"Stir of Echoes"

Stir of Echoes (1999) stars Kevin Bacon as a blue collar family man with a wife (Kathryn Erbe), a 5 year old son and a baby on the way. His "new age" sister-in-law hypnotizes him at a party, and plants a post-hypnotic suggestion that he open his mind to everything. He starts seeing the same things that his son has been seeing all along. What unfolds is probably best called a supernatural thriller. It was fairly well-received by the critics, but faired less-well with IMDB users. Some loved it, and others didn't see anything to recommend it. I am in the second group. For me, the plot was predictable, and not at all startling. Whenever I disagree strongly with the critics, I try to figure out why. I think, in this case, it is because I don't find the idea of hypnosis at all unusual, nor does contact with spirits of the dead upset me. For me, there was nothing frightening in this picture. Clues were given from the beginning about where the plot was going, so predicting the next development was not at all hard.

Acting was fine, the photography was dark, to set the mood, but was interesting. There was nothing really wrong with the pace. In fact, this is not a badly made film, but for me, it was about as exciting and suspenseful as watching dust accumulate on the furniture. The exposure is from Kathryn Erbe in two places. In the first, she is making love with Bacon, and her robe keeps separating and giving glimpses of her breasts. In the second, she is getting ready for her bath, and the ghost is sitting on the tub, although she can't see it. Note that we don't see her face in the bath scene at all, but this could have been to avoid full frontal. I have no opinion as to whether this bath scene is a double or not.

IMDB readers have it at 7.0 of 10, with the scoring rather even across age and gender lines. It earned $21.1M against a $13M budget. Ebert, three stars, Berardinelli, also three. Rotten Tomatoes, 62% positive, Tuna, 2 stars. This is a C, a well filmed ghost story that I did not personally find entertaining.

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  • Kathryn Erbe (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

    "Susan's Plan"

    Susan's Plan (1998) is, surprise, surprise, about Susan's plan, which is to have her ex killed and collect his insurance money. Susan, Nastassja Kinski, is now doing his insurance agent, and the agent recruits two people he caught failing at insurance fraud to perform the murder. They shoot the guy three times, leaving him pissed off in the hospital and wondering why his girlfriend (Lara Flynn Boyle) asked him to come to the place he was shot.

    Now, of course, they need to try and finish the job in the hospital. Problem is, this would be a pretty hard thing for two people to keep a lid on, but, with that many people involved, there is no way they are going to get away with it. In desperation, they get outlaw biker Dan Aykroyd to strangle him with a pillow. The insurance agent's ex wife figures it out, and wants in on the action.

    We have breast exposure from Kinski (brief, and in the dark), Lara Flynn Boyle in three scenes, and Christina Venuti. IMDB readers have this at 5.2 of 10. This was billed as a black comedy, but I just didn't get the joke. The nudity was totally gratuitous, and none of the characters seemed in any way believable. Low C-.

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  • Christina Venuti (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  • Lara Flynn Boyle (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
  • Nastassja Kinski

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    This week's major DVD releases. No female nudity in any of the three. Matchstick Men is a good movie, the other two are not worth your time.

    Matchstick Men (2003)

    Matchstick Men has no female nudity (Nic Cage shows his butt), but it's a movie well worth seeing.

    Unfortunately, it is one of those films that it is almost impossible to talk about because every bit of insight one might offer is likely to be a betrayal of the surprises in the script.

    You see, this film is a strange hybrid of a sting movie and a character study. Imagine Ocean's Eleven if we had really gotten to know the characters. I mean really know them -  their innermost fears, their family secrets, their worst nightmares. Imagine if the George Clooney character had been a messy amalgam of psychological problems: enough phobias to make Howard Hughes seem as cool and matter-of-fact as Chuck Yaeger, and enough nervous tics to make Derek Jacobi's Claudius seem as phlegmatic as Ben Stein. Then add another wrinkle: imagine if Clooney had suddenly been weighted down by a long-lost pubescent daughter. Finally, add the twist that the actual sting may not be what the audience is led to believe it is.

    In fact, this script was penned by the same man who wrote Ocean's Eleven, and is imbued with the same sense of Sinatra-worship, except that the hero in this film is not cut from the Greek Epic form, ala Brad Pitt or George Clooney, and has none of the Sinatra/Dino cool, Instead, it is the shambling, twitching, genuinely odd Nic Cage, yet again playing his familiar part of the lunatic trying to function in society, and sometimes failing. When Cage plays this character as a writer, as in Adaptation, he creates the type of eccentric we expect from our authors, his eccentricity representing a danger only to nervous editors worried about his deadlines. In the part of the slick con-man, however, the deep morass of Cage's neuroses represents a quicksand pit hidden on the path of every caper, every sting, no matter how insignificant. This adds to the dramatic tension of the film, because it seems that Cage is always on the very brink of an emotional outburst that will betray him and his associates. When Pitt and Clooney are stinging somebody, we know they will use their charisma to dance around the pitfalls, and we feel certain they will triumph. When Cage encounters a pitfall, we genuinely expect him to blow the entire con, or lose his nerve and call it off. Even if he pulls the grift off, his conscience faces such pangs of guilt that he may well give the money back, as he does once in this film.

    The Cage character is such a joyless individual, that his dour world-view infects the entire film. Unlike The Italian Job or Catch Me if You Can, which are recent caper films populated by people who really enjoy scamming, the Nic Cage character in Matchstick Men is a dark, troubled soul who would fit in better with Cusack and Huston in The Grifters.

    Matchstick Men has a great director (Ridley Scott), a great cast, and a great script. I was impressed with it. I think it is a terrific movie, and yet I didn't enjoy it that much. I suppose that had more to do with my expectations than the film itself. I guess I wanted it to adhere to the unwritten covenant between sting film makers and sting film audiences - that there will be certain guilty pleasures delivered. This film broke that genre convention until the last couple of minutes, and deliberately so. It has the plot of a sting film, but not the attitude.

    While most of the film does work as a character study, certain aspects of the sting suck the wind out of the character development, for reasons which I can't reveal with spoiling the best elements of the plot, and it does have a pretty cool ending!



    The Missing (2003)

    No nudity. To be fair, the film is a C-, genre is Hollywood Western, but that makes it sound more attractive than it actually is. If the film were 100 minutes long, a C- old-fashioned Hollywood Western might not be a bad watch, but this movie seems longer than Lawrence of Arabia at 130 min, and there are about 15 deleted scenes. Before they started deleting, it may have literally been longer than Lawrence of Arabia.

    Cate Blanchett seems to be following the John Cusack path from interesting movies into safe Hollywood twaddle, and it doesn't get any safer or twaddlier than this. I swear I've seen this movie before, but I think I was nine at the time. Does the world need more 1950s Westerns? At first I was thinking, "This film is a lot like John Ford's The Searchers", but it's also like a lot of other John Ford movies as well.




    My Life Without Me (2003)

    No nudity.

    It's a C-,  but the genre is "chick-flicks about dyin' women embracin' life". It is barely watchable if you like those, although if you do like those it means you have seen at least one before, and will therefore find this one trite. If you do not like those, you will find this film to be an abomination unto the eyes of the Lord of Hosts, and accursed among His creations. If the Lord had made Job watch this sucker, he would have lost his faith. If the Lord had asked Abraham to watch this instead of merely asking him to kill his son, we would have been disobedient.

    Along with Star Wars 2 (Clones), and 6 (Jedi), this must be one of the five most overrated films at IMDb. Return of the Jedi is 8.1 - that must still be the record high score for completely sucky movies, but this puppy is mounting a serious challenge at 7.7.

    James Berardinelli summed this one up perfectly in his 1.5 star review: "My Life Without Me, a movie about terminal illness that even the Lifetime Television Network might reject, is a maudlin hack-job. (Okay, so maybe that's going a little too far. Lifetime will show just about anything.) By the time this movie was just past the 60-minute point, I found myself wishing that Ann would go ahead and die so the end credits could roll."

    Agree 100%. Nothing more needs to be said.



    Miscellaneous .wmv tapes

    • As long as celebrity sex tapes are in the news lately, it's always good to remember the queen of the genre - Pam Anderson. In these two she is with Brett Michaels (1, 2)




     (Letters re: Naked Opera and Dance)

    Hi Scoopy,
    Did someone ask 'bout nudity in Opera DVD's. Do I really need the encouragement ?  This list is not exhaustive as it only features those in my present collection. Most are European sourced so might not be easily available in the USA.
    • Pierot Lunaire - Arthaus DVD  100 330- nudity from Christine Schafer (caps in the funhouse from tv capture)
    • Rigoletto - BBC/Opus Arte DVD  OA 0829 D- extentsive nudity in opening sequence/aria both male and female extras
    • Carmina Burana - RCA Red Label/BMG  74321 85285 9- brief nudity (caps in funhouse from orig ZDF tv capture)
    • Mahagonny - Arthaus DVD 100 092 - extensive nudity in brothel sequence (dvd caps in funhouse)
    • Amadeus(new version) - Not an Opera but a great sountrack and nudity from Elizabeth Berridge
    • Don Giovanni - Arthaus 100 328 - Nudity in balcony sequence by extra but not by Cecilia Bartoli (shame)
    • Tannhauser - Arthaus 100 014 - extensive nudity in opening sequence by extras (caps from tv broadcast in funhouse)
    • Salome - Pioneer B-12375-01 - full frontal from Maria Ewing
    • Alcina - Arthaus 100 338 - back nudity and nip slip from Catherine Naglestad
    • Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - Image - extensive nudity from Marketa Hrubeyova and a large woman in the wash house - tuna caps plus caps from orig tv bradcast in the funhouse (sound is overdubbed)
    • Aida - Arthaus 100 058 - nudity from extras in bath house sequence - caps from tv broadcast in the funhouse
    • Les Huguenots - Arthaus 100 156 - brief rear nudity
    • Die Soldaten - Arthaus 100 270 - full frontal brothel nudity
    • The Magic Flute - Criterion 71 - quasi nudity from 'hell' sequence
    • The Fiery Angel - Arthaus 100 390 - nekkid nuns YAHOO
    I need to lie down after that lot
    BTW Ballet - What is that ?


    Uncle Scoopy:

    Great question!

    I've been collecting opera nudity for 30 years, since it first started, as with films, around 1969, but it's hard to find even now.

    The 1969-1970 German film of Flotow's 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' was the first notorious film to start the ball rolling, as it featured a topless Colette Boky (a popular French-Canadian soprano who sang quite a bit at the NY Metropolitan Opera) undressing for the bath.  This has just been released on VHS, and I obtained a copy, finally, in 2003.  (Not great -- just a flash -- but still it's major star nudity).

    There is quite a bit of nudity featuring background chorus members and various Rhine maidens and flower girls in Parsifal -- I don't count any of this stuff, unless it is a named star.  Here, only English mezzo soprano Diana Montague could be mentioned -- a big star now she apparently did a topless Rhine maiden in Wagner's Ring cycle, but it is very hard to track down.

    Still, the most famous and best source of operatic nudity is Strauss's Salome.  The famous Teldec video of American soprano Catherine Malfitano singing the role in Berlin features full frontal nudity and a pretty sexy dance, too. Her later Decca filming of the same role in London features nothing of much interest from the nudity point of view.

    A far bigger star, Karita Mattila did her first Salome's in Paris recently, and strangely decided to appear bottomless but not topless!  No stills or video available of this appearance yet that I've seen.  She repeats the role at the Met in a month or two from now -- someone should get their with a cam.

    Best Salome nudity is from American soprano Maria Ewing in her own husband (Peter Hall)'s London production -- but if you're like me you may not find her all that appetizing once she does take it all off.

    Opera magazine is another good source for nude stills from the opera.  They have featured Swedish soprano Karin Armstrong topless in Salome over the years.

    And Scottish soprano Josephine Barstow has been caught topless in the final scene -- nice pair there.

    Recently on British television there was mezzo soprano Sarah Connelly topless in the rape scene from Benjamin Brittain's 'Rape of Lucretia'.  She debuts at the Met next season, so counts now as a major star as well.

    Outside of their opera roles, several opera singers have appeared nude:  Anna Moffo, full frontal in several Italian movies; and just a hint of nudity in the American film, The Adventurers.  Julia Migenes-Johnson, who starred in the feature film version of Carmen, shows at least one tit in the film 'Mack the Knife' with Raoul Julia.

    Well those are the highlights off the top of my head.  If I think of more, I'll write again.








    Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for inclusion in Other Crap




    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • 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.


    Words from Scoop.

    .avi's from Shiloh.

    .wmv files made by Scoop from Shiloh's .avi's.


    Catherine Bosley

    • You remember the story of Catherine. She is the news anchor from Ohio who had a little too much fun on vacation and stripped naked at a wet t-shirt contest in Florida. She was fired. It seemed that things couldn't get much worse for her, but they did. There were also guys at the base of the stage with video cameras aimed right up her coochie for about three minutes. Shiloh sent in a 29 meg video, which wasn't practical, so I formed two small videos and a bunch of caps. Here is the story, with nude photos and stills from the videos. And here are the videos. (.wmv version 1, 2)


    AND ....

    • Juliette Lewis wasn't the only one to get naked in Blueberry. Here is Vahina Giocante. I don't know who she is, but she has one jumbo behind.  (.avi version, .wmv version)

    • Joanne Whalley hasn't been all that generous with the nudity in her career, and this film is not available on VHS or DVD according to IMDb, so this is a rare chance to see her hanging around naked in Breathtaking. The .wmv came out quite good (.avi version, .wmv version)

    • What can ya say about the classics? Maude's Adrienne Barbeau in Swamp Thing (.avi version, .wmv version)

    •  ... and Bo Derek shows her nude body to the ever-eccentric Jeff Fahey (and to us, of course), (.avi version, .wmv version)


    Perhaps these tips will help if you have trouble with the codecs for these movies:

    Shiloh says:

    FYI when I hypercam vids to make the file size smaller I use DivX MPEG-4 Fast-Motion for the video compressor, then I use virtualdub to compress the audio. The properties for the vids says the video codec:  DivX Decoder Filter & audio codec:  Morgan Stream Switcher which I'm not familiar with. When I compress the audio with virtualdub I use MPEG Layer-3.  A friend of mine told me about compressing the audio about (6) mos. ago. Like I said previously, only been capping for a year & a half & I'm no expert. Hopefully this info will help members with the proper codecs for my vids.
    When I cap big brother's I use hypercam mostly & sdp & asfrecorder if the set up allows me. I stopped using camtasia cause the file sizes were always too big, could never figure out the process, over my head lol, plus it cost too much to buy in my opinion.

    A reader says:

    You mentioned that some users were having trouble with the videos on your site. There is a tool designed to determine what codec is needed for a video. Hope this is useful to you or your users.

    Scoop says:

    I made the .wmv versions of each video. The codecs for these: Windows Video V8, Windows Audio 9. The upside of these is that you know the codecs, and they'll play in the Windows Media Player. The downside is that they are slightly larger, and slightly lower quality.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    If you track Shannon Tweed's career you find a few movies that were instrumental in her decision to become an oft-naked B-movie babe. The frequently capped Hot Dog, her second movie, was one of them. Her first movie, Of Unknown Origin, was almost as important because of two things:

    1) It was a serious effort with some real pros in front of and behind the camera.
    2) Shannon's part was meaty for a first effort, she did a good job and she had a brief topless-in-the-shower scene.

    So Unknown seemed to have set her on the path toward at least some screen nudity.

    Then there was a period in which Shannon did close-to-A movies and tv soap operas. In 1988 (according to the credits, IMDB says 1989) she did a movie called Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. This was a plum role, broadly comedic and sexy, requiring that she and all others walk the thin line between serious parody and banal stupidity.

    Shannon did an exceptional job, as did Karen Mistal, her right-hand woman. These gals were funny in the way that parody demands, but without treading into the land of the ridiculous. Both women are very sexy but neither gives up major goodies. The best you see from Karen is major cleavage, of which she seemed to have an abundant supply. Ms. Mistal went on to do several more movies but appears to have never gotten nekkid on-screen.

    Shannon wears some interesting clothes and shows off wonderous cleavage in scenes where she looks incredibly edible. Really, she looks better in this movie than any place I've seen her. And in one scene Ms. Tweed shows that, whereas the focus of subsequent attention was on her upper body, she had a first-class pair of legs and a wonderful caboose.

    Adrienne Barbeau is also on-screen as the evil feminist who has taken her converts off to Bakersfield, CA to live and play and eat captive men. She hits most of the right notes in her performance. You see her legs and some near-goodies in a native dress.

    And the movie begins with the obligatory well-groomed red-headed native girls topless at the swimming hole. Marvelous looking, uncredited babes.

    The movie would have worked with all these principals in place, were it not the fact the producers made one very big mistake. Along the way to the Avocado Jungle of Death, Shannon and Karen stop at an edge-of-the-wilderness bar to select a formidable male guide to accompany them. All the stereotypes of manly and deadly men are trotted out and rejected by our heroines. They wind up with a guide who is bumbling fool. That would be Bill Maher.

    Now there is comedic gold to be mined from a character whose gifts and talents do not quite meet the demands of his mission. We've seen it work before. Harrison Ford plays the role perfectly in the first two Star Wars movies. Don't have a clue what happened in the third, but that's for another time. Bill Maher decides to play this, though, as if any hint of masculinity on his character's part, any patina of manly virtue on anyone's part, and any hint of professional restraint on his own part were anathema. Allergic to them all was he. We're talking anaphalactic shock.

    So for most of the movie we are forced to suffer through what I think might be the single worst "comedic" performance since Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Honestly I would rather watch Primitive Love again than sit through Maher's performance in this movie. He does manage one unintentionally humorous moment, however, as the camera catches him sneeking a peak at Karen Mistal's hooters. F***ing pathetic.

    Maher doomed the movie. IMDB gives it a 4.5/10. No one went to see it, no one but a few Shannon Tweed fans bothered to buy it or rent it. And so the last chance Shannon had to be regarded as a comedic actress went down in flames so hot it burned everyone attached to the movie. Of course, Shannon adapted and became the quintessential DTV babe of the 90's.

    I guess we should thank Maher, then, for blowing chunks as an actor. It's the reason we have seen so much of Shannon naked over the years. Okay, you can thank him... you didn't have to watch him in Cannibal Women. For those of us who have, the sight of Shannon's unclothed bod is of limited comfort to our wounded psyches.

    Crimson Ghost
    The Ghost delivers a few .wmvs of Lynda Carter showing her big'uns in their one and only screen appearance from "Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw" (1976).

    • Wonder Woman topless (1, 2, 3, 4)

    'Caps and comments by UC99
    'Caps from Tinto Brass' "Fallo!", the latest from the grand dirty old man of Italian cinema. Not his best work IMHO but probably his most explicit. In typical Tinto fashion, there is plenty of nudity including: all three B's, gyno-cam views and the occasional. BJ scene.

    • Sara Cosmi (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Silvia Rossi (1, 2, 3)
    • Federica Tommasi (1, 2)

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "The Last American Virgin"
    One of a group of early 80's teen sex movies; maybe the best, because with this 1982 film you get a twofer: a very hilarious teen movie which eventually turns into a teen angst and romance movie with an extremely sad and heartbreaking ending.

    The movie makes the transition so seemlessly that you don't notice it, but eventually, the comedy gives way to serious looks at teen drug use and promiscuous sex, and then to lost love. An outstanding flick way better than some of it's contemporaries like Porky's. They even got in a shower room/peephole scene, but they went beyond fluff and nudity while still making a great comedy/romance.

    Also a capper's classic, this movie has been done by everyone, for obvious reasons, so I'm a little late to this party.

    Michelle Williams
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Watty 'caps of the former "Dawson's Creek" star briefly topless in scenes from "Me Without You".

    Kelly McGillis
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    The co-star of the 80's classic "Top Gun" going topless and full frontal in a very dark scene from the 1989 movie "Cat Chaser". 'Caps by the Skin-man.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Frozen Nipples - The Toronto Globe & Mail reports that a growing number of doctors are using Botox for breastlifts. It began when Botox was injected into pectoral muscles that make people hunch forward, to paralyze them and improve posture. But women noticed that once they stood up straighter, their breasts seemed perkier. There is also a side effect: the Botox deadens neurotransmitters that make nipples retract, so the patient's nipples remain semi-erect. Some doctors insist it's just for improving posture, but one noted that no men come in and ask for Botox to improve their posture, only women do.

  • Well, John Kerry does...
  • It leaves your breasts so numb, you might as well just have implants.
  • Botox usually leaves people with stunned faces and slack jaws, but in this case, it does that to the men who look at you.
  • It costs $500 every four months, when your mom could just tell you to "STAND UP STRAIGHT!" for free.

    The Homer Simpson Of Bothell - John Marioni of Bothell, Washington, has won the coveted title of 2004 Beerdrinker of the Year. The judges picked him over two other finalists because he was the one they'd most like to share a beer with. In a series of final questions, Marioni compared beer to religion, saying it should "lead us not into incarceration, but deliver us from light beer." He also credited beer with all of life's blessings, saying, "I got married because of beer. Both of my children were conceived because of a whole lot of beer."

  • And he might've been stuck with a whole lot more children, if it weren't for having too much beer.
  • His wife had sex with the next door neighbor while he was passed out on the couch.
  • And someday, he'll be divorced because of beer.
  • He owes his marriage to beer? How drunk was his wife when she married him?

    Paris Would've WANTED Us To Sell It! - Paris Hilton's ex-lover Rick Salomon is suing Marvad Corp for distributing clips from their sex tape without his permission. But they're trying a unique legal argument: they claim that since Paris tells him where to put the camera, she directed it and so has part ownership, which means Salomon doesn't have exclusive rights to it. Salomon's attorney dismissed that, saying that when an actor helps direct scenes in a movie, it doesn't change the film's ownership.

  • But Paris was more than an actor: she was an actor, the director, the grip...
  • I'll bet that now, Paris would REALLY like to tell Rick where to put his camera.