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Behind the Scenes, July 30 edition (mostly Marina Valmont showering off her body paint)

Get Shorty


Hailey Josselyn in episode two

Megan Stevenson in episode three

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52 Pick-Up

1986, 1920x1080

Kelly Preston


Amber Lynn


Scoop's comments:

52 Pick-Up is a twisting, sleazy crime story. It was made in the 80s, but it's an 80s film only by averaging it out. Thematically, it's typical of a 90s film made from an Elmore Leonard story, like Get Shorty or Jackie Brown, filled with corrupted protagonists and colorful villains. Stylistically, however, it's an old-fashioned John Frankenheimer production in the manner of early 60s Hollywood, which is not surprising, given that it was actually directed by John Frankenheimer!

John Frankenheimer was once considered an A-list director, but that was twenty years before he made this film. That point may be best illustrated by the dates attached to the four Frankenheimer films which are rated the highest at IMDB.

(8.39) - The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
(7.76) - Seven Days in May (1964)
(7.57) - Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
(7.56) - The Train (1964)

Frankenheimer had some major failures toward the end of his career, when he was in his 70s and still at it. We're talking real bad, late-night monologue material, like Reindeer Games and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Compared to Frankenheimer's best and worst work, 52 Pick-Up is about in the middle of the road both in terms of chronology and quality. To his credit, Frankenheimer, who was 56 when he made this film, did a pretty good job of running with the young guys and modernizing his approach somewhat. The villain is suitably creepy and over-the-top in the modern fashion, and some of the violent acts are shown explicitly.

The basic storyline of 52 Pick-Up is good. It is complicated enough to be intriguing, but not too complicated to be comprehensible. Three baddies from the sex trade arrange a sexual relationship between a successful businessman (Roy Scheider) and a beautiful young hooker (Kelly Preston), then secretly tape all their sexual activities. Being both psychotic and in the adult film industry, they edit the footage into a little story and show their film masterpiece to Scheider, demanding substantial blackmail in return for the tape. Scheider refuses to pay, electing instead to tell his wife (Ann-Margret) about the affair, thus negating the value of the revelation.

Hoo-boy, the baddies are really not happy with Scheider's decision, so they up the ante with a bigger blackmail scam. They proceed to break into Scheider's house and steal some clothes and a gun. They then use Scheider's gun to kill a hooker who has been pretending to be Scheider's mistress, and they record the entire frame-up on film so they can show it to Scheider. ("I used two cameras. I was quite proud of that film.") This time they significantly increase the retail price of the tape, presumably to cover their lavish production values and because they can't exactly put it on the market at Sundance.

At that point, Scheider knows that he is screwed.

  • He can't go to the police for two reasons (1) because he thinks he'd be implicating himself in the murder, and (2) because his wife is running for assistant D.A., and it would destroy her career.
  • He can't go on a Charles Bronson spree of violent revenge because he's not a tough guy. He's a suburban husband battling against violent lowlifes.

His only possible solution, therefore, is to out-smart the baddies and turn them against one another.

All in all, 52 Pick-Up has a good story put together by a director who was once considered one of Hollywood's major players. It has a deliciously creepy baddie, over-the-top dialogue, and lots of nudity. It even features a cameo by film legend Ronald J. Hyatt, or as he is more commonly known, Ron Jeremy. The editing and music sometimes seem old-fashioned for a film from the mid 80s, but it's not a bad genre flick. Not bad at all.

The Gift


Katie Holmes film clip (collage below)

The Gift is one of those Stir of Echoes, solve the crime through psychic powers, things.

Cate Blanchett plays some kind of a white trash, welfare-collectin' bayou mama who supports herself by readin' Tarot Cards, droppin' her g's, and workin' her own at-home version of a psychic hotline. She's currently moseyin' around with a passel of guilt because she had a psychic vision of her husband dyin', but couldn't convince him to do something about it. Wait a minute. If she saw a vision of her husband's death and he didn't die, then she's not really a psychic, is she? So what the hell can she do about it? A lot of us have daydreams, but it's only when they come true that you qualify for Psychic School.

Anyway, it happens that them thar' po-lice were stumped on a case, and Dionne Warwick's line was busy, so they asked Cate to help out. Wellsir, ol' Katie Holmes is missin' or dead or somethin' and this is a small Southern Movie town, so every single person in town is both capable of murder and well armed. Not to mention psychotic and seriously inbred.

Is it the wife-beatin' violent psycho (Keanu Reeves. Whoa!), or the papa-hatin' violent psycho (Giovanni Ribisi, no surprise there), the DA who was havin' an affair with the victim, the jealous wife of one of the psychos, or one of the other slow-talkin' third-grade-educated people in the town, all of whom seem like the type to enjoy carnal relationships with barnyard animals and the recently deceased?

Hard to say.

The problem is that Cate doesn't see full answers in her psychic visions, just snippets of things which may be in the past, present, or future, like the guy in The Dead Zone. So she gives them generic answers like "I see a pick-up truck, some guys fishin' for catfish, some Bar-B-Q, and some longneck beers", which pretty much means that it could be anybody over the age of five in a small Southern town.  Then she sends them off to dredge the pond.

Hell, in a small southern town, dredging the pond is always a good bet. Here in Texas, when our ponds start to go short on bass and dead bodies, we re-stock 'em artificially.

That kind of psychic reading, I can do. Come and tell me there's a murdered hockey player and I say "I hear 'Oh, Canada', I see some ice, some Molson's, a Zamboni, and some guys with bad teeth", and send the sheriff off to check out the leads and dredge the rink.

Anyway they arrest one of the psychos based on her vision, but then she keeps havin' those movie montage visions with repeatin' phrases, like the psycho's wife sayin' "the ol' slut deserved to die, just a-fuckin' mah man", and every other person in the plot sayin' somethin' 'bout how they wanted to see ol' Katie dead.

In fact, only one guy in town didn't want her dead.


Needless to say, he's the one that killed her.

I don't know why the film didn't do better at the box office. It isn't a great film, but it is directed well, acted well by marketable names, and features one actress with great talent (Cate Blanchett), and another actress with two great talents. (The first shot of Katie's redoubtable hooters comes 00:01:06 into the film - before the credits! Now that's entertainment. Not to mention the director's accurate assessment of a valuable asset.)

Disturbing Behavior


Crystal Cass film clip (collage below)


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Moon Bloodgod in What Just Happened (2008) in 1080hd