Hannah Takes the Stairs


It isn't that appealing to be a rebel in the film business, because the primary thing to rebel against is not incompetence, but artificiality. Hollywood movies pack an unrealistic amount of larger than-life-events and improbable plot twists into a short time frame, and the characters speak in "zingers" and clever one-liners that real people would never think of in life-threatening situations. I'm not defending those things, but simply noting that when you decide to reject them you don't have a lot left to work with. The opposite is to have movies reflect real life, in which nothing "cinematic" is likely to happen for years, people speak in  trite everyday phrases and most quotidian humor consists of repeating catch phrases until they become clichés. Real-life "plot developments" - changes in jobs or lovers, deaths of people you know, arrests - come around very rarely. In the movies everyone is a cop or a crook or a vampire, or works in some glamorous business like advertising or show business. In real life everyone is an associate sales representative or a webmaster. A film of my life would not be very exciting. It consists of typing. In all my life I've never seen a big explosion, never held a gun, never lost anyone close to me in a violent or suspicious way, never been swindled out of any insurance money, and so forth. Where's the movie?

The nature of reality has been a major obstacle for the development of a real independent film movement. If you want to reject convention and artifice, your only real alternative is reality, but most of the time reality is tedious, even if you choose to portray the lives of cops and junkies. The cops I know spend most of their time filling out forms and parked in their cars waiting for something to happen. The junkies I have known spent almost all of their time nodding out. Reality is not especially spectator-friendly. Of course, that doesn't stop some filmmakers from portraying it. Remember Andy Warhol's films back in the sixties? One of his classics was an eight-hour fixed view of the Empire State building in real time. There's your reality! Today's Warhols are a coterie of do-it-yourself filmmakers who make the rounds at some of the more underground film festivals like Slamdance and SXSW, and are loosely bound under the rubric of "mumblecore."

Here's how to make a mumblecore film: come up with a very basic outline of how you might spend your summer, or how you spent last summer. Get some friends to play the characters in that scenario: your boss, some co-workers, other acquaintances. Do NOT write out a script or any dialogue. Gather your friends together in an apartment with a digital camera and "role-play" various situations, using your kitchen as the office break room, your bedroom as the bedroom, your pool and a nearby park for the outdoor scenes. All the words will be improvised. It is unlikely that you'll come up with much that's interesting in this manner, unless one of your friends is Robin Williams, but just shoot a lot of footage. Unlike film, video is cheap. Some of your scenes will be better than others, so you can throw away the worst material and use the better stuff to string a movie together. Do not add non-diegetic sound or special effects. Go with reality. The result will probably not be either funny or dramatic, and it will certainly not be either artistic or entertaining, but it will reflect real life in ways that Hollywood never does, for better or for worse.

If you've been paying attention, you realize that mumblecore films are not very different from the home movies that your dad makes on family holidays. All well and good. Sometimes your dad comes up with some great stuff and it can be a lot of fun to watch those films. Most people watch them twice - once shortly after they are made, and then again many years later to laugh and reminisce and see how everyone aged. But the market for your dad's home movies is very small indeed, basically restricted to people in the films and others who know them. The same is true of a mumblecore film. If you know the people involved in making the film, you will probably enjoy seeing what they came up with. Otherwise, there are way better ways to pass 90 routine minutes of your life than to watch some random strangers pass 90 routine minutes of their lives.

Hannah Takes the Stairs is a mumblecore film. For all I know it may be the Citizen Kane of mumblecore. A woman just out of college has a job and a boyfriend. She breaks up with the boyfriend and takes up with first one, then another co-worker. She settles (temporarily, we presume) with one guy because both of them enjoy playing the trumpet poorly.


They play the trumpet together while they are naked in the bathtub.

The end credits roll.


Now THAT'S entertainment.

One thing I like about today's underground filmmakers is the same thing I liked about them in Greenwich Village in the sixties: they like to get nekkid. It's yet another way to thumb one's nose at conventional society.

Greta Gerwig shows off various body parts four times in this film, and she's not a bad-lookin' woman!



  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








The Pom Pom Girls


The Pom Pom Girls is ... well, just what it sounds like -

The kids we follow are part of the football team and the cheerleading squad. They battle each other, a rival school, the football coach, the math teacher, and any other suitable target for their teen angst.

While not the best example of the rather crowded genre of raunchy teen comedies, The Pom Pom Girls was a pioneer. It came two years before Animal House and  six years before Porky's. It featured Robert Carradine some eight years before he became the head nerd in Revenge of the Nerds. Much of the film is familiar teensploitation fare: food fights, old tunes, older cars, and a James Dean style suicide/chicken scene, but there is one original bit where our heroes steal a fire truck and attack the opposing team with the fire hoses. There is also plenty of flesh from attractive, silicone-free women. Jennifer Ashley, Lisa Reeves, Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith, Susan Player and Diane Lee Hart show breasts and buns in a locker room scene, and Susan Player shows breasts having sex in the back of a van twice. The combination of pretty girls and the occasional lowbrow laugh should be enough to meet your minimum daily requirements for genre entertainment.

Jennifer Ashley 9

Lisa Reeves

Cheryl Smith 6

Susan Player 15

Diane Lee Hart 11



The Time Guardian


I received a special request from a reader for this non-nude but sexy scene from Carrie Fisher in The Time Guardian.

Carrie Fisher








Before the Devil Knows You're Dead


No time travel today. This one is all about Marisa Tomei as she shows off her cute-as-hell tits. She is just so darn hot.








Notes and collages


Season 3, episodes 10, 18, 21

Cynthia Watros in episode 10

Cynthia Watros in episode 18

Cynthia Watros in episode 21

Titus concludes tomorrow.






Film Clips

The nude stuff from The L Word, Season 5, episode 9: Katherine Moenning and various others. Moenning supplies all the nudity. Her partner in the sex scenes is Clementine Ford.

The remainder from The L Word, Season 5, episode 9: as usual, no nudity from Jennifer Beals and Marlee Matlin

This is some good stuff. Sadie Frost in Presence of Mind. (sample right)


Two women from 99 Francs: Elisa Tovati and Vahina Giocante

Tina Ruland in In der Badewanne

More of Ingrid Steeger in the Blutjunge Verfuehrerinnen series, this set from #3.

Ina Weisse in Liebestod.

Fabiana Udenio in Diplomatic Immunity