Goodbye, Columbus

This is a 1969 film about a romance across social castes. Richard Benjamin plays Neil, a lower middle class Jewish man in his mid twenties who lives in the Bronx with his aunt and uncle. He hits on and somehow manages to land, at least for the summer, a beautiful, nouveau riche Jewish-American princess (Brenda, played by Ali MacGraw in her break-out role) from Westchester. He manages to pull off this coup by being just aggressive enough to try, and just funny enough to amuse her.

Throughout the relationship he remains hopeful that he can somehow fit into her life, but he's a skeptic by nature, and he never really trusts that the relationship can work. Her mother doesn't want her hanging around with a unambitious librarian who has a sarcastic tongue and a permanent case of anomie, and Neil himself never really feels comfortable in the meretricious affluence of her environs.

Their summer romance becomes physical, and she acquires a diaphragm because she has a bad reaction to the pill. Mother finds the diaphragm ...

Huh? This is 1969. The era of free love. Everyone was having sex then, weren't they? Why would the diaphragm be such a big deal?

Well ...

This was a dated film even when it was new. It came out the same year as Easy Rider, but the story seems to take place ten years earlier. It was in every way an old-fashioned Hollywood film, not a product of the cultural revolution. That makes perfect sense if you realize that the screenplay was adapted from a novel by Philip Roth, and his story originally took place in the late fifties. That is exactly when the film's story seems to unfold, even though two characters identify themselves as Dartmouth '64 and Dartmouth '66. If you just pretend Goodbye, Columbus was made in and takes place in 1959 instead of 1969, it will all seem more sensible.

Despite its retro nature, this movie was quite well respected in its time. The directors' guild nominated it for its annual prize, as did the writers' guild. The writers went a step further and awarded the film its trophy for the best adapted screenplay, a plaudit resounding enough to earn the film the corresponding Oscar nomination. It was also nominated for three BAFTAs and three Golden Globes, including a nod from both societies to Ali MacGraw as the most promising newcomer.

MacGraw was not originally supposed to get the role. She was a 30-year-old model who had never acted, and the Brenda character was a college student, so the part had already been awarded to Lesley Ann Warren, who was more than eight years younger. Ms. Warren's unexpected pregnancy forced a late casting change, and Ali MacGraw was the alternate, despite her age. Ali always played characters significantly younger than she actually was, so you may be surprised to learn that she will turn 70 in April!

This success of this film pushed MacGraw into Love Story, which in turn drove her to fame. She actually became more famous as one of the "beautiful people" than as an actress. She actually only made ten films in her life, spanning a period of 34 years, but she was always in the thick of the tabloid scene in Hollywood since she was married to both a studio head (Robert Evans) and a cultural icon (Steve McQueen). Evans was the head of production at Paramount and was developing two prestige productions for Ali when she split to take up with McQueen. She was to have been Daisy in The Great Gatsby and Evelyn in Chinatown.

Back to Goodbye, Columbus ...

They made a different kind of movie then. It's kind of small and personal and quirky and it sort of ends in the middle. Kind of like life itself. That was the point. It was Roth writing about what life was really like for him and the people he knew in those days. He drew the characters as realistically as he could, and let his own alter ego deliver enough witty remarks and stinging commentary to keep the unembellished reality from getting boring. A C on our scale.

Ali did a sex scene and a skinny dip, showing her bum and her tiny breasts. Dick Benjamin also showed his butt, and even offered filmgoers a brief glimpse at the side of his dick benjamin, the sort of thing which was not seen very often in mainstream 1969 films (you need freeze-frame to see it). Despite all the sex and nudity, the film was rated PG in the era when there was no such thing as PG-13.

Ali MacGraw (film clip)



This last collage is was assembled by OZ. Note that he made his captures from a full screen version of the shower scene, and that alternate version offered two additional looks at MacGraw's enormous nipples.



* 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 Delinquents

The Delinquents (1989) is an Australian Romeo and Juliet story, but with a happy ending. It was a first feature film for music idol Kylie Minogue, whose teenage character falls in love with Charlie Schlatter. She lives with a mother who drinks, and entertains in lounges. He lives with an abusive step dad. Neither can wait to leave their small town. It is set in the 50s, and features one do-wop hit after another. When she becomes pregnant, they decide to leave town, but her mother tracks them down on the train with the police, and insists she get an abortion. He goes to sea, which he loves, but is always searching for her. Each time they find each other, the law wrenches them apart, until they are finally of age. By then, he has to choose between her and the sea. Anyone who thinks that is an easy choice has never loved the sea.

The film also serves as a time capsule of 1950s Australia, and anyone who has ever been 15 can relate to some of the themes. I liked the characters, enjoyed the period look at Australian life, and am glad I watched it. This is a C+, but probably one targeted to 14 year old girls.

IMDb readers say 5.1. It is no surprise that it is a chick flick, with a current differential of 1.3.

Get Region 4 DVD information below.

Scoop's note: I also liked it. I wrote, "C+. Yes, I know it's a soap opera about young kids in love, and the intended audience is 14-year-old girls, so most of you reading this will not find it to be your kind of movie, but it does everything well, and backs it up with great period music and beautiful photography."


Kylie Minogue shows her right breast in one of the sex scenes.










Swamp Thing


The Time Machine goes back twenty-five years to 1982 for Adrienne Barbeau. She is a "Babe in Bondage," but before that happens, she reveals those awesome breasts as she goes skinny-dipping.




We top off the day with a couple of topless unknowns.







Mit Herz und Handschellen

A bunch of episodes of this German TV Series .


Elena Uhlig


Laura Marie


Michou Pascale Anderson






Notes and collages

Auto Focus

Alex Meneses








Piggy Banks


Jazmin Daley

Kelly Garner







Katie Holmes is a spectacularly beautiful woman
Pam Anderson is ... a woman


The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

BEST LINE FROM G.O.P. DEBATE #2!  From former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee:  "We've had a Congress that's spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop." (Full Disclosure:  Gov. Huckabee is a longtime reader of the Comedy Wire.  Can you tell?)

The Rev. Jerry Falwell died Tuesday at 73, prompting both praise and derision, including a surprising tribute from Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.  Flynt said he hated everything Falwell stood for, but years after Falwell's libel lawsuit against him ended, they became good friends and Falwell often visited him.  The porn king said, "I always appreciated his sincerity, even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling." 

*  They both sold images of the gates of Paradise; they just had a very different concept.

*  The both liked the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, only Flynt liked the first part and Falwell liked the ending.

For the second year in a row, Miami topped a poll by Prince Market
Research to find the rudest drivers in America.  It was followed by Boston, L.A. and Washington, DC. Miami drivers were named the most likely to run red lights, to slam on the brakes at the last minute and
to do things such as shaving, reading and applying makeup while driving.  The most courteous drivers were in Portland, Oregon.

*  Only because you can't slam on the brakes when it's raining.