2005- filmed

2011- released to festivals

2012- released to Blu-Ray/DVD in two versions

This essay includes a recap of my previous notes.

A bright but callow teenager from a prosperous Manhattan family is looking for a cowboy hat for her upcoming vacation with her dad. She has no luck, but she suddenly spots a bus driver wearing the kind of hat she needs. Hoping to find out where to buy such a hat, she tries to get the driver's attention as the bus pulls away, distracting him just enough so that he runs a red light and hits a pedestrian. The girl's mental state steadily disintegrates after the fatal accident, and the rest of the film deals with her attempts to cope with her feelings and to bring this chapter of her life to some kind of closure.

This film was lensed in 2005 and was scheduled to be released in 2007. Some people felt it would be an Oscar candidate, and no less an industry luminary than Martin Scorsese declared it a masterpiece. Unfortunately, it became the subject of bitter litigation between the producers and the director, Kenneth Lonergan. Lonergan was contractually required to create a film with a running time less than 150 minutes, but could not figure out how to do so. He had been given "final cut," but only if he could comply with the 150-minute clause. When he failed to produce a short enough version in a timely manner, the studio hired other people to take the footage and produce a marketable movie. Lawsuits and counter-suits followed (story here), and the film languished in distribution purgatory.

The film has finally been released on Blu-Ray and DVD in two versions, one of which fulfills Lonergan's legal requirements (it weighs in at 149 minutes, 53 seconds), the other of which is the longer version Lonergan wants us to see. I bought the set, which I consider a rip-off. The price is very high to begin with, and I thought (admittedly without reading carefully) that it included four versions of the film: Blu-Ray extended, Blu-Ray theatrical, DVD extended, DVD theatrical. That is not the case. The set includes a Blu-Ray of the 150-minute cut and a DVD of the longer version. Period. For me personally, that means my one goal in buying the set, to get a Blu-Ray of the longer version, was never achieved.

As it relates to the Fun House, that doesn't matter. The nudity is exactly the same in both versions. One of the things we missed because of the legal wrangling was Anna Paquin's first nude scene. She was 22 or 23 at the time, and was playing a high school girl.

The movie itself?

Well, most important, the prolonged legal brouhaha over this film illustrates why directors should not be given final cut, especially if they consider themselves 100% artists and 0% businessmen. Not only is the 3-hour version unbearably long, but even the 150-minute version could be cut.


During the legal impasse, Lonergan supposedly called Mark Ruffalo, a confidante and one of the film's stars, into his editing room and screened the film for him. As the story goes, he asked "What could I possibly cut?", and Ruffalo supposedly could find nothing to trim from the work of perfect genius. I'm not sure exactly how Mark drew that conclusion, and I don't even know if the meeting really happened, but I'll tell you this: the film should be cut a lot more, and many places where it could be trimmed are extremely obvious, even if no individual scenes are excised from the movie. At various times in the film, people walk down aisles and corridors in real time. Elsewhere, people watch an opera and we see an ungodly amount of the actual opera-within-the-film. If an editor did nothing more than trim all that sort of fat, another 20 minutes could be lopped off.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. If Lonergan were to give the footage to me and let me do what I wanted with it, I would eliminate or shorten many tangential scenes or scenes of peripheral importance, and would probably trim the film down to about 90 minutes. That would not only make it a properly paced film, ("proper" only in my opinion of course), but would also increase the relative significance of the scenes which are truly important and powerful. Perhaps just as important, if such a trim had been made six years ago, the result might have been a limited theatrical run in commercial theaters in 2006 or 2007. Had that been the case, the people involved in the film would have benefited financially in two ways: (1) the film would have grossed a few bucks, especially if it could have cooked up some Oscar buzz, stimulated by Scorsese's admiration; (2) everyone involved in the litigation could have kept all the money they paid to lawyers when they were suing each other.

"Would this be a great film at 90-100 minutes?", you wonder.

You know what? It just might be. If Lonergan were to give the film to somebody like Paul Greengrass and his great editor Christopher Rouse, who together managed to turn the awful script for The Bourne Ultimatum into a very watchable and commercially viable movie, this film might realistically have been an Oscar candidate. It has a solid premise, an excellent cast, weighty ideas, and some very powerful scenes. Atom Egoyan got nominated for the best director Oscar for a film with a similar premise (The Sweet Hereafter). I don't know if there is a money-making film to be assembled from the Margaret footage, but that's not the point. There has to be a great artistic achievement in there somewhere.

But Lonergan couldn't find it



Here are some captures from the Blu-Ray version of the 150-minute cut. There's nothing to get excited about. The J. Smith-Cameron scene is too fuzzy, and the Anna Paquin scene is in Stygian darkness.

J. Smith-Cameron

Anna Paquin

  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


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


The Hotel New Hampshire


1080p clips of Nastassja Kinski

Innocent Prey

(Innocent Prey is a 1984 horror thriller, filmed both in the US and Australia.)

Cathy (P.J. Soles) is suspicious of her cowboy husband (Kit Taylor, his character apparently from New Zealand, but that seems bizarre and I don't remember a mention of it). She follows him to a motel where she spies him fucking a prostitute and then slitting her throat. Horrified, Cathy turns him in and he gets arrested and sent to a nuthouse, sorry, hospital for the criminally insane, where he promptly kills a guard and jumps a barbed wire fence as if it was nothing. He comes after Cathy, killing many cops along the way, but she fights him off and with the help of the good old sheriff (Martin Balsam, a long way from Psycho), she runs away to Australia to be with her friend Gwen (Susan Stenmark). Gwen lives in a house owned by a shy rich kid nutter Phillip who watches everyone via an amazing quality CCTV system set up around the house and property. Then, Cathy's husband tracks down Cathy to Australia and comes to get her, but there's a surprise waiting for him.

A not all bad little horror film that makes some massive leaps in credibility (and I mean massive), but has a pretty good set up an intriguing third act. But, those leaps in credibility are quite large and stop Innocent Prey from being a good film. Ah well...

The Innocent Prey videos are captured from a VHS copy of the movie, so be warned of the quality, but this seems to be quite good quality for that medium. (Sample captures below each clip.)

PJ Soles. (No nudity. Possible slight see-through.)

Debi Sue Voorhees

Susan Stenmark



Kristen Stewart in On The Road. Sub-DVD quality, but far superior to what we had before.

Anne Nahabedian in The Hunger, s2e4

Liv Ullman in Skammen (1968)


Lubna Azabel in Here (2012)

Carice van Houten in Intruders (2012)

Marlene Clark in Ganga & Hess (1973)

Mabel King in the Ganga & Hess special features (1973)