"The Wild Party"

The Wild Party (1975) is a forgotten early Merchant Ivory film inspired by the Fatty Arbuckle scandal. It stars James Coco as a silent movie great who is now a has been with the advent of talkies. He is hoping against hope to make a comeback with a self-funded film he has just finished. He is to premier it at a huge party at his house hoping to get distribution. His mistress, Queenie (Raquel Welch) has been taking the brunt of his drinking and horrible moods. Most of the film takes place at the party, where nearly everything that can go wrong for Coco does, including Queenie leaving him for the newest Hollywood heartthrob. All of this leads to a shocking conclusion.

Believe it or not, this is a musical, and oddly, I loved the 20s soundtrack. Raquel does two production numbers that are very entertaining, and you have to hear the Herbert Hoover Drag. Welch shows a lot of skin, but none of the best parts. Marya Small shows one breast in a lesbian sex scene, and several unknowns also show breasts in a party orgy.

This film never had a release in this country. The studio recut it and tried their version with some test audiences, then shelved it. It was finally picked up in the original version for a French release, and is now on DVD, again in the original cut. IMDb readers say 4.6 of 10. The film looks great, Coco and Welch gave very strong performances and the sound track was a delight. This was almost enough to make me forget the weak plot. I am going to give this a C- as a musical comedy, but I personally enjoyed it.

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  • Marya Small (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Raquel Welch (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Unknown (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

    "Hooded Angels"

    Hooded Angels (2000), AKA Glory Glory, was suggested by a Fun House reader. It is a Western about an all girl gang of bank robbers. As the story opens, the Union army is attacking a small Texas town where a rebel group has been holed up. By the time the battle is over, nearly everyone in town is dead, including a young boy. Many of the women have been raped and abused by the Confederate troops, and one of them snaps and blows away all the remaining soldiers, including a general who had just ordered his aides to catch the men who had done this to the town.

    Cut to a group of cowpokes who arrive in town to complain about their ranch owner being bushwhacked. They find the bank has been robbed by a hooded gang, and the sheriff is leading a posse to catch them. The posse arrives at the girls spread, and are lulled into relaxing then shot and their throats slit. Our cowhand discovers a medal that belonged to his father, the general, dropped by a gang member.

    This set up the plot. The coyboys are after the gang, not knowing that it is a gang of women, and the women move to a new town to set up their next bank job. They kill time in a bath house, and entertaining at the local tavern. Some of the girls get together with the cowboys. Others are lesbians.

    We see breasts from three women in the bath scene, Chantelle Stander, Juliana Venter and an unknown. IMDb readers have this at 3.7, but it is a little better than that. The look of the old west was very good. The girls were not dainty, lovable characters, but cold hearted and meaner than snakes. The biggest problem was accents, which were to even close to Texas accents, and a lot of nothing between the sex scenes and the action scenes. This is a D+.

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  • Chantell Stander (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Juliana Wenter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Unknown (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Here's something unusual. I get to talk about two terrific movies in one day. Too bad there's minimal nudity. 

    Chinatown (1974)

    Chinatown is considered one of the top films in history. It is rated number 48 of all time at IMDb, as I write this, with an astronomical rating of 8.4. It was also both popular and respected when it was released in 1974, but it was an also-ran.

    • It was the 15th best grosser in 1974, which is not a bad performance, but it brought in a modest $12 million at the domestic box office, which was about a quarter of the take for the year's best performers, The Towering Inferno and Blazing Saddles.

    • It was nominated for eleven Oscars, including all the major ones (Actor, Actress, Editor, Cinematograper, Director, Screenplay, Original Score, Best Picture), but it won only one Oscar, that for the Best Original Screenplay.

    In most years, Chinatown would have done far better, I suppose, but it ran up against a juggernaut. It had the poor fortune to come out the same year as The Godfather Part 2, which is a legitimate contender for the honor of being named the greatest film ever made, and is rated #4 of all time at IMDb. Godfather Two was also nominated for eleven Oscars, winning six. Part two of the Coppola gangster epic also beat Chinatown at the box office by about a 2-to-1 ratio, so Chinatown was clearly the number two dog that year.

    So, does Chinatown have the highest IMDb rating for a film which did not win the Best Picture Oscar? No. Not even close. At #48 it can get in line far behind seven of the top thirteen.

    2 Shawshank Redemption, The (1994) 8.9/10 (119239 votes)
    5 Shichinin no samurai (1954) 8.7/10 (24270 votes)
    7 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) 8.7/10 (86792 votes)
    9 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) 8.7/10 (129079 votes)
    10 Star Wars (1977) 8.7/10 (113561 votes)
    11 Citizen Kane (1941) 8.7/10 (51182 votes)
    13 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 8.6/10 (52247 votes)

    One of the great ironies of the Chinatown situation is that the one Oscar it did receive was probably the wrong one.

    Stop and think about it for a minute. What makes Chinatown a great movie?

    • Tremendous, perfectly evocative musical score by Jerry Goldsmith.

    • Beautiful, stylized evocation of the era in cinematography and period detail.

    • Unique, memorable, downbeat ending, making it a classic noir.

    • Brilliant lead performance by Nicholson.

    The Oscar winning writer, Robert Towne, contributed none of the above. What he wrote was a labyrinthine, mediocre story that could have resulted in a poor film, but that other men turned into a work of genius.

    "Wait a minute", you are thinking, "what about that ending you love so much?"

    That's the right question to ask, but Towne didn't write it. Towne wanted the daughter (the Faye Dunaway) to save her own daughter/granddaughter from their evil, corrupt father (John Huston) by killing him. In doing so, she would also save the farmers from her father's ruthless exploitation and possibly help the people of Los Angeles avert a water crisis. The director, Roman Polanski, had a much darker soul than that. He knew from personal experience that the world was cruel and arbitrary and that the bad guys win quite often. He had grown up as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland and had seen his own beloved wife killed by the Manson family. Polanski threw out Towne's ending, and allowed the bad guy to win in every way. He got the innocent daughter/granddaughter in his clutches, he killed off his pesky and honorable daughter, and nobody could do a damned thing about it because he owned the law in that town.

    What about the great locale for the final scene? Towne didn't come up with that, either. His whole concept of "Chinatown" was as a symbolic place where the police are ineffectual because the place operates with its own secret laws. That was his metaphor for all of Los Angeles, where the greedy Huston character rules without fear of law enforcement. Polanski insisted that it was too abstract to call a film Chinatown when it has absolutely nothing to do with Chinatown, so he rewrote it to allow the final scene to take place there, and for Nicholson's associate to deliver the final, agonized line, "forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown". I think that was probably more effective that having the scene take place in the suburbs, and having the guy say something like "there's nothing you can do Jake. It's just like being a cop in Chinatown."

    Yup, Polanski was not only the director, but he did the best writing as well. He must have clenched his teeth when he saw Towne get that Oscar ...

     ... especially since Polanski and Towne hated each other's guts by the time the filming had started. Towne, in fact, was barred from the set, and reportedly only visited it once, smuggled in unseen in the back of someone else's car!

    Of course, Towne wasn't the only person who hated Polanski on the set. Polanski wasn't a graduate of the Hal Ashby Nurturing School of Direction. He was arrogant and monarchial on his sets, and plenty of people who worked on the film wished they has been barred like Robert Towne.

    Chief among them was Queen Temperament herself, Faye Dunaway, who may have set the all time tantrum record during this film.

    Polanski was actually lucky in that regard. Dunaway not only turned in a perfect performance, but she took all the heat off Polanski. The rest of the cast and crew hated Dunaway so much that they completely forgot how much they could have hated Polanski. In fact the crew even bonded with Polanski on those days when he was especially cruel to Dunaway.

    Dunaway deserved it. There are many great stories about her antics on this set, but the one that really sums it up is that Dunaway considered herself such a big star that she could not deign to flush the toilet. When she left a load in her trailer, she called crew workers to flush for her. Is it any wonder that she was so brilliant a few years later as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest?

    By the way, did you know that Towne originally wrote the script with Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda in mind? Fonda would have been a mediocre choice at best, but she would have been gold compared to the next actress to be considered. Towne took his original script to Paramount and showed it to Bob Evans. One of the reasons Evans greenlighted the project is that he thought it would be a perfect vehicle for his own wife - Ali McGraw!!!

    That casting would have been disastrous for the picture, but not nearly as galling for viewers as it would have been for Evans. Towne brought the Chinatown script to Evans while Ms McGraw was filming The Getaway and falling in love with Steve McQueen. At the time, Evans was blissfully unaware of what was happening between his wife and the rugged star, and he later pointed out that when Ali was dancing with him at the Godfather premiere, "she was looking at me and thinking of Steve McQueen's cock."

    • Faye Dunaway (1, 2)



    The Station Agent (2003)

    "Yes they're sharing a drink they call loneliness

    But it's better than drinking alone."

    -- Piano Man, Billy Joel --

    The Station Agent was one of the most popular films at Sundance this year (2003), winning both the screenwriting award and the audience award. It may be the best reviewed film of the year, with 97% positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes. It is rated 8.2 at IMDb, good enough to make the top 60 of all time if it had enough votes. Most people who have seen it have liked it, as you might well have guessed from its having received the audience award at Sundance.

    So why haven't you ever heard of this film? A couple of reasons:

    1. Miramax believed it was a small, personal kind of film without sufficiently broad appeal to compete toe-to-toe with the big Hollywood epics, so they gave it a cautious arthouse roll-out. Actually, "cautious" doesn't say the half of it. After four weeks, despite great reviews and good revenues per screen, it had reached only 58 screens. The good news is that Miramax has shown some flexibility, and The Station Agent keeps expanding to a few more screens each week. Unlike most films, which gross less and less each weekend, this film has increased every weekend for nine weekends as of this writing.

    2. For some reason, they have marketed this as a comedy. While the author has a sense of humor, it is really just a real-life character-based drama with a few moments to make you smile, all of which come naturally out of the characters and situations.

    What is it all about? Not much of anything. In a small town in rural New Jersey, three completely mismatched people come together because of their mutual loneliness. An upper-middle class female artist, a Cuban-American hot dog vendor, and a reclusive dwarf are brought together mainly through the efforts of the gregarious hot dog guy, who really wants to make friends. Many of the film's best moments are based on the fact that the three friends really don't have much to say to one another, but they hang out anyway, because "It's better than drinking alone." They push each other away, pull back together, and eventually come to a genuine warmth in their friendship.

    The film has a lot of guts. Some examples:

    • Rather than try to make the dwarf a sympathetic character, the author wrote him as the world's most boring human being. He gets off on reading about trains, and is obsessed with them, even timing their passage to the exact minute. As if being boring weren't a big enough character flaw, he's also taciturn and dour, and more than a little bit cynical and distrustful. He's not a bad person, but he's not a loveable one, either.

    • There is very little dialogue, and very little action. A lot of the movie consists of three people sitting quietly, or walking along railroad tracks. That pacing required three terrific actors to make the whole thing work, and the director found them in Bobby Cannavale, Peter Dinklage, and Patricia Clarkson.

    I wouldn't normally like this kind of movie. I didn't even go to see it at Sundance because I read the summary and it sounds like it sucks. Grieving woman, having lost a child, retires to the woods to paint. Dwarf retreats from a cruel world. Minimal dialogue. I pictured a film which was slow and boring, not to mention smugly sensitive. I was wrong. The concept may be precious on paper, but the execution is excellent. The film is not meant for the fanboy audience, of course, but it is handled well enough by the director and actors that it is not boring at all for thoughtful adults, and the sensitivity is really just a natural level of human compassion and sharing, and not a false kind of Hollywood sentimentality. And there's some humor to keep the pace fairly lively, so I ended up liking it even though it is not my kind of film.

    The film's auteur, Thomas McCarthy, is an actor by trade, or at least he used to be. The Station Agent is his first credit as either a director or a writer, but I suppose some doors are open for him now.

    Nice job. If you like low key, personal, character-based independent films, check it out. It hooked me in against my will, and it may do the same to you.


    Additional notes on second viewing: it does have a lot more humor than I picked up the first time through. Not wacky stuff, but quiet, low-key, charming humor.

    • Patricia Clarkson (1, 2, 3)




    Big Bruv redux

    • Big Brother UK descended into a near-naked mudfest on the show's raunchiest night ever. We had three .wmv clips yesterday. Here are several more.  (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)





    Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for Other Crap




    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.



    • Robin Tunney in the sci-fi stinkeroo, Supernova. If Soderbergh's Solaris was grade-b Tarkowsky, this movie is grade-z Tarkowsky. (.avi) (.wmv) (review)

    • Rona de Ricci in The Pit and the Pendulum (.avi) (.wmv)

    • Stacey Alden in Nightmare on Elm Street 3.  (.avi) (.wmv)


    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.

    A few comments by Brainscan:

    About Tuna's caps of The Mummy's Kiss. I was able to figure out who was whom in the unknown department a-way back in Jan 03 when I looked at this movie. Goes like this:

    Handmaidens in collages 1-4: brunette is Nicolette Lupian and the redhead is Joleen Thornton.

    Coeds in the rest of the Unknowns: Rosalyn Macie in 5-7, Elina Madison in 8, and the wonderous Rhoda Jordan in 9-12.

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    Canadian sci-fi horror and blatant Species rip-off. The co-leads Stefanie von Pfetten and Kim Poirier (Paradise Falls) show some skin while changing clothes near the beginning but all the sex afterwards is fully clothed. Had a very limited theatrical release a few months ago and is finally being released on DVD domestically July 20 (see although it is already available from Russia in R5-PAL format. Apparently there is a sequel in the works.

    Crimson Ghost
    More assorted goodies from the Ghost:

    From "The Banker"

    • Model/actress/porn star/former Heffer (April '86) Teri Weigel goes topless. 'Caps (1, 2, 3, 4) and .wmvs (1, 2)

    • 'Caps (1, 2) and one .wmv clip of Christina Walker briefly baring her breasts.

    Next up, the ladies of the direct to video creature flick "Deadly Species" (2002)

    • Haans Siver toplesss. 'Caps (1, 2, 3) and .wmvs (1, 2)

    • Heather Petrone goes topless and bares her bum. 'Caps (1, 2) and one .wmv

    • Samaral Ibanez goes topless and shows a thong view in her one and only IMDb credit. 'Caps (1, 2) and one .wmv

    'Caps and comments by Oz:

    "The Night That Never Happened"
    When you see the cast of The Night That Never Happened you know exactly what the movie is going to be like - plenty of the boobs and bums. Unfortunately, we only saw the M version and the only bush was a brief flash by Lisa Boyle. I'm sure that is a more explicit version available but is up to one of you American cappers. Nudity is provided by J Nichole Italiano-Zaza, Sandy Wasko, Linda O'Neill, Marie Webster, Kira Reed and Colleen McDermott.

    • Lisa Boyle (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
    • J. Nichole Italiano-Zaza aka Nikki Nova. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
    • Sandy Wasko
    • Linda O'Neill (1, 2)
    • Marie Webster (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Kira Reed (1, 2)
    • Colleen McDermott (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Fuckland is an Argentinan film and the title is a play on the word Falkland, as in Falkland Islands. It was made in documentary style as you'll see, and I wasn't sure what the film was trying to say. Anyway, we see a brief flash of bush by Camilla Heaney who is described as an actress, but I'm not so sure that she is.

    • Camilla Heaney (1, 2)

    "Hour of the Wolf"
    To the other end of the Atlantic and we get to the Swedish Hour of the Wolf. Ingrid Thulin is naked with plenty of breasts and there is brief bit of bush showing in the third collage. Not bad viewing for a 1968 film.

    • Ingrid Thulin (1, 2, 3, 4)

    "Eye Ball"
    Still in Sweden we have Eye Ball. Laila Goody is topless as she has a roll in the leaves.

    • Laila Goody (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    "8 Women"
    Staying Europe, we come to a French film called 8 Women. No nudity just lots of cleavage and a bit of knicker by Fanny Ardant, Virginia Ledoyen, Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve.