Smile (1975) tells the story of the California State finals for the Young American Miss pageant, a national pageant for High School aged girls, clearly modeled after the Junior Miss Pageant. It takes place in Santa Rosa, California, and the JCs invest most of their treasury in putting it on each year. The film plays more or less as a comedy, and focuses on the contestants, the pageant sponsors and volunteers, and the social structure in the town. Some argue that it is a send-up of beauty contests, making it a black comedy, but frankly, it is just not mean enough for that, and they take a good deal of time creating some sympathetic characters for us. So, is it a light comedy? No, not really. None of the sympathetic characters do well in the end. So, taken strictly as a comedy, I would have to say that it had some brilliant, and laugh-out-loud funny moments, but not enough to make it great.

However, I don't believe that is what this film is really about. First, some background. I left Parochial school and entered public High School in my junior year. I was dealing with all of the typical teen angst, even more so as Vietnam was escalating. First period home room, during announcements, they announced the important accomplishments of students over the summer. Seems the speech club had been busy winning trophies, and a senior had been second runner up to Junior Miss USA. My first thought was, "big deal. She represented us in a national contest and blew it." Then it occurred to me that a beauty contest contestant would be worth ogling. I was amazed to discover that the beauty contestant was the rather unremarkable girl sitting in front of me. I got to know her a little, and learned enough about the contest to know that it had been a lot of work, and was a calculated move to add a big plus on her High School transcript.

Still dealing with those self-doubts born of teen angst, I made friends, many of them "important" kids such as athletes and cheer leaders. They seemed to have everything together, and I had them on pedestals. Then, one by one, they fell off. I began to realize that all these fears, doubts, and unfulfilled potentials that were so tied up in my self image had not even occurred to these over-achievers, most, if not all of whom, had money and the sort of parents who did everything for them. I was dealing with issues that they had yet to face, and the start of my self esteem was the realization that my self assessment was pretty accurate, but that those I had so much admired had not even started the journey.

The US Navy intervened, and I lost track of most of these people, but I did hear of some who fell apart in college, or had one disastrous relationship after another, and others who managed to grow up and become self-aware and well adjusted adults. This is, in my opinion, what the film is really getting at. The comedy spoof of the teen beauty pageant was just the vehicle to get us there. The main character, Big Bob (Bruce Dern), was born and raised in town, and was a model citizen with a successful business selling RVs, a wife and son, and was president of several civic organizations, and head judge for the pageant. Barbara Feldon was a serious organizer of the pageant, and unhappily married to Big Bob's best friend, Nicholas Pryor. The key to the film comes near the end, when Pryor has just taken a shot at his wife, and decided to get out of town and "find himself." He turns to Durn's character, and says, "I finally know what you are. You are a Young American Miss." In other words, Durn has had a life of privilege, was not predisposed to self-awareness, and never had to grow up, exactly like those people I had worshiped in High School. The same was true for many of the characters.

The only nudity was a boys peeking into the girls changing room scene, but included breasts from Melanie Griffith, right breast and buns from Colleen Camp, buns from Joan Prather, and a few other random breasts. IMDb readers have this at 7.4. Critics were impressed as well. As a comedy, it is a C, some very good moments, but not enough to make it rise above the heap. However, as social commentary with a comedy backdrop, it fairs much better, and is a C+.

  • Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails

  • Colleen Camp (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  • Joan Prather (1, 2, 3)
  • Melanie Griffith (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • Unknown (1, 2)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    Closer (2004):

    "It's a marvel of modern filmmaking in the way it so immediately renders universal human experience almost unrecognizable."

    Salon Magazine

    Yes, Salon hit the nail right on the head. The defining characteristic of Closer is that it bears no resemblance to reality. Some people commented inappropriately that it includes no characters with which the audience can identify. That is true enough, but the reason is not because the script contains only unlikable humans. It is because the script contains no humans at all, as Salon noted. It is a four character play in which the four characters are not like any people in any way. We don't really know anything about them. Each of them speaks in flowery apothegms, polished literary witticisms, and prepared stagy phrases. Their exchanges of dialogue are not natural. Each of them invariably makes a witty and clever response when confronted in some way. They are not real people, but symbolic archetypes speaking for all men and/or women. Imagine a scenario in which each of the characters takes a turn speaking like JFK's inaugural speech.

    Actors absolutely love this kind of material because it frees them from their most difficult burden, which in drama is realism. When the actors get to play symbolic characters like these, there is no such "burden of realism," since archetypical characters are not three dimensional. They are there to pontificate the proper thoughts at the proper times. For an actor, it is a return to high school dramatic interp competitions, a contest to see who can show off the most impressively.

    That is pretty much indisputable. Where some critics failed in their analysis was to make the illogical leap from observing that to saying, " ... therefore, it sucks." Whaa ... ? Where is it written that the only acceptable type of character is realistic and believable? Do you believe in Homer Simpson and Mr. Burns? Do they seem real to you. Of course not. What about Shakespeare's Richard III? Do you think he is a reasonable interpretation of the character and motivations of the real Richard III? Do you  think the real king ran around declaiming Shakespearean oratory? Ditto for Blanche DuBois, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Long John Silver, Captain Ahab, Doc Holliday (the fictional version), and just about every character ever created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edward Albee, or Quentin Tarantino. These grandiose literary archetypes are some of the most memorable characters in the history of fiction, yet all of them are complete bullshit, all of them virtually alien life forms. In fact, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Complete bullshit, or more politely, the distillation of common human types into larger-than-life characters, is the very foundation of fiction, not to mention mythology, and possibly religion as well. If you look up "fiction" in a good dictionary, one of the definitions will be "lies."

    It is not necessary to dismiss Closer as incompetent because it is artificial, contrived, superficial, and did I mention artificial. It is deliberately mannered, and there are many people who not only like this kind of play, but think that this type of contrived literary construct represents the very apotheosis of man's artistic achievements here on earth. If you are not one of those people, if you're not into that whole Edward Albee thing where the characters mercilessly strip away all the self-respect of all the other characters, it could be a real chore to watch this film. Let's assume for a moment that you're not in the Albee crowd, and you don't want to sit through a bunch of people re-creating "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" without the wit. What else does the film have to offer?

    • Well, it was a stage play, so the artificial characters not only do not speak like people, but they don't even speak like movie characters, as they would in a Quentin Tarantino film. They simply speak like stage characters.

    • As in many plays, there is basically no action, so don't expect to see gunfights and explosions and car chases. The biggest action scene in the film involves two characters typing back and forth in a chat room. Although ESPN covers just about every type of human competition except typing contests, I think we can all imagine how entertaining it is to watch people type. There is a good reason why ESPN doesn't think it will bring in the big numbers as a spectator sport.

    • Not only do the characters in the film rarely move, but they don't even go outdoors, except briefly for the "meet cute."

    • The minimal plot is forgettable and I don't think there will be anything you won't see coming, unless you fall asleep.

    This type of project will inherently produce polarized reviews. The British critics (the three cited in the Guardian's summary, plus the BBC) averaged only one and a half stars, and savaged the film. On the other hand, Ebert and Berardinelli thought it was genius.

    How do you determine which camp you belong to?

    Well, Closer is two hours of archetypal people talking very frankly and rhetorically to one another as they stand or sit or recline inside of ordinary buildings. Making the film even more aloof is the fact that these are archetypes of cold, self-absorbed, unpleasant people. Closer was an award winning play, and the film is a gift from Mike Nichols to the people who like to see play-to-film adaptations.

    • If you are one of those, you may like the film, which was praised highly by others with similar interests. It even received some pre-Oscar award buzz, and Natalie Portman won a Golden Glove for her performance.

    • If you are not in that group, the film's got nothin' except Natalie Portman's bum, and the DVD has no features at all.


    • Natalie Portman (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)
    • various unknown CRE's (clothing removal engineers) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


    Face of Terror (2003):

    Dann reviewed this one the other day, and he pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    There is nothing special about it. It is a by-the-numbers police procedural with a familiar plot. Cop's sister disappears in another city. He follows her there while his partner covers for him back home. The sister ran into some bad company, got into the drug scene, and ended up mixing it up with arms dealers and even a terrorist. The local cops have a million things to think about, including terrorism and interference from the CIA, so they don't have time to worry about one missing girl. Our hero, of course, has nothing else to worry about, so he gets upset with the local police and decides to solve the crime himself. In the process, he frees the world from Islamo-terrorism, and kills about half of the local underworld.

    The usual stuff.

    Although it is not original, neither is it incompetent. By the standards of cable and straight-to-video films, it provides a satisfactory hour and a half of mindless diversion, with the following possible points of interest:

    • The hero of the film is played by Rick (aka Ricky) Schroder, former child star in the 80s (remember "Silver Spoons"?), and a member of the cast of NYPD Blue in the 90s.

    • The city Rick is disrupting is Barcelona, which is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, and provides some international flavor to Schroder's "bull in a china shop" act.

    • Our hero is aided by Paulina Galvez, who plays an undercover cop trying to bust the drug traffic. She is a beautiful woman with a spectacular head of hair, and she does a brief topless scene.

    • Substantial topless nudity is provided by Marta Nieto, another looker who has a very impressive natural chest.


    • Paulina Galvez (1, 2)
    • Marta Nieto (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)



    Other Crap:

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

    Click here to submit a URL for 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.

    Jr's Polls
    This week's poll is another look at a poll from a few years ago...

    Best Sex Scene in a Mainstream Movie
    For this poll it's A-list only. No skinemax or adult stuff. You'll also notice a lack of lesbian lovin'....I'm saving that for another poll.

    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.
    Who has the best bum in Hollywood?
    Best All Time Television Comedy
    Best Nudity in an Oscar-winning performance.

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

    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    Today from the Ghost...a few video clips from "Bikini Summer II". This flick was directed and co-written by Jeff Conaway (the first and only time he attempted either profession according to the IMDb). Conaway is of course best known as Kenickie from the movie "Grease" and also as Bobby Wheeler from the sit-com "Taxi".

    • B-babe and former Swedish Bikini Team Avalon Anders (zipped .wmvs). Here she is baring her robo-boobs and shows thong views while playing a dominatrix. (1, 2)

    • Maureen Flaherty (zipped .wmvs). In #1 she's in a bikini and does some really bad acting. In 2 and 3 she's topless in bed. (1, 2, 3)

    • Melinda Armstrong (zipped .wmvs). In links 1 and 2 we have breasts and bum in shower scenes. #3 has toplessness and a brief thong view as she goes to bed. I love the soundtrack in 2 and 3! Sounds like it was made on one of those Casio SK-1 mini-keyboards from the 80's! (1, 2, 3)

    Flautista takes a look at the made for cable movie "Rated X", starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. This biopic follows the rise and fall of the Mitchell Brothers. The guys that gave us legendary porn films like "Behind the Green Door" and "Inside Marily Chambers".

    • Tracy Hutson topless while playing Marilyn Chambers. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

    • Carolyn Goff, topless and in her undies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    • Joanne Boland doing some topless hippie dancing. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    • Sadie LeBlanc, we see her breasts while she's gettin' it on. (1, 2, 3)

    Eva Longoria
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    The "Desperate Housewives" star looking mighty hot in a bikini from Sunday night's episode.

    Laurel Holloman
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    Rachel Shelley
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    The "L Word" update! Laurel Holloman and Rachel Shelley both topless in scenes from Sunday night's episode. A quick note here: Holloman was pregnant when they were filming the second season...and it really shows in her chest!

    Maggie Q The Hawaiian born model-turned-actress briefly baring her breasts in scenes from the Hong Kong movie "Chek law dak gung" aka "Naked Weapon" (2002). She's also been in several US movies too, including: "Rush Hour 2", "Around the World in 80 Days" and of course the Richard Grieco flick, "Manhattan Midnight" (2004).

    Linnea Quigley
    (1, 2)

    Kitt 'caps of the legendary Scream Queen topless in one of her earliest roles. Here she is in scenes from "Graduation Day" (1981).

    Anne Heche
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Señor Skin 'caps of Heche in a sweaty sex with Alec Baldwin in scenes from "The Juror" (1996). Heche may be a bit on the not-all-there side, but she really does look great topless.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Appealing To "Yo! Yo!" Dieters - Noting the popularity boost that products like Bentley, Gucci and Dom Perignon received from being mentioned by such rappers as 50 Cent, Jay Z and Snoop Dogg, McDonald's is offering top rappers money to mention McDonald's in their songs, with a payment of up to $5 every time it's played on the radio. A McDonald's spokesman told Ad Age this "reflects our appreciation and respect" for hip-hop youth culture, but that McDonald's would need to have final approval on the lyrics.

  • They'd prefer it if the song didn't mention whacking Ronald McDonald and making Mayor McCheese your bitch.
  • I don't think I'd ask a rapper to "plug me."
  • Some of the really fat rappers are willing to be paid in food.
  • It's a good match: rappers DO drink their Dom Perignon with Big Macs.

    Drive-By Mugging - Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' latest merchandising deal is Sean John brand custom wheels. He said, "In the urban market, they call it 'bling-bling' which means showy, shiny and 'Look at me, I have a lot of bling.' The way we've designed spokes, holes, the features, it looks like it is aggressively moving when it's not even moving." His wheels will sell for $700 to $3,000 each. He said, "Wheels have become a fashion statement - a badge of taste and style."

  • Well, style...
  • At $3,000 each, they're certainly not a badge of intelligence.
  • They make a statement all right: "Look at me! I'm rich, I'm stupid, and I'm about to die in an avoidable car crash!"

    Clotted Cream - Cream is reuniting for the first time in 36 years for some London concerts, but Eric Clapton said fans will notice something different: this time, he won't forget what song he's playing. Clapton said back then, he was on so many drugs -- "wall-to-wall, bang-at-it stuff" -- that the band would be in the middle of a solo, forget what song they were playing, and just keep playing until they remembered what it was.

  • Back then the audiences were so stoned they always thought that was the best part.

  • A quick site note
    Hey gang, we invite you to check out our new affiliate program at

    If you have your own site or blog, sign up today and earn some extra cash in 2005 by promoting the Fun House!