"8 Mile"

8 Mile (2002) is a completely standard sports film, a remake of Rocky. Substitute rap for boxing, and Eminem for Stallone, and you have it. Eminem lives with his trailer trash mother, Kim Basinger, who has her share of problems. Her boyfriend, a classmate of her son, refuses to go down on her, he doesn't work, and she is about to be evicted from her trailer. Eminem works in an auto-parts factory, where he catches a lot of crap as the only white employee. His way out is to be "discovered" and become a rap star. He has a support group of other wannabe rappers, and a group of rival rapper enemies.

Basinger shows buns and the side of a breast when Eminem walks in on her having sex. IMdb readers have it at 6.8, and it grossed $242M against a budget of $41M, proving that formulas exist because they can work. Eminem's character stays very much within himself, which could have made it a long 110 minutes, but he was counterpoint to an entire cast of "dayglow colorful" characters. The song, "Lose Yourself" garnered an Oscar, and a host of nominations. In the end, I cared about the Eminem character, and was rooting for him to score the final knockout. Thus, for me, the film worked. This is a C+.

  • Thumbnails

  • Kim Basinger (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Investigating Sex (2001):

    Director Alan Rudolph has consistently demonstrated a fascination with the intellectual life of the 20s and 30s - the romance of the famous intellectual roundtables, and the role played by those intellectual communities in the development of modernism in the arts. Rudolph has done one film on Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin set in New York (Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle), and a second on those who supped at Hemingway's moveable feast in Paris (The Moderns). This is number three.

    The other two circles of intellectuals were well known. Most educated people are well aware of the Algonquin Roundtable, which featured Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woolcott, Edna Ferber, Haywood Broun, Franklin P. Adams, Harpo and Groucho Marx and others. If you read an occasional book, you also have at least some passing acquaintance with the jazz age community of literati in Paris, which included Papa Hemingway as well as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and others. If you think about it, it makes pretty good sense to make movies about the gathering of such people, since the screenwriter does not have to strain for sparkling dialogue. Bartlett's is filled with their witticisms and profundities, so their own words create the wit of the dialogue, leaving the screenwriter free to concentrate on narrative.

    The third group, the one which forms the basis of Investigating Sex, is much more obscure than the others, and their discussions were much more formal. Andre Breton invited the other high priests of the surrealist movement to meet with him in twelve sessions in which they would discuss sexuality in the most clinical terms possible. Breton presided over the gatherings, and the guests included some major figures in the art world like Luis Bu˝uel and Salvador Dali. Breton seems to have assumed that these discussions would result in some insights which should be shared with others, so he had stenographers present at the meetings. Only two of the edited transcripts were published contemporaneously, but eventually the whole shootin' match made it into print in the form of a book by Jose Pierre called Recherches Sur la sexualite archives du surealisme. A translation of that book made its way into the hands of Rudolph and/or his screenwriter, and thus was this film spawned.  (The location has been changed to a mansion in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the characters are fictionalized.)

    Frankly, it wasn't such a good subject for a film, because the discussions had two inherent weaknesses:

    1. The people talking really didn't know any more about sex than any other group of people. What qualifications does an abstract artist have for comparing the depth of male and female orgasms? They were free thinkers, to be sure, but their free thoughts were not especially useful in this context. If the group had invited Picasso and Freud, maybe they would have had something worth recording.

    2. The people in this group, unlike those in the Dorothy Parker and Gertrude Stein coteries, were not known for their wit, but for their production. Moreover, they were instructed to avoid showing off with any humor or other self-serving comments, and they were adjured to stay as clinical as possible.

    In other words, we are treated not to the free-flowing conversations of noted wits discussing their areas of expertise, but to the humorless ruminations of surrealist artists forced to confine their conversation to clinical discussions of a subject matter in which they have no clinical expertise.

    Director Alan Rudolph is no fool. He knew that the conversations alone were not suitable movie fodder, so he tried to create a worthwhile film around the characters and their interaction. The first question that came to mind must have been, "Stenographers? Ordinary middle class women trained at secretarial school, and used to transcribing dry discussions of tariffs and laws? What must they have thought of these free-thinkers and their clinical discussions of sex?" For the purposes of the cinema discussions, the stenographers are asked to dress in sexy uniforms, thus acting simultaneously as muses and recorders. The camera watches the stenographers react to the artists, then the story follows how the two women interact with the artists to form romantic and sexual entanglements. One of the stenographers is a highly sexual woman who can sense the pretension and ignorance in the discussions. The other is in training to be an old maid, but gets liberated significantly by her social interaction with the freest of her era's free thinkers.

    The conversations are enlivened somewhat by the sex-crazed and perpetually inebriated owners of the mansion, played as lusty old goats by Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld, who does a nearly perfect impersonation of Zsa Zsa Gabor in some scenes, although she was not capable of sustaining a consistent accent. Rudolph and his screenwriter did yeoman's work to make as much as they did of the film, and the cast is excellent and attractive, but it just wasn't that good an idea to begin with, and the film itself just isn't very interesting.

    The film's ongoing distribution problems are more interesting than what happens on film. Nick Nolte originally raised the money to shoot the film. He found a German game show company which was willing to finance it it in order to qualify for some German government grants to the arts, which they could not have obtained from game shows alone. To qualify for their grants, they just wanted to make an intellectual film in Germany with a reputable director. (Rudolph had no objection to filming in Berlin and calling it Massachusetts. The story takes place almost entirely inside one house, so the physical location is irrelevant.) Once the game show boys had their grant safely in their pockets, however, greed changed their minds and they wanted Rudolph to create a movie that could be marketed as a sex film. Rudolph refused to re-cut his film to their requirements, and they responded by sitting tight on their ownership rights, so the various parties started to battle in the courts for ownership of the film while it languished undistributed.

    That was four years ago. The film has still never been seen in the USA except at film festivals, and has never been released on home video anywhere except Finland! (The logic of Finnish exclusivity is something which still escapes me.)

    (If you have a wife or girlfriend into Dermot Mulroney, he does a full frontal, semi-erect, in this film)


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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
    Ok...once again I am revising the poll and chosing a category that is much easier to define...

    Best All Time Television Comedy

    This is one we did a while back, but I thought it would be fun to see what, if anything, has changed.

    I did leave out some wonderful sketch comedy shows, as well as one of the best shows ever..."The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", but that leaves this poll more focused on traditional TV formula comedies. Any exceptions (like MST3K) were added in because they were featured in the poll last time.

    A quick note...a few people have asked "Why are shows like "Sanford and Son", "Cosby Show", "Jeffersons", "Good Times", etc. not included in the poll".

    A good question with a simple answer...the last time we ran this poll, "Sanford and Son" and "Cosby Show" were both included but no one voted for them. (they earned 4 and 2 votes respectively out of the 1018 total votes cast).

    Here are the final results and comments for last week's poll Who has the best bum in Hollywood?

    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

    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.

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

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Ripper 2: Letter from Within" (2003)
    Euro direct-to-video sequel and the first post-czechploitation co-directed by Funhouse favorite Lloyd Simandl. DVD is only available from the Netherlands despite the first Ripper movie being a major US release.

    • Erin Karpluk: Canadian actress sexy but not as the previous lead.
    • Myfanwy Waring: Welsh actress from The Bill showing boobs and buns via keyholecam.
    • unknowns (1, 2): czech actresses topless in threesomes.
    • Katerina Vrana: aka Katerina Vranova topless in lesbian threesome.
    • Vladimira Kopal: sexy as domitarax in threesome.

    "Le Party" (1990)
    This french-canadian prison movie sets the high water mark for regular actresses baring all as strippers in a realistic fashion. Not only not one but two of them show full nudity but they also did open leg spreads.

    • Charlotte Laurier (1, 2): full nudity plus beavercam.
    • Andrea Parro: ditto.

    "Pressure" (2002)
    Dark comedy starring Angela Featherstone in a bad wig and dozens of cheerleader extras.

    East L.A. Warriors (USA)
    Very bad gangsta action drama.

    Forever Knight: Fate Worse Than Death

    Cold Squad season 6

    Cleaning up my hard drive...

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "High Times' Potluck"
    It doesn't take much thinking to realize that a movie from High Times is going to be about pot, but this 2002 comedy/crime caper movie is a lot more, and very funny.

    A pair of idiot thieves steal a suitcase loaded with high-grade pot. They quickly have it taken from them by the mob. As the suitcase passes from person to person, we meet mobsters and a tattooed punk rocker named Jade, and eventually wind up at a giant pro-pot legalization rally (sponsored by High Times, of course), where all the loonies battle over the suitcase.

    The movie is funny, well-done, and well worth an evening.

    'Caps and comments by Oz:

    Plenty of nudity in the soft-core flick Temptations. There is probably a more explicit version around somewhere. Keri Crawford, Monique Parent, Lauren Hays and Alison Thomas Miller all go topless. Parent shows pubes and Hays bares all.

    • Keri Crawford (1, 2)
    • Monique Parent (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Lauren Hays (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
    • Alison Thomas Miller (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Tricia Helfer One of the sexiest sci-babes on TV! Here is the Canadian model-turned-actress showing cleavage, legs and partial/side breast views from Friday night's episode of "Battlestar Galactica".

    Margot Stilley
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    LC 'caps of the former model in scenes from the controversial UK movie "9 Songs" (2004), directed by Michael Winterbottom.

    We see every inch of her body (including close-up gyno views) as she bares all, masturbates and has 100% genuine sex on screen.

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

    Flautista 'caps of the Italian actress (plus a few other unknowns) baring breasts in scenes from "La Balia" (1999).

    Elizabeth Perkins
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the "Big" co-star baring breasts and a bit of pubes during a sex scene from the 1998 movie, "I'm Losing You".

    Mail Bag
    Subject: Is this Diana Espen?

    Over the years on your site I've seen images of Diana Espen and I think she's one of the sexiest women I've seen. As you know, she goes by the nom-de-porn of April (Summer, Rain, etc.)

    Well, I was cruising around the ALS Scan page looking at the free content (lots of good stuff) and they've got a model named April, from Alaska, who's got a tongue piercing, is blond with great tits, etc. just like my girlfriend Diana Espen.

    Here's her free page on ALS:

    The photos sure look similar. Could this be pre porn career Diana Espen? Maybe one of your readers knows. According to the info, she was 20 years old in 1999 when the ALS photos were taken. Is this the right age, and didn't her career start right around then?



    Tuna's reply...

    She was born 28 March 1978, so the age is right. Her first video was 1999, which, again, fits.

    Her own web site gives her vitals as: Height: 5'9" Measurements: 34B-25-35. The ALS site says: 5'8" tall and weighs 126 lbs. 34-24-34. As the ALS information is six years older, I don't see the small difference as a problem.

    They also look to be the same woman to me.

    A follow up email...
    After signing up to that website and downloading/comparing several photos, in my mind there's no doubt. The ALS model April is definately Diana Espen!