Flogging Margaret


A year after Keith gets dumped by his girlfriend he has not managed to get on with his life, but he can't get Margaret out of his head, even though she hurt him and drove a wedge between him and his best friend, "Chainsaw." The relationship between the two men has mended enough so that they work together as photographers specializing in obtaining evidence in divorce cases, so Keith only needs to find a new girl to complete the healing. He gets a great new opportunity when he meets a woman who is smart, generous, pretty, and owns her own business. His relationship with Chloe seems to be the best thing Keith ever had n his life, but the evil, conniving Margaret wants back into Keith's life, and will do just about anything to get there, thus guaranteeing that she will mess him up again. Chainsaw is not going to let that happen.

It would be a simple matter to take a dump on this primitive indie comedy. It was basically created with a single camera and no budget. The word "assistant" is misspelled in the very first credit. The acting ranges from middling to poor. The sound levels are inconsistent. Most of the scenes take place either in a small local club or in a comic book store. A big chunk of the  dialogue consists of young guys discussing comic books and ragging on each other for their inability to get laid.

But, if you think about it, you could say very similar things about Clerks, and yet Clerks worked. It had both a comic edge and a poignancy generated by staying close to reality. Flogging Margaret isn't as good as Clerks, but I don't feel embarrassed comparing them. All of the major male characters in this film are clearly drawn. The guy who plays Chainsaw delivers a steady stream of zingers to the others, and his comic timing is not bad at all, especially considering that he manages to pull it off while staying in a consistent character. His attitude and timing reminded me of Artie Lange, as did his body. That character alone generated enough laughs to keep me away from the fast forward button.

The film falls down a bit when it strays from reality and introduces some surreal humor. There is, for example, a milkman who seduces a lonely gay husband for kinky activities which consist of a mutual exchange of fluids. These are not the kind of fluids you're now imagining, but actually half-and-half, chocolate milk, the occasional quart of buttermilk, and even regular old homogenized. Why do you think they call it "homo" milk for short? These exchanges take place while the milkman stays in his white 1950s-style uniform, complete with hat. Pretty weird stuff, and not really consistent with the rest of the movie, but ... well, people have different concepts of humor and I always consider a weird sense of humor to be far better than none at all, so I did laugh a bit at the milkman jokes, even as I scratched my head. I did find it quite funny that the milkman seemed to turn up in the background of other scenes, always in uniform (even at the disco), always just silently in the background.

The milkman's cameos are not the only time when the writer does a pretty good job at creating a parallel universe and re-using its elements to create humor. For example, Chainsaw accuses one guy of being gay because he is making a trip to the store just to buy some Chapstick. It turns his accusation was right. Later in the film, Chainsaw runs into a girl he was unable to perform with. Although Chainsaw is not gay, he is coming out of a gay bar at the time he meets the girl, so she thinks she understands why he wasn't interested in her. She says, "Call me some time, we'll go shopping ... maybe buy some Chapstick or something." The original Chapstick gag (gay guys need it because ... well, you can imagine) was not that funny, but it did work nicely as a running gag.

Bottom line, the film is sorta primitive, but the writing is not bad at all. If the writer/director had some money, he could probably make a pretty slick comedy, just as Kevin Smith eventually did.

Unfortunately, the film really skimped on the nudity, and it should not have. There were plenty of sex scenes which were performed demurely despite the DVD's claim to be "uncensored." The only real nudity in the film is a gratuitous tack-on, a flash of boobs seen when the photographers are taking photos of a straying husband and a hooker, neither of whom appears elsewhere in the film. If I have read the credits correctly, the topless woman is known only as "Linzers." (I suppose she's a stripper, probably in the Philly area since that's where the entire film was lensed.)

Here's Linzers.


  • * 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.










Ricco is basically a Mafia revenge story which begins with Ricco's release from reform school. Some time earlier, a mob boss had killed Ricco's father and got him arrested. The mafioso then took over the Ricco family business and even stole Ricco's girlfriend (Malisa Longo).

Ricco's sister (Paola Senatore) urges him not to seek revenge, but his mother has a different attitude, especially since the mobster who killed Ricco's father blew away his face in the process. Ricco sides with mom. He hooks up with the daughter of a counterfeiter (Barbara Bouchet), and together they make the mobster's life miserable. After Ricco successfully rips the mobster off for a lot of money and diamonds, he also seduces the former girlfriend who is now the mobster's moll. The infuriated capo decides to make Ricco mad enough to cause a direct confrontation. He kills Ricco's sister, his brother-in-law, and his mother, then boils Ricco's ex-girlfriend into soap. Understandably, these actions get Ricco a bit miffed, leading to the final showdown.

My problem with the film is with Robert Mitchum's Bambi-looking son Christopher, who plays Ricco. He just does not come off as a tough guy. In fact, despite his reputed black belt in judo, he seems more like a hairdresser.

Ricco has just been released on a Region 1 DVD as Ricco the Mean Machine. The DVD is dubbed in English, competently. It is presented in a fairly clean widescreen transfer.

Malisa Longo

Paola Senatore

Barbara Bouchet








Fatal Image


Today we look in on and old friend Justine Bateman, remember her?  Mallory on "Family Ties"? Well they offered her the leading role in Fatal Image and said it would be just like her role on "Family Ties," except this time the "ties" would involve some bondage. Sadly they let her keep her clothes on, but her short, tight, red dress showed off her nice legs. Caps and two clips.

Scoop's note: I was shocked to see that this movie was made 18 years ago. It seems hard to believe, but Justine Bateman turns 42 a week from today! Tempus fugit.


Little Children



In part two today we try to make up for the lack of nudity above with Kate Winslet in Little Children.









The Brave One


I'll fly in the face of conventional wisdom here by saying that I found this 2007 crime thriller to be vastly overrated and even boring for long periods, although still interesting enough to be worth watching. I also found Jodie Foster's performance to be unexpectedly bland and without much emotion. She's capable of a lot more.

Erica (Jodie Foster) has a successful radio career in New York, and a finance that is a doctor. Out for a walk in Central Park with their dog, they are brutally attacked. He is killed, she is almost killed, and to add insult to injury, the attackers take the dog.

After recovering, Erica buys a gun for protection, but self-defense soon turns to revenge as she finds herself witnessing crime, and then exacting her own brand of street justice. The body count starts to climb, even as she is befriended by a police detective who is on his own quest for vengeance.

Perhaps I just expected too much given the hype about this movie, but overall I was disappointed, and without giving away too much, I found the ending to be a big cop-out. And yes, it's almost certain that the nudity is a body double.

Jodie Foster

(Presumed body double.)






Notes and collages


Lisa Kudrow

Episode 216








Rachel's Angels


Today's featured performer: Sheila Levell

Film clips









Three sets of film clips from last week's episode of the L Word in high definition. Samples to the right in each case. First, Mia Kirshner and Kate French ...
...then Katherine Moennig ...
... then Moennig with Alicia Leigh Wills
The big film clip of the day is about 15 minutes worth of nudity from Manuela Velles in Caotica Ana. This clip is 170 meg in size. If you're not quite ready to make that commitment, check out Vejiita's caps in the January 31st issue. The nudity is quite impressive.