Berkeley is writer/director Bobby Roth's nostalgic look back at his own college days. This is not the first time that Roth has created a film from an autobiographical story about his youth. Way back in 1978, he wrote and directed a movie called The Boss's Son, which is about the time he spent working in his father's carpet store. His father reappears in this new film as a loving, hard-working immigrant (played by The Fonz!) who succeeded in a capitalist society (in the carpet business, natch) and just doesn't understand why his children don't appreciate the American system as much as he does. His son, you see, the alter ego of the author, is becoming a hippie radical at Berkeley in the late sixties.

Roth is just another baby boomer looking back on his youth, but he happens to have had a pretty good vantage point on the formation of my generation, since he happened to be right in the middle of the action. He was going to school at Berkeley in 1968. Unfortunately, his close-up view of that era is presented in the form of a story which has no real structure to speak of. It just drifts off at the end, and the final scenes could just as easily be the start of a different movie. Of course that came as no surprise since it had been drifting in the beginning and middle as well.

Even with the rambling and uninvolving structure, the film could have been a success if it had some interesting insights, and you would expect that a man in the center of campus radicalism in the late 60s would reflect back with some wisdom about the way his generation thought it would change the world by the new millennium, as opposed to what actually happened when a member of that generation held the reins of power in the first eight years of the new century. I'm not sure how Bobby sees today's world, but it looks about the same to me as it did in 1965, before the student revolts, except for some cosmetic and technological changes. As our generation has matured, some progress has been made in pursuit of racial and gender equality, as evidenced by the current candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and the attitude of American society toward sex has liberalized radically, but except for a few tweaks here and there, the great student revolts of the 60s created little more than great t-shirts, posters and soft drink ads. The students of 2008 are facing more or less the same world, with the same problems we faced in 1968.

As I see it, there has been one major change which has kept today's campuses from being as radicalized as those of forty years ago - self-interest. The Vietnam War was fought with conscripted soldiers, which means any one of us could have been in the jungles after an F in Organic Chemistry. Today's wars are fought with professionals who have volunteered for service, so the privileged university kids feel no threat to their own personal existence. As I look back on those years, I wonder how much different our campuses would have been if America had instituted a volunteer army after World War Two. Self-interest is the ultimate motivation.

Although Berkeley is narrated from the present day by a voice-over, it offers no reflection on the merits or efficacy of student revolt. It just tells the personal stories of several people who were caught up in it. They hook up or break up based on commitment to and passion for The Movement. They take some serious drugs and play some acid rock. Accurate enough. Nostalgic enough. But empty.

The film was completed in 2005, but was dressed up with no place to go. It appeared at one minor film festival in October of that year, received no special awards there, and then seems to have disappeared from the earth for two years. No major festivals. No theaters. No DVD. It finally received a perfunctory one-theater run in October of 2007, where it grossed less than $4000 in seven days, then disappeared again until its DVD release two days ago.

The film does have one thing going for it. What it lacks in critical self-assessment it makes up in personalization. It consists of a man (writer Bobby Roth) telling his own story, using his own biological son (actor Nick Roth) to play himself at about the same age. Any time a film gets that close to reality, it has to offer a few genuine moments which touch the audience, and this one does occasionally get close enough to the bone to spark my own memories of similar incidents from that memorable epoch.

If only those moments added up to something.



There are four topless scenes from the two female stars, but only one of them is truly any good, the first one with Laura Jordan, which shows her nice body in good light. Her other scene is shot in approximately the same lighting level as deep space. The two Sarah Carter scenes are either too modest or blurred by motion, or both.


The Weekend


The Weekend comes from the "one spring night in senior year of high school" genre, which must have hit a new height in popularity in 2007 with Superbad. This film isn't as funny as Superbad or even very funny at all. It's a comedy in the sense that the story of a booze-filled high school party, when told accurately, will include some funny episodes, but the real heart of the movie is developed through an ensemble character study. In that respect it is less like Superbad than an updated version of Dazed and Confused.

It's not a high-energy film, nor a screwball comedy, nor filled with showy set pieces nor zany stereotypes.  It's a small movie which covers well-worn territory, but I liked the characters and was interested in their stories. Above all, I liked the basic honesty of the presentation. It takes the basic premise (rich kid has a party at his house, invites pretty much everyone) and follows it through with real people doing what they really would do in that situation. Just about everything in this film could occur, and within the same time frame. Some of the kids are good kids, but they get in trouble and do stupid things. Some of the kids are jocks, some nerds, but they don't really get into any conflicts or ridicule one another. They just sort of steer clear of one another and congregate in their own groups, as they would in real life. As in many high school comedies, there are some stoners, there's some T&A, and there are some assholes who prank the youngest guy, but those events and characters are completely credible and just provide the background atmosphere within which the main characters interact. Even though there's plenty of alcohol at the party, and emotions occasionally run high, all of the kids act the way sensible suburban kids would, and not that way kids normally act in high school movies. It's not just the kids who are drawn from real life. During the evening and the next day, the parents react almost exactly as you would expect in the circumstances. Some are cooler than others, as would be true in reality, but all seem like genuine parents.

The story even offers some plausible and nuanced surprises. For example, the cool rich kid, best looking guy in school, is a virgin, and his buddy is too shy to make a move on a pretty girl who's obviously interested -  but the nerdy couple have been having sex for a year!

It is the natural tendency of a writer to create a debut with splashy, memorable, colorful archetypes, so I have to give a tip o' the cap to the first-time writer/director of this film for populating his maiden effort with well developed, multi-dimensional characters instead of Stiflers and Spicolis. I also extend that hat-tip a little longer for his ability to find unknown actors with the right personalities and the acting chops to deliver his characters they way he wrote them, low-key and authentic. I have to admit that as I started watching it, I kept wanting it to be bigger, funnier, zanier, and more outrageous. As the story unfolded, however, I accepted it for what it was and, although I never heard of the film or anybody involved with it until I actually watched it, ended up liking this movie very much. It's one of the most enjoyable straight-to-vid films I've seen in the past couple of years.


Lyndsey Vuolo film clip (samples right)



  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








The Beast in Space


An expedition is sent off to a very remote planet to bring back a rare element needed for weapons construction. The team is confident of success because the captain found some of that element in the possession of a trader with whom he fought over a woman. He is pleased when that very woman ends up on his crew. What they find is a planet run by a very old computer, and a gracious host with rams legs and hoofs, who turns their stay into an orgy of food and women -- the women of the crew. This orgy contains lots of actual hardcore footage and, in an outtake, the "beast" actually comes. This is, of course, an homage to another Sirpa Lane  classic, "The Beast."

Lovers of camp cinema and the laughably awful have to own this film, which has camp classic written all over it, but failed to achieve that status because of limited international distribution.

The film is in Italian, with English subtitles, but the subtitles are barely necessary through most of the film. It has yet to be released on Region 1 DVD, but is available from on an all-region NTSC. Click on the image below for info.

The Beast in Space (Explicit Version)


Sirpa Lane


Marina Hedman


Maria D'Assandro



Assorted XXX











A very short 1997 double feature today.




First up we have Thandie Newton showing off her "tiny tots"


Leprechaun 4: In Space


Then Rebekah Carlton with more boobage in "Leprechaun 4: In Space"









Notes and collages


Denise Richards in You Stupid Man

Diana Ross in Mahogany


Fergie in Planet Terror

Mary Crosby in Tapeheads








Amy Smart, larger versions


Daisy Fuentes, this time in HQ


Jessica Alba in a black top, under flashbulbs


Sophie Anderton


Runway model Nicole Trunfio, bottomless


Sonya Walger in Vice


Film Clips