Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains


This offbeat film is the ultimate compressed rags-to-riches-to-rags story. Within a few days, three girls go from runaways to rock stars, and back to oblivion.

A very young Diane Lane plays a teen with a 'tude. Some of her comments get aired on television, and other teens express admiration for her in "man on the street" interviews. Those broadcasts attract the attention of some greedy promoters who are salivating at the fact that she, her sister, and their cousin have a garage band called The Stains. It's more of a theoretical band, really. They've only had three rehearsals and can neither sing nor play, but after all rock has never been about musical virtuosity in general, but about attitude, especially in the punk rock area. (Remember Sid Vicious?) Although the girls have virtually no talent, their stage posturing and see-through blouses start to attract a following, and the media gets a hold of the phenomenon, which enlarges the following. The band's success also inspires more greed from more promoters, and plenty of jealousy from bands which take music more seriously. The jealous rivals soon tell audiences about the greedy profiteering behind The Stains's ostensible anti-commercialism, and the resulting disgrace returns the girls to obscurity as fast as it had lifted them out of it.

(The film includes a post-script in which The Stains perform in a rock video that shows they have rebounded to stardom - by becoming a glamorous bubble-gum group!)

This is an odd little film that almost works, but not quite. The pacing of the film is deadened by 1970s-style dialogue in which long pregnant pauses substitute for words, and the characterizations are inconsistent. The script can never decide which characters and situations it likes or even which ones it takes seriously. Some characters have been exaggerated into obvious buffoons at all times and are in the film only for comic value. Other characters seem to live in the real world. Still others seem to stray back and forth between realistic behavior and buffoonery. I'm still not sure whether it this film is supposed to be funny. If so, it fails, but if it could have found a consistent tone and held it, it might have been a cult classic.

There is one other liability that kept the film from success. It is filled with bad music. Mind you, this is not a weakness in the filmmaking. It is SUPPOSED to be a film about awful fifth-rate bands, so they can't sound like Hendrix and Clapton singing Dylan songs. But that artistic consistency comes at the expense of commercial viability. There's more and a half-hour of performances in this film, and bad music is bad music, whether intentional or not.  How many people look forward to listening to a dozen really bad songs performed poorly? The answer is, "Very few," and the miniscule size of that target audience limited the marketability of this film so drastically that Paramount never released it until four years after it was made, and never even made it available on home media. Prior to the current DVD release, it had only been seen on cable TV broadcasts and in a few arthouses in 1985.

OK, so the film is not so hot ... but the DVD includes a commentary track from Diane Lane and Laura Dern, who were 15 and 13 when they made the film. (Young Debbie Rochon is also in the film, making her debut as an uncredited extra.) Lane and Dern now look back on their youthful antics with a combination of nostalgia and chagrin, and their reflections are worth a listen.

Diane Lane film clips. Collages below.



Blood Car


The time is the near future. Gas prices have risen so high that only the very rich can afford to drive. A politically correct, mild-mannered, vegan first grade teacher thinks he has the solution. An amateur inventor, he is convinced that he can get a car to run on wheat grass. Unfortunately his experiments fail time and time again until he accidentally cuts himself and spills some blood into the wheat mixture. To make a long story short, he discovers empirically that his engine will run perfectly on blood, but only of the human variety.

At first he's reluctant to face the implications of that conclusion, but he finds that there are certain perquisites which come with being the only car on the road, not the least of which is an unlimited supply of kinky sex. In order to maintain his newly developed sex addiction, he must operate his blood car, and in order to operate his blood car, he must kill humans. Q.E.D.

As he starts to wipe out the local supply of the elderly, homeless, and hitchhikers, his every move is being monitored by a top secret cabal of government agents. They are not particularly concerned with his killing spree, since they realize they will have to do the same thing once they possess what they really want from him - the blood car technology, for America and America alone.

This is an extraordinarily funny black comedy, and that statement comes from a guy who is not especially fond of black comedies. It is quite clever from start to finish, tautly scripted, with lots of politically incorrect laughs in almost every scene. Some examples:

When the teacher finds out that his car runs on blood, he starts to kill small animals in his neighborhood. Unfortunately, he only has one of those Daisy Air Rifles, so it takes him forever to hurt even a small dog. He can't even penetrate the dog's skin, despite reloading again and again. Eventually he has to bludgeon the adorable little critter to death, crying as he does, for he's a vegan and can't bear the thought of hurting animals.

After the feds recruit him, they must erase all traces of his identity. This involves, among other things, killing all of the first graders who would remember him.

He kills a wounded war veteran with multiple artificial limbs, but is disappointed to see that this tactic produces only a quarter of a tank, while his previous kills had filled 'er up. "Damn," he says to himself, "I need a WHOLE person."

The funny script is ably supported by some outstanding cinematography. Visually, the director created a parallel universe very similar to the one in Napoleon Dynamite, one in which wide open spaces are populated by a very small number of people, all of whom are extraordinary and eccentric. The musical score, a blend of classical and vintage pop, works perfectly to accentuate the twisted actions on screen. The actors are young and generally inexperienced, so there are some weak performances and some inappropriate casting, but the cast all "gets it." They understand the offbeat tone of the film, and they create their characters with that in mind, so the eccentric line readings, often dry and deadbeat, seem to be in character for eccentric people, as opposed to just bad acting. I think it worked great.

The film is also filled with raunchy dialogue and nudity. Three minor characters showed their breasts, and lead actress Katie Rowlett's dialogue consisted of a steady stream of particularly colorful sex talk, both during and before sex scenes, although she did not contribute any nudity. One source reports that another lead actress, Anna Chlumsky, took a shower in the deleted scenes, but I can't confirm that as of now. (She also takes a shower in the completed film, but nothing is visible.)

The film is only 75 minutes long including the credit sequences, and that's a good thing. One can only tolerate so much weird behavior until it stops being charmingly quirky and becomes irritating, so a short running time keeps the film taut and prevents it from overstaying its welcome. The pacing is excellent, and the editing consistently invents unique ways to support the comedy, both with timing and creative visuals.

Overall, this one was a completely pleasant surprise for me. A total sleeper that turned out to be one of the better "sick" comedies I've ever seen. Napoleon Dynamite meets Troma meets South Park. Alex Orr, the writer/director, is a name to watch.

Film clips:


  • * 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.










A macho ladies man (Ryan O'Neal) goes undercover in a gay neighborhood to catch a murderer. His partner for the assignment is a gay man from the recordkeeping department (John Hurt). The latest victim had an editor father who has accused the police of inaction, so the unlikely team moves into a gay neighborhood to find the killer. Neither of the two are wild about the arrangement at first, but find that they are good together, and appreciate each other more and more as time goes on. This ends up being a sensitive look into the gay lifestyle, a humorous comedy, and a pretty good whodunit.

This is one I was watching for on DVD because I greatly enjoyed it the first time I saw it. It has aged well, and John Hurt gives an amazing performance. It was penned by Francis Veber, who also gave us La Cage aux Folles, La Cage aux Folles II and The Birdcage. He's clearly writing what he knows, and manages to create characters that are flaming, but nonetheless sympathetic.

Robyn Douglas shows breasts in a very dark pre-sex scene.

Iris Abanti shows breasts in the shower.









It's a "Hankster Light" variety day.

Brooke Burke with some nice cleavage on week one of "Dancing With The Stars".

Jamie Pressly with a leg show on the "Today Show".

Wrap it up with a classic Beverly D'Angelo baring the boobs in "Vacation".









Hotline: The Brunch Club

aka Catherine Bell nekkid.

Film clip here. Collages below.







Notes and collages



Madeleine Stowe

Did you know she turned 50 this summer? Tempus and Patrick fugit.






This section will present film clips to accompany Charlie's collages (which are found in his own site).

Marie Piot in Les Maries de l'Isle Bourbon






Pulse 2


It's a ghost story, but it's also a zombie story and an infection story, all wrapped into one. It isn't great, but I didn't hate it like some did, because it did manage to keep my interest. I also didn't see Pulse, of which this was the sequel, so I judged it only on its own merits, and not against the original.

Ghosts have invaded the world via the wireless Internet, and cell phone towers. Those few uninfected people must avoid anything electrical to avoid confrontation with the soulless ghosts. To make matters worse, some ghosts are still in earthly form, making it difficult to know if they are ghosts or not. In fact, they themselves often don't realize they are dead. Others have ghostly form, but can "infect" regular people causing them to disintegrate into ghosts.

In the midst of all this, a divorced man and woman both struggle to find and secure their young daughter, but are they both uninfected? And do they even realize it, if they're not? As I said, an awful lot of people disliked this movie, but I wasn't one of them. It stayed interesting, had some nice twists and turns, and had a somewhat surprising ending in the last 20 seconds

Boti Bliss







Celine Dion topless in Des Fluers Sur le Niege, a French-Canadian TV series

Film Clips

Lake Bell in Over Her Dead Body

Simonetta Stefanelli in the Godfather - in full Blu-Ray definition (1920x1080)