Slowest news day ever. I hate this time of year. Hope some of the Oscar screeners start to filter out to the masses.


  • * 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.










Gwyneth Paltrow film clips. Raw screen grabs below.

Scoop's comments, written in ought-three.

Before I saw this film, I was not particularly knowledgeable about the poetess Sylvia Plath. I know that she was an unlikely 20th century poet - not the expected wild-eyed Bohemian, but a bourgeois middle-American who looked like she would have been more at home in a Betty Crocker cook-off than in a Greenwich Village coffee shop. I know that she tried to commit suicide several times, starting when she was ten years old, and coming very close to success in that endeavor between her junior and senior years at Smith. By her own count, as detailed in "Lady Lazarus", she tried to kill herself three times unsuccessfully. She finally succeeded at ending her life on the fourth attempt, when she stuck her head in an oven shortly after the unhappy dissolution of her marriage to poet Ted Hughes.

I know that many people consider her a great poet. I don't know about that. I don't like her work, but I'm not really interested in any 20th century poetry after T.S. Eliot, and I don't really get into morbid self-absorption, so that's just my taste kicking in. Let's assume she was top-drawer. But I'll tell you this. She sure wasn't much of a novelist. I read The Bell Jar and I found it to be completely without merit of any kind.

I also know that nobody really knows what the hell was wrong with her head. She was not abused or tortured in childhood. She never had much hardship in her life. She didn't experience the tragic death of any of her children. No major traumas like that. She was a brilliant student, an attractive woman, and a successful author. She had two beautiful children.

She was said to be a happy child until she was about ten, at which point her father died, and she gradually took on more and more manic-depressive behavior characteristics, and an increasing morbidity. In her life, and in her work, she talked about death so much that she made Jim Morrison seem as life-affirming as Zorba the Greek.

The death of a parent and the dissolution of a marriage are difficult circumstances, but similar things happen to most people, and they do not spend their lives sticking their heads in ovens or popping sleeping pills. Clearly she was messed up, and one naturally wonders if there is some explanation, some insight, perhaps to be found in her own words.

That is what I knew before I saw the movie. That is still all I know.

No further illumination, in fact not even that much illumination, will be found in this film, which simply hits upon some biographical highlights chronologically. It can't use her poetry to illuminate her mental condition, because Plath's estate would not allow her poetry to be quoted in this film.

In fact, the script really didn't capture the nature of her mental illness. Ron Howard has taken some flack in his life for being a pedestrian, mainstream director, but he did quite a good job at demonstrating the nature of the mental illness in A Beautiful Mind, by using visual devices and by keeping some of the delusions hidden temporarily from the audience. These tactics allowed the audience to see through the eyes of the deranged mathematician, and to live in his reality. Sylvia accomplishes none of that. Whenever a depressive or paranoid episode is coming on, it alerts us and then suffocates us with the usual movie cliché - tragic and dissonant violin music.

In other words, this is a film about a mentally unhinged poet, yet it offers no insight into her mental condition, and never uses her poems. Sylvia Plath without the poetry and without some insight into her mental illness is about as interesting as "Oklahoma!" without the songs.

Some feminists have found Plath to be a symbolic victim of woman's inferior role in modern society, and they often claim that she was destroyed by devoting her life to, and giving up her own work for, a cheating, insensitive man. The film did, at least, give the axe to that theory, since it clearly shows that Plath's mental condition was just as bad before the failure of her relationship with Hughes, and that Hughes did everything he could to get her to stop playing housewife and start writing. Of course, his leaving hastened her decline, and was the direct cause of her final sayonara, but it was merely the straw that broke the camel's back.

This film was supposed to be the great return of Gwyneth Paltrow to serious, respectable cinema, after having been slumming in junk flicks for some time. Gwyn's performance is fine, but the movie is so insignificant that I don't expect her to get any award nominations, and very few people will ever get to see the performance in order to evaluate it. And to tell you the truth, she was overshadowed by a charismatic performance by Daniel Craig as Ted Hughes, just as Sylvia Plath was overshadowed by the real Hughes. In other words, Gwyn will have to wait a while to re-ignite her career, because this film won't do it







Marisa Miller naked in her bath (from Room 23)

Jamie Lee Curtis back in the day (HQ)



Two women from A Night With Sabrina Love: Cecilia Roth and Julieta Cardinali

Kelly Carlson from Starship Troopers 2 - in HD

Courtney Cox in the first episode of Cougar Town - in HD

The women of Le Chant des Mariees: (Karin Albou, Olympe Borval and Lizzie Brochere. They are all in a single large .zip file.)