Let's get the TV out of the way first:
Katee Sackhoff is naked in a
funny scene, and she's sexy, but you can't really see anything. My advice
is that it's not really worth a download if you're only looking for nudity.
I watched four movies yesterday. One of them was a complete dud called Los
Angeles. It looks like it was improvised by the actors and shot with a home
camcorder, but it is (to the best of my knowledge), the best film which stars
both Dick van Patten and Sticky Fingaz. It has no nudity, so avoid at all
Extreme Movie is a genre-spoof comedy and, given that premise, it probably
should be marketed under a different name. I started out with a bad taste in
my mouth from having watched the immeasurably awful Disaster Movie plus Date
Movie and Epic Movie, and I naturally assumed that this was from the same
creative team. As it turns out, I was wrong. Extreme Movie covers the same
territory as those unfunny wastes of time, but it is from a completely
different group, the people who created Not Another Teen Movie, which is quite
Extreme Movie spoofs the most popular "coming of age" films, and is
presented in skit format, but the skits are loosely interconnected with the
thin premise that all of the characters are in high school together, so there
are some central characters, and a minor character from a previous skit will
occasionally appear later in a cameo in another skit, when such an appearance
is good for a laugh of recognition. Like Not Another Teen Movie, it ends with
a rousing musical number.
The humor is hit and miss, and I suppose there are probably more misses,
but there is also some very funny material, so you have to wonder why the
film's creators would want to create an association with the awful films
There are two good nude scenes:
In the first, Heather Hogan
makes a sexy topless internet video for her boyfriend, but things go
The second is the musical number featuring
appearances by Christina Derosa (brunette) and Cristin Michele (blond).
They both look good with their clothes off, and Derosa does a good spoof of
Broadway-style singing. Also featured in the number is Dan, from The Dan Band,
Palo Alto, CA
Four college freshmen, friends in a suburban high school, return to their
home town for their first Thanksgiving as college guys. They pull a prank
together, then separate for the night to have their own adventures. The tone
of the film shifts, often in unpredictable steps, from comedy to drama to
There are some things to critique in this movie, and I will do that in a
bit, but in the long run those criticisms are not very important for two
(1) Overall, I enjoyed the movie very much, and there are many positives.
- The four story lines are interesting, and the editing is slick, so the
individual adventures are interwoven seamlessly and cleverly into a clear
- There are poignant moments, and good laughs.
- The performances are almost uniformly excellent, The director even
pulled a good performance out of Tom Arnold!
- The musical score works perfectly.
- I enjoyed the complex characters, and the writer/director packed a
tremendous amount of character development into a short film that takes
place on a single night.
(2) The guy who directed and co-wrote this film was only 21 years old at
the time! What is particularly impressive about that is that he managed to get
a lot of character development accomplished without saying anything - with
uncomfortable silences, facial expressions, and other elements of visual
storytelling. This movie is as professionally presented as any big-budget
studio film which covers the same territory. This kid has it.
Having noted that, I should be fair to you readers and note that the film
is not without its faults.
(1) There is a gratuitous lesbian scene which is completely unbelievable
within the story line. Wait! Am I listing that under bad things? Perhaps I
should expand the point by saying that this was one of several examples where
the authors weren't sure how to make major shifts from reality to fantasy
and/or from drama to comedy. In this case, I just didn't buy into the
undeveloped female characters, who came out of left field to use their
girl/girl action to seduce one of our heroes and his little brother. It wasn't
at all clear why they would do such a thing, and as a result they didn't seem
like real characters, but objectified male fantasies. In fact, I originally
thought it was supposed to be a fantasy sequence, and that the brothers would
awake from a drunken dream. I was later surprised to see that it all really
(2) Far too many dramatic developments happen in one night, and for too
many coincidences are used to advance the plot. This bothered me at first, but
I am withdrawing my objection. I eventually realized that it was all done in
the interest of developing four stories simultaneously. Given my opinion that
the film succeeded in telling all four stories economically, I have no choice
but to concede that the contrived plotting is an example of necessary artistic
(3) This territory and these characters are very familiar to those who have
seen a lot of movies. It's not an intensely personal film, but a generic
coming-of-age story. You can probably determine from my comments that Palo
Alto, Ca is not the kind of film you would expect from a guy who is young
enough to be in school. It has neither the usual negatives nor the usual
positives of youthful indie filmmaking. It's mostly "feel good"; it does not
attack any "big ideas" intensely; it is not so personal as to be uncommercial;
and there are no lesbian cowboys eating pudding. It's more like a Cameron
One thing surprises me - the lack of a theatrical release. It seems like a
studio film - slick and professional in every way. The authors seem to
understand the youthful target audience, and I can see where this would be a
good date movie. Palo Alto, Ca is not just a precocious work from a youngster.
It is a winner that is capable of connecting to mainstream suburban audiences.
Oh, well. Irrespective of the logic behind the lack of theatrical
distribution, I think you will see excellent movies from Brad Leong for many
years to come.
It's Christine Derosa
again! As of yesterday, I had never heard of her. Today we are seeing her
topless in two different movies!
Here girl/girl accomplice is
The lead character in this story is a college student who comes from
a poor household in New Jersey and screws up his financial aid situation. As a
result, he ends up putting himself through film school by working odd jobs,
milking multiple credit cards, and sleeping in the nooks and crannies of New
York, essentially living as a homeless person.
This film is an exceptional effort from a very young man who has lived a
life very much like (although not precisely the same as) the one assigned to
his lead character. Although the film is intensely personal, it doesn't stray
into typical indie territory. There are no anti-corporate riffs, no quixotic
solutions to world hunger, and no gay junkies dying of AIDS. In fact, the film
ridicules those kinds of indie films and the pretentious people found in New
York film schools. This particular movie has no particular axes to grind nor
windmills to tilt at. The script consists of a guy telling a fictionalized
version of his own life, sharing the places he's been and the people he's met.
Of course, that could be a recipe for disaster if the filmmaker were extremely
egocentric or if his life were extremely boring, but in this case neither is
true. David Spaltro has led a unique life, has met many colorful characters,
and has maintained a down-to-earth sense of humor about himself and the world.
Atypically for low-budget movie makers, Spaltro managed to come up with a
spectacularly good sound track. He pulled it off with a bit of street-smart
ingenuity. He, the struggling filmmaker, contacted many struggling musicians
and songwriters and asked them if they'd like to go along for the ride on his
film. Many of them agreed enthusiastically (and economically) because they
need the exposure. As a result, ... Around is scored as well as any Hollywood
film. the songs are both affecting and appropriate for the context in which
they are used. The only difference between this sound track and that of a
big-budget movie is that the songs are simply good, rather than good and
Although the writer/director is about the same age as the guy who directed
Palo Alto, Ca, and although both films are excellent, they cannot be compared.
There is no contrivance at all in ... Around. The lead character has some
successes and finds a measure of happiness, but he also fails in his major
relationships with the two important women in his life, his mother and his
girlfriend. Some of that failure is his fault. Some is theirs. Most of it
happens just because they are human beings and have a hard time sorting things
out, like the rest of us. Because all of the characters and situations ring
true-to-life, you may find some of the plot twists disappointing if you are
accustomed to the usual Hollywood formulas. The characters in this film almost
never do what we hope they will do. We'd love to see the lead and his
kinda-sorta girlfriend work things out better because they are both good
people and they seem to need each other, but they are also real human beings
and therefore their lives just don't mesh together as conveniently as they
might if they were scripted for Kate Hudson. There is also a long-time
homeless guy we are rooting for. He shepherds our hero through the rough times
on the streets, and we'd love to see him rescued from his life by some kind of
Hollywood miracle because he's a decent and obviously intelligent man. Not
gonna happen. We just have to accept that his life is what it is, and is
probably not going to change.
In fact, we don't even know if our hero's life will change. He gets his
film made, but after that ... ? Oh, hell, we don't even know if the real-life
filmmaker's life will change after having told his story successfully. Since
there are more
than dozen reviews of ... Around listed at IMDb and since they are almost
uniformly positive, it's safe to say that Mr. Spaltro got a good film made,
and he did so by maxxing out more than a dozen credit cards. Unfortunately,
his ending is ambiguous. So far, there's no theatrical deal and no DVD.
Because the film has been screened at some minor festivals and because the
director has actively been distributing screeners, this may be the only film
in the IMDb database with more reviews (15 as I write this) than votes (9).
Will anyone besides film critics ever see the film? Will Spaltro ever be
able to pay off those credit card balances?
There is no real nudity. Molly Ryman
poses naked for an art class, but her naughty bits stay covered by the
magic of camera angles, arms, and elbows.