"Tommy Boy"

Tommy Boy (1995) is, at its heart, a buddy road trip movie with Chris Farley and David Spade as the buddies. With that combination, obviously, it is a comedy. Farley gets his BA after only 7 years, and returns to his small home town in Ohio where his fathers auto supply factory is the largest employer in town. There are several surprises. He gets a cushy job with a posh office, much to Spade's dismay, and discovers that his father is about to be married to Bo Derek. Not only that, but he is gaining a stepbrother. Life is good until his father dies at the wedding, and he must take over the company and defend it from a hostile takeover by Dan Aykroyd.

His father was overextended adding break shoes to their product line, and Farley and Spade hit the road to sell the new shoes to America. Hilarity ensues. Lorri Bagley as the Naked Woman at Motel Pool shows buns diving naked into the pool, the side of a breast, and full frontal in a very long shot. Bo Derek looks amazing in a bikini, especially given her age. She has less body fat than American politicians have scruples, and a tiny waist.

IMDb readers have this at 6.5 of 10. Bo got her usual Razzie nomination as supporting actress. Enough already. What don't the Razzie folks understand about "Bo can't act, even a little bit, but looks phenomenal." I am not a Spade fan, usually finding his superior attitude and sarcasm grating, but this film won me over with many belly laughs, mainly from physical humor. This is an excellent light hearted comedy, so is a C+.

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  • Thumbnails

  • Bo Derek (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Lorri Bagley (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Baby of Mācon (1993):

    Of all I have read about this film, the best summary is what Tuna wrote some time ago:

    The Baby of Mācon (1993) is Peter Greenway's strangest and most controversial film, and that is saying a lot.

    Critical opinion ranges from "brilliant and possibly his best", through "he went a little too far", all the way to "absolutely disgusting garbage". Frequently, when it has been shown in theaters, a large part of the audience has left the theater. It screened a few times in the US, but was too controversial to find a distributor. It has just been released on video for the first time in Australia. Although it is in PAL format, there is no region code, so those of you who use a computer to watch DVDs can see it.

    Since most of you are unlikely to see the film, I will write a thorough plot summary. If it is something you might want to see, be advised that it includes major spoilers.

    A troupe is presenting a play in the palace of the Medicis in the 17th century. They provided entertainment for Medici so he wouldn't have to leave the palace and risk foul play from the rabble outside. The play concerns a perfect baby born of a very old, ugly woman. The baby's grown sister, Julia Ormond, decides the baby is much too pretty to be from the old woman, and decides to say it is hers, and that it was a virgin birth. At the time of the birth, the city of Mācon was experiencing plague and famine, and the women were barren, which made the birth all the more miraculous. Ormond decides to put on a Madonna and Child act, and trades the baby's blessings for favors. Even though this is obvious exploitation of the baby, the blessings seem to lift the curse that has been on the city.

    The local bishop, however, who wants to regain the church's power, sends his son the scientist, Ralph Fiennes, to disprove her claims. His position is that she is either a liar, and not the baby's mother, or a whore who had the baby out of wedlock. Ormond decides to seduce Fiennes, proving her virginity in the process. She arranges the whole seduction scene in a stable, with the baby in a manger. At this point, the baby, who realizes that his power depends on her status as a virgin, demonstrates magical power, and uses a cow to gore Fiennes to death. The bishop swears revenge on her, and declares that she is too evil to raise this miraculous child, so makes him a ward of the church.

    The church exploits the child far more than Ormond ever did, auctioning his bodily excretions and secretions to the highest bidder as holy relics. Ormond strangles the child in a blanket to get even. The bishop wants her hanged, but there is a law against hanging virgins. Then Medici, who isn't really clear as to whether this is a play or real, and has joined in from time to time, suggests that they put her in the custody of his palace guards, bless them, and have them rape her, thus making her eligible for hanging. The bishop uses some convoluted logic, and figures out that she should be raped well over 200 times. It is here that audiences tend to leave the theater. We see, or rather hear, the first 16 of the rapes, which actually take place behind a curtain. Nobody told the guards that this was a play, so they actually rape her, and, at the end, she is dead. The public, now deprived of the blessings of the child, divide his clothes, then carve him up into relics to give them good luck.

    End Spoilers

    Greenway shows sex in a non-erotic way here, and the rape is clearly all violence and no titillation at all, even though we see lengthy full-frontal and nude rear shots from Ormond. He is satirizing any number of things, including divine intervention, the virgin birth, and 17th century politics and economics. He definitely pulled out all the stops here. For me, by the time we got to the rape and mutilation scenes, I was emotionally numb, and was not especially affected by them. For me, it was a little hard to follow, especially since Greenaway intentionally blurred the boundaries between the play and real life, and certainly not a fun watch. It was very powerful, however, and I can always count on Greenaway to show me something very different.


    Here are my own thoughts:

    Tuna's description of the plot is as good as any. Frankly, I'm not too sure what was happening because of the convoluted structure of placing a play within a play within a film, and because it is never really clear who is in the play and who in the audience, nor where the stage actually ends. The audience watching the play makes a good example. Are they part of the play, or are they really supposed to be in the audience as spectators? I got the impression that the royal ugly dudes were the only real audience, and that everyone else was part of the cast, including the "audience." That would explain why the members of the audience always responded conveniently on cue. Or perhaps that was just a touch of surrealism. Then there was the dense, naive DeMedici. Is he a character in the play, or are they performing the play for him? If the latter, then why does he seem to think the play is real? Are we supposed to believe he is that stupid? Or maybe he isn't that stupid, since a lot of the things in the play are real, like the death of several actors in character. Perhaps the royal ugly dude is the only one who understands that the line between stagecraft and reality is a blurry one at best.

    And so forth ...

    And then, if the whole baby thing is a fake to begin with, all engineered by the sister, then how does it happen that the baby really has magic powers and can command the ox to kill Ralph Fiennes? And if the baby has those magic powers, why doesn't he use them to prevent being killed?

    Probably the strangest thing in the entire film is the entire premise of the first scene. The whole legend of the blessed baby is generated because the crowd can't believe that such an ugly mother could give birth to such a beautiful baby. Huh? But, but, but ... Julia Ormond is the baby's sister, so the same mother gave birth to Julia, didn't she? I've noticed that Julia looks pretty decent, so why did the crowd expect any major change from her younger brother?

    The entire film is filled with those sorts of "suspension of disbelief" issues, and the line between the play and reality is confusing even when it is explained. Julia Ormond is actually playing an actress who is playing the sister of the baby, right? So how do the other actors, obviously jealous of her, coax a convincing performance? When the time comes for the rape scene, the two hundred actors actually rape her, thus assuring that her acting in that scene will be credible. Of course, this kills her but, what the hell, I guess they don't have to do a matinee the next day, and she probably has an understudy, although I have to think the understudy might have grave doubts about stepping into the role, given what happened to Julia. One thing that was very interesting was the fact that the last few rapists didn't seem to notice that she was dead, so I infer  that she didn't die in the middle of the process, or even after the 205th guy, but waited until all 206 were finished.

    Kinda thoughtful.

    Oh, well, what can you say? Peter Greenaway lives in his own world. He makes slanted, odd, personal films very similar to the "underground" films that I used to watch in Greenwich Village in the late 60s, except that those Village People didn't have the budget to hire big stars and create elaborate 17th century costumes for a cast of hundreds. Although his films feature extensive male and female frontal nudity, cannibalism, infanticide, explicit gore, and (arguably) the exploitation of child actors, Greenaway is an aesthete, not an exploitation filmmaker. He is obsessed with perspective, clutter, lighting, symmetry, decay, numbers, and the mystical power of counting. The frames of this film about the 17th century look remarkably like the paintings of the same era, and attempt to recreate the techniques used in that century to simulate depth on a flat canvas. (Greenway himself is a serious student of art.)

    How many other directors consistently feature classical music, Renaissance aesthetics, and cannibalism together in one place? Ol' Peter Greenaway is truly one of a kind.

    One thing which astounds me is that he always seems to manage to get people to pay for his films, even though his previous ones never seem to have sold any tickets. The Baby of Macon didn't even get the customary two week run in a few arthouse venues in the United States. Given its ability to attract controversy without attracting ticket buyers, it disappeared within a week from the very few theaters daring enough to screen it. In some places it was shown a single time (see the review in the Washington Post). Yet the opinion of Greenaway in the artistic community is so reverential and there is so much prestige in working with him, that various art subsidies and national film boards consistently pony up the guilders and pounds he needs to keep producing his small-audience masterpieces.

    I did read several comments and reviews about this film, but I never encountered any balanced viewpoints except Tuna's. The rest of the people either said that the film is disgusting and vile, or else said that they despaired for any culture that does not instantly enshrine Greenaway as its resident genius, and that the people who find him disgusting are themselves disgusting and repressed and juvenile.

    Frankly, I think every one of them is all wet.

    Greenaway is one of those people who reaches for the stars. He tries to make profound points in very powerful and dramatic ways, by using the unusual combination of shock and highbrow aesthetics. The fact that he is an aesthete does not mean he walks on water. One cannot confuse good intentions with execution, just as one cannot assume that every film about the holocaust is a masterpiece. Sometimes Greenaway succeeds, sometimes not. The people who offer him unqualified praise fail to see the glaring failures in his films. I have no objection to his use of surrealism, his destruction of the fourth wall, his obsessions, or his extensive use of nudity and violence. I also appreciate his extensive preparation and his use of the techniques of painting to manufacture unique cinematic images. I admire his willingness to choreograph complicated scenes, rehearse them extensively, and film them in an uninterrupted single take. On the other hand, I often find him high-handed, pretentious, repetitious without justification, and just plain boring. Furthermore, I do not share any of his obsessions. If I had to sit next to this guy at a dinner party, I would try desperately to switch seats, even though I might admire him from afar.

    This particular film has a lot of his strengths and a lot of his weaknesses. It has a lot of the pretentiousness of Prospero's Books and the unrelenting tedium of The Draughtsman's Contract. On the other hand, it has some of the brilliant visual composition of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover or A Zed and Two Noughts, some of the camera wizardry of Prospero's Books, and some of the perfectly realized aesthetics of The Pillow Book.

    Let us be frank. Greenway's films are brilliant, but aloof. 99% of the people in the world will hate every Greenaway film, even the most accessible ones. The odds are if you are not turned off by his subject matter, you'll be confused by his complexity, or you'll fall asleep when he starts in with the slow, plodding, music and the endless repetition. Even among those in the remaining one percent of the world - filmgoers who like some Greenaway films - 99% of them will hate this one, which combines all of his worst excesses in one script, even though it also features some of his best achievements as well. On the other hand, you may be the one in ten thousand who really craves sharing this intense personal film-making experience, and will appreciate the many and varied talents he puts on display in this film.

    I am not one of those.

    I did make the first cut. I like some Greenaway films. I like Pillow Book and Drowning by Numbers, for example, and I'm glad I watched many of the others. But this one  ... meh! I love Julia Ormond, and I watched it to see her stark naked. If there had been no nudity, I would have shut it off after about ten minutes, not because I was shocked, but because I was bored to tears. That's what I did with The Draughtsman's Contract, absent any meaningful nudity. Why pretend otherwise?


    There is a lot of nudity from extras and unknowns. A lot. Especially male frontals. The key nudity is, of course, full frontals from the two young stars, Ralph Fiennes and Julia Ormond, neither of whom had yet hit the big time. Greenaway's timing was uncanny. One year later he could not have gotten those two to do extensive frontal nudity on camera. Fiennes would become a mega-star in his very next film (Schindler's List), and Ormond would hit the A-list the very next year by playing Brad Pitt's co-star in Legends of the Fall, then following soon after with the Audrey Hepburn role in the remake of Sabrina.


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    • 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.

    Jr's Polls
    Here are the final results and comments for last week's poll Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.

    This week's poll...
    Who has the best Bum in Hollywood?

    For each nominee I've included a movie or two that features a great, rear nude performance.

    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

    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 90s

    Please Email Scoopy Jr. with more nominees, comments or suggestions.

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

    Wearing a sexy see-thru dress and gettin' it on with Jimmy Bond in a very hot and sweaty sex scene from "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1999).

    Gianella Neyra
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

    Here is the Peruvian actress topless, getting felt up and baring a bit of bum in scenes from "Polvo Enamorado" aka "Lovesick Dust".

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "American Crime"
    It's easy to dismiss this 2004 direct-to-video train wreck - ahhhh - crime thriller as just plain I will. It's just plain bad.

    They squandered some good talent in this thing, but despite the efforts of some decent actors, it ends up a mishmash. Plot's got promise; a killer secretly videotapes his prey, sends them the tapes, and then, while they're watching in amazement, he offs them. Now blend in a small-town TV reporter who is investigating the crimes when she herself receives a tape, add a producer and cameraman to help her, mix in a big-time celebrity crime reporter with a superior attitude who is trying to beat them to the story, and you could have had a decent thriller.

    Unfortunately, it's a chopped up mess that's hard to follow, predictable at the same time, and telegraphs the ending (and the killer) so early it's hard to stay interested. Except for Julie Cialini, this one definitely belongs on the "last resort" stack.

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Sinners" (1990)
    Black comedy starring the lesser Travolta brother Joey "Jo Jo" Travolta.

    "Random Passage" (2002)
    CBC miniseries starring Colm Meaney better known as Star Trek's Miles O'Brien.

    Slings and Arrows: episode Anthony's Dream First episode of the Canadian miniseries.

    Cold Squad: seasons 5 & 6

    • Crystal Buble: showing rare boob exposure in "Enough is Enough".
    • Tracey Dean: robohooters as stripper in "Horton Kills a Wu".
    • Brittaney Bennett: very nice cleavage as femme fatale in "Happily Ever After".
    • Chilton Crane: brassiere making whoopee in "Happily Ever After".

    Puppets Who Kill: episode Buttons on the Hot Tin Roof
    First episode of the third season.

    Mocassin Flats: episode Home Invasion

    Jessica Simpson Here is an excellent, high quality production still of Simpson playing Daisy Duke in the upcoming big screen version of "The Dukes of Hazzard", starring Stifler, Johnny Knoxville and Burt Reynolds.

    Judy Greer The regular guest on the FOX hit "Arrested Development" going topless in a brief scene from "Adaptation.".

    Sean Young
    (1, 2)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the "Ace Ventura" and "Blade Runner" star flashing 'Needlenose Ned' in a scene from "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde" (1995).