True to its theatrical roots, Bug is basically a two character stage play about the lethal combination of paranoia and loneliness. Ashley Judd plays a lonely bartender, divorced from a violent convict, living in a flop-house motel in the middle of some white trash desert hell, without companionship or prospects, abusing any recreational substance she can acquire. Through a concatenation of circumstances, she ends up hooking up with a shy, polite drifter. He quickly progresses from sleeping on her floor to joining her in bed, and in her hopeless desert he seems to be a movable oasis.

Gee, he's nice.

Only one slight problem.

Once he gets in that bed of hers, he quickly concludes that it is filled with bugs. Ashley can't see the bugs he points out to her, but he seems rational at first, even scientific in his evaluation of the situation, so she goes along with his conclusions. As time progresses, he becomes ever more obsessive about the bugs, and she is drawn into the obsession. He begins by buying an entire hardware store full of sprays and no-pest strips. His bug obsession becomes more and more maniacal until by the time the film ends, the two of them are living in a unique made-for-paranoids world, with everything in the room covered with tinfoil, and bug zappers hanging everywhere. Along the way the drifter offers the explanation that he has had egg sacs implanted in his teeth by the mad experiments of government scientists. No problem, though, he just rips out the suspicious tooth. 

As we say in Texas, this puppy was doomed from the get-go. It's fundamentally just two people in a single hotel room getting crazier and crazier. Each moment of the film tries to make us squirm a bit more than the preceding one. The harrowing denouement resembles that of Requiem for a Dream, except that the catalyst is madness rather than heroin. It's the kind of movie where if it were done really poorly, people would hate it, and if it were done really well, people would hate it even more. Either way, it would provoke a lot of walk-outs and a lot of negative reactions. As it turns out, it is done quite well, but that just rachets up the ugliness of the viewing experience, and invites even higher levels of audience negativity. The script gradually increases the intensity of the characters' madness, which in turn amplifies the intensity of the audience's experience until the story explodes in a crescendo of destruction, as you might expect. (Not much room for a happy ending with this premise.)

Bug is effective enough at achieving its goal. Unfortunately, that goal basically consists of shocking us with deeper and deeper levels of dementia. I have to admit that the film did get under my skin, so to speak, and thoroughly creeped me out, so it's fair to say that the film is quite brilliant in its own way. If Edward Albee were a young man today, he might be exploring alienation with this sort of treatment rather than through The Zoo Story. But brilliant or not, Bug represents a thoroughly depressing and unpleasant viewing experience, and that's not going to put a lot of butts in the theaters, and among the few butts that do get planted in those seats, a high percentage will be leaving before the film ends.


Guess who directed this.

It's William Friedkin. Remember him? In the 1970s, he directed four consecutive strong films.

  1. (8.00) - The Exorcist (1973)
  2. (7.90) - The French Connection (1971)
  3. (7.32) - The Boys in the Band (1970)
  4. (7.25) - Sorcerer (1977)

The top two on that list earned him Best Director nominations from the academy, and he won it all for The French Connection. But those four films remain his four highest-rated theatrical movies, and some of his later projects have IMDb scores better suited to softcore porn films. In fact, Bug's 6.7 is the highest IMDb score achieved by any theatrical Friedkin film in the past two decades, although it's not the lavish, big-budget film you might expect from a graying Hollywood legend, but rather the type of committed, strident, emotional film made by young, bleeding-edge directors like Aronofsky or Assayas. It received some solid reviews (3.5 stars from Roger Ebert, for example) and created some buzz at Sundance, so maybe it is a springboard for a second career for Friedkin.


The best news? Ashley Judd stark nekkid. The caps will be much better from a commercial DVD. In the screener we lose the full frontal shot when the screen turns B&W and the words appear. You can still see what it should look like, but we'll just have to wait for the real thing.






* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

* White asterisk: expanded format.

* Blue asterisk: not mine.

No asterisk: it probably sucks.


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








Number 96


Number 96 is a film version of a very popular Australian adult evening soap of the same name which ran from 1972 to 1977. Both the series and film trace the adventures of the residents of an apartment block address. The film plays like several episodes of the TV series tied together, but each subplot is resolved before the film is over.

Because this is not the sort of linear plot that allows a simple plot outline, I will briefly describe some of what goes on. One couple is about to celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary. Several different residents take charge of arranging and catering a party, and then the happy couple look at their wedding certificate and find the bride may have married the best man. A playboy sort is romancing a stewardess, while an old friend who spent time in a mental hospital has moved back into the building with her new husband. She seems to be going off the deep end again. An old Jewish man and his wife own a deli on the ground floor. He has been hiding money from the tax man in his mattress, and accidentally starts it on fire. With the money gone, he decides to take extra jobs to replace it. Two residents decide to build a sauna in the basement and charge for its use. Also, the film opens with what was evidently a running theme in the series, where Vera Collins (played by Elaine Lee) is raped.

The movie provides the same energy as the soap, which soap fans must find a good thing. Alas, I am not a genre fan although I must admit that I became interested in some of the characters. Fans of the series probably liked the fact that former cast members whose characters had been written out of the series returned in the film.

This is available from in a two disk set. Disk one contains the film, a PDF copy of the script, and a feature length commentary. Disk two contains three featurettes, the longest of which is over 90 minutes, and is a highlight presentation of the first 1000 episodes of the series. A second featurette covers the series from episode 1001 to the end, and the last is a travelogue of a train trip taken by the cast. The featurettes include additional nudity, and are narrated by former cast members. I am sure fans of the series have flocked to buy this excellent two disk special edition, despite the fact that the video quality is less than ideal because the original negatives could not be located, and the material was mastered from several work prints which show signs of projector abuse.

We will call this a C-.

IMDb readers say 6.5 but with only 25 votes.

Number 96


Elaine Lee shows breasts. Lynn Rainbow as the former mental patient shows breasts through a nightgown, and Rebecca Gilling shows everything as the stewardess.


Elaine Lee



Lynn Rainbow


Rebecca Gilling


Special Features









Maximum Risk

Back to 1996 for one of my favorite women, Natasha Henstridge, in "Maximum Risk." Natasha has such sexy eyes. Here she is with some nice T & A as she messes around with Jean-Claude Van Damme.







Notes and collages

Short Cuts - Part 6

The final set of bright orange beaver from Julianne Moore








Love the Hard Way

Jack Grace (Adrien Brody), a con artist who falls in love with a girl from the right side of the tracks, is no ordinary sleazeball. He keeps a secret storage unit separate from the apartment he shares with his partner-in-crime Charlie (Jon Seda), where he keeps first editions of classic novels and works on his own novel. The girl is Claire (Charlotte Ayanna), a beautiful, unstable biology major at Columbia. Claire tells him she likes movies best that make her cry, and he does his best to oblige her, ultimately sending her on a self-destructive bender that makes him look like a good boy.


Charlotte Ayanna










The Science of Sleep


Aurelia Petit



Charlotte Gainsbourg








Various ...

Janine Lenon and Marlene Stevens play hookers in Aroused.  Typical grindhouse fare except that in the end the ladies of the evening get to the serial killer-necrophile before the cops do;  and, as Bruce Willis would say decades later, they removed his weapon.  Both of them. 

There is Barbara Wood in Rent-a-girl.

Then there are the Darlenes...Darlene Bennett and Gigi Darlene in a couple of clips from Music to Strip By. Gigi was the cuter of the pair but Darlene was smokin' hot. 

And the bonus is Gigi once again, in the credits and end sequence to a movie with several titles.  Nude on the Rocks is the most descriptive.










Here's Mr Skin's take on former child star Madeline Zima in Californication

and Wendy Rhodes in David Lynch's Inland Empire

These are supposed to be the uncensored versions of Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey on vacation in Mexico. There is some debate about their authenticity.

As a companion piece to Tuna's recent look at Cameron Richardson, here are some tasteful nudes she has done for photogs. (Not new.) Nice body, likes to show it off.

One more of those modest new Heidi Klum topless shots






The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

Two physicists at Germany's University of Koblenz claim they have broken the speed of light.  Einstein believed it would take an infinite
amount of energy to propel an object faster than light, but the Germans say that by using "quantum tunneling," they made microwave photons travel "instantaneously" from one prism to another three feet away.  Theoretically, if an astronaut could travel faster than light, he could arrive at his destination before he left for it. 

*  If he changed his mind and decided not to leave after he'd already arrived, where would he be then? 

The owners of C&D Distributors, a small parts supplier in Lexington,
South Carolina, pleaded guilty to fraud charges for exploiting a government loophole: if a part ordered by the Pentagon was labeled "priority" or sent to a war zone, shipping charges were paid automatically.  So over six years, they charged taxpayers $20.5 million for shipping, including $293,451 to ship an 89-cent washer to Florida, $455,009 to send three screws to Iraq; and the one that finally got them noticed by Pentagon officials, $999,798 to ship two 19-cent washers to Texas. 

*  To be fair, that wasn't just shipping. It was shipping AND handling.

Virgin Travel Insurance surveyed British travelers to list the top 10 most disappointing destinations. Counting down from #10, they are: The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Brandenburg Gate, the Egyptian Pyramids, the White House, Rome's Spanish Steps, the Statue of Liberty, Las Ramblas in Spain, Times Square, the Louvre, and #1, the Eiffel Tower.  Among tourist complaints are that the Pyramids are too hot and have too many aggressive souvenir hawkers, and the Eiffel Tower is "overcrowded and overpriced."  Even Stonehenge, which didn't make the top 10, was described as "just a load of old rocks." 

*  When I go on vacation, I want to look at some NEW rocks, dammit! 

*  In what could be a first, the scandal over the "To Catch a Predator" series has prompted the ABC news magazine "20/20" to announce that they are investigating the NBC news magazine "Dateline".

* This startling development will be covered in depth by "60