Serial is a light-hearted look at all of the crazy "consciousness expansion" fads of the late 70s. That era was the first time in which psychiatric care became not only therapeutic, but fashionable as well. Those who bragged about their therapy seemed perfectly sensible compared to those who trod the more outre paths to enlightenment: Asian mysticism, cult religions, self-help books, primal therapy, communes, EST ... you name it. It was a time when the leftover 60s hippies were trying to find a way to assimilate into mainstream society without renouncing the counter-cultural spiritual values they had come to treasure. When they entered the consumerist world they found themselves side-by-side with people with very different value systems, some of whom had hypocritically co-opted the symbols and slogans of 60s idealism to suit their own personal aims, others of whom were old-fashioned folks simply having a good laugh at what they perceived to be a rash of New Age bullshit. The film portrays that uneasy amalgam of disparate value systems as it was reflected in a group of suburbanites in Marin County.

I went to see this film when it came out in 1980. My first wife and I were still together and we were on vacation in Toronto, where we watched this flick in an exotic urban multiplex consisting of a couple of large rooms for the blockbusters as well as several tiny theaters connected by various winding and intersecting corridors and staircases - an anfractuous maze which one had to navigate by following handwritten signs containing hastily-scribbled arrows. Katie and I had been inside a few multiplexes, but never one in a city center ("centre," actually!), and we found the experience totally enchanting, a perfect display of everything we loved about Canada: a certain understated elegance partially undermined by quaint, low-tech eccentricity. You may think, "Why go to a movie when you're on vacation?" We had read quite a bit about this film and liked many of the cast members, especially Martin Mull, so we were really looking forward to it, and were quite pleased that it was playing within walking distance of our hotel and our main entertainment for the evening, which consisted of a Second City show at The Old Firehall and an excellent late dinner at Three Small Rooms. And, let's be honest. After years of watching Dobie Gillis as a kid, I couldn't wait to see Tuesday Weld nekkid.

I guess I remember all of these details because it may have been our last really good night together.

Oops. I'm rambling.

I guess I was leading up to the point that we were disappointed in Serial, despite our good mood in general and our predisposition to enjoy this film in particular. And yet now, watching it today, I really enjoyed the film. Is that because it brought back those pleasant memories which I just shared with you? Well, maybe, but I think there's a better explanation, or at least an additional one.

Serial is a film which derives its humor from a slight exaggeration of the characters and fads of the post-60s hippie diaspora. The word "slight" is, I believe, the key to why the film seems better to me now. Because it was only slightly exaggerated, Serial seemed in 1980 to be too close to reality to be effective satire, but too silly and too fond of its characters to be effective social criticism. I felt at the time that the film gave only a gentle loving ribbing to many things that deserved a contemptuous sneer. As time goes by, however, I tend to forget all the subtleties and nuances of the past and just remember the big picture. Memory tends to encapsulate an era by using mnemonic devices - handy symbols that make one particular time stand out from every other time in the past. When the memories fade, the extreme emotions "in the moment" always seem to be tempered when they fall from the present to the past. Looking back on Serial now, I seem to share its point of view about that era: that it was all kinda silly, but many of the worst parts of it can be remembered not with contempt, but with a fond nostalgic smile, the kind of sheepish grin that says, "I can't believe we used to be that way."

Oh, I still found the film's jokes tepid and obvious, yet this time it gave me a great deal of pleasure.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Tuesday Weld's topless scene, which is still as disappointing as ever.

On the other hand, Sally Kellerman's scene in both sexy and funny. Sally made a great career out of one character - the pretentious ass who's also kinda hot. She pretty much spent her life playing Hot Lips Houlihan.

There's also an orgy scene. The only actress identified is Patch MacKenzie, Martin Mull's date for the evening, whose breast(s) can be glimpsed very briefly in the mirror.

  • * 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.


Boys Don't Cry


(1920x1040 clips)

Today: Hilary Swank (Chloe Sevigny yesterday)

Generation Um


You mean there's a film with two Australian actresses that is not an Australian film? Well, I never...

Generation Um... is a um, drama about, um ...

Well, not much happens, so you'll have to bear with me.

John (Keanu Reeves) is an amiable layabout with not much going on, but his life seems to involve two damaged young women, Mia (Adelaide Clemens) and Violet (Bojana Novakovic). They seem to be close friends, but as the day progresses and Mia and Violet speak about their lives and their loves (or lack thereof) to John, who is filming them with a stolen camera, we begin to learn more about each and eventually, how they are connected.

As I said earlier, this film is hard to describe and doesn't seem like much and goes along at a snail's pace, but I must say that I was never bored by it. While Keanu's character is basically an interviewer of the girls, both Adelaide and Bojana give great life to their 'far more complex than they seem' characters. This film is not for those looking for action, but is not a bad film by any means.

I bought the DVD of this film from Thailand as it doesn't seem to be available anywhere else (well except online, well it wasn't when I bought it, but was during transit...). So, I'm doubting a Bluray release. As a fair chunk of the film is taken from a character's filming it on a video camera, the quality isn't fantastic, but is fine. I've seen worse, believe you me.

Adelaide Clemens film clip (collages below)


Film/TV Clips

Alina Levshin in Kriegerin (2011) in 1080p

Gretchen Lodge in Lovely Molly (2011) in 720

Helene Zimmer in Q (2011) in 1280x720, apparently upsized from a smaller source

Josefine Preuss in Stuehle im Schnee (2007)

Renata Dancewicz in Diabelska Edukacja (1995), sized 1920x1080
Great scene, but again this clip seems to have been enlarged from a smaller source.


Natalie Portman on the beach in a bikini

A few more of Patricia McKenzie in Cosmopolis (2012)

Jennifer Lopez (non-nude) in Out of Sight (1998)

Some Celebrity Bottoms:

Adelaide Clemens in this week's episode of Parade's End
(see Johnny Moronic's column for more of her)

Jemima West in Paradis Criminel (2012)

Yeo-Jeong Jo in The Concubine (2012)

Iliana Zabeth in House of Tolerance (2011)

Raquel Zimmerman shopping in the buff

Sylvie Loeillet in Cuisine Americaine (1998)

Jeanne Tripplehorn in Basic Instinct (1992)