Bank Robber (1993):
I'm not sure of the reason or reasons
why Lisa Bonet, former Cosby kid, had such a minimal career.
I don't think it could have been
concern about her acting range, because from what I've seen of her
over the years, she was reasonably competent and seemed to have
enough raw talent and intensity so that she could have been molded into a good
I think we can all agree that there was
nothing wrong with her looks. She was an exceptionally beautiful and
She certainly wasn't shy about sex and
nudity as she proved in this film and in Angel Heart.
So what was the deal?
There were rumors that she was
difficult to work with. And I mean exceedingly difficult, such a
diva that she made Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Faye Dunaway, and
Streisand seem as amenable and laid-back as Tom Selleck. I suppose
that probably was the case, or something like that, because no matter how beautiful and
talented a woman is, that phone is going to stop ringing eventually
if three conditions are present: (1) she makes everyone's life
miserable (2) she has no inherent powerful box office appeal (3) she
is not involved in the production side of the film, either
personally or through her significant other.
Some of those other divas mentioned
above have been able to skate through for years on the basis of
their own show biz power or the clout of their husbands, but
eventually what goes around comes around, and they will not need to
ask for whom the telephone bell tolls. It will toll for others. At
any rate, Lisa started to have problems after her divorce from Lenny
Kravitz in 1993. Her emotional state was stressed-out and she
wasn't showing up for work on time, if at all. Within about two
years, she sank from high profile movies and TV shows to B-movies,
and then, in one stretch from 1994-1998, wasn't working at all.
She's trying to work her way back into the business, but she's
nearly 40 now, and she's like a woman who has been in a coma since
1994. She can't go back to what she used to do - play the hot young
minx - so her success depends on whether she can find a
suitable 40 year old screen persona.
This particular movie was made at the
beginning of her decline, right about at the same time as her
Bank Robber is a dark and surreal
comedy. Patrick Dempsey plays a second or third generation bank
robber who screws up one day and allows himself to appear unmasked on a
surveillance camera during a robbery. This forces him to go
underground by holing up in an a flop house hotel.
In fact, it is the Heartbreak Hotel, and it is down on the end of
Lonely Street. Word. This strategy keeps the police from finding him but,
unfortunately for him, pretty much everyone else in town knows who
he is and where he is. The hotel employees figure it out, and then
others get in on the poorly kept secret. These people are certainly not
going to go to the police, at least not until Dempsey is out of money,
because he is their cash cow. He needs various services: food and
light bulbs, and what have you, and he finds that people will not
respond to his needs unless he pays them exorbitant amounts to
guarantee their silence after they do the assigned tasks. After a while, people
even start demanding
outrageous amounts for things he does not want. The
pizza guy delivers a $500 pizza that Dempsey did not order. The local drug dealer brings by
some overpriced drugs, even though our hero does not even use drugs.
Even a local TV broadcaster comes by for an interview. Dempsey is even
the cash cow for the bank he robbed and its corrupt officials, who
claim that he stole many times the actual amount.
Dempsey tolerates all this abuse
because of his dream that he'll eventually sneak out and take his
faithful girlfriend (Olivia D'Abo) to the Caribbean on the yacht he
plans to buy. Needless to say, she is across town loving long time
with various and assorted friends, neighbors, and passers-by.
The only person who treats him fair and
square is an honest hooker (Lisa Bonet) who
falls in love with him.
The film is rated a bottom-dwelling 3.8
at IMDb. That might be a bit low, in my opinion, but I can
understand why people have problems with the film. There is nothing
at all exceptional about the script. The writer did have some very funny
ideas, but just didn't know when the jokes were over, so the script drags out
some of its premises too long and too repetitiously. Because of
that, describing the film makes it sound better than it actually is. Frankly, I was
getting sick of people knocking on the hotel room door to extort
money from Dempsey, and I was really bored with the overuse of the
device where he fantasized one thing about his pure girlfriend, and
we then saw her impure reality. The film does have one great
unquestioned strength. The cinematography of this film is
surprisingly good. It was done by Andrej Sekula, the talented Polish
cinematographer who was Tarantino's main man at the time, having
done Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and the Tarantino portion of Four
Rooms. Sekula also did a variety of other eye-catching films, like
the stylized and modern American Psycho, and a colorful costumer
called Cousin Bette.
The only noteworthy aspect of Bank
Robber when it came out was the fact that it was rated NC-17.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, it is now impossible to find the
original NC-17 cut of this film in any medium, and even the R-rated
video is now out of print. Sekula's photography, combined with some
offbeat set design and the rarity
of the original NC-17 cut, would make it a nice DVD issue, but no
such animal exists in any region, at least to my knowledge.
Mojave Moon (1995):
While Lisa Bonet was losing her career from 1992-2000, Angelina
Jolie was gaining one at about the same rate.
In 1992-1994 Jolie was in the struggling actress stage, attracting
little attention except the occasional note that she was Jon
Voight's daughter. 1995 and 1996 were her transition years,
during which she was not a star, but was starting to be noticed with
major roles in interesting little films. In 1997-1999, she shot
through the roof, climbing through the levels of stardom as easily
as a game geek climbing through the levels in The Legend of Zelda:
beat one level, go to the next, beat that.
1997: a Cable Ace award winning role in Wallace.
1998: an Emmy winning role in Gia
1999: an Oscar winning role in Girl, Interrupted.
That put her on the A-list, where she has stayed, as you well know.
Along with Hackers and Foxfire, Mojave Moon was from her "major role
in quirky little movie" period when people were starting to notice
her. All three of those films are rated in the mid fives at IMDb,
all are watchable for one reason or another. To me, Mojave Moon is
the worst of that trilogy, not because of Angelina, but because her
character is oddly scripted and the movie in general is cheesy.
Danny Aiello plays a car salesman who is picked up by Jolie one
morning in a breakfast restaurant. Danny is aware that he is not as
young or as attractive or as buff as Brad Pitt, so he is
understandably suspicious of her motivations, but she keeps coming
on to him to get him interested, so he sort of lets himself be
tugged along, although she always pulls away when he gets too
interested. She asks him for a ride out to her trailer in the
desert, and he figures "why not?", so he drags her out there in his
"old guy" sedan. Upon their arrival, she promptly abandons him with
her mother (Anne Archer) and mom's psycho boyfriend, while Jolie
herself leaves to elope with her boyfriend. All sorts of bizarre
behavior ensues. It seems that Jolie was really luring Aiello out to
the desert as a "gift" for her mom, but Aiello is totally and
understandably uncomfortable with that situation, especially given
that mom is currently attached to a violent nutbag.
That first act was strange, but not exceedingly strange. The rest of
the film more than took up the slack. The film stops being an
offbeat domestic romance, and shifts gears completely to become a
crime comedy. The boyfriend turns up dead in Aiello's trunk.
Aiello's car is stolen, corpse and all. Then the corpse disappears.
Then the corpse isn't even dead. Mom's psycho boyfriend wants to
kill Aiello. Through a friend of a friend, Aiello needs the help of
some mob guys to help him out, and it turns out that there are bars
in L.A. where various specialty mobsters hang out waiting for people
to come to them. Various black market corpse traders argue over the
business when they think Aiello wants a corpse. The quibbling
mobsters prove to be little help, so Aiello hires his actor friend
(Alfred Molina, the funniest thing in the film) to dress up in
Soldier of Fortune garb to scare the psycho boyfriend.
The good guys keep failing miserably. Mom, daughter, Aiello and
Molina eventually end up inside a car balanced precariously on the
edge of a cliff, where ...
Well, now you know what the film is about and you have enough info
to determine whether you'd like it. You can watch the movie if you
care to know what happens. I don't think you'll find any edgy,
electrifying surprises in the resolution.
It's a surreal comedy, or maybe a dark comedy without much darkness.
Jolie is lively and sexy and offbeat, but does not dominate the film
at all. It's really Danny Aiello's movie, and it's just so-so.
The good news is that Jolie takes off her clothes to shower in
Aiello's apartment, and we see her from the waist up.
Angelina Jolie (1,
Anne Archer - (??) can't tell if her nipple is visible. Maybe.
Spellbinder is one of those films where one must stop short of
giving too much detail, because the film includes several unexpected
surprise twists at the end, and those twists are the only real
pleasures in what is otherwise a clumsily directed movie which seems
to be an episode of a TV show. In fact, even the revelation of the
twists is clumsy. In my opinion, the script might have produced an
interesting if "over the top" guilty pleasure film with a better
sense of pacing and suspense. Somebody with the right sensibility,
like Roman Polanski for example, might have turned this script into
a terrific little film. As it is, it isn't too bad as a light watch
when you're grading papers or something.
By the way, that script was written by Tracy Torme, whose father was
Mel, the Velvet Fog himself. At about the same time as Spellbinder,
Tracy also wrote several episodes of Star Trek: TNG, and has
continued to script thoughtful sci-fi to this day, as a writer on
Odyssey 5 and other projects.
The basic premise of Spellbinder is that a young lawyer saves a
beautiful woman from a coven of witches, and lets her take refuge in
his house. The witches find out what's going on, and they want her
back. As part of their plan, he is haunted by nightmares and spooky
noses on his answering machine, and the witches place a curse on his
favorite basketball team, The L.A. Clippers, so that they embark on
several losing seasons.
If I tell you much more, I'll spoil the film completely. Suffice it
to say that the Clippers do not win the NBA finals.
I don't know if there are real witches and devils and hell, but I do
know that Kelly Preston, the future Mrs Vinny Barbarino, then in her
mid twenties, showed off one hellaciously good figure.
Passed away at 97: the last living witness to the miracle of
Fatima. She was the only one who claimed to have heard
clearly what the Virgin Mary said, and she outlived the others by
85 years! (They both died within three years of the apparition.)
The Simpsons Archive: Episode Guide - shows that the gay cast
member to be outed will be Marge's sister Patty, who will marry a
female golf professional - or try to, at least. The
episode will air this coming Sunday, February 20th.
New official pictures from the home page of Batman Begins
- Given that Frank Sinatra is dead and won't be able to perform
in a cock-sock with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, I guess this is the
ultimate possible celebrity duet:
Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson, together at last for the Dukes
soundtrack. Oh, man, the IRS must really be on Willie's
VALERIE BERTINELLI, MACKENZIE PHILLIPS and the rest of the 'One
Day at a Time' crew have come together for a long-awaited TV
- STILL smokin'?
Will there be a new Cheech and Chong movie?
It's that time again - the Sports Illustrated 2005 Swimsuit
Ed Harris will play Ludwig van Beethoven opposite Diane Kruger in
director Agnieszka Holland's Copying Beethoven.
Michael Jackson Hospitalized He can't go to court
because he's "very, very ill". Huh? I thought that was the reason
why he had to go to court in the first place.
Deion Sanders' Hot Dog Express. And who knows more
about Hot Dogs? (Well, I guess he could bring in Reggie Jackson to
No Longer Lonely Online Dating for the Mentally Ill.
This is not a satire. I'm not sure why I'm linking to it. There's
just something about it ...
- This week's movies:
Because of Winn-Dixie - 3/4 positive reviews. Family
movie. Sounds like the younger kids will like it. "A magical story
about a lonely girl whose life is transformed by a smiling stray
dog who has a spiritual gift for creating community and bringing
joy to everyone."
- This week's movies:
Son of the Mask - 29% positive reviews. General
consensus: Alan Cumming is campily amusing as Loki, but the film
is "gruesomely unfunny...a disastrous mess. It's actually
physically painful to watch."
- This week's movies:
Constantine - 58% positive reviews. I reckon you will
love it or hate it. The reviews range from extremely negative to
extremely positive, to such an extent that you can't believe they
are discussing the same movie. Examples:
- "Apocalyptically awful, 'End of Days' bad. Religiously it's
blasphemous, but as a movie it's just plain lousy."
- "An achievement of both story and technique, Constantine is
one of the finest comic-based films ever made."
- "Constantine is a pretentiously muddled, emotionally hollow,
- "One of those rare pulpy page-to-screen translations that
actually gets it right."
The Weekend Warrior thinks Hitch can take another weekend, but
will face a strong challenge from Constantine.
Hitch sets the Valentine's Day record (non-weekend),
and brings in as much on Monday as the next ten films added
Six signs tell you: ARE YOU IN LOVE - OR JUST PLAIN WHIPPED?
The Daily Show weighs in on the Democrats nomination of Screamin'
Jon Stewart reviews Christo's "The Gates"
NORTH KOREA CLAIMS IT POSSESSES UNRELEASED BEN AFFLECK FILM.
"North Korea sent shockwaves through the international community
today by announcing that it possesses an unreleased Ben Affleck
film which it will open wide if the United States does not agree
to bilateral talks."
ESPN.com, annual Page 2 poll of the Hottest Female Athletes.
Very even playing field. We have a three-time Olympic high jumper,
a medalist in the 100, some other real athletes, and ... some
chick who finished 12th in the billiards rankings. Shouldn't Jolie
be on the list? Surely she's in the top twelve in the world in
some competitive activity. In fact, I could probably suggest a few
This year's Saturn nominees
Playboy is looking for the "girls of Supercuts"
Prep hoopster attacks ref - on tape.
These aren't merely flare jeans, but RIC Flair jeans.
And only $73! Such a deal to be part of wrestling history.
The Teen Lingo Dictionary
Twelve American nuns have been suspended from their convent after
going on an alcohol- and sex-fuelled holiday.
Son Mistakes Parents' Sex For Domestic Abuse.
The Walk of Shame - female perspective.
Look up the word "lazy" in the dictionary, and here's the
A genius explains. "Daniel Tammet is an autistic
savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at
breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform
similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it."
- Is this for real?
Mary Letourneau and Vili Fualaau's Bon-Macy's Registry on
WeddingChannel.com Letourneau was convicted of child
rape years ago and is finally out of prison. Is she really going
to marry the kid she had an affair with? Who
the heck knows?
Here is the back-story.
Letterman's Top Ten Things Overheard At The Grammys.
- "Special thanks to CBS for letting us pre-empt...uh..whatever
the hell it is they usually show at this time."
Fans buy 'Fawlty Towers' hotel.
- "John Cleese, who co-wrote and starred in the series, based
his outrageously rude character Basil Fawlty on Donald Sinclair,
a former owner of the hotel, after staying there with other
members of the Monty Python comedy team in 1971."
- I got interested in this subject because I had never seen
the man's name mentioned before.
Here is an article about the real Mr Sinclair.
- "Mrs Harrison recalled an occasion when Mr Sinclair halted
breakfast because a waiter had given up waiting for him to
make tea and had pinched teapots designated for another table.
He went up and down the tables like a policeman, questioning
the guests. He came across a set of teapots at a table for
two. He realised because of their size they were meant for a
table for four, and he asked the guests for a description of
- "He thought it ridiculous that people wanted to drink at
lunchtime. These were paying guests. They would be out by the
pool looking for a drink and he hadn't opened the bar."
J-Lo says her greatest fear is being alone. This is
tragic because the greatest fear for the rest of us is being in
Nicole Kidman dumps Steve Bing. Oh, that heartless
bitch. She's broken the heart of that poor, sensitive man. I
wonder if he has a date with Angelina Jolie yet.
Posh to appear naked on Tatler magazine cover
Burt Young is the new James Bond! OK, I made that up.
The story doesn't really identify the new Mr Bond, but it does
explain why the last one left. "Pierce Brosnan was reportedly
dropped from playing James Bond because he wanted 42 million
dollars to reprise the role."
Weird Sex Laws. I suppose most of these are just urban
legends, or maybe a vague attempt at satire. "In Connorsville,
Wisconsin no man shall shoot off a gun while his female partner is
having a sexual orgasm."
The Brick Testament. The apotheosis of Lego-nerdity.
This guys is trying to re-create the entire Bible with Legos, old
and new testaments. He has a big, big chunk of it already done.
The first link leads to the Lego Last Supper.
Here is the Lego Crucifixion.
NBC has ordered a pilot for a comedy starring 'Saturday Night
Live' head writer Tina Fey. The project will star Fey
as the head writer of a "SNL"-like variety show, focusing on her
efforts to control a volatile star and executive producer
Wrestling Diva Christy Hemme to appear in April Playboy.
THE BIG OL' BLACK TABLE BEER RUN: 20 cheap beers reviewed.
Funny commentary. It's as if the Filthy Critic reviewed beers
instead of movies.
The Dark Shadows Cast - through the years, all three versions
Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the
since it's sorta in real time.
to submit a URL for Other Crap
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- 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.