The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

Where to begin with this hopelessly mediocre attempt at a meaningful movie? I think the best place to start is with the critics. After all, director/star Tommy Lee Jones didn't set out to make a poorly paced, racist film totally lacking in credibility. The people to blame would be those who are supposed to be able to evaluate this kind of material with some degree of discrimination and warn the rest of us away from it. Many of them claimed that this naked emperor of a movie was clad in finery. What was truly astounding was the degree to which this film was mis-evaluated. One critic wrote that the film was packed with "note-perfect performances." I'll skip over the obvious limitations of some of the other performers in the film and get right to Dwight Yoakum's portrayal of the sheriff. It is arguably the worst performance ever recorded on film. I'm not just talking about major films. I will include Ed Wood's films, Tom Green's performances, your home movies, infomercials, and local used car salesmen doing their late-night TV commercials. There may be a worse performance in there somewhere, but I have never seen it. Now if a critic sees a 75/100 and calls it a 100/100 that is one thing. We can attribute that to a variance of opinion. But when a critic sees a 0/100 and praises it as "note-perfect," you just have to think that the lad is in the wrong profession. Yoakum's performance is so monotonous and stilted that he almost makes Tommie Lee Jones seem Shakespearian. Tommie Lee, of course, turns in his usual laconic, inexpressive performance, and Barry Pepper goes in the other direction, totally over-the-top as the despicable American border guard who bullies illegals and kills Tommie Lee's best friend, then turns into a whiny, cryin' bitch when Tommie Lee kidnaps him.

On the other hand, the acting didn't really stand out as worse than the script. It was awarded the best screenplay award at Cannes, which is pretty much all you have to know. That fact is virtually a guarantee that a a script will take a minimalist approach to plot and character development, will be needlessly convoluted in narrative technique, and will have a simple-minded, negative view of Americans. Bingo! This particular award winner is worse than usual. Every male American in it (except Tommie Lee) is hateful or stupid or fat or incompetent or impotent, often several of the above, each of them living a dull, meaningless, hopeless life.  Every Mexican is self-sacrificing, gentle, forgiving, and generous, caring for their families, putting in a fair day's work for a decent wage, filled with love and respect for one another as well as for outsiders. Needless to say, there were critics who looked at the film's simplistic black-and-white weltanschauung and praised it for its nuances. If the entire scenario weren't racist enough to begin with, the script reinforces the point by including such lines as Tommie Lee calling the border guard "you stupid gringo." Mind you, that line was spoken by the film's conscience.

For those of you who do not understand how the film community defines nuance, here are some examples:

  • "You stupid wetback spic." Racist and evil. When a character says this, we know he is bad.
  • "You stupid gringo." Sharp, edgy, nuanced dialogue. When a character says this, we know he is our hero.
  • "Chinese people are evil." Racist.
  • "Americans are evil." Nuanced and award-winning.
  • "Black people are evil." Racist.
  • "White people are evil." Nuanced.

And so forth.

Oh, yeah, and then there are the preposterous coincidences. The border guard shoots Melquiades Estrada because he thinks Estrada is shooting at him. As it turns out, Estrada was trying to kill a nearby coyote. The important fact for us to note here is that the border guard's wife was so bored by life in West Texas that she has decided to do some semi-professional light hooking, half for pleasure, half for profit. I'll bet you'll never guess who her first (and only?) john was. Yup, that's right, the border guard accidentally shot the one other guy who was having sex with his wife, unbeknownst to him

You're not impressed with that coincidence? OK, try this one on for size. Early in the film, the border guard uses excessive force on an escaping illegal alien, a young woman whom he punches right in the face. Later in the film, deep inside Mexico, the guard is bitten by a snake and the only one who can save him is ... oh, I'll bet you can guess. I suppose that the screenwriter of this film just thought Crash was too darned plausible! Need I point out that some critics referred to this as "gritty realism"?

Here's the general plot outline:

A border guard carelessly shoots a man, Melquiades Estrada, who appears to be shooting at him, but is actually shooting at a coyote. The officer basically leaves the dead body to rot in the desert. His decomposing, half-eaten corpse is found by some hunters. The dead man, an illegal alien, turns out to be the greatest human being since Francis of Assisi. During his saintly life he extracted a promise from his best friend (Tommie Lee) to bury him in Mexico if he were to die in America. Tommie Lee finds out how his friend died, kidnaps the border patrol officer, forces him to dig up the corpse, and together they drag the rotting corpse of Melquiades Estrada toward a tiny village in Mexico. Tommie Lee treats his decomposing friend as a nine year old girl might treat her Barbies, dressing him up, combing his hair, and talking to him along the route. If you are a Sam Peckinpaugh fan, you may hear some echoes of a film called "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia."

The script fails, not only because of the outlandish coincidences and one-dimensional point of view, but also because of a simple lack of sensible character motivation. The one element that strains the credibility of the film to the absolute breaking point is the fact that Tommie Lee never asks his prisoner how the crucial killing happened, and the border patrol guard never tells him until the last couple of minutes of the film. If they had ever discussed it, it would have resulted in an Emily Litella moment. "Oh, never mind."

There is more bad news. Tommie Lee's direction of this film didn't help it, either. The two-hour film drags on and on and on until it feels like four. There is some good news. The cinematography is excellent.

The film grossed $5 million in an arthouse run which maxed out at 350 theaters.

C-.  A painfully slow, simplistic, and borderline racist film which was greatly overpraised by the turtleneck set. It obviously has its defenders. In fact, most critics liked it and the IMDb rating is an impressive 7.9 - good enough to make the Top 250 if it gets enough votes!


Melissa Leo




Other Crap:

The mother of all traffic circles

Kill Bill 1 & 2 in 120 seconds (No bunnies)

The trailer for Gabrielle

  • "Gabrielle" is Patrice Chéreau's stunning adaptation of the short story "The Return" by Joseph Conrad. Recreating turn-of-the-century France with superb attention to detail, Chéreau casts an unrelenting gaze on the marital breakdown that overwhelms a middle-aged bourgeois couple, played with chilling precision by Isabelle Huppert and Pascal Greggory. As wealthy Parisian Mr. Hervey (Greggory) descends from a train into the teeming bustle of the city. While on his way home, he reflects on the sturdiness and success of his life and the fortress of security he has built around himself. It is not long before his self-satisfaction is rudely shattered when he discovers a letter from his wife, Gabrielle (Huppert), waiting for him on his sideboard. The contents of the message will crumble that security and plunge him into newfound feelings of vulnerability, abandonment and betrayal. The couple soon finds themselves engaged in a parry-and-thrust of emotions that change mid-sentence and stretch their ability to function and live in the same house.

The trailer for Lower City

  • Set on the northeast coast of Brazil, this drama produced by Walter Salles and Mauricio Andrade Ramos tells the tale of a boxer (Ramos), a stripper (Braga) and a petty criminal (Moura) who go on a road trip to El Salvador.

The trailer for Flyboys

  • The unforgettable story of a group of heroic American men who volunteer for the French Military and become fighter pilots before the US enters WWI.

The trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

  • "The origins of the legendary horror character Leatherface will finally be revealed in the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning'. The film, which is set years before the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' movie, stars Jordana Brewster and is being directed by Jonathan Liebesman."

Letterman's Top Ten Surprises In Al Gore's Global Warming Movie

  • It's a musical
  • Claims global warming melted Kenny Rogers' face
  • Blames the crisis on a creepy Albino
  • The scientist who supports all his claims is Al Gore in a mustache
  • It felt longer than the Florida recount

The wacky world of Japanese Ice Cream - today's feature - octopus.

"Robbie the Recycling Squirrel"

Special forces to use strap-on 'stealth wings'

Jolie and Pitt Pix Leaked on Internet has posted a five minute preview for Heroes

Here's the trailer for the re-make of The Wicker Man

"Stone Phillips returns for another Gravitas-Off with Colbert."

"Stephen Colbert did not 'sell out' -- the world 'bought in' to Stephen Colbert."

"A look back at Stephen Colbert's first 100 shows, and how he changed the world."

The Daily Show's Rob Corddry: "If you want to keep Muslim extremists out the best thing you can do is distribute pork. Heeeeyooo!"

"Ed Helms investigates whether New Jerseyans have what it takes to pump their own gas."

Jon Stewart talkes to Caroline Kennedy about the "Profiles in Courage" award.

The Daily Show: "The Marines' new body armor is perfect if we ever have to fight a war in a beehive on the moon."

Watch various trailers for Season Three of Entourage

"In April 2006, to celebrate naturist Richard Attenborough's 80th birthday, the public were asked to vote on their favourite of his television moments. This clip of the lyrebird was voted number one."

Cool video: Flash animation fights back against its creator.

The fight of the Solar System will occur near July 4th. The Great Red Spot of Jupiter will face off against the young upstart Red Jr. Who will win when these storms collide?

16th minute: Dancin' fool becomes Internet 'It Boy'

"This is really for all those people who insist up and down in the talkbacks that Sony is somehow pulling a giant trick and there will be no Black Spiderman Suit in the film"

Scoop: Your update on the Ms West Virginia sex tape thing got me thinking, so I did some googling. Here is a good rundown of just about every celebrity sex tape out there.

Cheerleader Guy update ... Set your TiVo's. Summer is full of cheerleader action! Enjoy!!!

ABNORMAL SKULLS - evidence of aliens?

Artisticly Carved Soap Sculptures

"On Howard Stern this morning Janice Dickenson went into great detail on her celebrity sexual conquests"

OK, I know balloon animals suck if you're older than 9, but these are pretty doggone cool.

BBC - Senses Challenge

If you suffer from Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, today (06/06/06) is really a bad day.

TENACIOUS D - For the Ladies

  • Comedians/musicians Jack Black and Kyle Gass bring their infamous rock duo Tenacious D to the big screen in the comedy "Tenacious D in The Pick Of Destiny." The film tells the story of how "The D" became the self-proclaimed greatest band on earth and is being directed by Liam Lynch.

The French teaser from Arthur and the Minimoys, an animated adventure from Luc Beson

  • "10-year-old Arthur has a lot on his plate: a real estate developer is about to snap up his grandma's home... and there's no way Arthur's going to hang around for his parents or grandparents to sort out the problem. Maybe the solution lies in his grandpa's treasure, which is hidden somewhere on the 'other side' in the land of the Minimoys. The creatures that inhabit this world are just a tenth of an inch tall and live in perfect harmony with their environment.

Arthur ventures into this world of the Minimoys, where he meets Princess Selenia and her brother Betameche. Together they set off to look for the treasure that will save his grandma. An action-packed adventure ensues, full of pitfalls and intrigues, all the way up to the forbidden city ruled by the evil M the Malicious. Arthur's journey in the Minimoys universe reveals that sometimes the smallest heroes make the biggest difference."

The Daily Show: Homeland Security distributes funds based on what item your city has the world's largest ball of.

"Former Miss West Virginia Allison Williams is suing dozens of Internet businesses that tried to sell pornographic videos they claimed showed her in sexual acts with a Virginia news crew."

  • She says businesses are marketing pornography using her name, but she is not the woman in the video.

From The Sun: "POP babe Pink has her nipple pierced with a pin - watched by her wide-eyed MUM."




Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Lifespan (1974)

Lifespan is a SciFi film set in Amsterdam. Dr. Ben Land (Hiram Keller), a young American gerontologist, arrives to work with the eminent Dr. Linden, who has hinted that he is near a breakthrough in curing aging. The implication, of course, is that human aging is a disease, and that a "cure" is possible. The day after Land arrives, Linden hangs himself. Land believes that Linden was on to something important, but his recent records have gone missing. Land follows a string of clues, including mice that are twice as old as they should be, patients at an old folks home. At last, Tina Aumont, Linden's ex-girlfriend leads Dr. Land to Klaus Kinsky, a wealthy Swiss pharmaceutical company owner. Ultimately, the film ends up being about Kinsky's attempt to seduce Dr. Land into continuing the anti-aging research, because Kinsky doesn't want to be a rich "old man."

The film suffers from nearly constant voice-overs, but despite the narration I found it a quick, if not too challenging, watch.


IMDb readers say 6.1 based on only a handful of votes.


In a completely gratuitous scene, Tina Aumont is tied up by Dr. Land. We also see her breasts in a sex scene with Kinsky, and she appears to be nude in a very dark scene.



The Drop (2006)

This is a direct-to-vid ... er ... thriller. A college kid is hired for a huge sum of money to drive a luxury sports car from San Francisco to LA. He is to make $5,000 for a 6-hour drive, half in advance, half when he gets there. He is to deliver it to a parking garage. Of course, we know he isn't too bright, since he didn't even question why someone would pay that much money for six hours of work in the first place.

When he arrives, he sees Sean Young walk by, and fantasizes about having sex with her, even though he plans to use the $5,000 to get married. Then he becomes bored waiting for the owner to show up, and finds a key in the glove box which opens a briefcase that contains unspeakable evil. We never get to know what the evil is, but even if we did I couldn't tell you because, well, because it's unspeakable, dammit. We do know that it glows blue, and fries most people, other than Sean Young and our hero, who turns out to be "the key," and is somehow a vital link to unleashing the evil in the case. He hides the case, and a mob of bad guys, including Sean Young and John Savage, chase him around the parking garage for 90 minutes, shooting at him and trying to get the briefcase from him.

A clear F by our grading system. Even if you restrict the genre to evil briefcase movies about college kids being chased through parking garages, and even if Hollywood, Bollywood and Paris make nothing else but evil briefcase films until the end of the physical universe, this will undoubtedly remain the worst of the genre for all time.

IMDb readers have this way overrated at 2.6.

(Scoop's notes: Not only do the characters spend the entire time wandering around the parking garage, but many of the later moments in the garage consist of flashbacks to various earlier times in the garage, perhaps in a reverie of nostalgia for the cheaper rates of the previous hour, or perhaps because the editor didn't have enough footage to pad the thing out to feature length without repetition. I reckon it was the latter, since the early part of the film was filled with flash-forwards! Or maybe the entire film exists to teach us that time itself is a much more flexible concept than our weak and linear mortal minds can comprehend. Even with all the padding, the closing credits start to roll at the 80 minute mark, and that 80 minutes includes the opening title sequence and a bizarre prologue which I still don't understand.

According to IMDb, this was filmed in 2002. The DVD box shows that the copyright date is 2003. I'm not surprised that it stayed hidden for all these years. This is a truly bad movie.)


Sean Young shows her right breast in a dark fantasy scene.









Dann reports on The Dress:

You would not expect a movie about the life of a dress to be very interesting, but 1996's The Dress, from the Netherlands, is a sexy and engrossing drama.

The dress is born in conflict, as the pattern designer is under extreme pressure from his boss when the boss rejects all of his designs, just as his girlfriend leaves him. Under great stress, he creates a new batch of designs, and one of them becomes the dress.

The dress then passes from one woman to the next, usually due to misfortune suffered by the previous wearer. No one who wore the dress seemed to have good experiences while wearing it, and the misfortunes are usually sexual in nature. For example, Maike Meijer plays a young woman fleeing from a dress designer trying to force her to have sex with a huge pig (but it was a very nice pig).

This film is classified as a comedy drama but I saw very little comedy. In fact, much of the film is violent and even mean, but it's also quite unique and fascinating, and well worth watching when you're looking for something a little different.

Ariane Schluter Ricky Koole Maike Mejer





Today we return to "Two Moon Junction."

Kristy McNichol also appeared and did a sexy dance in a really short skirt.  

Then Kristy was joined by Sherilyn Fenn as they traded tops, thus showing off Kristy's tiny titties and Sherilyn's really lovely boobies.

Scoop's note. Kristy, little "Buddy" on TV's "Family" is now 43. Wow, do I feel old.  "Family" went off the air thirty years ago! According to IMDB, she left the movie/tv biz around 1998 and is now teaching acting at a private school in Los Angeles.





Hi Scoop

I thought I’d try my hand out at vidcapping, so here is Jennifer Leigh Hammon (and Caroline Ambrose) from ‘Allyson is Watching’ (1996).  I actually watched a few scenes whilst fast forwarding through the DVD to the nudity: Jennifer Leigh Hammon is a real acting talent and cute too. As far as I can tell, this is the only nudity she has done in film or TV, but she didn’t shrink from anything:  her lesbian scene with Caroline Ambrose is hot stuff!

Hammon appears to have been a soap star at some point and she can certainly act, but her most recent IMDB listing is as ‘misc cast and crew’ as Tom Cruise’s assistant, so no danger of any sexual harassment at work then.

Anyway, no doubt the ‘caps will improve as I gain in experience.

Cheers, The Snapper

LC comes up with the pic o' the day, as he often does. This is the first I have seen of the nudity in The Sisters. (Based on Anton Chekov's "The Three Sisters" about siblings living in a college town who struggle with the death of their father and try to reconcile relationships in their own lives.) It is labeled Maria Bello, and there are pictures of Maria in the collage, but I believe the nudity is actually Elizabeth Banks.

La Alba at the MTV movie awards. The long shot (left) makes it look like some fun stuff is exposed, but the close up (right) shows you that everything is actually taped up and covered.

Becca Romijn in s1e8 of Pepper Dennis. Nice!


Pat's comments in yellow...

An online casino is giving 100,000-1 odds that the world will end today (6/6/6).

*  A small bet could make you rich, but the hard part would be collecting your winnings.

* If you're reading this on Wednesday, you've already lost.

Monday at the zoo in Kiev, Russia, a man lowered himself into the lion enclosure on a rope, shouting, "God will save me, if He exists!"  He then took off his shoes and marched right up to the lions.  One lioness immediately pounced on him, severed his carotid artery, and mauled him to death.

*  The flaw in his logic? The lioness had been thinking, "God will feed me, if He exists."

Lawyers for Lady Heather McCartney denied a report that she'd once posed for a German hardcore porn book, claiming it was a "lover's guide" to instruct couples in caring relationships.  The Sun tabloid replied that their copy is all photos, many unprintable, and there's not a word of text.

*  Hey, it's a sex manual for illiterates.

*  I think we can all agree that no matter what these photos are, the
important thing is that Yoko Ono didn't pose for them.