|Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
Mambo Kings (1992)
Sometimes very good movies never find an audience. Such was the case with
Mambo Kings, a soap opera story about two Cuban brothers who hope to establish
themselves as musicians in New York in the early 1950s. The older brother is a
cocky, sexually aggressive tough guy with unlimited energy (Armand Assante), and
the other is a sensitive, dreamy-eyed romantic (Antonio Banderas) who can't ever
seem to recover from losing the love of his life back in Cuba.
The plot developments are just the usual grist for the soap opera mill. The
story begins in Cuba when the older brother takes a knife from a mafioso club
owner who had stolen the younger brother's dream woman, Maria. The older brother
finds out a crucial secret after he gets knifed. It turns Maria was forced into
Hobson's choice - marry the gangster or watch Banderas die. Maria therefore not
only married the bad guy but told Banderas she did it for love, because she knew
that was the only way she could keep Banderas out of Cuba, and therefore alive.
Maria told Assante the truth, but made him swear an oath never to tell Banderas,
an oath which would later haunt both brothers.
You get the idea.
Life in the United States centers around the trails and tribulations of
making it in the music business. The boys have the talent, but they don't know
how to deal with corrupt promoters and shady club owners. Before they know it,
they are blackballed from the big clubs and are playing Bar Mitzvahs for pocket
change. Their fortunes change when they run into Desi Arnaz (played by Desi
Arnaz, Jr.), who gives them a big break by letting them perform one of their
numbers on I Love Lucy. Their TV appearance is is shown in a brilliant sequence
which seamlessly intercuts our heroes with actual period footage of
Lucille Ball to make it seem as if they really were having a conversation with
America's favorite redhead.
While the lads maneuver through the entertainment industry, they argue
frequently because they have very different goals in life. Meanwhile, their
private lives get complicated. Banderas marries a schoolteacher, but never
really loves her because he can't forget his beloved Maria. Assante goes through
an assortment of sexy women, but can't confess the identity of his own true love
because it is the schoolteacher who married his brother.
The melodramatic plot, although reasonably interesting, is not a reason to
watch the film. There are, however, two very good reasons:
- Brilliant characterization from Assante and Banderas, who seem to have
been born to play these two roles.
- Like this movie, Assante always seems to be underrated and forgotten,
although he is an exceptionally intelligent actor who can do just about
anything from serious drama to comedy. In this film he plays the drums
(convincingly) alongside Tito Puente, dances well, speaks some Spanish (he's
a New Yorker, and his actual ethnic mixture is Italian-Irish), and just
flat-out owns the screen whenever the camera comes near him, in a
performance reminiscent of Anthony Quinn's career role in Zorba the Greek.
Antonio Banderas also did an excellent job as the younger brother, but he
was clearly the second banana in the film, although he went on to
superstardom while Assante went on to ... well, whatever the hell he's doing
now. I suppose he's now using all of that intelligence and talent to play TV
game shows with Shadoe Stevens and Carrot Top. OK, I'm kidding. Assante
works steadily in films, but seems to be relegated to cable and video
projects lately, and has never seemed to reached the stardom he seemed to
- By the way, props to Marushka Detmers, a Dutch actress who was entirely
credible as a Cuban-American.
- A tremendously enjoyable re-creation of the Cuban-American music scene
from that era.
- Tito Puente and Celia Cruz play themselves, and other music is provided
by The Mambo All-Stars, Linda Ronstadt, Duke Ellington, and Los Lobos. If
this music doesn't get your shoulders moving, it ain't never gonna happen.
And if the lively Latin rhythms don't turn you on, there are also beautiful
romantic ballads. Los Lobos provided the voices for Banderas and Assante in
the Oscar-nominated "Beautiful Maria of My Soul", and the legendary Celia
Cruz sang Guantanamera with most of the cast in a wedding scene.
If you enjoy Cuban music, this is mandatory viewing. Even if you don't care
for the music, it is still a slick entertainment filled with great period flavor
and intense emotions ranging from joyful energy to soulful romance to mourning.
It would make a good date movie, even though it bombed in its original
I like the movie so much that I was disappointed by the limited special
features, which include only a very brief making-of featurette and one
additional scene which was not seen in the theatrical version.
Without You I'm Nothing (1990)
A performance piece from Sandra Bernhard. The piece is presented as if it
were a documentary - kind of a concert film with a little background. In fact,
it is a scripted mockumentary with the premise that Bernhard has too big a head
from doing a one-woman show on Broadway, and finds out that her act just doesn't
play in Peoria. She performs lavishly choreographed and orchestrated pieces in
elaborate costumes, but we see that her audience consists only of a few people
in a summer club, and that they aren't even remotely interested in her show
business insider material.
Bernhard presents some standard comedic punchlines, but most of the show is
high concept performance art - material like Bernhard performing material
entirely inappropriate for her audiences, with the entire act turning into some
kind of Brechtian alienation of the audience. It's brilliant stuff. She's
obviously an intelligent person with a strong aesthetic sense and a wide-ranging
grasp of different aesthetic and performing styles. She does solid
impersonations of showbiz characters, sings well, dances well, and strips down
to show off an excellent body.
Having said all those nice things, I should probably add that I was just as
bored as her fictional audience. I guess it is all over my head, or just too
damned "inside," or maybe just too aloof for my taste, but I basically hated it,
even while admiring her far-reaching talent.
'Clips and comments by ICMS:
Here are the next two clips of a naked Phoebe Cates in the surf in "Paradise". The clips are rather short, but the sunset and Phoebe make up nicely for that, don't you agree?
'Caps and comments by Hankster:
Today the Time Machine travels to 1985 for a jungle sleazefest called "Cut and Run" produced by Ruggero Deodato. Originally released in a cut version in the U.S., it now is available un-cut on DVD. Not for the squeamish as it has some very gory scenes; like a man split in half and cult favorite villain Michael Berryman ("The Hills Have Eyes", "Weird Science", "The Devil's Rejects") chopping off heads.
So we get the gore out of the way first as we have unknowns who are shown full frontal, two of them have their heads sliced off by Berryman and the other knifed to death.
We move on to Valentina Forte in a topless and not-quite-willing love scene. Then boobs and a quick flash of fuzz in the shower. Boobs falling out of her blouse in the grass. Her final cap is her demise as she has been shot with a blow dart.
Lisa Blount is grabbed , but escapes the grasp of Berryman , only to wind up as a "Babe in Bondage" suspended from a tree.
Some "Hankster Light" to wind up the day as Angelina Jolie shows a bit of boobage in "Taking Lives".
Today the Ghost pays tribute to Skinemax babe Gabriella Hall (she sure gets nekkid a lot, doesn't she!).
Here she is scenes from an episode of the late night series "Beverly Hills Bordello".
|The amazing Eva Green making her film nudity debut in "The Dreamers".
|Here is Jennifer Garner looking fantastic in lingerie and bikinis from the Season 2 Box set of "Alias".
The Skin-man serves up some 'caps from the Canadian cable series "Bliss". This was made for Showcase, the Canadian Showtime, so you know the nudity is good :-)
in the episode "Voice".
Here are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
Playboy announces an internet version of the magazine
The trailer for Capote
- Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in a Truman Capote biopic
which focuses on the writing of In Cold Blood and the relationship
which Capote developed with one of the killers.
- The page linked above also includes an excellent write-up
by Gerald Clarke, who wrote the book which inspired the movie.
- This looks like it may be an excellent movie. Here's the
Chris Farley Gets Posthumous Walk of Fame Star
Weekly World News: "3 Foods That Make Gals Horny" -
including their highly coveted recipe for Bavarian Dingle Loaf
Were the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of
nuclear war in 1983?
Would You Buy A Used Cure From This Man? Crimes and clowns: A
look at pitchman Kevin Trudeau's shady past
National Lampoon Covers: 1970 - 1998
Jimmy Kimmel's Unnecessary Censorship: Aug 26th, 2005
Jimmy Kimmel plays "whose body part is it?" with Hugh Hefner
"the 1930 edition of the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. catalog titled
'Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and
URL says it all:
CatsInSinks.com Regrettably, not one o' them sumbitches fell
into the disposal. Don't miss my own site, coming soon,
Jon Stewart discusses Iraq with fellow iconoclast Christopher
Steve Carell will replace Jim Carrey as the star in the sequel
to Bruce Almighty. Carell's minor role in the first film
will be elevated to become the focal point.
Redford and Newman, together again?
Klingon Fairy Tales.
- "Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare
Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to
Protoclown declares: I HATE CLOWNS
A man who allegedly walked into Jennifer Aniston's home and said
he was looking for the actress was arrested Thursday for
investigation of trespassing
Ben Affleck has signed a deal to be the new face of Lynx
deodorant in the UK
Bush Approval Rating Sets More New Records
- Bush's current job approval rating is the second lowest of
all two term presidents in the summer after their re-election.
(Nixon was lower, but his case is exceptional. The other
presidents' approval ratings were 58% or higher.)
The Daily Show looks at President Bush's "counter-mom" strategy.
The Daily Show's Samantha Bee investigates local city council
members who are botching other people's vacations.
The Daily Show demonstrates that Bush's simple, catchy talking
points are quite frankly, easy to dance to.
Dude - it's EXTREME crochet.
Nature's Call - an exhibit of flower-shaped urinals
Jailed man locks himself up with 8 female prisoners
Water Flowed Recently on Mars, NASA Scientists Say
Hitachi Unveils World's First Terabyte DVD Recorder
hard disk will hold about 128 hours of high def programming.
|Pat Reeder www.comedy-wire.com
Pat's comments in yellow...
AUDIENCES REALIZE: MOVIES SUCK
Finally!! - The New York Times reports that Hollywood studios have reached
a consensus on the main reason why ticket sales are down: people have
realized that the movies suck. New Line Chairman Robert Shaye said you
once could "count on enough people to come whether you failed at
entertaining them or not, out of habit, or boredom, or a desire to get out
of the house." But Universal Vice Chairman Marc Shmuger said people are
"beginning to wake up, that what used to pass as summer excitement isn't
that exciting or that entertaining." Sony chairman Michael Lynton vowed
that from now on, Sony will make "only movies we hope will be really good."
The old plan was to make movies they hoped were total crap... That was
Starting with "Passion of the Christ II, III and IV."
Translation: Look for a remake of "Star Wars" with an all-penguin cast.
They don't understand it: the imaginary critics they created thought the
summer movies were terrific.
People realized Hollywood was hopeless when they couldn't even make a
"Deuce Bigalow" movie that was better than the first one.
BREAST IMPLANT NEWS ROUND-UP
And They Tip Over A Lot - The New York Times reports that the boom in
breast implants, particularly in Southern California, Texas and Florida, is
causing problems for fashion designers. They make clothes that fit slender
models, but women who have inflated their busts to a D or F cup find that
their waists and chests now require two different sizes. The women say
their clothes still fit funny, even after expensive alterations. The
Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills now sells more size 12s than any other US
store, because women there need a 12 to fit their breasts, while the rest
of the garment has to be cut down to a size 2.
Size 2? In Beverly Hills, that's a cow! Make it a zero!
At WalMart, women buy a size 12 and let the bottom out to a size 24.
This is why Pam Anderson just goes around naked.
If you went to all that trouble and expense to look like a stripper, why
wear clothes at all?
Size 12 Bust, Size 2 I.Q. - Tara Reid, whose incongruously large breast
once fell out of her gown on a red carpet and she apparently didn't even
feel it enough to notice, has finally admitted her boobs are fake. After
denying the rumors for years, she now said, "I mean, everyone does it. I
don't know why I'm the one who gets so much attention."
Maybe because you're the one who's standing on the red carpet with your
boob hanging out?
Her breast isn't the only part of her body that's completely numb.
She could've worn falsies, but then her boob would've fallen out ONTO
BJORK'S SWAN DRESS FOR SALE
Or "Kind Of Useless" - The international aid agency Oxfam is holding an
Internet celebrity charity auction, and the hottest item is singer Bjork's
notorious Oscar dress that looks like a big swan. An Oxfam spokeswoman
said they asked celebrities for items with a story behind them, so buyers
would know they were getting something special. She called the swan dress
"kind of priceless" and said they hope it sparks a bidding war.
...Between a transvestite and a ventriloquist.
Bjork donated it because it's the kind of thing you can only wear once.
I'm betting the story behind this dress somehow involves drugs.
If you buy it, a mental illness charity will hold an auction for YOU.
CELEBRITY DOG STATUES FOR SALE
FAKE Jewels?! - Next month in London, a dog shelter will raise money by
auctioning fiberglass dogs decorated by celebrities, including Elton John,
Tom Cruise and Orlando Bloom. The dogs are decorated with everything from
autographs to fake jewels. They are described as the ideal "celebrity
canines": they never need walking or feeding, they just stand there and
Except for the Tom Cruise dog: it jumps all over the furniture.
Like real celebrities, they look beautiful, do no work and never eat.
The Paris Hilton fiberglass dog is a hollow bitch with one
CRUISE DENOUNCES HOAX INTERVIEW
Bingodulla Is VERY Angry! - Tom Cruise is denying that he gave an interview
in which he claims to be a reincarnated Scientology prophet. It quotes him
as saying he dated Katie Holmes in a previous life, and "I only took my
present form because Bingodulla, whom all Scientologists worship as the
Supreme Thetan, selected me to spread the gospel of Scientology to the
glib, the uninformed masses." Cruise's spokesman called it an Internet
hoax, created to ridicule his religious beliefs.
...before the glib, uninformed masses.
Although it actually makes more sense than his real interviews.
If he dated Katie Holmes in a previous life, didn't she learn ANYTHING?
Currently on disability. If you'd like to get in touch with him, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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