Flirting With Disaster (1996)

Ben Stiller plays the adopted son of loving neurotics. He's not an unhappy man, but the birth of his own first child has prompted him to wonder about his true identity, and he can't even think about naming the baby until he knows more about himself. Finding his birth parents is what the film is all about. He makes several missteps along the way, thanks first to an incompetent case worker from the adoption agency, then to a mix-up about who actually donated the sperm to his mother. (It turns out that it wasn't his mother's husband.) Along the way, Ben runs into an assortment of eccentric characters. Indeed, pretty much every character is eccentric, from his adoptive parents to his pseudo-parents to his biological parents to his newly-discovered brother to a couple of gay Feds who cross everyone's path. Ol' Ben is also having some problems in his marriage, so he and the wife (Patricia Arquette) are both flirting with outsiders - with disaster, if you will -  and various romantic entanglements form and dissolve along the way.

This film was a moderate financial success - about on the level of a Woody Allen film. It grossed $14 million on a $5 million budget and made Miramax a profit, but the Weinsteins had been hoping for something in the $30 million range and failed to greenlight a second film in their two-picture option deal with writer/director David O. Russell. As it turned out, that worked out great for Russell, who moved over to Warner Brothers. Warner opened up their checkbooks and gave Russell about a $50 million budget to make Three Kings, a film which did well at the box office while establishing Russell as a major talent.

The enthusiastic critical reaction to Flirting With Disaster baffles me. When it was released, critics threw garlands and flowers in its path as if it were Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Rotten Tomatoes estimates that 87% of the reviews were positive, and even the few dissenters offered plenty of compliments. Damned if I can figure it out. It's not the kind of film that critics usually go ga-ga over. It isn't edgy, or brainy, or "heavy." It basically plays out like a 90-minute pilot for a sitcom, and the sitcom situations are punctuated by the presence of familiar sitcom actors like Mary Tyler Moore and Alan Alda. It is filled with a lot of raunchy sex talk, so it would be a cable sitcom, but there's no nudity, so it would be basic cable. I got a few laughs out of it, but my reaction was that it was the kind of broad, familiar, edgeless comedy that older people like, as opposed to something from a hip young director. The judgment of history on Flirting With Disaster is about the same as my own feeling - it's an OK comedy in the "good, not great" category. It is rated a so-so 6.9 at IMDb, which is respectable, but not what one would expect from a film with 87% positive reviews. Its IMDb rating is even less (6.2) among non-Americans, who probably can't relate as well to the American archetypes being spoofed by the various characters.

The good news is that some of Patricia Arquette's abundant flesh spilled from her nightie in a deleted scene. The bad news is that the quality of the deleted scenes is at the VHS level.



Other Crap:


Kalashnikov Inventor Laments Proliferation
  • "Mikhail Kalashnikov says he designed the assault rifle that bears his name to fend off the German invasion of the Soviet Union. But six decades later, he laments its transformation into the worldwide weapon of choice for terrorists and gangsters."
  • General Kalashnikov is nearly 90 years old, and I'm not sure how good his memory is. He was only 22 when the Germans invaded. Moreover, the AK-47 is called that because it was an Automatic weapon invented by Kalashnikov in 1947, long after the Germans had been defeated! I'd say he's either lying to himself or to us.

Weekend Box Office Results, June 9-11, 2006

  • There are no real major surprises. The analysts had everything pretty much on the money.
  • From the chart below, it appears that Cars was a bit below expectations, but that is more a factor of optimistic expectations than disappointing performance. The weekend was 8% above last year, and that is better than any of the four previous weekends, so it was probably unrealistic to expect it to be even better. Cars delivered, after all, the second best June opening of all time, so that has to be considered right on target, and Prairie Home Companion should be considered a pleasant (if undramatic) surprise.

If My Child Was Born on June 6, 2006

  • "Landover Baptist Creation Scientists have put together a checklist of recommended actions one should take if their baby was born on 06-06-06."

"Nude cyclists ride on a street in Mexico City as part of 'The World Naked Bike Ride,' demanding respect from motorists and protesting the car-oriented culture in this megalopolis of 20 million "

  • I'm not sure which Spanish word they translated into "nude," but it appears that all the cyclists are completely clad. The guy in front doesn't even have a naked face - he's wearing a Mil Mascaras mask!

An extraordinary hole-in-one struck by Fuzzy Zoeller

How to Mask Your IP and Use Country-Restricted Services

  • You don't need to be a techie. It is incredibly simple.

The Chosen One has left the Namibian building, in preparation for being declared the Messiah.

Amazing hi-res true-color picture of the Martian surface.

A video clip from Superman Returns

The trailer for Room

  • Room is the disturbing, surreal story of an overworked Texas woman who cracks under the economic and psychological pressure of supporting her family. Julia (Cyndi Williams) is barely making ends meet by working at the Paradise Bingo Hall in Houston when she begins having visions of a stark, bleak, mysterious industrial room, accompanied by intense headaches and disturbing blackouts. After waking up from a minor car accident, she robs her employer, abandons her family, grabs a plane, and arrives on the streets of New York City in search of the room itself, haunted by psychic visions that continue to drive her to extreme acts.


Movie Reviews:

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


"The Sisters"

The Sisters (2005) is based on writer Richard Alfieri's play by the same name, which was in turn based on Anton Chekhov's play, The Three Sisters. Actually, IMDb says it was inspired by Chekhov's work. I can explain it easily. Imagine Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, but with four Elizabeth Taylors and half a dozen Richard Burtons. You get to play the parts of George Segal and Sandy Dennis. Three sisters all either teach at or attend the same university where their departed father was chancellor. The eldest is the new chancellor, a closet lesbian, and an emotional zero. The middle sister, Maria Bello, was abused by daddy, and is in a combative marriage to a shrink. In fact, her entire life is combative until an old assistant of her father shows up to have an affair with. The baby is a student, and mainlines crystal meth. There is also a brother, married to an earthy woman (Elizabeth Banks) with little education or tact and a mind of her own. The men are just as screwed up.

The film consists of nearly two hours of verbal combat in the teacher's lounge, with a scant few excursions elsewhere for a wedding, an overdose, etc. Best of all, this dialogue is the sort of thing students produce when required to use all of their spelling words in a sentence. Only Banks speaks in plain English, and only Banks shows any body parts (partial buns, and breasts in a shot too darkened to tell if she was male of female).

IMDb readers say 5.8, but this is very early voting. Other than a few festivals, nearly nobody has seen this. Ebert awarded two stars. I have difficulty imagining a bigger waste of several arguably talented performers and my time. Had Chekhov wrote dialogue this cumbersome and created characters this unpleasant, we would never have heard of him. Some may enjoy this. Many others, I am guessing, will pretend to like it. For me, it was about as good a use of my time as waiting for a doctor's appointment. The film is technically competent, but a long, wordy, static piece full of unpleasant characters. D.

Elizabeth Banks

"Sand Trap"

Sand Trap (1998) is a thriller. The tag line, "When you kill someone, you better make sure they are dead," is a complete spoiler for the first 30 minutes of the film. Nelson (David John James) has money and a dominating wife. As the film opens, he is carrying champagne to bed in his PJs. His wife Margo (Elizabeth Morehead) has something special planned for him that night. He thinks it is her strip tease and wild sex until he hears an intruder. Only breaking a window and setting off the home alarm saves his life. The next day, his lawyer friend Jack (Brad Koepenick) shows up and convinces him that they should all take a break in the desert and look over some potential investment property.

Once they get to the remote site, Jack pushes Nelson off a 250 foot cliff into a cactus patch. We are not surprised when Jack and Margo end up in bed together after reporting the accident to the sheriff. The next day, the sheriff takes them to the site to recover the body, and it isn't there. Not only has Nelson survived, but the experience has changed him from a pussy-whipped, pajama-wearing asthmatic wimp into a modern day Rambo. The sheriff is intent on rescuing Nelson, and Jack and Margo really need to kill him now. The rest of the film is cat and mouse in the desert, and the final predictable resolution.

Along the way, Elizabeth Morehead shows her breasts in two sex scenes.

IMDb readers say 5.5 based on a whopping 48 votes. The story is predictable, and I was never in doubt about the final outcome. One thing did stick with me, however. Elizabeth Morehead was a completely unrepentant and self-serving villain. After a while, her antics provided unintentional but very welcome comedy. Some of the scenery was lovely, and Bob Thompson made a very sympathetic sheriff. This is a low C-.

Elizabeth Morehead


Today the Time Machine continues it's travels with a trip back to 1980 and a visit with "Maniac". Cute Gail Lawrence hits the bubble bath with a little tit and a flash of bush. Then she becomes a 'Babe in Bondage" who meets a very bad ending.

Gail Lawrence

Today from the Ghost...

'Caps from the early 1980s movie "Hercules" featuring Sybil Danning and starring Lou "The Incredible Hulk" Ferrigno.

Sybil Danning

Ingrid Anderson

Mirella D'Angelo

Also from the are some bonus 'caps of Sybil Danning in the Andy Sidaris classic, "Malibu Express".

Sybil Danning

'Caps and comments by Dann:

"The Three Burials of Melquaides Estrada"
Interesting modern-day western would have been even better, but they let it drag, and made it about 30 minutes longer than it needed to be.

When an abusive Border Patrolman kills the Mexican best friend of a grizzled old ranch hand (played extremely well by Tommy Lee Jones, who also directed), the hand seeks to keep a promise to his friend.

He is pledged to bury his friend in the friend's Mexican hometown, and to also enact revenge, he kidnaps the Border Patrolman and forces him to dig up the body and help take it home. On horseback with the body tied to a mule, the pair begins their dangerous journey into the badlands of Mexico.

A very good story, it's worth putting up with the slowness in the second half to see the interesting and slightly surprising ending.

Melissa Leo January Jones



Been trying to get The Gimp to cap an Andrew Blake movie for a while now, but he insists on having a little porn in his porn. Blake's movies have gorgeous women and terrific photography but not many guys doin' what comes natural. So I grabbed a disk entitled Wet. Sho' 'nuff, the gals are gorgeous and the guys are absent. Fine with me. Here is former Pet, Dahlia Grey (she was Jami Dion while a Pet) in the first few scenes of the movie. I must have grabbed a couple hundred frames of her, so I'll need to break up things a bit.

About the clips, they are 320 X 240 this time around to handle their length. Seemed a reasonable compromise.


'Caps and comments by Oz:

"Gideon's Daughter"
Gideon's Daughter (2005) is a British film. There is no visible nudity but Joanna Page shows pokies and an upskirt, and we see a topless Ronni Ancona from the side.

Joanna Page Ronni Ancona

"School for Seduction"
Another British film is School for Seduction (2004), which sounds like a late-night soft-core movie. However, it is quite amusing and well worth watching. Kelly Brook is the teacher of a group of mainly middle-aged women in the art of seducing a man. Women in the group include Dervla Kirwan, Margi Clarke, Jessica Johnson and Emily Woof. No nudity but we do see the women practising and putting their lessons into action.

Kelly Brook Dervla Kirwan

Emily Woof Jessica Johnson

Margi Clarke

"Exhibitionist Files"
Exhibitionist Files (2002), on the other hand, is a late-night soft-core movie. We see a group of women describe how they act as exhibitionists, and naturally we have to see it in action. There are are more explicit caps of this movie about but we see boobs and bum from Catalina Larranaga, Sydnee Steele, Candace Washington, Kitt Pomidoro, Nikita Cash, Diana Kauffman and (one of my favourites) Flower Edwards.

Catalina Larranaga

Candace Washington Sydnee Steele

Kitt Pomidoro Nikita Cash Diana Kauffman Flower Edwards

These caps from Columbo - How to Dial a Murder (1978) are more curiosity than anything else. It shows how Kim Cattrall looked 28 years ago in a bikini.

Kim Cattrall

"Blue Steel"
There is a bit of nudity in Blue Steel (1990). We see Jamie Lee Curtis' backside although it is brief, a bit blurred and it could be a body double. A high quality DVD might also show a bit of bush.

Jamie Lee Curtis

"Call Me : The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss"
There are plenty of topless ladies in Call Me - The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss (2004), although they cannot be identified and the nudity is brief. Even Jamie-Lynn DiScala's nudity is by a body double. To make it worse, her body double is wearing a crotch patch, which can be seen in the fifth collage that I had to lighten considerable. Ladies that I can identify are Emmanuelle Vaugier, Natassia Malthe and Lisa Marie Caruk. Overall, a disappointing movie from a nudity point of view given the subject matter.

Jamie-Lynn DiScala

Emmanuelle Vaugier Natassia Malthe Lisa Marie Caruk

Assorted unknown nekkid babes