This Close

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Shoshannah Stern


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Michelle Dockery


"Ned and Stacey"

Ned and Stacey is a mediocre sitcom from the mid 90s. 46 episodes over two seasons were made but only 35 were aired. However, the final 11 are available on DVD. The highlight from the FH point-of-view is Debra Messing. There’s no visible nudity but there are some nice things to see.

Season 1 Episode 5 Model Husband (1995)

Debra Messing

Paulina Porizkova

Season 1 Episode 6 Saul and Ellen and Ned and Stacey (1995)

Allison Smith

Mother Night

1996, 1080hd

Sheryl Lee film clip (sample below)

Alia Shawkat and Janet McTeer in Paint It Black (2016) in 1080hd



Jane Elsmore in 100 Streets (2016) in 1080hd

Eva Mendes in We Own The Night (2007) in 720p

"We own the night" was the motto and rallying cry for the New York Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit, described in a New York Times article as an elite and specialized plainclothes squad which existed between 1971 and 2002 and operated almost exclusively at night in high-crime neighborhoods. I tried to own the night when I lived in New York at that time, but my accountant told me that the night was temporary, inevitably to be followed by day, and therefore should be leased instead.

At any rate, this film is not a historical scenario involving that particular NYPD squad, but is more of an "inspired by" treatment. It takes place in New York and borrows the motto, but those details are about the only connection to reality.

Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Duvall play a family of three New Yorkers who get involved on both sides of the drug wars. Duvall plays a police chief and Wahlberg, playing Duvall's son, is a fast-rising captain in the force. Phoenix plays Duvall's other son, a fast-living club manager who is the family's black sheep and has changed his name from the family's Polish "Grusinski" to the sterile "Green." Matters come to a head when Wahlberg's unit raids Phoenix's club and arrests some Russian dope dealers. In retaliation, the Russians nearly succeed in killing Wahlberg. Phoenix's public outrage on the night of the raid draws the attention of some violent Russian mobsters who think he might make a good ally. Unaware of Phoenix's fraternal connection to the man he just ordered a hit on, one of the most fearsome baddies confesses to him that he had Wahlberg taken out and will take out Duvall next. Phoenix keeps his counsel and reports the conversation to his father. The next logical step is for Phoenix to agree to work undercover for the police, since he already has an "in" with the mob. The crux of the story is the struggle of the three Grusinskis to infiltrate and take down the Russian mob. You can find a detailed (spoiler) summary on the Wikipedia entry.

The best thing about the film in general is that it toys with the audience's sympathies. In the first twenty minutes or so, the two brothers seem equally unsympathetic. They don't seem to like one another, and we don't take sides because we don't like either of them. As the film progresses, however, both of them are allowed to show unexpected elements in their personalities, and unexpected depth, so that the audience comes to respect them both, and to see that good men need not be idealized to exhibit their merit.

The best specific thing about the film is that it contains three good action sequences: a terrifying shoot-out as part of a multi-car chase scene in a heavy rain, a scene where Phoenix is undercover in a drug den and the baddies find his wire, and a long set piece in which the police and druggies battle in the midst of smoke and dense wild grass which grows several feet above their heads.
The film's weaknesses are
(a) It takes too long to develop. The first time I tried to watch it, I was so bored after ten minutes that I gave up. The opening scenes are not only uninvolving, but also totally lacking in energy, partially because all three of the lead actors chose to play their roles as soft-spoken guys who play their cards close to the chest. Compared to the beginning of this film, there is more life in The McLaughlin Group. Not to mention more sympathetic characters.

(b) It is utterly predictable. If you can't figure out in about five minutes that the lovable and dignified old grandpa who owns the club is actually the mastermind behind the Russian mob, then you have probably never seen any other movies about that or any other mob! Of course Eastern Promises used the same shopworn device, but it had a different purpose in that film, where the kindly old gent's connection to the mob was supposed to be obvious to the audience in order to demonstrate the naiveté of the nurse, who did not suspect it. Eastern Promises kept its secrets in another drawer. In We Own the Night, however, it seems that the screenwriter thinks he's keeping that connection as a hole card when it is actually evident to anyone who's ever seen a movie. That same point could be made about Phoenix's lovable doofus friend, Jumbo. You just know that he has to have secrets, and it's not difficult to guess what those might be.

(c) Is there anyone who watched this and did not realize that Phoenix, the party boy non-cop, would eventually become the real hero cop? Much too Hollywood. On the other hand, that predictable outcome was partially redeemed by two other things: (1) straight-arrow Wahlberg turned out to freeze up in combat, which was a good development and surprised me; (2) Phoenix's integrity and heroism cost him the love of his life, so there was no phony-baloney happy ending to the love story.

It isn't a great crime story because audience interest sags from time to time, and it isn't a great dramatic film because it lacks any deeper point beneath the surface narrative. While greatness eluded it, I found it to be a reasonable investment of my time and energy. The characters have some complexity, there are a couple of unexpected developments, and there are several nail-biting action scenes.

Mo Fischer in Pecker (1998) in 720p

This John Waters film suffered from incorrect expectations. Waters fans found it too tame because it was missing his usual offbeat sense of humor, as well as his typical glorification of the grotesque and outré. Waters haters naturally hated it without watching it. Being too tame for Waters' fans, and too outlandish for middle America, it could not find a mainstream audience.

Those who did like it are those who approached it with an open mind and no expectations, and they tended to like it quite a bit. It meets my perfect definition of a cult film, which is "Not many people like it, but those who do like REALLY like it a lot".

Unfortunately, I didn't like it, but I was one who suffered from expectations. I used to enjoy the way Waters liked to fuck with us, and I didn't much care for his new maturity. I liked him just fine immature.

Samantha Mathis in Pump Up The Volume (1990) in 1080hd

Christian Slater plays a shy high school kid by day, but at night the soft-spoken student turns into a pirate disc jockey who goes on the air whenever he feels like it, and says whatever he wants to, addressing his fellow students at Hubert Humphrey High. The film wasn't made either as meaningful drama or as a satire, but as a teensploitation film that was made specifically to pander to a disaffected suburban youth market. All the kids are universally good looking, sincere, and mistreated. All of the adults are insincere, pompous, and violent toward children. I don't think I heard one line of dialogue that could actually have been said by a human person of any age. These cartoon characters could have been sufficient if the film had established itself as a satire, but it really didn't try for any humor.

Although the film was meant as a quickie to cash in on the teen dollars, it managed to go beyond the usual youthploitation fare and achieve semi-iconic status thanks to a charismatic lead performance from Christian Slater in his nighttime DJ avatar as Happy Harry Hard-On, the foul-talking chronic masturbator who provides sort of a muckraking service in exposing corruption at his local high school. (His dad is the superintendent of schools, so he has access to internal school district memoranda.)   

It actually could have been a good flick if it had attempted to give the characters some depth. For example, the kids could have realized that their parents and teachers felt exactly the same way 20 years ago, and the adults could have rediscovered some idealism they once had, and lost. Unfortunately, by making all the characters cardboard and one-dimensional, by making the authority figures completely lacking in self-examination, and by remaining whiny and virtually humorless, it stayed a niche film.

I found it watchable, but sophomoric. I liked Slater.