Jaded (1996) is a low budget film about a woman who is "raped" by two other women, and is chiefly known for the nude appearance of Carla Gugino as the victim. The film is not well respected, although it is at 5.2 at IMDB. The most common criticism was that the film ended abruptly without the courtroom battle that everyone expected.People also complain about loose ends, saying that they knew enough to guess what happened, but they were not spoon fed the answers. Call me strange, but I liked both of those things about this film.

This was the first courtroom drama I have ever sen that never went into the courtroom. In a more typical film, you spend a lot of the running time in a single room with most of the characters sitting down, and listen to lawyers and witnesses talk. These scenes would almost be better on radio (anyone who remembers The Shadow knows what I mean). This story has investigating officers, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, questioning, swing of evidence, and surprises, just like a courtroom drama, but they all happen pre-trial.

Spoilers Ahead.

Gugino is found naked and beaten on the beach. She accuses Pat and Alex of raping her. First surprise, Pat and Alex are women. There is little doubt that what happened to Meg (Gugino) was not something even a masochist would have wanted, but Pat (Rya Kihlstedt) and Alex (Anna Thomson) claim it was consentual sex. We learn a lot about Meg, including information damaging to the prosecution. The final development was finding a video tape of part of the obvious rape. Cut to post trial.

I don't see what everyone was upset about. Given a video tape that clearly showed the two accused women committing the crime, there could only have been one outcome. Showing the trial would have been redundant.

End Spoilers

There was some attention paid to the fact that, at the time, only men could commit rape, and the two women had to be charged with felony sodomy. There was also a lesbian character who had been molested by Pat, but knew that a lesbian had no chance of getting her convicted. This is a women's film, directed and written by Caryn Krooth. I would have liked more character development from other characters, as Meg is the only one we know a lot about, but I found the performances strong. Gugino, Thomson, and Kihlstedt all three show everything, although most of the exposure is at night on the beach, and rather hard to see. This is a C-. If you can lose your expectations, you might also enjoy it.

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  • Anna Thomson (Levine) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Carla Gugino (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
  • Rya Kihlstedt (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    "Dead-End Drive-In"

    Dead-End Drive-In (1989) is an Australian Post-Apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. They made a common mistake by giving it absolute dates. Ignoring that, civilization changed do to terrorism, disease, natural disasters, and economic collapse. Jobs are rare, and the auto seems to be the currency. As the film opens, we meet Crabs (Ned Manning), who is out for a jog, when he is harassed by a car full of "cowboys." Then a bunch of sirens sound, and a bunch of tow trucks, and the cowboys rush off. We then meet Crabs' brother, who runs a tow truck, and learn that tow trucks make good money, but have to be first to the scene of an accident, bribe the cops on the scene, and keep the cowboys from stripping the cars.

    Next Saturday, Crabs borrows his brothers 56 Chevy, and takes his girlfriend Carmen (Natalie McCurry) to a drive-in. They are doing what a young couple normally does at a secluded drive-in, when their rear wheels are stolen. Crabs follows, and discovers that the police did it. The next morning, they come to realize that they are prisoners in the drive-in, along with hundreds of others, all kept there by the state as a concentration camp for undesirables. Crabs is determined to escape, but Carmen adapts, and becomes part of a pro white anti Asian group.

    Carmen shows breasts in the drive-in sex scene, and an unknown shows breasts in the shower. The production design was excellent and I liked the way the apocalypse was set up, but the film didn't have enough pace or plot to hold my interest. C-.

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  • Natalie McCurry (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Unknown (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Learning Curve (1998):

    There was a time, as late as the early 70s, when personal advocacy films were an important sub-genre in Hollywood. There were films that pushed (or pandered to) a specific political or sociological point of view, to the point where the position advocated by the film was far more important than the characterization or plot or artfulness of the film itself. After coming out of these films, people would grab dinner or coffee and discuss or argue the issues being treated by the film, pro or con, as opposed to discussing the movie itself.

    These examples come to mind: Joe, Billy Jack, The Harrad Experiment, The Green Berets, Z, Up the Down Staircase.

    I can't actually name a great movie or even a very good movie with a provocative advocacy position, but some of the movies listed above were popular, and all of them were widely discussed at the time. That type of film was generally cast out of Hollywood when the era of the blockbuster arrived in the mid 70s. People did not come out of Jaws discussing the general issue of water safety. Star Wars is not supposed to provoke thoughtful discussions about fascism or religion. People came out of the blockbuster movies talking about the movies - the music, the visuals, the incidents, the characters. When the great cultural revolution ended with Nixon's resignation, and our long national nightmares were over, movies went back to being thrill rides instead of political arguments.

    You see, here's the deal with advocacy movies. You measure them by how strongly people react. A really powerful advocacy film stirs up powerful feelings of hatred as well as admiration. It didn't take the Hollywood studios long to determine that being greatly hated was not the optimal route to people's pocketbooks, so Hollywood went back to being The (Politically Correct) Dream Factory, except for an occasional aberration like Oliver Stone.

    When Hollywood abandoned advocacy, independent filmmakers were starting to come into their own, and they continue to this day to make advocacy films for personal causes. Learning Curve is the kind of "attitude" film that inspires deep regard and deep animosity, much like The Green Berets, or Billy Jack. There are a lot of people who feel that this film says some things that should be said, and there are people who find it detestable and fascist. It is the kind of film that starts passionate arguments. I think that must mean it is pretty good, because people don't get passionate about mediocre things. Not many people love or hate the bland, mediocre George H.W Bush, but his predecessor and successor inspire powerful love and hate from supporters and detractors. I think that tells you that Reagan and Clinton were both great men, in their own ways. I reckon that only very great men are both loved and hated so strongly. If that is true, and if it also true of movies, this movie is loved and hated strongly.

    Tuna felt it was one of the best movies he has seen lately. Contrast that to this review, which takes hundreds and hundreds of words to argue that, "I hated (it) vehemently, not just because it is moronic, melodramatic, unrealistic, and unfunny, but because it is evil."

    Actually the guy who wrote that review doesn't know what he's talking about on the "unrealistic" assertion. For example, he wrote:

    Everything that happens to these characters defies logic, which would be fine, but Andy Anderson is presenting these situations as if schools really operate this way. For instance, why would a kid as nice and smart as Joey be in a detention class with a group of hooligans? Joey explains that people are always beating up on him, so the administrators call him a troublemaker and throw him in detention. Ironic again, but not in a remotely plausible fashion.

    Well guess what, dude? Not only is it plausible, but it is routine business as usual! This movie takes place in Texas, and that is EXACTLY how it works here in Texas with our silly "zero tolerance" rules. I know this from experience. We anguished over our own "Joey". My daughter was the target of a bully, and did everything she could to avoid her, including reporting her to the school authorities. When the bully finally hit her, she fought back, and was sentenced to a special week's detention, despite the facts that (1) there were forty witnesses who vouched for her blamelessness, and (2) she had filed written complaints about the instigator. The school administrators, in their wisdom, determined that there were two students fighting, and that there was a zero tolerance policy against fighting, therefore two students got detention. We told them that we knew the confrontation was coming, we told our daughter what to do, she did everything that we and the school told her to do, and the school district not only failed to protect her, but punished her! That's just about exactly what happened to Joey in the film.

    (If you are wondering, we took her out of that school and transferred her to another school in the same district - but we had to drive her there each day for many years, until she got her own car, in fact. She has never had another problem of any consequence.)

    The guy who wrote that scathing review then said:

    Weatherford High School desperately needs somebody to instruct a detention class (is detention ever really a CLASS?).

    The answer is "most certainly". For her fighting episode, my daughter was assigned to a special area of the district for a week, and there the students were not allowed to mingle with the regular student body, getting all their instruction from special "detention teachers".

    Bottom line: the filmmaker knows EXACTLY what he's talking about, and you can ignore the factual basis for the other guy's criticism, but you can't ignore his passion. The depth of his feeling is the very thing which tells me this must be an effective film. It gets under people's skin, and gets people passionately involved on both sides of the argument. That's what advocacy films should do.

    Irrespective of its POV, is it actually a good movie?

    It's OK. It is not without problems. It's a very unsophisticated film. The production values and performing are ordinary at best. The dialogue is trite and the jokes are really sophomoric. Sometimes it gets lost switching between realism and surrealism in its treatment of the situations, and it also switches back and forth between serious and darkly comic approaches, keeping one foot in and one foot out of the reality room.

    It also has rewards. It has a great opening credits sequence. For a movie with a serious POV, it is remarkably entertaining. It offers elements of a thriller and a comedy as well as a social advocacy film. The fact that it kept some interesting plot elements hidden from view added to the reward of sticking it out to the end.

    Overall it is well worth the watch for one reason: originality. After all, I watch 20 movies a week, so they all blend together after a while, and they all seem like copies of something else, but this film is fiendishly different. There's nothing like it, and I don't think I will soon forget it.

    In addition, it is so blatantly Politically Incorrect that it will appeal strongly to those of you with an anti-authoritarian streak.

    • Brandy Little (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
    • Susana Gibb (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Rebecca Sanabria (1, 2, 3)





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    • 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 Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    Graphic Response
    • Michelle Pfeiffer, toplessness and far off rear and brief pube views in scenes from "Into the Night" (1985).

    • Teri Hatcher in the nude scene that ended the fantasy for many men...Here she is topless and kinda showing the other 2 B's as well in scenes from "Heaven's Prisoners" (1996).

    Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    Seniors (1978) is Road Trip minus the road, or the trip, or the humor. Or its Van Wilder without the van or the wilder or the humor. No, its Revenge of the Nerds.... III... without the revenge or the nerds or the humor, What is has is a bunch of horny college guys and a bunch of nekkid college girls. And that could have saved the whole project except that there aren't nearly enough nekkid college girls and only one of them is identified and she isn't nekkid nearly long enough. What we got then is a movie constructed of a series of bad decisions.

    Who we see in some state of undress is Priscilla Barnes, perhaps the best known former Penthouse Pet to make it sorta big in maninstream movies. We get to see her in a medium-long shot at the top of the stars, where she waits as the prize for the only nerd in the movie. Shoulda called it "Reward of the Nerd" I guess.

    Saw this scene years ago and, when DVDs came along, thought it would be the perdect scene to cap since the much higher quality of digital media promised to bring out the details of Priscilla's scene. Little did I figure that whoever made the DVD would use a videotape as his starting material. And old videotape. With dust and scratches on the print. Yuk! But, in the end, it is Priscilla Barnes in her prime.

    Then there were a bunch of gals who served as paid subjects in sexual encounters that were set up as a quasi-scientific experiment. We got lots of "subjects", three of whom show some skin, a fourth who wears a semi-see-thru bra. I could recognize only the last of them. She is Cathryn Hartt, sister of Morgan Fairchild. The resemblance is pretty striking.

    The others? A hopeless cause. Most of the women credited were one-timers and there is no matching of actress with character name, even though one of them is referred to by name and all of them have speaking parts. That should be a frigging crime. Babe gives up the goods AND is given something to say? Well, she deserves some major league credit.

    For today's paparazzi stuff. we have cleavage. In descending order... which is to say, in the order in which the neckline plunges... there is Monica Bellucci, Erika Christensen, Elizabeth Hurley and Roselyn Sanchez. Roselyn is fast becoming the queen of tease. And to cap it all there is Jennifer Jason Leigh in one of these black see-through outfits.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "The Matrix Reloaded"
    Once again, special effects and fight scenes are the real stars of this 2003 sequel to 1999's The Matrix.

    I liked this one, as I did the original. Yes, it can be hard to follow but most Sci-Fi fanatics like myself are used to that. The coming final installment of this trilogy should provide the tethers that bind the whole thing together. I admit it's a pain to have to see three movies to understand any of them, but that seems to be a growing trend to keep viewers coming back for more.

    Ann Dusenberry

    Teresa Ganzel

    Both are topless in "National Lampoon Goes to the Movies" (1981). You may remember the busty Ganzel as a one time resident bimbo for sketches on The Tonight Show back in the Carson days.

    Shira Fleisher

    Chiara Schoras

    Mina Tander

    Assorted toplessness in scenes from the German movie "Honolulu" (2001).

    Terry Norton The South African actress topless in scenes from "The Emissary" (1989).

    Lacey Chabert A larger view of the former "Party of Five" star showing partial side breast views in a bathing scene from "The Scoundrel's Wife" (2002). Thanks to C2000.

    Bobbie Phillips
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the busty B-movie babe topless in scenes from the 1996 straight-to-video flick, "Cheyenne".