I had to take some drastic action with my mail settings. From now on, for
those of you who send mail with attachments to scoopy.net, only four addresses will work:
Also, if you write the word "comedy" in the subject line, you will by-pass my
As always, the best address to contact me if you send a mail without an
This turned out to be yet another example of my least favorite genre of
all: separate stories of a seemingly unconnected multi-ethnic group of people
in Los Angeles whose lives become mysteriously interrelated in a short period
of time. The most noteworthy antecedents for this film include Short Cuts,
Crash, Babel, and Magnolia. Another recent STV, Crossing Over, follows
this same general format.
As I write this, Powder Blue has one of the strangest male/female scoring
ratios ever seen on IMDb. Men 18-29 rate it 9.4, a score which, if it held up
across all demographics, would make Powder Blue the top film of all time.
Women in the same age group rate it 4.9, which would be a weak score for a
straight-to-vid. Among all voters, the male-minus-female score is 2.0. That
score would theoretically make this one of the most testosterone-filled
"dick-flicks" films of all time. In the IMDb Top 250, only two old war films
1 have a
male-minus-female score higher than 0.7. After those two rarely-seen films,
the Wrestler and Magnolia are next at 0.7, Sin City scores 0.6, and the two
most popular Guy Richie films are each at .5. Surprisingly, the most popular
films which are filled with war scenes and/or mindless violence do not have
wildly unbalanced testosterone-heavy scores, and that includes many films you
would probably think of as dick-flicks, including The Dirty Dozen, The Usual
Suspects, and Full Metal Jacket.
"So Powder Blue is a dick-flick, right?"
Not at all.
Consider the story lines. It's Christmas Eve. A stripper is looking for her
lost puppy while her young son lies in a coma in a nearby hospital. Meanwhile,
her long-lost father is trying to reestablish contact with her because he's
dying. A cleric is desperate to commit suicide because of a careless act which
caused the death of his beloved wife, who appears to him in dreams. A tranny
seems to be a hardened street person, but is really just looking for love, and
is in prostitution to earn enough money to get his sex change operation. The
two other main characters are a painfully shy mortician and a lonely waitress
trying to re-enter the dating scene after a midlife divorce. The characters
are all damaged and forlorn, and many of them are doomed. At least three of
those main characters will die before the night is over, and the suicidal guy
is not among them!
Oh, and don't forget the melancholy and sparse musical score, the ghost,
and the miraculous frogs ... er ... I mean snowflakes ... definitely not frogs
... which fall from the heavens in Southern California.
Does that sound like a dick-flick to you?
Clearly not, based on the "Earth Girls are Easy rule." One of the aliens in
that story observes that Earth men like movies in which many people die
quickly, while Earth women prefer films in which a few people are dying
slowly. Powder Blue is obviously in the latter group.
So what's going on with the IMDb scores? Well, a few things. One is that
very few females have rated the film, so there are not enough degrees of
freedom to establish a true statistical pattern with any confidence. The other
main reason for the gender gap is that Powder Blue is widely known for only
one reason: it is the film in which the spectacularly toned and muscled body
of Jessica Biel can be seen naked on screen for the first time.
Is it a good movie? Kinda. Setting aside my distaste for this overworked
format, and the fact that I did not personally enjoy it, I'd have to say
that the film has many plusses:
Unlike many such films, the multi-story format is appropriate for the
material and the interaction between the stories is sensible and unforced.
Unlike many weep-fests, this film allowed some of the main characters to
find hope and/or happiness.
The performances are quite solid from top to bottom. I'm not sure about
Eddie Redmayne, the Michael Cera impersonator who played the young mortician.
I just don't know if I disliked the character or his interpretation of it, so
maybe he just did what he was supposed to do. The rest of the leads (Ray
Liotta, Forrest Whittaker, and Jessica Biel) certainly earned solid As and B
plusses. As a bonus, Biel's performance also includes some of the most
sensuous and athletic stripping you've ever seen. The solid minor players
include veterans like Kris Kristofferson, Patrick Swayze, Lisa Kudrow and
Sanaa Lathan, as well as a newcomer named Alejandro Romero who played the
tranny. Swayze had the oddest role in the film. He was cast against type as
the strip club owner, a complete sleazeball with long blond hair. Given the
strange role and his illness, you will not
know it is Swayze unless you are specifically looking for him. Maybe not even
1- The Battle of Algiers (1966) and All Quiet
on the Western Front (1930).
- Ray Liotta and Eddie Redmayne show their bums.
- Jessica Biel shows T&A across several scenes.
- One other stripper is topless and wearing a thong while she blows
- Several strippers are seen topless in background scenes.
We saw lots of Biel clips yesterday but we have some new spin today.
Here is the LC's take on the
high-definition version (caps below), and
here are some clips which
have been brightened and enhanced.