This top section includes Scoop's site notes, images, vids, web finds, and meandering prattle.
House of Wax
The 2005 film called House of Wax is not a remake of
the 1953 Vincent Price 3-D classic. It shares only a title and the
general premise with the earlier movie, that being that the wax museum
in the story is far more realistic that most because the wax
characters are actually real humans with a thin wax veneer.
The film is less like its namesake than like House of
1000 Corpses, or any of those "city slicker teens encounter homicidal
redneck maniacs" films, except that these particular inbred locals
have a different way to dispose of the bodies. In all other respects,
it is one of those films where the uppity college students treat the
slack-jawed rubes with contempt and end up paying for their
As per the genre standards, the script requires the
kids to do every possible stupid thing to provoke their own fate.
After an unexpected detour from the interstate, the kids don't even
know where they are and decide to get some zzz's. A local
pick-up truck shines its lights into their camping area. They don't
like it, so they break the headlights on the pick-up truck. The driver
leaves, so they congratulate themselves, resume drinking, and fall
asleep without moving to a different campground.
In addition to the usual clichés and conventions,
the film may have two items of interest, depending on your
- One of the college students is played by the
socialite and omnipresent media personality Paris Hilton, who does a
striptease down to her underwear.
- The set design, decor, and style of the film are
original. The indoor lighting scheme features an ubiquitous
chartreuse hue which bathes the scenes in an otherworldly glow. The
actual design of the House of Wax is a re-imagined form of Art Deco, and the
museum really is made out of wax, which means that the entire
building melts down completely in the inevitable fire which ends
every wax museum movie. This provides additional opportunities for
the film's creative people to mount some eerie images.
Mainstream critics: crapped on it (24%
positive reviews) despite some nods to the visual style.
Genre fans: found it short of being a
classic, but one of the better horror films of the year. Their
attitude is summed up by an IMDb comment: "It has everything a good
horror should; a creepy villain, excessive violence, acts which make
that average person cringe ... this movie hit all the bases. It is
definitely worth a watch." That was not just one person's attitude.
The film pulled in a surprisingly high $68 million at the box office.
($32 domestic, $36 foreign.)
My own opinion: Too predictable
to engage my interest.
Five by two. Two people; five scenes; reverse
chronology. (I suppose it should be "minus five by two".)
We first see a couple at their divorce hearing,
followed by some extremely awkward farewell sex which edges near to
the borderline of rape, and even goes over that border. We step back a couple of
years to a dinner party which demonstrates some cracks in their
relationship. We step back again to the birth of their son, and the
inexplicably remote behavior of the new father. We step back to their
wedding ceremony and some insight into problems already appearing at
that time. We finish at their first romantic encounter on a sun-kissed
holiday. As the scenes move back in time, the increasing happiness of
the relationship is reflected by a corresponding change in the film's
color palette, which becomes ever warmer.
The reverse chronology technique jars us completely
out of identification with the characters. The farther we go back, the
more emotional distance appears between us and them, because we do not
share their hopes and dreams. We watch the scenes knowing the
relationship will come to nothing. Although the technique places a
great distance between us and the characters, it has the effect of
driving us farther inside ourselves, examining whether some things
should have been evident to them, and why. Eventually, the film forces
us into recognition of how much they are like us, normal people with a
reasonable amount of hopefulness about their relationship, and the
forced introspection makes us ask ourselves if our own relationships,
past or present, show the same signs of deterioration. Of course, the
script is calculated so that we will see ourselves, because there are
no cataclysmic events nor great rifts between them, just the subtle,
everyday cracks and fissures we all experience. Francois Ozon's script
is, in that
respect, deeply cynical, although that cynicism is covered by a veneer
of straightforward realism.
The emotional impact of the ending is uncannily
effective. It is the couple's first encounter, and they literally go
swimming off into the sunset, bathed in warm gold and orange hues. It
stops right there - a classic Hollywood romantic ending, exactly as a
Hollywood movie would present it. The difference, of course, is that
the incredibly hopeful ending fills us with sadness, because we know
the rest of the story and, as Graham Greene once pointed out,
baseless optimism is inherently much sadder to us than despair.
Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi (film)
Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi (Deleted scene)
Body Language (1995)
Body Language (1995 TV movie) is a thriller with Tom Berenger as a lawyer in
the middle of defending a mob boss on a murder charge. From there, it is sort of
Body Heat, with one small surprise at the end. Unfortunately, I guessed the
final surprise long before the ending.
Berenger is in an auto accident with a beautiful young stripper (Heidi
Schanz), and takes her home. He can't resist her, and she enlists him to help
kill her abusive husband. On the off chance that you will want to see this, I
won't spoil any more of the obvious plot. Schanz shows breasts and buns several
times. Mim Parker, as a stripper, also shows breasts.
IMDb readers have this at 4/6 of 10. Who am I to argue? The material is
derivative, not very well done, and none of the characters are especially
likable. This is a D.
Kissed (1996) is a Canadian film that I have difficulty classifying. What are
the odds that, in an 8 day period, I would run into two films with necrophilia?
Not only does this have a necrophilia theme, that is the entire plot. A young
girl grows up obsessed with death, believing that she can see and feel the life
force leaving the dead animals she finds. She grows up to work in a mortuary,
and is in school learning embalming. She is also having sex with the fresh,
young male corpses.
She meets a real live guy that seems to understand her, but he becomes
obsessed with her rather odd habit, and wants to experience it. He eventually
commits suicide, hoping that she will have sex with his corpse, and he will
understand. The film was created by Lynne Stopkewitch (Director / Writer /
Producer / Editor), and stars Molly Parker, who gives a three B performance.
IMDb readers say 6.4 of 10. It gained a host of Genie nominations, and Parker
won Best Actress. It also did well at two Spanish film festivals. Ebert and
Berardinelli both award 3 stars. Indeed, there are a million ways this film
could have gone very wrong, but it didn't. By the end of the film, we feel that
we understand Parker, and have some sympathy for her. This is a B-. Even if the
subject is not attractive to you, it is so well told and portrayed that most
people will like it.
Today we conclude our coverage of "Valentino"
dating back to 1977.
The second actress to grace our pages is Penelope
Milford. In these 3 clips (
) she gets somewhat wild and ecstatic. Not to mention
stark nekkid too, otherwise she wouldn't be allowed in here of course.
That's all for today. Tomorrow we'll take a closer
look at Jane Birkin's youngest daughter, Lou Doillon.
The White Sox sweep!
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways To Cheer Up George W. Bush"
Eight clips from Jarhead
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS REPAIRING MASSIVE LEAK IN CHENEY ... Leak
Went Undetected For Two Years, Says Army Corps Chief
Disney backs antipiracy tech for Oscar DVDs
- "Disney said Monday that it will release DVD 'screeners'--copies of
movies sent to groups that vote on awards--only for DVD players made
exclusively by a Dolby Laboratories unit, Cinea, and engineered to thwart
The Ritz Hong Kong is offering to sell custom Christmas baskets to well
- "Ritz Carlton guests with a million to spare can buy the exclusive
Yule-tide gift that includes vouchers for three-night stays at the hotel
in Hong Kong and others in Bali, air tickets for a private Gulfstream
flight to the Indonesian resort island, shopping tours, a bottle of
champagne and gourmet food, inclusing a Christmas pudding."
- Makes sense to me. I also purchase exclusive gourmet Ritz food for my
Christmas gifts - their delicious crackers.
Rolling Stones dig up rare songs for Starbucks CD
Thank God for state fairs on slow news days.
1,000lb Butter Sculpture Of Darth Vader And Yoda
I have a feeling Billy Bob Thornton will NOT add any singing awards to
his acting plaudits.
Hear clips from Billy Bob's new album.
"DMX spews XXX as he OKs jail term"
I wonder if you can guess which newspaper this came from:
BIGFOOT TO JOIN THE CAST OF 'THE SOPRANOS'
There is something oddly compelling about these anonymous pictures ..."The
pages below show prints I made from processing film I found in old cameras.
... In many cases the exposed films were over fifty years old. You are
seeing them for the first time as they were lost by the photographers that
took these images."
Worst reality show concept ... until tomorrow ...
America's Next Muppet
"The world's first biogas-powered passenger train... is taking
its first passengers between the Swedish cities of Linkoping and Vastervik.
And the biogas comes from the entrails of dead cows. "
Former humorist Al Franken tells CNN's Zain Verjee why he is no longer
Robert Downey Jr.: clean and sober
AstroPic: incredible close-up of Dione, a moon of Saturn
Colbert's word of the day: "overrated"
Steven Colbert talks to Lou Dobbs
The Daily Show covers the recent hurricane relief eforts.
George Clooney has denied reports that he contemplated suicide,
although he says that reading those reports made him feel very depressed and
Violence Threatens Teenager - Zombie Peace Process
Conan O'Brien - Quotables for the week
- "David Copperfield has announced plans to impregnate a woman onstage
without touching her. Copperfield calls his new trick 'The Tom Cruise.'"
- "Saddam Hussein's trial was televised live and, of course, many Iraqis
were glued to their TV sets. Mainly, because years ago, Saddam had them
glued to their TV sets."
TIPS FROM CHEAP SHOPPERS
Five-Finger Discount - A bargain store chain in New Zealand is giving a
$35,000 prize for the thriftiest shopper, and contestants must share
money-saving tips. Among them: Wash the dog in the shower with you...Cut your
own hair (this also reduces costly social obligations)...Cook boil-in-bag
meals in the dishwasher while doing the previous meal's dishes...Keep your hands
pockets at all times while in stores...And one emphatic man merely wrote, "Do
not give money to your wife" three times.
* The WINNER!!
* That guy obviously needs the prize money the most.
* But if you keep your hands in your pockets, how will you shoplift?
ARTIST WINS GRANT TO GET DRUNK
Let's Make This An Olympic Sport! - Japanese artist Tomoko Takahashi has a
show in Cardiff, Wales, for which she won a $10,000 (US) grant to get drunk in
public. Her "art" is that she chugs 48 bottles of lager for three hours,
occasionally seeing how far she can walk across a balance beam in high heels
before she falls off. She calls it a comment "on the availability and use of
mass-produced products." But critics call it stupid, a commercial for binge
drinking and a waste of taxpayer money. One politician said if you want to see
drunk young women tottering around on high heels, you can see it most nights in
any city center.
* Leave it to a politician to know that.
* So everyone left the art gallery and went to the city center.
DRUNKEN "SUPERMAN" TRIES TO FLY
No Risk Of Brain Damage - In Graz, Austria, a 23-year-old man drank several
bottles of red wine, then stood on a 4th story ledge at 4 a.m., shouted, "I am
Superman! Nothing can happen to me!" and leapt off in an attempt to fly. He
was hospitalized with head and back injuries, but luckily, he landed on a
lower section and a roof, which prevented serious injury.
* So in a way, he was right!
MILLION-DOLLAR CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKET
The Oscar Gift Bag Is Much Nicer - If you want to do your gift shopping
early, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong is offering a holiday food hamper for
one million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000 US). It includes vouchers for stays at
the Hong Kong Ritz and a resort in Bali, private Gulfstream airfare, Rolls
Royce transfers, shopping tours, champagne, spa treatments, gourmet food and
more. A spokeswoman said it's all in a hamper, so you can just hand over a
million-dollar gift. She said it also includes a Christmas pudding because "it
traditional hamper, after all."
* Except in Hong Kong, a traditional Christmas pudding is made out of squid.
* I'd love to give this to everyone, but I've already bought
fruitcakes...last January, when they were on clearance.
FAT PEOPLE HAVE HARDER TIME FINDING JOBS
Hungry For Work - An online poll by Personnel Today magazine confirmed that
it's harder to get a job if you're fat. The survey of 2,000 personnel
executives found that most preferred to hire someone of "normal weight." Half
obesity affected productivity, and the same number thought overweight people
lacked self-discipline. And one in ten said they wouldn't want an overweight
employee to meet a client.
* Particularly if their employer is Jenny Craig.
* Although ... it might be kind of nice to have employees who don't complain about the
It's Incredible! - Elmo, Mr. Incredible and the slasher from "Scream" were
all arrested on Hollywood Boulevard for "aggressive begging." They were
impersonators who dress up as the characters, and police claim they were
tourists for tips after posing for photos. Police had warned them, and even
posed as non-English-speaking tourists in a sting operation. Elmo and the
were handcuffed and hauled off at gunpoint in front of shocked tourists. The
Elmo impersonator said, "With all of the crime in Los Angeles, they pick on
* At the holding cell, Elmo got tickled in places he didn't enjoy.
NEW 007 SCARED OF GUNS
"Run Away! Run Away!" - The new blonde James Bond, Daniel Craig, may have a
little problem playing the role. He told OK! magazine, "I hate handguns.
Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will
shoot each other. That's a simple fact. I've seen a bullet wound, and it was a
mess. It was on a shoot, and it scared me. Bullets have a nasty habit of
finding their target, and that's what's scary about them."
* Lucky for him, no bullet fired at James Bond ever finds its target.
* He'd better be a DAMN good actor.
* Don't call him a blonde bombshell; it sounds so VIOLENT!!
ABC PREPPING MUPPET REALITY SHOW
I Vote For Flava Flav - Apparently having run out of humans to put on reality
shows, ABC is planning a Muppet reality show. "America's Next Muppet" will
be a parody of shows like "American Idol" and "America's Next Top Model."
Details are secret, but word is that viewers and judges will both have a say in
choosing a major new Muppet character to work with Kermit and Miss Piggy.
* It's exactly like "American Idol," except on this show, Justin Guarini
might actually win.
* The Simon Cowell part will be played by Oscar the Grouch.
* They'll take special care to ensure that none of the contestants sleeps
with Miss Piggy.
* Every contestant will have a hand up his butt, so it's also
like "Fear Factor."
After actor Tom Sizemore claimed he spent the night once with Paris
Hilton, she denied ever meeting him, but photos have surfaced on the Internet of
two cuddling at Sizemore's house
* Come on, she can't be expected to remember
EVERY guy she goes home with!
* I assumed he was lying when he said he'd
slept with her ONCE.
Here are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
A white asterisk means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there is something else of interest.
A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan or ICMS, or somebody else besides me)
If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.