"Rambling Rose"

Rambling Rose (1991) is a redo for me, and I can't think of much to add to my old review. The film stars stars Laura Dern as a troubled young girl in 1935 who comes to live with a genteel family and help watch kids and assist with the housework. The father, Robert Duvall, and the oldest son (who is in the throws of puberty) notice immediately that Rose radiates charm, cheerfulness and sex appeal. When Daddy (Duvall) comments "Rosebud, I swear to God you are as graceful as a capital letter `S.' You'll give a glow and a shine to these old walls," she falls instantly in love with him. The first time the mother, Diane Ladd, leaves for the evening, Rose throws herself at Daddy. After fondling her bare breast, he has the sense to stop himself, which makes him all the more moral to the three children who have been spying on them. Later that night, Rose visits The oldest son, Buddy (Lukas Haas) in his bed, hoping to get some of the guilt off her chest. It is her chest that interests Buddy as well, and he not only gets to first base with her, but gets her off with his hand as well. Here is where we learn that Rose can't say no.

Daddy sees what a threat Rose is to the happiness of his family, and is not sure how long he can resist her. He would like nothing more than to fire her, but the rest of the family, especially his wife, will not hear of it. When Rose decides to look outside the family for the "man of her dreams," her promiscuity causes still more trouble for the family and strengthens Daddy's resolve to fire her. This pretty much sets up the conflict that drives this wonderful character driven drama. I highly recommend it, and don't want to give away the entire plot. I am not alone in liking it. Maltin and Ebert both say 3 stars, Apollo says 80, Apollo readers say 81, and IMDb readers say 6.8/10. US gross was $6.266m. I don't know what the budget was, but director Coolidge mentions frequently that budget constraints affected artistic decisions.

Director Martha Coolidge (Valley Girls, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, etc) did an amazing job with the screenplay adapted by Calder Willingham from his own autobiographical novel. She also provides one of the better commentary tracks I have heard on the DVD. Young Lukas Haas (Whitness) as Buddy showed acting ability far beyond his years. Robert Duvall was perfect in the roll of Daddy, and Diane Ladd was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a very complex character. Dern was nominated for Best Actress, which marks the first time a real-life mother and daughter have been nominated for Oscars in the same film. This is my choice for Dern's finest performance. I doubt that any man could watch her as Rose and not be completely captivated by the character. She shows clear breasts in two scenes, pokies and breast see-throughs in others, and wears the hell out of a nearly transparent dress walking through main street looking for "the man of her dreams." You can't help but stare, much like you would if you were really there, but it is well worth the effort. Daddy observes her pick an attractive young man, and go in for the kill. He comments that she strikes like a cobra.

The DVD is marvelous, with deleted scenes, biographies, trailer, full length commentary, and an alternate ending. The film is visually appealing, and the DVD transfer is credible. Director Coolidge clearly understands cinematography, and worked closely with DP Johnny E. Jensen and Art Director Christian Wagener and set decorator Robert Gould to produce the look and feel. Elmer Bernstein provided a suitably subtle score, and an early Louis Armstrong recording of Dixieland was used as a sort of theme song. Unable to find a suitable master of the Armstrong recording, they carefully remastered the only 78 recording they could find. This attention to detail is one of the reasons Coolidge succeeded so well with Rambling Rose.

IMDb readers have this at 6.6 of 10, by the score goes up to 7.2 for those over 45. Ebert wrote an enthusiastic review, and awarded 3 stars. This is basically a character driven piece, and, even though serious issues are covered, the story is told with a lightness that makes it a total joy to watch. This is either a very high C+, or a B-.

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  • Laura Dern (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

    "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot"

    Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) is a lackluster Clint Eastwood testosterone film. Clint and his sidekick Lightfoot are supposed to be loveable bank robbers, and part of the reason is that one of their associates (played by George Kennedy) is such a creep that they look good by comparison. This device just made Kennedy a two dimensional character with no depth, and I still couldn't relate to either Thunderbolt or Lightfoot. Eastwood nearly slept through his performance. They decide that banks are too much like work, and elect to rob something easy like a state armory.

    The short exposure was from three actresses. The first, June Fairchild as a pickup date who is dressing after sex with Eastwood. The second (Luanne Roberts) is a "housewife" flashing workmen through a sliding glass door. The last (and best) is from a supposedly-teenage daughter (Leslie Oliver) being tied up and gagged by Kennedy. Jeff Bridges was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar. The film was set in a very dreary Montana, and was undersaturated and lacked contrast throughout. I should have enjoyed this film. I like buddy/caper films, and enjoy all of the leads. Much of it is played for humor, but the jokes fell flat due to poor timing. IMDb readers have this at 6.8 of 10, so my reaction is obviously not typical. I thought the same story could have been told much better, and more care should have been given to character development. This is a C-.

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  • June Fairchild (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • Leslie Oliver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Luanne Roberts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    .wmv clips:

    • I guess Laetitia Casta's 15 minutes of fame have just about expired, but I suppose she only got seven and a half minutes because, to paraphrase Mr Tyrell, the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long - and she burned so very, very brightly. Here she is in Gitano.



    The Associate

    The Associate is Tootsie in reverse. It doesn't start out that way, but that's where it ends up.

    Whoopi Goldberg plays the best financial advisor in New York, a brilliant analyst who is locked out of the big time in the investment world because she is a funny-lookin', dreadlock-wearin', Annie Hall-dressin' little black woman. Her white male associates steal her ideas and weasel their way into upper management.

    There is only one way for her to get around the problem of not being a good old boy. She becomes one. At first she just creates a fictitious one as her partner. She opens her own firm with the non-existent middle-aged white man as her unseen partner. She goes to great pains to create a complete life for her missing partner, one that will dazzle her prospective clients, including big game trophies, Harvard diplomas, pictures autographed by JFK and Joe Montana, etc. The fictional "Robert Cutty" is invariably "out of the office" when people call, because he is taking lunch with the President or the Pope or Alan Greenspan or somebody equally important.

    Unfortunately, Whoopi's imaginary white male partner ends up undermining her just as much as the real ones always had. All the male clients want to do business with someone like themselves, therefore with the unseen white-haired financial guru, and not the quirky sista, so the situation evolves to a point where Whoopi can no longer avoid face-to-face meetings.

    Up until that mid-point in the film, the script had been a reasonably tidy little light comedy/drama with some social commentary, ala Trading Places. Whoopi did a good job of managing the central conflict, the fact that her partner was never there. There were some cute cameos from Donald Trump and other New York celebs, and the film was rolling alone fairly well. The ultimate corporeal appearance of the previously unseen Cutty, however, changed the nature of the film and created a high hurdle in the middle of what had previously been a sprint on flat ground. The focus of the viewers' attention suddenly became, "Can Whoopi Goldberg play a senior white male financial guru convincingly". The answer is a qualified "yes". Whoopi did a surprisingly good job with the voice, the mannerisms, the body language, and the walk. She is not Dustin Hoffman, but you could believe that she really might fool her business acquaintances for short periods of time in the right circumstances. Sadly, the make-up department really let her down. She looked like she was wearing Chief Dan George's death mask, complete with pony tail. (In fact, now that I think about it, she looked exactly like an older version of The Indian in Body Double, another character which was formed by a latex disguise.)

    This was unfortunate for two reasons. First, because it spoiled the illusion of credibility that she had been maintaining, thus spoiling the fun of the film. Second, and possibly even more important, it revealed that the writer didn't know what the hell he was doing, thus spoiling the film's serious points as well. For the ruse to work in real life, Whoopi would have needed to be not only ANY white man, but a specific type of white man. In order to fit in with her clients, she needed to be conservative, clean-cut, and distinguished but not flashy, ala Donald Rumsfeld. The REAL corporate world would have found the eccentric hippy-looking old Cutty to be no more acceptable than Whoopi's own natural appearance. The screenwriter's blissful ignorance of this point made the second half of the film play out like some third-rate effort in 60s theater of the absurd, after the first half had made some pretty nifty little social observations.

    'Tis a pity.

    More's the pity that the film was also missing a vital comic spark. Whoopi's cronies and confidantes were earnest, unfunny Dianne Wiest and the stock transvestite best friend necessary in all such movies to provide disguises. In other words, the usual suspects. Tootsie, on the other hand, had wisecrackin' Bill Murray to comment on the action, and thus to turn the alleged comedy into an actual comedy by adding a little thing we comedy buffs like to call "laughter". There was no Bill Murray to be found in this cast.

    The final problem with the film is that it fails to meet the minimum requirement for a cross-identity gimmick because one of the two identities has no personality. In Tootsie, Dorothy Michaels is actually more interesting than Michael Dorsey, despite the fact that she doesn't exist. The same is true of Mrs Doubtfire. In this film, the fictional character is a cypher, nothing but a voice coming from underneath some latex, and not someone that we think we know.

    So the film came and went without being noticed, and is now only vaguely remembered.

    In truth, The Associate is not a horrible movie at all. It is a pleasant enough watch. If the script had created a real Robert Cutty, with his own personality, the clean-cut appearance of a respected financial magnate, and a decent make-up job, Whoopi might have been able to mold this into something special, because she seemed to be able to play a man without artificiality. If the writers had then replaced Dianne Wiest with somebody with a gift for wisecracks, ala Carole Lombard in those 30s films, the film might have been able to attain classic status. As it is, it's unremarkable and unmemorable, a chicken soup movie.

    • Bebe Neuwirth, best known as Lilith from Frazier and Cheers. It isn't real honest-to-goodness nudity, but her entire bum is on screen in two different scenes which show her in Victoria's Secret thong underpants. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)




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    • 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.



    • Alice Krige, the Borg queen, in the rarely-seen Scarlet and Black. (.avi, .wmv)

    • A classic: Kathleen Turner in Crimes of Passion. High camp Ken Russell fantasy featuring Norman Bates as ... well ... pretty much as Norman Bates. (.avi, .wmv).

    • Robin Tunney in Cherish - a movie remarkable mainly for having deliberately chosen Dave Barry's all-time worst songs as its soundtrack! Features a dance number to "Seasons in the Sun". It is actually a decent little flick, despite passing to video unnoticed. (.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.

    Graphic Response
    • Helen Shaver, topless in the 1986 movie "The Park Is Mine".

    Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website.

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "11th Hour: episode Georgia"
    The most racey tv episode to air this year on network television in English Canada.

    "Nothing too Good for a Cowboy"
    Pilot for the quickly forgotten television series.

    "Adventure Inc: episode Message from the Deep"
    Typical episode with Karen Cliche running around in a revealing outfits and female guest star likewise.

    "Trailer Park Boys: season four"
    Season one is currently showing on BBC America but with all the swearing bleeped out.

    • Shauna MacDonald: in really bad wig but showing pokies and cleavage as undercover hoe.
    • Tara Doyle: pokies as massage parlor hoe.


    • Nahanni Johnstone: nude but showing nothing as sunbather in an episode of Relic Hunter.
    • Wendy Anderson: cleavage as undercover hoe in last week's season finale episode of Corner Gas.
    • Daniella Ferrera: topless in movie The Collectors.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Blood Gnome"
    This 2002 direct-to-video horror flick was apparently made by the S & M community, because it's basically a commercial for S & M. It's also a really badly done less-than-B soft core porn flick.

    The plot follows a really lame and poorly played crime scene investigator as he realizes that a rash of sex murders are not the work of humans. It's a poorly produced mess, but there was plenty to cap, and there's plenty to watch. Just be sure to have the fast-forward button handy, because the nudity and bondage scenes are about the only thing worth watching.

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    Mr. Nude Celeb takes a look at the ladies from Season 4 of "The Sopranos".

    • Drea de Matteo, shaving her legs in link #1, showing cleavage and wearing a red bra in 2 and 3. (1, 2, 3)

    • Jamie-Lynn DiScala (Sigler). Meadow Soprano wearing a bikini top in links 2 and 3. (1, 2, 3)

    • Leslie Bega...topless in links 1-5. Showing pubes in #5 and showing rear nudity in #6. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    • Lola Glaudini, excellent cleavage in both. (1, 2)

    • A topless unknown. Unfortunately we have to see Tony Soprano with his shirt off too. (1, 2, 3)

    Jessica Alba
    (1, 2, 3)

    Paparazzi pics of the incredibly beautiful Alba. Links #1 and #2 feature Alba in a bikini at the beach. Link #3 shows a little plumber butt.

    Jennifer Connelly
    (1, 2)

    The unofficial queen of the Fun House showing pubes in scenes from "Requiem for a Dream" (2000).

    Ioanna Pappa Topless in 'caps from the Greek movie "Loser Takes All" (2003).

    Nikki Cox
    (1, 2)

    DeVo 'caps of a young and busty Nikki showing tons of cleavage on the show that made her famous, "Unhappily Ever After".

    Rebecca Romijn The "X-Men" star wearing a very lo-cut dress with some great partial breast exposure at a Hollywood event. Thanks to Squiddy.

    Charlize Theron
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the Oscar winner and all around mega-babe showing off her first class posterior in scenes from "The Cider House Rules".