Sunday

 

 

  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.

OTHER CRAP:

Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ragtime

(1981)

Elizabeth McGovern film clips (samples below).

 


Scoop's Notes on the Film


I think of Ragtime as one of the great might-have-beens in film history. It started with rich source material: a long, witty, brilliantly observed and complex novel about the changes which took place in the United States after the dawn of the 20th century. That novel interwove its fictional characters with real historical people and events in a way that was both beautiful storytelling and incisive commentary about the changes which characterized that time. The story's backdrop included the emergence of cars, the birth of the film industry, the changing roles of women and black people, and the inchoate stages of the most powerful economy the world has ever known. The director of the film was Milos Forman, who is brilliant with period pieces. Amadeus, anyone? The cast was one of the best ever assembled, combining some of the best actors of 1981 with some promising newcomers, and some screen legends like Donald O'Connor, Pat O'Brien, and James Cagney, who came out of retirement just to play this role. The cast was so deep that even the tiny roles were filled by people who would later become stars, like Jeff Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, and Fran Drescher. There was even a successful "gimmick" casting to fuel the publicity engine, as novelist Norman Mailer played a noted architect.

All of the auspices were favorable.

And, in a way, the film is a great one. I sincerely believe that if you watch the second half of this movie, you will think that you must have missed part of one of the greatest films ever made. If you watch the first half of this film, you will sit back in your easy chair with the supreme confidence that you are about to have one of the greatest viewing experiences of your life. Yet in both cases, you would be wrong. It is a good movie, but not a great one. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. The two halves do not fit together well, and when they are attached, the make the film rambling and much too long.

What went wrong?

The most obvious problem was that the immense scope of the book needed to be pared down further. The novel managed several main stories of approximately equal weight, and introduced several main themes, all of which it treated with approximately equal heft. After it introduced each character and theme, it held them in reserve, reintroduced them periodically, wound them together, and incorporated each of them into the grand scheme, like independent musical signatures being woven into a long and complex ragtime number. Ragtime was the key symbolic element, because the development of ragtime music symbolized the changes of the era, and the symphonic elements of the plot reinforced the structure of a good rag.

That was all very nifty, but was also very literary, and not easy to transfer to celluloid. A movie cannot generally manage such gimmicky structural devices and, more important, is not of nearly infinite duration, as a book theoretically might be. I might enjoy spending two or three weeks reading The Name of the Rose, but the film version is allowed only a couple of hours from my life. The general consensus is that movies must generally be compressed into a running time between 90 and 120 minutes, except for grand spectacles like Spartacus or Lawrence of Arabia. The screenwriter came close to figuring out the solution, but could not quite get there. He correctly determined that the key was to focus on one of the stories, and let the others come to the front only during the points of intersection with the main thrust. Forman and Doctorow chose to focus on the story of Coalhouse Walker, a successful and elegant black man who lost everything important to him because his pride caused him to escalate a routine daily humiliation into a war against the system. Some redneck firemen hassled him one day and eventually ended up defacing his new Model-T Ford. He wanted justice, and he wanted that justice to treat him exactly as it would have treated a white man in the same circumstances. Unfortunately, justice did not want him back. He went through the standard channels and could not receive the recompense he deserved, so he ended up waging a war on white society until the authorities would finally meet his demands. Walker's tale was a great yarn, and provided the ideal focus for the film.

Because the scriptwriter just couldn't part with some of Doctorow's treasured creations, the Coalhouse Walker story takes forever to get started, but then becomes virtually the entire focus of the film's second half. The resulting film is 155 minutes long, and by the time it is over you will be wondering whatever happened to the characters you originally thought to be the focus of the film, back when the film started and you were much younger.

  • In at least one case, a major character is just completely abandoned. The focus of the film's first 30 minutes is a man named Harry K. Thaw, a historical character who publicly assassinated the famous architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer). Thaw goes to trial and is never heard from again. Although he seemed to be the "star" of the film for the first half-hour, it turned out that Thaw had only existed to introduce the character of Evelyn Nesbitt, a showgirl who was Thaw's wife and White's former mistress, and who was the second most important character in the film after Coalhouse Walker. If I had been in charge of this script, I would have dispensed with a lot of the preliminaries and would have started the movie with a bang - literally - Thaw's murder of White.
  • In another case, an irrelevant character is elevated to major status. The character of Tateh was important to the book. He was an impoverished Jewish immigrant who became a rich and powerful film director, and his story said a lot about America at the turn of the century. Although syrupy, his tale was a good one, and the character was portrayed beautifully by Mandy Patinkin, but there is simply no room for this storyline in the movie. It exists virtually independent of the other characters. Tateh never intersects with Coalhouse Walker, and he never needs to intersect with Evelyn Nesbitt. He touches other major characters only peripherally. It would have been a simple matter to cut Tateh completely from the script and, in fact, it should have been done.

With Tateh cut completely and Harry K Thaw reduced to a supporting character, the film would move smoothly and arrive at its focal point sooner. The story could be retooled ever so slightly so that it always revolves around the two major characters (Nesbitt and Walker). The Little Brother character would connect the two main characters, and the resulting shorter film would still deliver the same points and all the emotional resonance of the existing film, but would do so in 110 tight minutes instead of 155 slack ones.

I like Ragtime. In fact, I like it a lot ...

... but it should have been a great, great movie, and it just rambles too much to reach that height.


Scoop's Notes on the Historical Backdrop


Coalhouse Walker is not a historical character, but he has a mighty high-falutin' literary pedigree. His name and story come from Heinrich von Kleistís 1810 narrative Michael Kohlhaas, a morally complex tale about a law-abiding horse trader in the 16th century who eventually goes on a rampage of violence against a nobleman who illegally expropriates his horses. In the case of both Coalhouse and Kohlhaas, the affronted is an upright citizen who seeks redress through every legal means and obeys every law until it becomes obvious that he cannot receive justice through reason. In each case, his pride and his powerful sense of right turn him to criminal violence.

If you read the plot summary at the link above, you will see that the parallel between the two stories is quite strong. Each man lost his wife. Each man rejected an attempt at intercession from the most respected scholar and ethicist of his people (Martin Luther and Booker T. Washington). Each man demanded that his property be restored in its original condition. Herr Kohlhaas, however, came to as happy an ending as a man can achieve having lost his wife. He got his horses and he saw the nobleman imprisoned. Coalhouse earned his property and his pride back, but his campaign cost him his life.

The historical love triangle was substantially as pictured in Ragtime. Stanford White was the architect to the stars, having built lavish homes for the Vanderbilts and Astors, as well as famous public buildings. His continuing legacy to modern day New York is the Washington Square Arch. Harry K. Thaw was the 35 year old heir to a Pittsburgh mining fortune, and he had married Evelyn Nesbitt, the famous Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, who had once been White's mistress. On June 25, 1906, during the opening night performance of ''Mamzelle Champagne'', Thaw shot and killed White in the roof garden of the old Madison Square Garden on East 26th, which White himself had designed. As the fatal shot was fired, the performer was singing "I Could Love a Million Girls", precisely as pictured in the film. As this article from Court TV verifies, Doctorow stayed very close to the verifiable facts in his portrayal of the murder case and its principals. White really was a generous and gentlemanly satyr with an eye for young girls, and Thaw really was a crazy man. The film mentions that Thaw was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was confined to a mental institution. The film drops the story there, but Thaw was released ten years later, and lived free for another thirty years, despite the fact that he was never able to get his tantrums under control.

Nesbit, by the way, had a brief career in vaudeville after Thaw was committed to the institution, but struggled the rest of her life and never was able to return to the luxurious lifestyle she had lived with both White and Thaw. As pictured in the film, Thaw's mother reneged on her promise to provide Nesbit with a million dollars for favorable testimony in the murder trial.

 


Scoop's Notes on nudity, and the DVD


Would you be surprised to see a four minute topless scene and full frontal nudity in a PG film? I'll bet you would. Of course, a PG rating in 1981 did not have the same meaning it has in 2005, because the former encompassed both today's PG and today's PG-13. The division of the grade did not occur until July of 1984. That fact notwithstanding, it is still quite an unexpected pleasure to come across a PG film in which the beautiful lead actress (Elizabeth McGovern) is topless in clear light for such a long time, occasionally flashing even more than her breasts.

In addition to the nudity seen in the theatrical version of the film, McGovern performed a second long topless scene which was eventually deleted. In the big picture, assuming a major overhaul of the script as I suggested above, deleting that scene would have made sense. Given the existing theatrical version of the film, however, I would not have deleted the scene, for three reasons:

(1) The film is no less long and rambling after the cut. It wouldn't be noticeably different with the scene restored. Cutting the running time from 2:41 to 2:35 was not significant enough to warrant losing some good material.

(2) The scene would have plugged up a gigantic hole in the film's narrative. At one point, after Younger Brother has been stalking Evelyn Nesbitt for a while, he musters up the nerve to speak with her, and she is petrified to see him. He makes some comment to the effect of "you must think I'm crazy after what I've done", but we don't know what the hell he is talking about, or why she is so scared. The reason is in the deleted scene - she caught him peering at her naked body while he was hidden in a closet.

(3) the scene has merit in many other ways besides the flow of the plot.

  • It was essential to the character development of Younger Brother.
  • It's both erotic and amusing to see Elizabeth McGovern undressed by another women with Younger Brother watching from the closet.

I'm not sure why, but the DVD shows the deleted footage in black and white, with McGovern's nudity digitally blurred. Fortunately for us, it was not quite blurred well enough, and we can use the pause button to pick up a pretty good look in the occasional frame.

 

 

 

La Ultima Mirada

(Mexico; 2006)

Johnny's comments:

"7 Minutes is a romantic comedy Spanish style, meaning it's peppered with way more sex and nudity than you would get in any romantic comedy coming out of Hollywood. Doesn't mean it's any better though. Bascially, a group of people enter a speed dating session looking for love, but the session doesn't necessarily gather love in the right places. There's the socially inept woman who is tracked down by a hard man and she falls for him despite first impressions. There's the football coach who immediately hits it off with the violinist, but that relationship dissolves and he falls for her friend, who is very married ... except her husband is cheating on her with the maid. Then there's the apparently gay man who is struggling to find out if he is really straight. OK film, but nothing new here. Some nice nudity though."

Marta Etura film clips (collages below)



Racquel Lascar film clips

 

 

Fastlane

Fastlane (2002) was a short-lived series of 22 episodes. No visible nudity but plenty a lot of lovely women, notably Tiffani Thiessen and her silicon-enhanced bumpers.

Episode 8 - Mighty blue

Catherine Kwong - sexy

Tiffani Thiessen - sexy

Unknown - in her underwear

Episode 9 - Get your mack on

Bianca Kajlich - pokies

Michelle Forbes - cleavage

Tiffani Thiessen - cleavage

Unknown - sexy

Episode 10 - Dogtown

Nicole Paggi - sexy

Tiffani Thiessen - pokies

Unknown - sexy

Episode 11 - Strap on

Colleen Porch - pokies

Jaime Pressly - sexy

Tiffani Thiessen - cleavage

Unknown - sexy

Episode 12 - 101

Hudson Leick - sexy

Tiffani Thiessen - a whole lot of leg

Unknown - sexy

Episode 13 - Defense

Krista Allen - cleavage

Tiffani Thiessen - cleavage

Unknown - sexy

 

Episode 14 - Offense

Krista Allen - cleavage

 

Crossing

(aka "Dress to Kill"; 2007)

Movie about hookers, strippers, cross dressing and strap-on dildos. The version which aired on CityTV was missing some key scenes but the full version will be released to DVD in August.

Crystal Buble: sexy but the tv version removed her strap-on-dildo scene.

Belle Beach-Alcock: pasties as topless waitress.

Bif Naked: wearing strap-on dildo underneath her pants.

Tara Wilson: check out her panty lines.

Sarah Rodgers: sexy as hooker.

Erica Cerra: nice legs.


Detour

(2009)

Quebec movie.

Isabelle Guerard: nude sex scene.


Delivrez-moi

(2006)

Another Quebec movie.

Celine Bonniere: nude sex scene.

shower: Celine Bonniere and other actresses naked.


"NWWL: Sisters of Mercy vs After School Girls"

This Naked Women of Wrestling League DVD is only available in the UK.

Jessica Barlow: nude as Tiny Tina, Trish The Dish's  tag team partner.


"MuchMusic's Love Court"

episode: "Marsha and Veronika"

Reality dating show but this episode has a lesbian bent.

Veronika London: lesbian kissing, oil wrestling with her date. You can catch her in the second season of Zalman's King's Body Language currently airing on TMN.

Natalie Gauvreau: bikini oil wrestling referee.

Elise Estrada: hostess has lesbian kiss with Veronika.


"Mantracker"

episode: "Shannon & Stephanie"

Another reality series and in this episode two dumb blondes pit their wits against the tracker.

Shannon Leroux: camera fixated on her large rack.

Stephanie Bigras: camera fixated on her nice butt.


"Mob Stories"

episode: "Fox Hunt"

Cindy K. appeared in several of these episodes.

Cindy K.: bare back as dead hooker.


"Forensic Factor"

episode: "Million Dollar Murder"

True crime episode about a Texas millionaire who got murdered leaving a huge stash of personal sex photos for the police to sort through. After much exposed debauchery that would have made Hef blush, it turned out the son did it.

Sabrina D'Amour: sexy as main squeeze.

various: various Toronto models as the other bimbos (Cindy K. could be one of them).


Sold at Dawn

(2010)

Latest Czechploitation from boundheat.com now with more explicit lesbian sex bordering on hardcore.

Marie Veckova: explicit lesbian sex with Katerina Vackova. Could they be cousins or even sisters?

Dominika Jandlova: nude but mostly getting whipped and forced to chop wood.

Nikita Valentin: porn actress only topless as the lonely lesbian widow. By Czech standards this is PG rated.


"Reno 911"

episode: "Wiegel's Pregnant" (s4e01)

Kerri Kenney: nude and pregnant as a guppy. They must have burned that towel after that scene was shot.

 

 

Clips

Claudia Michelsen and Ellen ten Damme in Wilder Westerwald (samples below)

Martina Gedeck in Mutter und Sohne (sample below)

Pam Grier in Coffey - in 1080p!

Sophie Seferiades in Nathalie

Emmanuelle Beart in Manon of the Spring - stark naked 24 years ago

Emmanuelle Beart in Nathalie

 

TV Clips

Various clips from episodes of Show Me Yours:

Kathryn Zenna and Carlo Rota

Katya Gardner and Sarah Scotford

Michelle Duquet

Patrice Goodman

Rachel Wilson

Rebecca Cormier

Shannon Seyffert