Modern Romance  (1981)

Whenever the barroom conversation turns to "best white stand-up comedian of all-time" (the racial qualifier to eliminate the obvious choice of Richard Pryor as best overall), I am always amazed that Albert Brooks is never mentioned. In the early 1970s, Brooks and Andy Kaufman re-invented stand-up in their own warped images, usually performing in character. Albert's characters were usually twisted versions of the familiar showbiz types seen each week on Ed Sullivan. There was "Dave and Danny" in which Albert was a ventriloquist whose lips moved while the dummy's stayed closed. Sometimes Brooks was the talking mime, Albert Bruquet. He might also be The Great Alberto, the famous European elephant tamer. Or perhaps he would be the government official in charge of the auditions for a new national anthem. One of my favorites was his performance as the world's greatest writer of children's songs, which he performed as if he were Cahn or Van Heusen, sitting at a piano, playing some romantic chords between reminiscences, a highball tinkling in his class as he provided mellow recollections of how he got his ideas. "And then my mom said to me, Albert, you can't just eat steak and potatoes ... eat your beans." That, of course, led to his classic tune "Eat Your Beans." The joke was enhanced by the fact that the grating, sing-song melodies completely broke the laid-back mood, not to mention the fact that they were all exactly the same melody!

Albert was, without a doubt, Johnny Carson's favorite comic. In the 30 months starting in December of 1970, Albert appeared on The Tonight Show 18 times. Come to think of it, he was on about as often as Johnny! The audience greeted his appearances with thunderous applause, and Johnny could not keep his composure during Albert's routines. There was just something about the chemistry between the two guys that rendered the Great Carsoni helpless. And I mean literally ... falling-from-his-chair helpless. Frankly, Albert had the same effect on me and on my ex-wife. We tuned in to his exact wavelength, and he had us wetting out pants with laughter. He was only 23 years old, and was practically Johnny's personal comic. He was just a kid, and he had fully mastered stand-up comedy.

Albert's two appearances as the elephant tamer provide the best examples. On the first appearance, The Great Alberto explained that currency devaluations and customs regulations had prevented him from bringing his famous genius elephant from Europe, and there was innate danger in working with an untrained elephant, but he could demonstrate his act with a smaller animal. He chose a frog. So there was Albert in his stereotypical circus costume, carrying a giant bullwhip, whipping the living daylights out of a tiny frog to make him jump through a hoop.

Albert came back on the show a few days later, as himself this time, because Johnny had received some complaints about cruelty to animals. Albert explained that the act was just silly, and they they didn't really whip the frog and that, in fact, they used two frogs so that neither would have to be under the hot TV lights for long.

"That's good to hear," said Johnny with gravitas, "so the frogs are unharmed?"

"No," responded Albert, "they both died."

Johnny shook his hand, thanked him, and Albert left without further explanation.

Albert finally bade farewell to live performance in a mock-tearful Durante routine where he walked off into the characteristic triple spotlight - with his pants around his ankles and his face covered with seltzer spray for the last time. We laughed, but we would have cried if we had known that he wasn't kidding about his retirement. Of course, we should have known, because in his previous appearance he had told five minutes of bad jokes (talk about an Andy Kaufman concept!), then broke down to the Carson audience and confessed that he was totally out of funny ideas. Turns out he was only half-kidding. Beneath his clowning, there was a very serious point. It is impossible to be a stand-up comic on network TV. In the old days of vaudeville and nightclubs, a good five minute routine could be performed for a year or more before it needed to be changed, but the life expectancy of a five minute routine on Tonight was about forty days for Albert, by which time he had to have a completely new five-minute routine ready. If you look at it that way, Albert's first 18 Tonight appearances used up 18 years or more of material by the standards of the old nightclub or vaudeville days.

Sure, he was turning his burn-out into a routine of its own, but that can only be milked so long, and the fact is that he really was burnt-out on live comedy. He moved on to filmmaking, and never looked back. He had gotten a taste of film success by creating a brilliant short called "The Famous Comedians School," which was adapted from an article he had written for Esquire. It seemed to demonstrate that he had unlimited promise as a comedic filmmaker.

Only one problem: he never actually made any good comedy films. We are still waiting for all that promise to be fulfilled. The lad who mastered stand-up in a few months is still attempting to master the art of filmed comedy, and it has now been more than 30 years since his "retirement" from stand-up.

Andy Kaufman assured his comedic immortality by moving from stand-up to his wrestling career, thence to his character on Taxi, and thence to an early death which assured him legendary status. Brooks just kept turning out mediocre movies that basically consisted entirely of him performing whiny monologues in which he rambled on and on with neurotic kvetching. Nothing in his filmmaking career, not his full-length films nor the short films he made for SNL, ever captured the magic and energy of his stand-up comedy, except for that very first "Comedy School" film which had shown so much promise.

So it goes.

Mozart was born to compose and perform, not to play polo. Albert Brooks was born to perform live, playing characters, and not to write and star in movies.

Tuna mentions in his review (below) that Albert had a large and loyal fan base, and I can certainly attest to that. I was probably Albert's biggest fan. And yet I can find nothing very positive to say about any of his movies. Tuna's grade of D may sound controversial when you consider than many people praise this film, but it is the correct score. If ever anyone was in the target market for Albert's comedy, it is I. And yet I find this film to be monotonous and completely unfunny except for the film-within-a-film starring George Kennedy, which provides a few small laughs. Apart from that, Modern Romance is really just Albert talking to the audience for an hour and a half in the same whiny voice. He's Woody Allen without the good jokes and without the fully-developed secondary characters.

The DVD has absolutely no features, but this film has never been on DVD before, so this is our first really good look at the nudity from beautiful Kathryn Harrold, who did very little nudity in her career. In fact, this film IS her entire career nudity output. Here is the zipped .wmv, and the collages follow. (More collages and comments in Tuna's area)




Other Crap:

Colbert discusses the plagiarism scandal, the Copperfield mugging, and other news.

Colbert Report: "Tony Snow is basically Stephen with a different shade of 'Just for Men.'"

Colbert discusses "catfighting"

Colbert Report: The NFL Draft

Steve Howe dies at 48

  • What can you say? His life was short, but he pissed away the chances he had. He had as much talent as anyone, but ...

Education For Death: the making of a Nazi

  • (This is a DISNEY film! The site says it was made in 1947, which is ridiculous, of course. It was made in 1942 - America's first full year in the war - and released in January 1943.)


The 100 Best Cover Songs (They count down one per day)

Daily Show: Global Political Stock Market

  • The Daily Show sucks the humanity out of the news with cold hard numbers.

Daily Show: Gorman - Poll Smoking with Dave Gorman:

  • "Dave Gorman wouldn't be surprised if G.W. Bush tried to beat his father's low approval rating."

Robin Williams does his best impression of George W. Bush's "The Decider."

Daily Show: "Karl Rove keeps remembering details about the crime he didn't commit."

Weinstein Co./Dimension Summer '06 Preview

Hollywood gets ready to segue into summer

Weekly World News: "after eons of enmity, 'vacuum' and 'nature' have made up."

Oregon man survives 12 nails to the head ... 33-year-old meth user attempted suicide using nail gun, doctors say

True Facts: "These facts are not guaranteed to be true. But they probably are."

A very large version of those Jessica Alba nipple slip pictures

Marvel Studios has hired Jon Favreau (Mikey from Swingers) to develop and direct the big-screen adaptation of Iron Man

First look at the spiffy new uniforms of the Minnesota Vikings

A bazillion new pictures from The Da Vinci Code

Kevin Federline's new single reviewed - by Roget's Thesaurus

Barney cut loose in White House shake-up

Before you click on it, lock in your vote: real or spoof? San Francisco International Airport to be Feng Shui Compliant

Hungarian Thieves Take 150 Plum Trees

Manny's Babes might be worth a bookmark

Spanish Version of 'Star-Spangled Banner' Draws Protests

Rugged author Sebastian Junger and Stephen Colbert discuss the Boston Strangler.

Colbert talks about why English is better than those Commie Romance Languages.

Colbert looks at Georgia's Fightin' 11th

The Colbert Nation has a nuclear program underway.

Daily Show: The hiring of Tony Snow is part of a longterm plan for a White House press room rehairification.

The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel talks gas and oil with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show looks at the discovery of a step pyramid in ... Bosnia?

The Daily Show's Ed Helms reveals how, sadly, 434 congressmen just can't get unelected.

JoBlo asks, "Why would anyone want to use Movielink?"

  • After reading the article demonstrating how it works, I'm still wondering the same thing

The 50 Worst Things to Happen to Music

  • Dumbest list ever? Not only is Yoko Ono not #1 - she's not even on the list. She obviously should be two of the top three for (1) her own music (2) her contributions toward ruining other music. The other member of the top three should be, it goes without saying, our man Bill Shatner

Debbie Harry has a new song - and it's about Li'l Kim

Rumors of Principal Belding's life were greatly exaggerated.

"Jennifer Love Hewitt's Hair Kills Her Sex Appeal"

  • Holy shit! She looks like a young Joan Rivers

The trailer for The Assassination of Jesse James ...


Sheen Slapped with New Lawsuit. I guess he picked the wrong day to stop sniffin' glue.

  • "The actor, in the midst of a messy divorce from Denise Richards, has been sued by a reputed former flame who alleges Sheen ripped off her life for a 'crazy' female neighbor on his CBS sitcom, Two and a Half Men"

"Restaurant fined for lobster abuse"

  • This is unbelievable in today's day and age. Some of the lobsters were actually boiled alive!

"Czech police on Thursday were trying to flush out the thieves responsible for a string of toilet thefts "

The trailer for the offbeat comedy, Full Grown Men

  • Alby (Matt McGrath) never really grew up,and he doesn't want to. At 35 years-old, he surrounds himself with action figures that blind him to the fact that his young son is the most mature man in the house. So when things get a little too... adult, Alby leaves his family and heads to his mother's house, where he can lie on the couch and watch his beloved martial arts show reruns. While his childhood maid cleans around him, he is suddenly reminded of his best friend from school, Elias (Judah Firedlander). As it turns out, Alby made Elias' life, past and present, awful by saddling him with a not so nice Spanish nickname. Fearing irreparable karmic damage, Alby tracks Elias down. Although Alby's life seems to have stood still, Elias' world has changed. He is now a drama teacher to mentally challenged children and well-liked by all. Alby invites himself along on Elias' class trip to an amusement park, and what starts out as a fun road-trip turns into a bumpy ride. Along the way, Alby runs into a slew of failed romantics, including a disgruntled ex-theme park employee (Alan Cumming), a bartender working her way through clown school (Amy Sedaris), and a delusional ex-Weeki Wachee mermaid (Deborah Harry) who points Alby in the right direction."
  • In other words, it's what the 40-Year-Old Virgin would have been if it had starred Jon Heder instead of Steve Carrell.


Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.




China Dolls (1992)

"Te qu ai nu"  is a mean-spirited tale starring Amy Yip. At a wedding, the brother of a cop tries to rape her, and dies accidentally. Her husband is killed, her son is taken from her, and she is jailed. When she is released, she takes advantage of a smuggling operation to get out of mainland China and into Macao, where she can theoretically make enough money to go to Hong Kong and get her son back. What she and the other girls don't realize is that when they arrive in Macao, they will owe the gangsters who smuggled them in a small fortune, which they will be required to repay by hooking.

They are herded into a cage, regularly hosed down, and made to listen to propaganda tapes until they give in and agree. Amy is the last to give in. On her first job, she is paired with the more experienced Yuet Sin Lee, who teaches her the ropes, with such sage advice as "just lay there like a dead fish," "always ask for a tip," and, afterwards, "wash inside a lot and you will feel ok again." Later, the two are made to strip on weekends, which they somehow find more demeaning than hooking. As the cops close in on the gang, Amy catches the eye of a Portuguese businessman who is determined to get her out of Macao to live with him.

As is often the case, the film does not have a happy ending, and exists to exploit nudity and violence, especially toward women. In this case, it was not inventive enough to make the film watchable. This is only an adequate example of the Hong Kong Category 3 genre, and is a C-.

IMDb readers say 3.5.  


The best flubtitle was. "Fool me? I must play you hard."


After reading the above set-up, you would think Amy Yip spent a good bit of time naked. In fact, she showed nothing, despite performing sex for hire and nude shower scenes! Evidently Chinese actresses also get away with no-nudity clauses.


Some other naked women do compensate for Amy's reluctance. There is a lovely shower scene where many women show full frontal and rear nudity ...

... and Yuet Sin Lee does full frontal and rear in two sex scenes.


Modern Romance (1981)

Modern Romance (1981) - Albert Brooks wrote and directed this would-be Tour de Farce, which plays like Woody Allen on Prozac -- slow motion neurosis.

A successful film editor (Brooks) breaks up with his girlfriend, Kathryn Harrold, obviously not for the first time, and then immediately begins obsessing about her. So much for the first 46 minutes of the film. After the long buildup, the two end up in bed together again, where we are treated to 4 minutes of mutual obsessing, then a fade to black for the sex scene. The next morning, she leaves for work, and he obsesses about her outfit, which he feels is too revealing, then goes through her drawers, obsessing about whom she might have called to run up phone charges. Brooks then goes to work, and obsesses over a cut in a film with the director for 12 minutes. The rest if the film is spent with Brooks obsessing with Kathryn Harrold.

There is no doubt that this is Albert Brooks's picture. Everything else in the movie is a prop for him, including Kathryn Harrold. The film was competently shot, but was plagued with a bad script, bad direction, and a bad lead performance. Of course, that only leaves one person to blame.


IMDb readers say 6.6/10 and, based on the comments there, Albert Brooks has a fan base which considers this a classic by him.

Kathryn Harrold shows buns and breasts in a brief pre-sex scene.






Today the Hankster Hillbilly tour continues with "Sassy Sue".

Our focus is on Sandy Carey one of my personal favorites. Blessed with great looks and gorgeous legs, this hot little vixen

has 61 credits at IMDB ranging from 1970 to 1987.

Sandy gets it on with the local hayseed. Not as explicit as what is yet to come, but she is oh so sexy.






Clips from The Man Who Fell to Earth, in which David Bowie played an alien. Lots of nekkidness, including some topless dorkie fondling.

  • Adrienne LaRussa  (1, 2)
  • Hillary Holland  (1, 2)
  • Linda Hutton  (1, 2)





Dann reports on 2001 Maniacs:

One of the better horror movies you'll see, 2005's 2001 Maniacs has a cool plot, lots of pretty and naked ladies, and plenty of blood and gore. It is very well done.

Three groups of college students headed for Florida for Spring Break stumble into a remote town in Georgia. The residents are in the middle of a Festival held yearly to celebrate the town's existence during the Civil War.

Unfortunately, what the eight students don't know is that the Union Army invaded the town during the war, and every inhabitant was killed. Still carrying a grudge, the townsfolk plan to make the students the honored guests at a dinner celebration. They'll be the main course, and they're killed off one-by-one, in very unique and mega-gory ways.

Very funny, gory, and chilling, with a top-notch acting job all around, and a great performance by Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman. Horror fans will love this one.

Christa Campbell Wendy Kremer Cristin Michele and Kody Kitchen
Bianca Smith Marla Malcolm Gina Marie Heekin







The City of Women (La citta delle donne) is a late period Federico Fellini film starring Marcello Mastroianni as the director's alter ego, this time in some kind of male version of Alice in Wonderland, when he's lured and trapped in a city ruled by militant feminist women, the city of the title.

Fellini aims to satirize women's lib and feminism but also his own macho man attitudes and ideas, at the same time recreating various male fantasies and yearnings. It is not an easy film for the Fellini-uninitiated to follow, and the director does not miss any chance to indulge himself in his favorite surrealistic, freak or preposterous sequences. It's also a long 138 min., so the casual viewer may dismiss it altogether, but that would be unfair for the film, which manages to be funny, exuberant and display some grotesquely erotic images. Unfortunately the picture quality of the DVD I saw was mediocre.

The film is also frequented by many typical Fellini females: big, busty and horny.  Some nudity comes from Anne Prucnal and Iole Silvani () but for me the biggest attraction is voluptuous Donatella Damiani, who spends quite some time being half-naked.

Anne Prucnal
Iole Silvani
Donatella Damiani
Bernice Stegers
unknown (some fairly graphic images in the first one)







Basic Instinct: Sharon Stone
Basic Instinct: Jeanne Tripplehorn
A really jumbo-ass version of that peek at Alba's nipple




Pat's comments in yellow...

William Bethel of Lower Southampton Township, Pennsylvania, was stopped for not having an inspection sticker.  When police examined the back of his station wagon, they found trash, wet clothes, some Domino's pizzas and a stretcher.  He explained that when he finishes delivering pizzas, he sometimes transports bodies to the funeral home in the same car.  The vehicle was impounded and Bethel is facing $400 in traffic fines, but police could find no county health laws against carrying pizzas and corpses in the same car. 

*  On the bright side, if your corpse isn't delivered in 30 minutes or
less, the funeral is free.

Peter Carlino of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has a brilliant idea for a new business, but it's meeting opposition.  "Paradise Cuts" would be a barbershop with female stylists who cut men's hair while wearing whatever lingerie the men pick out.  Some say it's a "sexually-oriented business," which would bar it from the area.  Carlino claims it's "strictly about cutting hair and marketing."  But a woman who lives nearby protested, "Anybody who really needed a haircut wouldn't go to
a place like this."

* Maybe not a full haircut, but if they just want to get a little trim...

Amy Fisher has admitted that she was taking "a lot of ecstasy" when she shot her lover Joey Buttafuoco's wife, and it "made me feel stronger and confident"

* So she was taking heavy drugs when she slept with Joey Buttafuoco?  Finally, it makes sense!