Blanton and Skyler
Joy in Crazy Lake (2017) in 1080hd
Stefanson in The General's Daughter (1999) in 720p
Before I saw this film I had read so much
about the rape, murder, and nudity that I was expecting
a real shocker in that regard. That is far from the
truth. It is a classy film noir thriller. It could be a
Raymond Chandler story except that it takes place in the
Scratch that analysis. I just realized that if you
wanted to write a Marlowe story today, it would HAVE to
take place in the Army, so you could avoid all the
political correctness of the civilian world. John
Travolta plays the investigator, and he's as hard-boiled
and cocky as they come. He doesn't let anybody have an
attorney or read them their rights or get any search
warrants, and he doesn't need any stinkin' badges. (This
is not a correct presentation of military justice, by
the way). Everybody he investigates outranks him
and, as in a Chandler story, everyone lies with every
syllable they utter, so ol' Barbarino uses the
traditional detective trick of beating the living shit
out of them and/or threatening them with 40 years in the
brig and a court martial for hindering an investigation.
He slips the cuffs on the high command if they give him
any lip, and no courts can tell him not to.
Madeleine Stowe is also in there somewhere as his
assistant, in a role that has no business being in the
movie at all.
Here's what happened. There were originally several
scenes involving a rekindled romance between the
characters played by Stowe and Travolta. These are all
on the DVD as deleted scenes, and they are not the usual
crappy unfinished VHS images, but gorgeous scenes, fully
finished in every way. Luckily, the director
sobered up at the last minute, and realized that all
that romantic sub-plot crap detracted from the central
drama. The happy romantic ending was especially
mood-destroying, so he shit-canned that footage.
But that created a problem.
In the original concept, which included the
aforementioned romance, there was a reason for the Stowe
character to be in the script. Unfortunately, without
the romantic sub-plot, that reason was eliminated.
Travolta could have been investigating on his own, and
the story would have flowed much better that way. But
the movie was already shot, cut, and scored, when the
director decided to shit-can the romance, so he was
stuck with several scenes that included Stowe for no
apparent purpose, and some dialogue between Stowe and
Travolta in the retained scenes that hinted at material
which was only shown in the excised scenes. Without
those deleted scenes to refer to, however, the dialogue
made only oblique sense. Although Travolta and Stowe did
some romantic bantering in the final cut, the resolution
of the film gave us no indication of where all that led.
It was just left hanging.
The movie originally ended with the two of them driving
off together into the sunset, even though Travolta finds
out that Stowe is not divorced at all, as she had
claimed, but has simply lied to him about her husband!
And the driving off into the sunset goes on and on and
on and on through a picturesque sunset over the Georgia
swamps, creating a feel-good ending which would have
been totally inappropriate for the tone of the film.
Too bad about that mess.
It's a good watch, anyway. What the hell, it's a perfect
Raymond Chandler story, as I said. Every single guy in
the movie was a possible suspect. Every single guy lied
to or stonewalled the investigators (except a West Point
psychologist). The murder victim slept with everyone on
and off the base, except a couple of gay guys, and we
weren't even sure about them. Because of all these
factors, everyone was a suspect at one time or another,
and the filmmaker kept diverting our suspicion from one
to another. To make it truly delicious, most of the
people who were not guilty of the murder were guilty of
something or another that they wanted to hide, or that
they should have wanted to hide. Yup, a good enough
watch. Hammett and Chandler would love it.
The nudity, however, is not anywhere near so
dramatic as we were led to believe.
Irving and Amy
Locane in Carried Away (1996) in 1080hd
So if I told you that the movie stars Dennis
Hopper and he has sex with a 17 year old girl, you'd
think it was some film about biker psychopaths. With
Gary Busey as his hard-ridin', mass-murderin' best pal,
You're forgetting that Hopper had two characters.
Type A is the cool-blooded psychotic seen in Blue
Velvet, Waterword and Speed, and
Type B is the lost and lonely midwesterner seen in
This film features type B Hopper, and it is some of the
best work he has ever done. Hopper plays a depressed
middle-aged man in a depressing small town. His mother
is dying. He's been dating the same middle-aged woman
for six years. He's a plodding, uninspired
schoolteacher, and his family farm has failed. His heart
is pure, but his life is safe and hardly worth living
... until a sexy nymph of a 17 year old and her
retired Army dad move into town.
The vixen ends up as a student in Hopper's class and,
shortly thereafter, in his bed. Hopper never had any
intention of making a move on her, but she initiated the
sex. He said no, then changed his mind and experienced
some forgotten passion.
The film is based on the novel "Farmer", by Jim
Harrison, author of "Legends of the Fall." Although the
movie was made in America with American actors, from an
American novel about American characters, it is fully
steeped in the European sensibilities. It's a real movie
about real people doing things on a real schedule. There
is also a minimum of action and plot contrivance.
Although there is considerable sex and nudity, there is
no sensationalism in the plot after the initial set-up.
The principal characters all accept what has happened
and try to figure out how to move on with their lives.
The girl's dad doesn't want to kill anyone. The middle
aged girlfriend tries to understand the situation, and
ultimately benefits from her lover's dalliance. There is
a minimum of judgment, either in the words the
characters speak about one another, or in the attitude
of the scriptwriter as measured by the consequences of
people's actions. If anything, the film ultimately
concludes that Hopper was right to let himself get
"carried away," that it saved him from spending the rest
of his life sitting around waiting to die.
Locane in the full screen version (slightly more