"The Cooler"

The Cooler (2003) is finally available on DVD from the Sundance channel. Although it is an indie, it is really an old fashioned Hollywood noire at its heart, with some elements of a fairly tail. William H. Macy stars (a role that was written specifically for him) as the most unlucky man alive. His luck is so bad, he is employed by a casino to walk by people in the middle of winning streaks. Just by walking by, he changes their luck. He makes very little from this, as he is working to pay off a huge gambling debt to a childhood friend, and manager of the casino, Alec Baldwin, who also shattered his kneecap with a baseball bat. He is now 7 days away from paying off the debt, and is planning on leaving. Baldwin will try anything to make him stay. He hires Maria Bello to seduce him, and keep him in Vegas.

Meanwhile, Baldwin has bigger problems as well. The syndicate has brought in a Harvard MBA, who wants to revamp the casino, the last traditional one in Vegas, into the same sort of amusement park that the other casinos are running. Bello and Macy actually fall in love, and suddenly, Macy's luck changes 180 degrees.

IMDb readers have it at 6.9 of 10, and it did a disappointing $8.2M at the box office. Ebert loved it, and Berardinelli did as well with 3 1/2 and 3 stars respectively. Baldwin got a ton of nominations, as did Bello and Macy. The people who didn't like it really didn't like it, but they seemed to want a different film, rather than judging this one on it's merits. Yes, it has a fairy tale quality, is mostly about luck and love, and has the elements of an old time noire, but the characters are all well developed and believable, it was perhaps the finest performance of Baldwin's career, the script was actually written for Macy, Macy and Bello had definite chemistry, and the plot held some surprises, at least for me. This is a B-.

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  • Maria Bello (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)

    "Blood Gnome"

    Blood Gnome (2002) is yet another straight to vid horror film. It is full of poorly done special effects, technical mistakes, and the plot is not at all tight. So, I hated it, right? Actually not. Vincent Bilanchio is a police photographer who has just returned to work in time for a grizzly murder of a couple while they were in the midst of BDSM play, including "blood play." He is not too tightly wrapped. He previous case sent him to the funny farm. He was called to photograph a murder suicide, only to discover after he got there that it was his wife and her lover.

    One of his tools is an infrared camera, and he sees a small hand print at the murder scene. Later, he discovers that he can see the "blood gnomes' with the help of infrared. OF course, nobody believes him. He befriends Mellissa Pursley to learn about the BDSM scene, and the two of them end up becoming an item. Meanwhile, the murders continue, and we learn the mechanism. A dominatrix is raising a mother blood gnome. Every time mother eats, she has a baby gnome, and the placenta is full of a narcotic, which the dominatrix then sells. To get the little beasties to eat, their must be human blood around.

    The films culminates in a large BDSM play party. Among the guests are Julie Strain and the Procelain Twinz, Zero and Zen. All three show breasts, as well as Pursley, Heather Darling and Elizabeth Hayden Grace, and Athena Demos gives a three B performance as the first victim.

    IMDb readers say 5.8 of 10 with very few votes. I found this a worthwhile DVD for several reasons. First, the combination of BDSM and a monster is somewhat unique, and we see assorted scenes of bondage, whipping and humiliation. Second, there is a lot of nudity. Most important is a feature length commentary from Bilanchio and the director, which is a great tutorial on zero budget film making. They two are very candid about all the mistakes, go into some detail about the hows and whys, and admit that the got the budget, cam up with a cast, crew and locations, then wrote a script to exactly use the available resources. BDSM/women in peril fans will want to see it, the gnomes are kind of cute little buggers, and those interested in the process of making a film like this will enjoy the commentary. Thus, the proper score is probably a C-. Not a great horror effort, but one many will want to watch.

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  • Athena Demos (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  • Elizabeth Hayden Grace (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Heather Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Julie Strain (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
  • Mellissa Pursley (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Cooler (2003)

    I reviewed The Cooler before it was released. I really liked it, and it is a fairly audience-friendly film, so I expected it to do better than it actually did at the box. As it turned out, people did not warm to it. It is basically a movie which should star Jimmy Stewart and James Cagney, but they are dead, so their roles went to William H Macy and Alec Baldwin, who did a great job filling in!


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

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    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.



    • Phoebe Cates did not have a particularly prolific career, but she must have caused as many boners as any woman alive. Many guys cite her performance in Fast Times, between the topless scene and the veggie BJ, as their all-time favorite, but she did far more nudity here in Paradise. (.avi, .wmv)

    • While we are on the subject of hot chicks taking gratuitous tropical showers, we would be remiss to ignore Tanya Roberts in Sheena (.avi, .wmv)

    • Stepping back to my generation, I'm not sure who had the best body in those days, but Ursula Andress had to be a top contender. Here she is in The Sensuous Nurse  (.avi, .wmv)

    • For those of you who DO expect the Spanish Inquisition, here's Sue Jones-Davies in the cult comedy classic, Monty Python's Life of Brian.  (.avi, .wmv)



    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:

    A couple of quick paparazzi pics that show "Boat Trip" star Roselyn Sanchez to be the queen of tease not only during film time but also during party time.

    • Roselyn Sanchez (1, 2, 3)

    Crimson Ghost
    Here's a follow up from yesterday's Ghost section

    One of the actresses featured in yesterday's coverage of "Hollywood Boulevard" was Tara Strohmeier, the co-star of several other drive in classics like "Candy Stripe Nurses" (1974) and "The Great Texas Dynamite Chase" (1976). Today we see her topless in a scene from the comedy classic "The Kentucky Fried Movie" (1977).

    • Tara Strohmeier (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
    • Tara Strohmeier .wmvs (1, 2, 3, 4)

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    "Wild Things"
    Another of my very early (and very bad) collages was 1998's Wild Things. It's a sleazy, sexy movie about two high school girls who set out to who accuse a student counselor of rape for very devious (and illegal) reasons. Turns out there are more schemes going on than students at the school. Everybody has an angle.

    The critics hated this thing, but I personally loved it, so a chance to get at the unrated version was something I couldn't pass up, and the new collage is hopefully a lot better than the old one. The unrated version appears to have had more nudity, mainly in the pool "fight/love" scene, but on the down side, they made only a widescreen DVD version, so you lose some of the top and bottom.

    Eliza Dushku
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Excellent, high quality production stills of Dushku in scenes from horror/thriller flick, "Wrong Turn". No nudity but she is wearing a very tight tank top. PLus, links 2 and 3 feature some Hankster approved scenes with Dushku bound and gagged (in a tight tank top).

    Maruschka Detmers
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the Dutch actress topless and showing full dorsal nudity in scenes from one of her earlier films, the French movie "La Vengeance du serpent plumes" aka "The Vengeance of the Winged Serpent" (1984).

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Moore Is Less - Matt Drudge reports that Michael Moore, who made his reputation attacking corporations for exporting American jobs, has outsourced both the design and servers for his website,, to Canadian companies. Moore did not respond to requests for comment.

  • He couldn't: he was in France.
  • Some big, fat slob should stand outside his house with a bullhorn until he does.
  • He needs a little time to come up with a reason why this is all George W. Bush's fault.
  • It's really cheap: Canadians will work for beer.

    Newman's Own Hangover - Paul Newman appealed to Princeton to do away with Newman's Day (April 24), an annual non-sanctioned event in which students try to drink one beer an hour for 24 hours. It's inspired by an apocryphal quote attributed to him: "24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not." Part of the challenge is to make it through classes drunk, hiding your beer in coffee cups. Newman sent them a letter saying he's disturbed that his name is connected to this binge-drinking event, and he wants it to stop.

  • Especially since they've started doing it every day.
  • He wants them to give up beer for lemonade. He sells lemonade. Coincidence? I think not.
  • Besides, when it falls on a Saturday, there's no challenge at all...College students drink 24 beers EVERY Saturday.

    Justice Is Blind, And Sometimes Dumb - Judge Michael Cicconetti of Painesville, Ohio, is famous for his unusual sentences, and he's done it again. A teenager caught stealing adult videos was given a choice of 30 days in jail or standing in front of the adult video store for four hours, wearing a blindfold. He took the blindfold.

  • And fantasized for four hours.
  • The blindfold wasn't so bad, but the handcuffs and nipple clips really chafed.