Continuing our theme of "films not available on
DVD," we start with Night Games, a film from the king of the French
B-movies, Roger Vadim, who would occasionally churn out a film when he
wasn't occupied having sex with Jane Fonda, Brigitte Bardot, Catherine
DeNeuve, or Marie-Christine Barrault. Vadim was essentially the
French John Derek. Both men's films are filled with nudity, and Vadim
was Derek's match in studliness. His harem is a solid match for
Derek's group of Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, and Bo Derek. The only
failure of the comparison lies in the fact that the Frenchman's films
are mediocre, which means far better than Derek's.
Ultimately it doesn't really matter whether Vadim's
movies are any good because one does not watch them for the quality. I
don't much like 'em but I have to admit that if somebody issued a special
DVD edition of "The Complete Roger Vadim Collection," I'd acquire it
for the nudity alone.
The following are some
sample captures. Ms. "Blade Runner" Cassidy had quite the butt on 'er.
For reference, here's a rare capture of Joanna's first
screen nudity, in The Cursed Medallion (1975)
I have never found flat-chested, gap-toothed
Jane Birkin to be an especially
attractive woman, so I have a little trouble buying into a plot where
she plays a top prostitute. Frankly, if Jane and I had sex and there
was money exchanged, it would have to be flowing in the other
direction! And it would have to be a sizeable amount! On the other
hand, I thought she looked quite pretty in some scenes
in Catherine & Co. Here
is a zipped .avi made from a VHS tape. The following are some
Who's Harry Crumb? (1989)
Who indeed? Harry is the world's worst private detective, although
his father and grandfather were sleuths on a level with Holmes
himself. With the elder Crumbs having passed on, the giant Crumb
Detective Agency is being run by professionals, and poor old Harry has
been exiled to the Tulsa office, obviously guaranteed a position in
the company by his family inheritance, but assigned where he can do
the least harm. His only unique gift as a human being is the complete inability to
solve any crime of any type. Amazingly, the home office suddenly
requires just such a talent. You see, the president of the detective
agency has committed a kidnapping, and a wealthy client has hired the
Crumb agency to handle the matter. It is therefore imperative as a
matter of survival for the kidnapper/president to assign the case to a
detective who will have absolutely no chance of figuring out what is
going on. Enter Harry Crumb.
Harry is constantly posturing about how
much he knows, even though the only things he gets right are
meaningless bits of trivia. He is a limitless reservoir of accurate
but useless information about obscure matters like vintage automobiles
and fishing lures, but he is completely clueless when it comes to
piecing together a criminal investigation. That doesn't stop him from
declaring his genius with his words while his simultaneous actions
betray his cluelessness. In other words, he's basically a fat,
Canadian version of Inspector Clouseau. As per the requirements of a
Pink Panther film, Crumb takes a know-it-all attitude, dresses up in
ridiculous disguises, makes all the wrong assumptions,
gets everyone to assume he's an idiot, then somehow bungles his way to
the correct solution.
Who's Harry Crumb isn't really
such a good comedy. It's mostly slapstick, and the essence of its
approach to humor is to exaggerate John Candy's ridiculous physical appearance.
The big fella must have been at his peak weight at this time, and he
was placed in the most embarrassing situations conceivable, whereupon the
costumers were encouraged to dress him up in the most outrageous
outfits they could conceive, so that the slapstick situations would
look even sillier. He's flamboyant. He's a jockey. He's a woman. You get the idea. Of course, there was some juvenile humor to be milked out of
that strategy, and I caught myself chuckling a bit, but it was also a waste of
the kind of prodigious talent Candy had for creating a lovable
wastrel character, as he did in Splash. Furthermore, Candy was
basically asked to carry the entire movie with what is basically a
colorful secondary character, and ... well ... we all know that a
little bit of candy is a sweet treat, but we can get sick of it if we
get too much.
The failings of this film notwithstanding, I really miss
John Candy. Has he really been dead a dozen years? I
can't think of anyone else who has come along to replace him. He was cast as a slacker, an
incompetent, a shifty drunk, a coward, a pervert, a clueless dolt, a pompous ass ... and in
every single case, the audience adores him. He's the ultimate lovable
goof-off on screen, and his SCTV colleagues verify that John was
simply playing John. When the members of the SCTV team sequestered
themselves in remote hotels to concentrate on writing several episodes
of SCTV for those early seasons, the others could never count on John to come back with the
skits he said he would work on, but they could count on three things:
(1) John would be in the hotel bar making a friend of every single
human in sight; (2) John would have some funny ideas which could be
developed by the cast members with better work ethics; (3) when the
time came for filming, John would bring the same irresistible charm to
his roles in the skits that he brought to the hotel bar.
And some of that charm can be seen here as well.
The film needed more verbal humor and fewer pratfalls, but it does have
John, and some other minor charms. Annie Potts is fun as a dotty
nympho, and Shawnee Smith is adorable as the young girl who becomes
Candy's ad-hoc partner. Above all Candy is Candy, so it can't be
totally awful, can it?
The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974)
Some movies are self-reviewing.
Here is the
blurb from the DVD box:
"Meet Suzanne ... pure, sweet and so very
Three men are unavoidably drawn to her:
There's the tormented artist, driven to
capture her angelic beauty on canvas.
And a right-wing columnist who is
captivated by her "flower child" radical life-style.
Plus an offbeat filmmaker who is convinced
that the pristine Suzanne is the Messiah. In his bizarre
film-within-a-film, the crucifixion becomes a frighteningly real
crucifixation. The film crew's accountant tries to keep the movie's
final scenes from being shot. Can he succeed ... or will it be too
I didn't make up that "crucifixation" part. It
really says that. Let me add that the entire film was based on a song, Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne,"
a famous hippie anthem which drones on and on throughout the film.
You'll notice that I omitted the film's date from the top of the
page. You get to guess the era:
Pretty obvious, isn't it? Two IMDb commenters said it better than I
One of those post-psychedelic burnout non-movies that came out of
the avant-garde independent cinema fringe in the early 70s. Sondra
Locke portrays a female Christ figure for a bunch of young
filmmakers ... and really that's about it. Chock full of drawn-out
senseless images and pseudo-spiritual kakadoodie, the most
troubling thing about this terrible movie is its smug air of
self-importance ... the film is as hollow as a hat and struts
through its duration with the pride of a peacock.
Hard to sit through and almost impossible to follow, "The Second
Coming of Suzanne" puts you through the same kind of torture that
Suzanne is put through by Logan and the makers of the film-within-a-film. The
movie tries to be arty but that's just an excuse to cover up its
brainless and non-existent storyline and the terrible and
amateurish acting by everyone in it.
It has all the usual requirements for
hippie-era filmmaking: a nearly complete lack of dialogue, youth gangs
wearing mime make-up, Seventh Seal rip-offs, sitar music, psychedelic
"trips," dream sequences, paintings coming to life, and of course a
The film was produced by a well-known TV actor named Gene Barry,
the only film he ever produced, presumably to give his son Michael
Barry a chance to write and direct a movie. It would be the last time
anyone in showbiz would ever hear of Barry the Younger. On the
other hand, Barry the Elder, who also played the right-wing columnist
in this film, would go on and on like the Energizer Bunny. As I write
this, 32 years after Suzanne was made, and nearly 50 years after Bat
Masterson debuted, Gene is still working. And he was already 42 when
Bat Masterson went off the air! According to IMDb, he had a small part
last year, at the age of 86, in Spielberg's War of the Worlds. (It was
a bit of symmetry. He was also in the 1953 version of the film.)
In all those years, The Second Coming of
Suzanne is the worst film (per IMDb rating) in which he is credited as
You can see some captures from the film at
The Movie House,
but this loopy film clip of the sex scene (zipped .wmv) is probably a
better review than anything I have said or captured. As I said, some movies
I was howling all the way through this funny clip from Amazon
Women: the legendary Don 'No Soul' Simmons. In the two decades since this
was made, David Alan Grier has had a good career, but was never again this
"'The Departed' is set in South Boston, where the state police force is waging war on organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy is quickly gaining Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there's a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself."
Borat learns to play Cricket
Ann Coulter says Bill Clinton is a latent homosexual.
"Unlike other celebrity memoirs, Barbeau's book does not devolve into a gossipy tome, but the chapter detailing her affair with Reynolds is recounted with such personal candor that one ends up feeling sorry for both of them."
The disappointment of the week was Ant Bully, which opened in fifth place with a Friday below $3 million. (It was expected to finish third, with $13-$14m for the weekend.)
John Tucker Must Die was the positive surprise of the weekend. It finished 3rd overall, and 2nd in "revenues per theater." Critically reviled and rolled out to only 2500 theaters rather than the customary 3000+ for big studio releases, it was expected to finish fifth, in the $11-12m range. In fact, it was expected to finish below Ant Bully, but actually doubled it on Friday!
The Devil Wears Prada continued to astound. Although in its fifth weekend and competing against three new major releases, Prada finished 6th in revenues per screen and 9th overall.
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
The Cool Surface (1994)
When I was in the Navy, one of my shipmates shared a love letter to
his sweetheart that he was very proud of. The highlight of the piece was
the immortal line, "I love you so fucking much I could shit." We helped
with some minor rewrites, but I suspect we should have left it in his
style, which couldn't have been a surprise to his sweetie. I've often
wondered what happened to that guy, and I think I've found him -
he must have penned the screenplay for The Cool Surface.
Robert Patrick plays a wannabe writer who, after the suspicious death
of his girlfriend, went off to write. He completed a novel, which,
although well written, was nothing that anyone would want to read. He
was told to write something more commercial. Fortunately, his
inspiration came from the bungalow across from his, where Teri Hatcher
seemed to be in an abusive relationship. He finally busted in and
rearranged the man's face - only to find that they were both actors
rehearsing a play.
Eventually he and Hatcher became an item, and Patrick finally wrote
his new novel based on her, and what happened between the two of them.
His novel was picked up immediately for a film, whereupon Hatcher
auditioned for, and got the lead, essentially playing herself. This
terminally upset Patrick, who seemed to feel violated by her.
Why did he feel this way?
Nobody who has written about this film seems to have any idea.
In theory, The Cool Surface is supposed to be a thriller, so the
story meanders on to the thrilling ending, but if you pay attention to
the flashback of his dead girlfriend, who took an overdose of pills but
was found with a knife in her chest, the surprise ending will not be
much of a surprise.
I was unable to find anything positive in the film, nor could I find
anyone else who had. Oh, the acting is fine, the photography is OK
(although nothing special), the set design is adequate, and Teri
Hatcher's breasts are fine. All of this, however, is nowhere near enough
to compensate for a bad story written badly.
When Scoopy reviewed this, it was rated 4.6 at IMDb,
which he felt was too high. He will be relieved to know that it has
dropped to 3.8. Scoopy generously awarded a D based on the first act,
which did feature A-list breasts, and made sense, at least compared to
the rest of the film. I was completely turned off to the film by
stilted dialogue in the first few moments, and see it is a low D- or
Teri Hatcher shows
breasts in two of the several sex scenes. In the other sex scenes, she
remains fully dressed, or covered by arms.
Dann reports on Sexo con Amor:
ever watched a comedy with sub-titles, you know that it's difficult to
really appreciate the humor when you have to read the dialog rather than
hear it. Some things are funny when spoken, but not when read. This 2003
comedy from Chile manages to stay funny even for those of us who don't
The film follows the lives of several
couples and people whose common thread is a school that their pre-teen
children attend. The teacher, who has a painter boyfriend, but is also
involved with one of her pupil's father, calls a meeting to get input from
the parents on a sex education course that the school is planning. As you
might image, the questions include sex vs. love, sex without marriage, and
a host of other issues that everyone around the world face.
The interactions and complications of
people just being people lead to some funny situations, and bring out both
the frailties, and the strengths, of the human spirit.
Very well done, funny without being
slapstick, and worth a watch, even if it wasn't full of nudity, which in
fact it is.
Javiera Diaz de Valdes
No theme, except all the gals are beautiful and a few of them are nekkid.
in Twisted Sisters.
I don't really remember
Rhonda Selesnow, but Mr Skin has her entire nude
career for us. Here she is in American Drive-In
Selesnow again, this time in
Shadows Run Black. Jeez, not only have I forgotten Rhonda, but I'm having a
hard time recalling these movies at all.