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
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
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.
the zipped .wmv, and the collages follow. (More collages and
comments in Tuna's area)
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
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
- (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.)
eBay: CHARLIE CHAPLIN SIGNED DERBY
HAT, SIGNATURE CIRCA 1920'S
(Current bid: $3000)
The 100 Best Cover Songs
(They count down one per day)
Daily Show: Global Political Stock
- 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
Robin Williams does his best
impression of George W. Bush's "The Decider."
"Karl Rove keeps remembering details
about the crime he didn't commit."
Weinstein Co./Dimension Summer '06
Hollywood gets ready to segue into
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
Kevin Federline's new single reviewed
- by Roget's Thesaurus
Barney cut loose in White House
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
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'
The Colbert Nation has a nuclear
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
- After reading the article
demonstrating how it works, I'm still wondering the same
The 50 Worst Things to Happen to
- 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 ...
THE SURREAL, FANTASTIC REALIST,
PSYCHEDELIC & VISIONARY ARTISTS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
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
"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.
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."
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.
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,
- Hillary Holland (1,
- Linda Hutton (1,
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.
||Cristin Michele and Kody Kitchen
||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.
|unknown (some fairly graphic images in the first one)
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
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!