed to determine which codec is needed for any video.

    4. Because of a unique combination of circumstances with the Windows media player and some substantial bandwidth theft, we have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Left click on the files as you normally would to view a picture. When you get a choice, click on "save", and put it on your hard drive in the directory of your choice. UnZIP and play from there. I know this is not especially convenient, but it allows us to carry film clips. I can protect .zip files from hot-linking in the same way I can protect still images. For some reason, if I protect .avis and .wmvs from hot-linking, they will not play in the Windows media player, and I can't get a satisfactory work-around. Perhaps I will find a better solution, but for now this new policy allows you to continue getting the movie clips you want to see, which is much preferable to my abandoning the clips altogether.



    Jr's Polls
    Here are the final results and comments for last week's poll Best Nude Debut, the 90's.

    This week's poll...
    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper?

    Here are the results of our most recent other polls...

    The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004

    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s

    Email Scoopy Jr. with your nominees, comments or suggestions.

    Renée Coleman
    Annie Potts

    From the 1989 John Candy movie "Who's Harry Crumb?"...Coleman goes topless while Potts wears a see-thru bra with clear nipple sightings.

    Sharon Stone Here's Stone in a topless scene from a pre-super-fame movie called "Scissors" (1991)

    Simone-Elise Girard The French-Canadian actress baring all in an underwater scene from an episode of the made for cable series "The Hunger".

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Tease" (2000)
    Really bad thriller about a psychopath daughter in various states of undress.

    "Tanya's Island" (1980)
    Movie starring Prince's girlfriend formerly known as D.D. Winters.

    "The Jitters" (1989)
    Grade-Z vampire comedy.

    "Viva Lexx Vegas"
    Episode from the final DVD set, season 4, volume 6.

    "Chasing Cain" (2001)
    Pilot for a tv series that never materialized.

    Forever Knight: season one
    The final two episodes. If there's any German scoopsters they should catch the first season on their local kable stations as these episodes are uncut with all the nudity intact.

    Moccasin Flats II: episode Home Security

    Relic Hunter: Irish Crown Affair

    Rescue Me: episode Orphans

    "That's My Bush!"
    Not my caps but this not-so-hopelessly dated cable series should be released on DVD.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Who's Your Daddy?"
    If only they had shot this on film instead of video, we might have a movie of sharp boobies running around the entire movie. As it is, we're stuck with fuzzy, poor-quality boobies, but boobies there are aplenty in this 2003 comedy.

    A high school nerd, adopted, suddenly inherits a porn empire from his real parents. This includes a magazine, centerfolds of the month, mansion, the whole works, and worth about a billion dollars. Of course, there's an evil uncle who wants to take it all for himself, and beautiful playthings to rally around and help him keep it. Stir in the nerdy but cute wanna-be-his-sweetheart-but-never-had-the-guts-to-admit-it girl high school newspaper editor to make things even more predictable.

    Funny but expected bits, lots of nude boobies from mostly anonymous starlets, shaky acting, easy to anticipate script, and poor direct-to-video photography, make this just a mediocre comedy, but the beautiful women make it worth a watch.

    Another great batch of HDTV 'caps featuring some of last week's prime time skin highlights.

    Kristin Kreuk The gorgeous Kreuk in a shower scene on "Smallville". All we really see here is a silhouette behind a shower curtain...but it's a darn nice silhouette!

    Lindsey McKeon
    (1, 2, 3)

    Showing excellent cleavage in #1 and stripping down to just a bra and jeans in links 2 and 3. Scenes from an episode of the WB series "One Tree Hill".

    Mischa Barton
    (1, 2)

    "The O.C." co-star pretty much not wearing anything in #2. Of course no goodies are on display...but now at least I can say "I didn't know she had a tattoo there".

    Paula Abdul The "American Idol" judge showing off a bunch of cleavage.

    'Caps and comments by Oz:

    No nudity in I-man just some nice caps of Cindy Higgins.

    "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
    Rock 'n' Roll High School seemed to be a musical outlet for the Ramones. No visible nudity but pokies and cleavage by P J Soles, Dey Young and Marla Rosenfield.

    • P J Soles (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Dey Young (1, 2, 3)
    • Marla Rosenfield (1, 2)

    "Fletch Lives"
    No nudity in the enjoyable Fletch Lives but Julianne Phillips is down to her underwear, and I like Julianne Phillips.

    • Julianne Phillips (1, 2)

    "High Crimes"
    It's just pokies and cleavage in High Crimes but they are very nice ones by Ashley Judd, Paula Jai Parker, Dendrie Taylor and particularly by Amanda Peet.

    "Igby Goes Down"
    More Amanda Peet in Igby Goes Down but this time she's topless. Claire Danes is also topless but we don't see anything.

    • Amanda Peet (1, 2)
    • Claire Danes (1, 2)

    "The Last Dragon"
    Lots of cleavage by Vanity in The Last Dragon.

    Tatiana Astengo
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Vejiita 'caps featuring Astengo topless in a couple of scenes from the Peruvian flick, "Django: la otra cara" (2002).

    Sheryl Lee
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Señor Skin 'caps of Lee topless in scenes from "Notes From Underground" (1995), co-starring Henry Czerny, Jon Favreau and Seth Green.