Spasmo (1974) is a rather atypical giallo by Umberto Lenzi. This is more of a psychological thriller, has little blood, not much nudity (breast exposure from Monica Monet) in one short scene, and a story line that manages to be confusing despite being linear. Robert Hoffmann is walking on the beach with a date, when he comes upon a woman who is unconscious. He ends up involved with her, and, at her hotel, someone breaks in. Hoffmann manages to take his gun, and shoots him, but, when he goes back to check, there is no body. For the rest of the film, everyone around him is clearly trying to convince him he is insane, which he probably is.
Lenzi, in an interview on the DVD, says he was intrigued by hereditary madness, and the fact that all of us have some hidden madness inside, which can be unleashed by some strange occurrence. IMDB readers have this at 3.5 of 10. I agree with this score. It is a nearly surreal film with no pace, and doesn't succeed in providign an thrills. THe transfer is very good, but the dubbing was awful, and the score by Ennio Morriconi was overbearing. D.
|Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
Me Softly (2002)
Starring Joseph Fiennes, Killing Me Softly might be called
Shakespeare in Lust, an erotic thriller which adds yet another
turkey to the steadily disintegrating resume of Fiennes the Younger.
Sonnet-boy is not without looks and talent, but she sure hasn't
found much application for it. With his permanent 5 o'clock shadow
now featured in all his screen appearances, he looks like he's ready
to play Sonny Crockett in Bahamas Vice.
I can't name a movie that has been received worse than
this in the past five years. Not even Swept Away or Glitter. Killing Me
Softly bombed so badly in England (BEST review 3/10, according to The
Guardian's synopsis) that its North American theatrical release was
delayed three times, then finally cancelled altogether. You know that if MGM spends $25 million on a movie that
they aren't going to throw it away without some serious consideration. I
suppose their decision was right, in that the marketing costs in the United
States would have been less than the studio's share of the gross, so
they would have lost even more money by releasing it, and would have had this film
occupying a slot in their schedule that could have been filled with
something more profitable.
It's not as bad as the critics complained, but it isn't a good movie, that's for sure.
It does have all
kinds of problems.
Let's start with the basics. Heather plays an American
who is living in London, working as a web site designer. What's wrong
with this picture? First of all, it is very difficult for employers to
get permission to employ a foreigner unless they can demonstrate that
the job can't be filled with a native. In my past positions, I had
trouble getting some of our people work permits in England, and they
were in positions which clearly had no trained equivalent in England. Even when
we got the work permits approved, they were conditional. Perhaps they'd
be issued for six months or a year, during which time we had to train
someone from the UK to do the job and get rid of the Yank. How could an employer demonstrate
that they had to fill the web design position with an American? Can we
assume there are no web site designers in England as capable as Heather
But that's only the first question. The second
question is even more important. If we assume that it was necessary to
hire an American for the position, why in the hell would the company
have to move her to England? It's the friggin' internet, for heaven's
sake. It's global. She could have done the job from her home in Iowa,
thus saving the British company tens of thousands of dollars in moving
expenses. Scoopy Jr. designed the front page for scoopy.net while he was
living 1000 miles away from my office. Tuna is 1000 miles away. Many of
our site contributors live in Europe and Australia.
These problems all exist before the film even begins,
as if there were no thought given to the premise at all. I guess that
the character was originally British, but they wanted to hire an
American actress who was not capable of a British accent, so they
changed her nationality without giving the first thought to the fact
that it made no sense. It would not have been a complicated thing to
fix. It would have been a simple matter to give her a different
profession, one that an English firm might need a resident American for,
since her occupation was not a factor in the plot.
If it had been my call, I would have changed Heather Graham's role in
more ways than just altering her unlikely profession. Heather seems like
a sweet, sensitive person on camera. She is basically always Rollergirl
- an awed, wide-eyed, late adolescent dripping with naiveté.
Unfortunately, this script called for a more sophisticated approach. If
it had been my decision, I would have re-written the part to make her a
young, innocent American Midwestern kindergarten teacher on holiday in
the UK. Since her profession wasn't germane to the plot, and the
irrelevant scenes at work actually slowed the movie down, a different
background could have given Heather a more credible presence in the
role. Since she would have had no job in the UK, it would have made her
completely dependent on her husband, which could have increased her
paranoia level substantially, since she'd have nothing else to occupy
The film is about a young woman who gives up everything else in her
life for lust. Alice (Heather Rollerball Graham) has a good job and a
stable loving relationship with her boyfriend. Yet everything changes
the day she meets a stranger crossing the street. On an impulse, Alice
destroys her safe life to have an obsessed affair with a glamorous,
brooding, mountaineer named Adam (Joseph Shakespeare Fiennes). She
plunges into a realm of sexual pleasure in an insulated world that
revolves around only her body and Adam's. They are so obsessed with each
other that the mountaineer proposes marriage and she accepts, although
she knows nothing at all about him except that he's a good lay. Then
things start to go wrong. Alice gets a series of mysterious messages
which suggest that Adam may have killed a couple of his previous
girlfriends. As she pries his past life open layer by layer, Alice
starts to suspect that her impulsive decision to be with Adam may have
threatened her sanity and even her life.
I haven't read the source novel, but I think they must have had some
problems adapting it into a screenplay. In the film, we know nothing
about either Adam or Alice, or any other character for that matter. As
we watch, it seems that Alice agrees to marry a total stranger, but it
doesn't matter that much to us, because she seems like a stranger as
well. In the course of her mental deterioration, she never really
confronts Adam with any of her suspicions, fearing that he will get
upset. After she goes through an elaborate scheme to get his old love
letters from a locked closet, and then gets caught, he asks, "why didn't
you just ask me?". I was kind of wondering the same thing. The way it
plays out in the movie, the lovers really had no connection other than
sex. It seems to me that the book must have spent a great deal time on
that development, or at least on Alice's awareness that she was married
to a stranger, but we never got the benefit of any of that exposition.
Without character development, what is left is basically a
melodramatic, humorless erotic thriller, with a contrived over-the-top
surprise ending, much like the dozens of similar films that seem to go
straight to video every year. What sets this one apart from the mass of
similar films? The following:
- The stars are genuine stars, not softcore sex specialists.
It's Shakespeare and Rollergirl, for heaven's sake, and they're
getting it on very enthusiastically. Heather Graham probably
doesn't need to clear out her trophy case to make room for any
Oscars, but she is one ultra babe, with beautiful legs, a gorgeous
kewpie doll face, and a voluminous sweater full of natural flesh.
The sex is shown fairly explicitly, in pretty hot scenes with two
beautiful and famous people.
- The film has $25 million worth of production values.
- Although the critics didn't seem to think so, there were some
moments when the suspense was managed well.
- Heather Graham (1,
- Some other chick
- Comparison of widescreen and full screen versions (The full
screen is a pan 'n scan, but it was panned and scanned from the
full frame on the negative, not from the theatrical print. The
full screen version has far more information North and South, the
widescreen has more East and West. Therefore, in order to see
everything, you need to watch both versions.)
- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity Site is updated
- If you are a baseball fan and aren't already aware of it, you
should bookmark Mudville
Rerun of Friends draws better ratings than live war coverage
Popeye takes on the imperial Japanese navy in this
anachronistic wartime cartoon which is filled with jingoism and
racism by today's standards.
The Smoking Gun catches the president looking silly in a raw
married duo got popped Monday by Florida cops after allegedly
swiping a live lobster, valued at $8.99, from a Red Lobster in
Naples. According to this Collier County Sheriff's report (a
handwritten read, but worth the time), Granger, 32, grabbed the
lobster, hid it under his shirt, and made a run for it.
SI picks The 100 Best Sports books
- Anyone who has actually read these books knows that the
ultimate football book, Dan Jenkins's hilarious, salacious,
Semi-Tough should be #1. Of course. Goes without sayin'. In the
list of the greatest writers of all time, Dan Jenkins is #3 behind
Shakespeare and the author of The Song of Solomon, but ahead of
Tolstoy, Dante, and Cervantes. And he's #3 with a bullet.
Seriously, his subsequent books don't measure up to Semi-Tough,
and Shakespeare had quite a few others to back up Hamlet, so I
guess we have to leave ol' Billy Boy on the top of the list.
- The book I would place at #2 is not even on the list - The
Great American Baseball Card Flipping Trading and Bubble Gum Book
- which is must-reading for baby boomers, uses baseball cards as a
shell to discuss life in the 50s, is almost as funny as Jenkins's
book, and which I have read at least twenty times, more than
- Kinsella's Shoeless Joe (the source of Field of Dreams) is
such a good book that people always call or write me after they
finish it, to thank me for recommending it. I even recommend it to
women. It is #47, and probably should be #3 or #4 (hard to choose
between this and The Boys of Summer)
- Pete Palmer's The Hidden Game of Baseball, Total Baseball (by
Palmer and others), and Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract,
are three of the most important books ever written about any sport
(or anything else, for that matter. George Will called James's
Baseball Abstract the most important scientific work since
Newton's In Principia). These three books revolutionized our
understanding of the game, influence managers and general
managers, and all should be in the top 50, although they are not
on the list at all.
- Fuck sports. Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes is one of the ten best
books of any kind written in the last half of the 20th
Century, so how could it be so low on the sports-only list? Many
men who read it feel that it is their life story. In my case, it
almost is. Like Exley, I came from upstate New York and had a dad
who was a local sports legend and a gregarious, uncomplicated,
well-loved laid-back guy. Like Exley, I loved to play and was one
of those guys who barely made the team, had a few moments, but
would never be a star. Like Exley, I was an outsider kind of guy
who would never be at ease with people and surrounded with buddies
the way my dad was. Exley's book is about coming to grips with the
fact that you ain't gonna hear the cheers, that you're destined to
do the cheering. It's also about a lot more: loose women, drinkin',
literature, aging, self-awareness, and ... Frank Gifford (It is
mostly forgotten now because his career was cut short by injury
and his post-athletic career has eclipsed his activities on the
field, but Gif was perhaps the greatest natural white athlete of
- Bang the Drum Slowly and The Natural always make these lists,
and are overrated. I doubt if the guys who made the list have
actually read them. If they did, they'd be disappointed. Both are
better in theory than in execution. Malamud's book is not even
written especially well, although I have read most of Malamud's
"serious" books, and admire his writing.
- Instant Replay, Jerry Kramer's Green Bay Diary, should
probably be on the list.
- The Catcher is a Spy, the biography of the brilliant,
eccentric catcher Moe Berg, is about much more than sports, but
still should be on the list. Berg was a genius who read a zillion
languages and appeared on know-it-all radio game shows. Berg was
also a spy. People in the 30's were always a bit surprised when a
.210 hitting back-up catcher was chosen to tour Japan with Babe
and Gehrig and Double X. Let's just say he wasn't sent to Japan
for his baseball skills. In his later years, his legend grew far
beyond what his actual spying contributed, but he remained
supremely odd and interesting.
What're the odds?
MLB Regular Season Special: Will
Any Batter hit 74 or more Home Runs
Bet that any hitter will slam score 74 or more home runs in the
2003 MLB regular season. Pre and postseason games do not count.
Closing Date: Apr 01, 2003 12:00
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- 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 Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick
Locke, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
'Caps and comments by Hankster:
Today we go to 1991 and a look at "Do or Die", which is an Andy Sidaris written and produced flick which translates to, you will see
lots of skin.
First up scenes of Stephanie Schick aka Pandora Peaks and those are truly huge peaks.
- Stephanie Schick aka Pandora Peaks
Next up is Dona Speir seen making it in the water with Erik Estrada.
Then on to the other co-star Roberta Vasquez as she gets a little outdoor loving.
||Brief breast exposure from "Histoire d'hommes" (1996).
||Dark, but topless in the tub scenes from "Peau neuve" (1999).
|Breasts, bum and bush in scenes from "Cours privé" (1986).
|Topless, also in scenes from "Cours privé".
|Topless and full frontal nudity in scenes from the French movie "L.627" (1992).
|Full frontal vidcaps from "Le Bimillionnaire".
|Topless in "L'Appât" (1995).
|The very busty French actress topless in scenes from "Total Eclipse" (1995).
||The Canadian actress topless in scenes from "Pendulum" (2001).
||Also in scenes from "Pendulum", but undies only, no nudity.
||Very nice breast exposure in "Shadow of the Vampire".
|Non-nude scans of the "Andromeda" babe from the latest Yolk Magazine, by Brainscan.
|The former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader turned Skinemax babe topless, showing her lack of pubes and gettin' it on in scenes from the "Lust Takes a Holiday" episode of the late night series "Hotel Erotica".
|Pat Reeder www.comedy-wire.com
Pat's comments in yellow...
MAN EATS 19,000 BIG MACS, DOESN'T GET FAT
McDonald's Bought Him A Liposuction Machine - Tuesday, Don Gorske of Fond
du Lac, Wisconsin, ate his 19,000th Big Mac. He eats two a day,
compulsively keeping track in a notebook, and drinks mostly Coke. He's
already in the Guinness Book of Records, but he said he just wouldn't know
what to eat if it weren't for Big Macs; and he recently had a slice of
pizza, but it "just wasn't the same." Gorske is 6 feet tall and 180
pounds, and he's letting McDonald's use him in lawsuits as proof that
eating Big Macs doesn't have to make you fat.
McDonald's loves using him as an expert witness...He works for food.
He also holds the records for "Greenest Teeth" and "Most Zits."