Good Luck Chuck
I never thought that I would one day be springing to the defense of
a movie like this, but then again, I never dreamed I'd pick up a 32
point bridge hand, or that I would be be stealing shipments of
cumquats to impress my elderly Uncle Stanley's 19-year-old mail order
Thai bride either, so there you are. Life sometimes deals the
unexpected hand, and it's our responsibility to bid the tricky grand
slam or to bring the ben-wa balls and plenty of lubricant to Uncle
Stanley's house when he is spending a few days at the Mayo Clinic.
GLC is, to my knowledge, the only major 2007 film to receive NO
positive reviews from the cream of the crop at Rotten Tomatoes.
Because of the universal critical contempt, I assumed it was a
complete crap-fest on the level of Dorm Daze, so I
avoided it when it came to the theaters. Of course, the copious nudity made
it a must-watch for the Fun House, and I was surprised to see
that the film is not that bad. In essence it is a 70s British sex
farce re-tooled into a contemporary American movie. I guess we should
not be surprised that films of that nature are widely deprecated by
critics and film snobs, since Tuna has covered this subject
extensively in his essays on the first two "Confessions..." films.
The role which would have gone to Robin Askwith in the seventies,
the silly dentist of only moderate
charm who has inexplicable success with the ladies, goes this time to
Dane Cook. The explanation for his bewildering gift as a Casanova is that a
legend has sprung up around him. No, not what you're thinking. The
legend is that any woman who has sex with Chuck will find her perfect
dream-man immediately afterward. Women therefore line up at the foot
of his bed. Chuck is not happy with the situation. His friend wants to
know, "What's wrong with
it?" Well, it turns out that the legend is true (long story, not
worth detailing), which means he
can never be loved. As soon as he makes love to a woman, she's off to
the altar with the next guy, no matter how much Chuck likes her. And
Chuck likes Jessica Alba a lot.
His dilemma is, therefore, that if he sleeps with his true love, he
assures that she will fall in love with the next guy she meets. But if
he can't show any interest in the woman, he's going to lose her anyway. The
comedy, such as it is, involves various gimmicky attempts to resolve
the dilemma. (Example. He asks his friend, a plastic surgeon, if he
can get a completely new face after making love to Alba, so he can
also be the next guy after himself.)
OK, it's not a great movie. Let's not kid ourselves. But a zero
percent at Rotten Tomatoes? It's just not that bad. I laughed out loud
two or three times, and I made it through the disk without resorting
to the fast-forward button. And it has some creative nudity to
entertain my simple mind. Hell, those elements alone make it better
than at least half of
the films I watch each week. If this flick came on cable late in the
evening, and you had some chill time coming, I don't think you would
be rushing for the remote. Afterwards, you might think, "Well, that
was nothing special," but I think you'd probably last it out.
It's a helluva lot funnier than the incredibly lame and tedious Mr.
Woodcock, which scored 27% from the same "cream of the crop."
The pathetically low critical appraisal probably tells you less
about the film than about how far the average critic is from the
public's sensibilities. The film scores a C+ at Yahoo (with more than
5000 votes) and grossed nearly $30 million. Obviously some people
liked it, and while I didn't really like it, I didn't mind it, either.
- The sex montage:
Dane Cook and many different women.
- Jessica Alba. I was floored to see that Alba is actually topless
for about two frames, albeit from the side-rear.
The Portrait of Doriana Grey
aka Doriana Grey, aka La Marquise de Sade
I normally leave the Jess Franco movies to Tuna, but I was curious about this
one since it is one of Jesse's few efforts at hardcore porn, the old in-out and
The premise of the movie is somehow kinda sorta vaguely related to the famous
Oscar Wilde story. A mysterious, rich lesbian recluse lives in her isolated
castle, while an exact duplicate of her, presumably a twin sister, is confined
to a nearby asylum. The countess has numerous affairs, all of which seem to end
with her sucking the very life out of her sexual partners like some kind of a
sexual vampire who drains her victims with orgasms.
Meanwhile, the other sister spends all of her waking hours saying crazy things
and masturbating furiously.
Kinda like Bill Maher.
The two sisters look exactly alike, so there is no direct parallel to the Wilde
story, but if you really want to stretch the metaphor, you could say that the
Bill Maher sister is paying for the sins of the murderous countess, just
as Dorian's portrait paid for his sins. But the most important element of their
psychic link has quite a different spin. The institutionalized sister also gets
the benefit of Doriana's lust, for the tragic nature of their telepathic
communication is that the rich one has all the sex, but the crazy one has all
Maybe not exactly what Oscar Wilde had in mind.
Or maybe exactly what Oscar had in mind, but couldn't express directly in
At any rate, the story begins when a journalist arrives to interview the
mysterious countess about her life and her alleged twin, and the story is told
using that tete-a-tete as the framing device, thus allowing the countess to
narrate constantly. Not that there's much to narrate. Except for the first few
minutes of the film, which includes some of the countess's reflections on life
and loneliness, the film is basically just non-stop sex scenes.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Franco's approach to sex scenes is somewhat different from what you might see in
a modern mass-produced porn film. While the scenes are neither very romantic nor
very passionate, they are shot in beautiful lighting with a clinical attention
to detail. In fact, "clinical" is probably the best word to describe all of the
sex scenes in this film. Lina Romay, Franco's life-partner and collaborator,
plays both sisters and between the two roles she manages to engage in a wide
variety of recreational activities with both sexes, and to expose herself in gynecological
detail, including extreme - almost microscopic - levels of close-up. In her
"crazy sister" avatar, Romay also manages to give a BJ onscreen, and director
Franco catches the climax just as it happens into her open mouth. Romay does not
get penetrated with a man-root, other than in her mouth, but she has a male
manservant, and he has a girlfriend, so that allows Franco to introduce some
heterosexual penetration into the mix. The ...er .. climax ... of the film is a
scene in which Lina has sex with (surprise) Lina. No, I don't mean masturbation,
although she does plenty of that, but in this case it's the rich sister paying a
visit to the crazy sister.
The film does exhibit some of the problems that plagued Franco's films in that
- He makes extensive, most people would say excessive, use of the zoom
- He has occasional focus problems, which he tends to correct on the
fly. (I suppose that derives mainly from his use of the zoom, which
always seem to require a period of trial-and-error refocusing after he
zooms in or out.)
- He re-uses some establishing footage several times. (One clip of
Romay walking through the woods in a transparent nightie and five-inch
heels appears at least three times.)
My opinion is that the curiosity value of the film (hardcore porn from Romay and
Franco) and the superb quality of the transfer outweigh the film's negatives if
you are looking for something unique to add to your collection. The icing on the
cake consists of plenty of extra features on the DVD. This disc is priced at a
premium level (the best price I could find was $29.95 new from xPloited cinema),
but I found it a good value. One simply cannot find anything to complain about
with this DVD.
- The film has been fully restored and the quality of the transfer is
- The disk also includes a lengthy compilation of interviews with
producer Dietrich and director Franco, all of which have been intercut
with samples from this film and others to create a documentary which illustrates the points they are
- There is also an interesting special featurette on the restoration
process, which is illustrated with before and after examples as well as
technical information about the techniques and hardware involved. (This
is not specifically about this particular film, but about the creation
of "The Official Jess Franco Collection," which basically consists of
the Dietrich/Franco collaborations produced in Switzerland in the
- There is a documentary about the making of a different Franco film:
the Klaus Kinski version of Jack the Ripper, featuring a lengthy
analysis from producer Erwin Dietrich.
- There are theatrical trailers from this and fourteen other similar
films - forty minutes of film altogether. (Caps from Rolls Royce Baby
are seen below. This is the only film I know of wherein Lina shaved her
This film is good niche material, but since that is not my particular niche, I
found the special features more fascinating than the film. The trailer gallery
is like a time capsule, or perhaps a lesson in an obscure chapter of film
Genre fans rarely get anything as sweet as this this: a fully restored film,
hardcore done by people who don't usually do it, and a ton of special features.
A must-own for fans of Franco and/or Romay.
There are many caps from this in the Encyclopedia, and I imagine that Tuna will
get to it eventually and cover it thoroughly, so I stuck only with Lina and
hit only the highlights. Several other women and two men also engage in sexual hijinks.
Also seen below are some caps from the Rolls Royce Baby trailer and Mr. Skin's captures of Lina from various other films which
are either not currently represented at all or not represented well enough in
* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).
* White asterisk:
Blue asterisk: not mine.
No asterisk: it probably
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Oh, Woe is Me
Hélas pour moi (1993), or "Oh, Woe is Me," is Jean-Luc Godard's
retelling of the Greek myth of Herades birth, when Zeus takes the
form of a human so he can have sex with a man's wife and
experience human love. In this version, the wife is played by the
lovely Laurence Masliah.
In our Final Jeopardy question, the part of God in a French movie
is played by ...
(I'll give you time to lock in your guesses while the Final
Jeopardy music plays.)
(Did anyone have any doubt at all? If anyone got that question
wrong, you lose all your money, no matter how much you wagered.)
A publisher travels to a small
Swiss village to see if the story he has heard is true. What we see
slowly revealed is the result of his investigation. Plot
developments are sporadic at best, and must compete with placards,
non-sequiturs and aphorisms for viewer attention. Hubby leaves for
an overnight business trip to buy a hotel, and then seemingly
returns home for some fast sex. Can't fool us, however, because we
know which Greek myth inspired this, so we know that the man who
returns home is not the husband at all, but
God using one of his customary ploys to get laid. Or maybe not. Or
maybe it is God but he is unsuccessful. Whether or not he succeeded is not really
clear, but I suppose Jean-Luc would say it doesn't really matter.
Especially given that nothing else is clear either.
It is probably clear to you already that this is not my kind of
film. I found it beautifully rendered and utterly indigestible, but I thought in fairness I should present the other side of
the debate, so here is a counterpoint which I cobbled together from
on-line reviews and comments. Remember, these people are all talking
about a film they love.
"It is a contemporary existential allegory and elegiac in style."
It "is not meant to be viewed lightly - it's not a typical American
movie. It is not really an enjoyable film, but more a disturbing,
It "is confounding, challenging and nearly impossible to
penetrate. But because the film puts such demands on our attention,
this obscurity becomes its own reward. Godard stopped making sense
years ago; now he appears to be engaged in the discovery of meaning
that lies beyond words, beyond stories. Luckily, he has not moved
beyond the cinema. No one else makes films so alive with ideas or
executed with as much daring, beauty or humor."
"All this is kind of dense going in the movie, although it is
punctuated by moments of typical Godardian humor, like when a
bicycle is dropped from the sky to see what will happen to it or
when the commentary states that The Communist Manifesto and Alice in
Wonderland were both written in the same year."
"The bifurcated juxtapositions further reinforce the idea of the
importance of contextual fidelity (the ritual) rather than simply
achieving a textual fidelity that can prove to be false (a
surrogate)." "Godard's film is very much a private cinema. Its
light is postmodernist. A very wonderful film, a wonderful sacred
So, there you have it. Is it an incomprehensible film beautifully
shot or a "very wonderful film, a wonderful sacred work?"
I can safely say, with tongue only partially in cheek, that this is
exactly what someone would choose to see a Godard film for, finally
excellent English subtitles and a very nice (full screen) transfer.
C+. A real treasure for you Godard lovers. God bless ya.
readers say 6.1 with only 168 votes. The low vote turnout is likely
because this has only been available on VHS, and never at
sell-through prices. It can now be found on an excellent DVD at RLDVDs.com.
Notes and collages
Las de La Intuición
And now for something completely different:
Shakira (music video)
A film clip of
in Hotel Chevalier, this time in pseudo-HD (720p). While it is not
great quality by HD standards, it is large and reasonably clear and better
than what we had before. Monster download (70 meg)
Bonham Carter in The Wings of the Dove, This is Hall of Fame nudity in
terms of combining romance, beautiful photography, explicitness and a
major league actress. The movie is a slow-paced "chick flick" with lush
orchestral music and flawless art direction - obviously not to everyone's
taste - and one must wait a long while before the sex scenes, but the last
few minutes are worth the wait, in my opinion.
Anna Kournikova has virtually disappeared from the public eye, but she
still looks great in a bikini.
Here's Mr Skin's take on Elizabeth Perkins in Weeds
King of Sorrow
Scoop's notes: Quite a catch by Flauti
(and his usual beautiful presentation)! This film just had its US
Premiere at the Coney Island Film Festival last week.
Here's the festival page, which also links to the trailer, the
official film home page, and so forth. It's rated a pretty solid 6.1 in
the early voting at IMDb, but I don't know jack about it, other than
what's written on those pages.
If you are wondering what happened to Lara in the past four years, she
took time off to start a family and to go back to school. (A biochemistry
major at McGill, the Harvard of Canada, her original plan was to become a
doctor.) She was able to get this meaty comeback role, by her admission
the best role of her career, because she is married to the
writer/director, Damian Lee!
Thanks to both of them for sharing this great nudity with us!
Lara Daans interview, part 1, ....
To see Lara in her prime, hotter than a pistol, check out the caps in the
Encyclopedia from Electra.