"Quills" (2000)
Whenever Scoopy and I disagree on a film, it is an event for me. This is one of those films. First for the areas of agreement.

1) The film has merit
2) It is bad history.
3) Geoffrey Rush was brilliant as the Marquis de Sade.
4) The film reinvents a "kinder, gentler" de Sade to make the character more acceptable to the audience.
5) It was obvious that the film was an adaption of a stage play, in that there was not much action, and there was a LOT of dialogue.

Scoopy was unable to relate emotionally to the film, because the character of the real de Sade is so odious to him that he couldn't accept the fictional version in this film. He compares it to romanticizing Hitler. I can completely see his point. A film romanticizing Hitler would leave me cold, no matter how well made, because I have a lot of emotional baggage associated with Adolph. I would have similar problems relating to a film romanticizing Nixon, or McCarthy, or Bill Gates or Ty Domi (for the Hockey impaired, Domi is a thug who can't even skate, and exists simply to hurt people). The difference is that I had no emotional baggage about de Sade. He probably deserves a place of honor on my fecal list, but I watched the film without the same emotional reaction to de Sade that Scoopy did. Scoopy loved the Rush performance, as did I, but was bored by the Winslett character, the Priest (Joaquin Phoenix), and the Doctor's young wife (Amelia Warner).

For me, the film used the character of de Sade Lite as a plot device, and was really more about the question of whether people, witnessing (reading or watching) violent, sexual and deviant material are incited to go out and commit these acts themselves. I was fascinated by the Winslett character, who was the proof that enjoyment of pornography doesn't necessarily make you lewd (she died a virgin). I absolutely fell in love with the Amelia Warner character. She is being held in cold storage in a nunnery till the doctor feels the need of a wife. Being sent away from his circle of friends by Napoleon to put a stop to de Sade's writings, he decides it is time for this wife. She is 16, he is more like 60, and he virtually rapes her on their wedding night, then instructs the house staff to keep her locked in so she doesn't lose her virtue. She gets her hands on a de Sade book, in her words "memorizes it" and then, her education complete, looks for a teacher to give her practical lessons. An architect (really more what we would call a decorator) provided by Napoleon fits the bill. In her case, reading the extreme pornography gave her a healthy appreciation for sex, and more than reason enough to leave the doctor. On the other hand, the film indicates that several people, already demented, were driven to commit despicable acts by de Sade's words.

There are critics I respect on both sides of this issue, with Berardinelli at 3 1/2 stars and making many of the same points I am trying to, and others calling it highly over-rated. The film has a green tint, which Scoop found distracting and I thought added to the mood of the film. This time through, I removed it for the images. Is Scoopy right or am I? We both are. Watching films, and reviewing them as well, is completely subjective. Now for the grade. Scoopy saw it as a costume drama and biopic, and didn't give it much crossover appeal. This is one of his favored genres. I don't often like the genre, saw it more as a morality play/drama, and think it has a lot of crossover appeal. I have to admit that it lost some of its luster the second time through. This is a C+. Some love it, others don't.

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  • Kate Winslet (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Rebecca Planner (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Unknown (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)


    Terminator (1984) was a perfect role for Arnold, as the character had no personality and poor language skills. This match of actor to character is partially responsible for the popularity of the film. Also, it is pretty good non-stop action and violence, and the special effects were good enough that I forgot they were effects. Two things about the film don't work for me. First, I didn't think the flashbacks to the future added to the film. Second, I would liked to have seen more transition in Linda Hamilton's character from ditsy waitress to kick ass rebel organizer and earth mother.

    Linda Hamilton shows breasts in a brief sex scene. IMDb readers have it at 7.9 of 10, making it the number 194 of all time. It earned a staggering $80.4M against a budget of only $6/4M. It is decidedly not my kind of movie, yet I watched it start to finish, and didn't reach for the fast forward. As is often the case, they overdid the old, He's dead, ooops, not yet, now he's dead, ooops, not yet routine at the end. This is a B-. Even people who don't like Sci Fi action (such as me) are entertained by this one.

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  • Linda Hamilton (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Party Animalz (2004)

    In theory, this should really be my kind of movie.

    A couple of slacker house painters from East L.A. get to paint a ritzy Beverly Hills mansion while the owners are off doing rich person stuff in Gstaad or The Seychelles or someplace like that. Of course, they decide that this is an excellent opportunity to invite all of their best barrio buddies for a big, noisy, orgiastic fete in the untended mansion.

    From there on, it's topless chicks, pool parties, lost virginity, guys drilling peepholes, drugs, spicy food, salsa music, burro porn, and pretty much every other thing that makes life worth living.

    Works for me. I wish I had been there for the party.

    Unfortunately, it didn't work in the movie.

    This is not a complicated formula, but they managed to screw it up. The jokes aren't funny. The gross-out humor is gross without being humorous. The performers seem to be mostly amateurs. Even the damned topless chicks are either out of focus or in funky lighting.

    Oh, yeah, and the writer had no idea how to end it, so they just sort of drifted off into the credits.

    • Radha Nilia (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • other chicks (1, 2, 3, 4)



    Aime ton père (2002)

    This film is also known as A Loving Father and Love Thy Father:

    This French language film is about the relationship between an overbearing, genius father and his children. It stars Gerard Depardieu and his own son Guillaume, who probably re-enact some familiar scenes from their own lives. It was written by Jacob Berger, whose own father, the English novelist and art historian John Berger, provided the inspiration for the father figure.

    It was nominated for the Golden Leopard at Locarno, the Golden Tulip at Istanbul, the Golden Bayard at Namur, the Golden Shower in Bangkok, the Golden Parachute on Wall Street, the Golden Gloves in Vegas, the Golden Pussycat in Pompano Beach, and the Golden Moose in Medicine Hat. The Medicine Hat Film Festival usually predicts the Oscars quite well, but this time the predictor failed, and Love Thy Loving Father was not nominated.

    It would have been if they gave an Oscar for Most Pretentious Film.

    OK, I made up most of those film festival awards, but the first three are real. I'm not sure how good a film has to be to be nominated for the Golden Bayard at Namur, but I never heard of any of the films in the competition. It is restricted to French-language films, so I'm assuming that French words are pretty much the only requirement for the coveted Golden Bayard nomination.

    This film is supposed to be some kind of psychological exploration of the psyches of the father and the kids, so it digs deeper that mere reality, delving into imagination, visions, dreams, and hallucinations. Even the "real" things are more "surreal" than anything else. Just to cite one example, the daughter thinks her dad has been killed in an accident. As she waits to identify his body, she holds an imaginary conversation with a non-existent naked dead woman who claims to have been in the accident with her father.

    Meanwhile the father, still alive, has been kidnapped by his son, and is in the back seat of the son's car, wrapped up in yellow "police line, do not cross" tape. The two of them enjoy many bitter memories while they create some additional ones.

    As for the dialogue: (intone sonorously) "You are anorexic and afraid. Afraid to eat. Afraid to shit." The father, winner of a Nobel Prize in literature, said that to his daughter. I guess that's how Nobel Prize Dudes talk.

    The whole thing reminded me of the Ingmar Bergman parodies that SCTV used to create. Remember those? People stand arranged around a corpse in a neatly posed tableau. One person says "now is it Autumn, and we shall have wheat", and the others then chant "wheat, wheat, wheat" in unison, while everyone stares vacantly out into the distance. Then they dream of reindeer-herding Lapps, and evil dwarves, and of clocks that keep ticking louder, and louder, and LOUDER.

    Well, there you go. I spoiled the whole damned movie for you.

    • Elisabeth Niederer (1, 2)



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    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • 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.

    Strip Search

    Based on some requests, Shiloh had been hunting diligently for this for a couple of weeks, finally found it on HBO2, and capped the entire movie and sent it to me! The following shows all the Maggie Gyllenhaal nudity - pretty much every frame of it in .wmv format. If we still haven't covered what you want to see, write in  - and be specific, because I have the whole film to work with, so I can deliver any scene you want to see.

    • Maggie Gyllenhaal. .wmv's only today (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)



    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.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:


    Two things today.

    Edits of those luminous Mandy Moore pics at the premiere of Saved. Gotta admit I had wondered what the brouhaha was all about when it came to Mandy, but these pictures sold me. They are some of the sexiest images I have ever seen.

    • Mandy Moore (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Second thing is a collage of vidcaps, showing Rena Mero (aka rasslin' babe Sable) in very wet clothes. Not sure of the source, so I kept most of the original label.

    Crimson Ghost
    The third and final installment of the Ghost's coverage from "Timegate: Tales of the Saddle Tramps" (1999).

    Laura Prepon The "That '70s Show" show star showed up on Conan Tuesday night with blonde hair and a tan.

    Anne Hathaway
    (1, 2)

    Anne wearing another black outfit that becomes see-thru when the flashes go off...only this time she put tape on her nipples!

    Shirley Jaffe
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Virginia Wetherell
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    Katya Wyeth
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    A second helping of 'caps from the 1971 classic "A Clockwork Orange" from the Skin-man. All the ladies are topless of course, plus Wyeth briefly shows the other 2 B's, and Jaffe gives up all the goods.

    Pat Reeder Remembers Tony Randall
    Laura and I were very saddened by the news of the death of Tony Randall, and not just because we both grew up worshiping him as a comedic idol. I also got the chance to meet and work with him, and it will always be one of my most cherished memories. I thought I'd share it with everyone, just to show you what kind of man he really was off-camera.

    About 15 years ago, when I was alternating radio and commercial gigs with writing/producting corporate video, Mr. Randall appeared in a humorous instructional video series I wrote on buying and selling real estate, and I got to spend a weekend working around him. He and Steve Allen were the two nicest, most gracious celebrities I ever met, and my job has brought me in contact with a lot of them, good and bad.

    He flew into Dallas to do the job, and he was funny and friendly to everyone on the set, answering all our dumb questions about his career and other celebrities he knew, joking flirtatiously with the shy script girl, etc. We had set up a luxurious dressing room for him to have a private lunch, but he said, "Aw, no! I want to eat with the guys!" He insisted on eating at the cafeteria table with the crew, regaling us all with hilarious stories. He even complained that the 4-star hotel suite we provided for him was far more than he needed, and he would have been fine with a room at the Ramada.

    He did all this while very worried about his wife, who had been extremely ill for a long time. During one break, I escorted him to a private office to call her, and he explained to me that he was only taking short jobs like ours at that time so he didn't have to be away from her for long. I'll never forget how he seemed so worried, then the second his wife came on the line, he put on a happy face, asking her how she was doing and telling her how nice everyone was here as he tried to lift her spirits. Then the instant he hung up, the mask dropped, his shoulders sagged and a sadness settled over him that he only shook off when we walked back onto the set. I know some people have criticized him for having kids at an advanced age with his young second wife, but if he found happiness with a new family after his first wife passed away, I certainly didn't begrudge it to him. He had more than earned some happiness.

    I told him I loved his two LPs of 1920s songs and had played them to death. He not only autographed them for me, he said, "If you've really played them to death, I have the master tapes. I'd be happy to send you a dub." I never imagined he would, but a few days later, I received a package with a cassette (that formerly had opera on it) with a dub of the masters, including unreleased tracks. It also included a personal handwritten note, complimenting me on my own comedy demo tape I'd given him.

    A couple years later, I went to New York in hopes of achieving my dream of writing for David Letterman. As a poor kid from Texas with no agent or TV contacts, I couldn't get in the door. But I knew Tony Randall was a regular guest. So I wrote to the address on the envelope, reminding him who I was and asking if he had any suggestions. It was just a shot in the dark, and I never really expected a reply.

    But a few days later, I got back another personal note from him with the inside phone number of David Letterman's head writer. The note said, "Give him a call, he's waiting to hear from you. Good luck!" We had an hour-long conversation, and while I never got the job (there was a prolonged writer's strike on, and I moved back to Texas to be with my cancer-stricken parents before it ended, then returned to radio, took over writing the Morning Punch, and founded the Comedy Wire), I will never forget the multiple times this wealthy, world-famous celebrity went out of his way to be helpful to a young comedy writer from Texas that nobody'd ever heard of.

    As both a comedic talent and a human being, Tony Randall (and Steve Allen, who also helped me in a similar fashion) stood head and shoulders above every other celebrity I've ever dealt with. Considering what he did for me, I can only imagine how many other people he helped over his long career.

    Laura and I send my prayers and condolences to his family, and our greatest respect to him. His work will live on forever. And if you've never seen "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao," get a copy now!

    Pat Reeder
    The Comedy Wire

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Sports Without Balls - Olympic officials have agreed to allow transsexuals - both women who've become men and men who've become women - to compete in this year's Games. Critics argued that ex-male athletes would have an unfair advantage because men have more testosterone, muscle mass, and heart and lung capacity. But officials agreed to allow transsexuals if they've undergone sex-change surgery and lengthy hormone therapy so that "official authorities" recognize them as members of the opposite sex.

  • The "Official authorities" will be Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt.
  • I don't know what to say what to say about this issue; I could go either way.
  • "Official Olympic authorities" couldn't even recognize that the old East German women's swim team had beards.
  • On the bright side, new world records will be set in all the women's events this year.

    Bite Me! - Prof. Jimmy Steele of Newcastle University in England says that the perfect, gleaming white smiles celebrities are buying from cosmetic dentists are making normal young people paranoid about their teeth. He said people compare their perfectly normal teeth to celebrities and think there's something wrong with them, and that dentists are under increasing pressure by patients to "perform small miracles" on their teeth.

  • Or in the case of British people, major miracles.
  • Dentists need to practice telling British people, "Your teeth are fine" with a straight face.
  • When I see some of those big, gleaming celebrity teeth, I get paranoid because I think they're going to eat me.
  • Know who's really smiling these days? Dentists.

    "Pitt" Is Right - After years of covering the stars, Swedish showbiz expert Mikael Jagerbrand has listed the Top Ten Smelliest Celebrities. Counting down from #10, they are Bob Dylan, Metallica, Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Robin Williams, Courtney Cox, David Bowie, Hayden Christensen, and at #2, Russell Crowe, who reportedly has such bad B.O., Joan Rivers refuses to sit next to him. Topping the list is Brad Pitt. His aversion to washing himself or his clothes is so great, his co-stars in his debut film reportedly complained of his smell, and he responded by buying a new $3,600 Calvin Klein shirt instead of taking a shower.

  • At least now, he can afford to wear a new Calvin Klein shirt every day.
  • If your woman complains that you don't look like Brad Pitt, tell her that you CAN smell like him, if she wants.
  • Jennifer Aniston's nose job must've destroyed her sense of smell.
  • Russell Crowe refuses to wash just because it keeps Joan Rivers from sitting next to him.
  • Courtney Cox can't shower; she'd slide right down the drain.
  • That's right: Cameron Diaz smells worse than all the members of Metallica combined.
  • Mickey Rourke missed the list on a technicality: it's only for celebrities.

    Older Than Young - Tuesday night, Randy "Big Unit" Johnson, 40, of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitched a no-hitter against Atlanta, becoming the oldest pitcher ever to throw a perfect game. He broke the record set by a 37-year-old Cy Young in 1904.

  • In an attempt to regain his record, a 137-year-old Cy Young just came out of retirement.
  • When you're 40, a "perfect game" is one that ends early enough so you can get home and watch "Law & Order."

    Steinbrenner Takes The Prize - Some angry Yankees fans say it's sacrilege that the stadium has dropped Cracker Jack for Crunch 'N' Munch. Cracker Jack is a baseball tradition since the 1800s, plus Crunch 'N' Munch doesn't have a prize in the box. Yankees C.O.O. Lonn Trost said, "Cracker Jack is just a brand name. We're selling a caramel crunch that is the same thing." He said it's no different than Jell-O and gelatin or aspirin and Bayer.

  • Or peanuts and Beer Nuts, which is what they'll now be selling instead of peanuts.
  • The song now goes, "Buy me some peanuts and Crunch 'n Munch! Steinbrenner's so greedy, I may toss my lunch!"
  • It's a better fit, since Yankee management is also no prize.