Down to the Bone (2004):
Sundance hasn't yet achieved the nearly-infallible status of
Cannes where the prize winners are almost guaranteed to be total
crap, but by God they are trying. The guiding principle of
independent film seems to be that one achieves perfection as the
depression level of a film approaches 100 and the slickness
approaches 0. Thus, if you have the most depressing film ever
made, and it seems to have been made on a home video cam, you
can almost be assured that it will come home from Park City with
some honors, irrespective of its merits.
So it went with Down to the Bone, which combines two of my
least-favorite cinema conceits: "drugs suck," and "life sucks so
bad it forces you to take drugs." Vera Farmiga plays a lower
middle class housewife in upstate New York who goes through the
motions of suburban motherhood but is actually a serious closet
druggie. As time goes on, she becomes less closeted. Then she
falls in love with her drug counselor. Then he falls back on his
own rehab and stars shooting the big "H." Then she figures, "Oh,
what the hell," and follows. Then she gets arrested ...
Do I need to give any more details? If you watch any
independent films, you've seen this all a zillion times before.
About the only new wrinkle this film has to offer is that the
doomed drug addict is a heterosexual and doesn't like pudding.
Or you can learn that she is actually a better cashier when
coked-out than when sober.
Oh, did I mention that the film doesn't have an ending?
Critics, of course, viewed that as a positive. You know the
drill: "offers no easy solutions," "no neat and tidy
resolution." It's realistic. Get it? One critic wrote: "The film
is so pitch perfect and realistic, it seems you are there with
these people, watching their lives unfold before you as it
happens." That is the film's main strength. If offers a
completely realistic portrayal of everyday life and how it
relates to her drug cravings. Needless to say, that is also its
main weakness. How much of everyday blue collar winter life in
upstate New York do you want to watch unfold as it happens, as
portrayed in documentary style, photographed by a hand-held
video camera in natural light, and never brought to a
conclusion? If your answer is "a lot," this is your dream film.
Predictably, 93% of critics gave it a positive review, one of
the highest scores of the year.
I have mentioned before that Vera Farmiga won the L.A. Film
Critics award for the best performance of the year last year. In
this film. Honest. A film that nobody ever saw. That award
sometimes acts as an Oscar harbinger, but in this case it was a
harbinger of nothing. Farmiga received no other awards or
nominations during hardware season. The L.A. Film Critics were
out there by themselves, presumably standing in left field at
Dodger Stadium when they made the announcement. Farmiga does
seem like a good actress, and perhaps she will get a chance to
demonstrate that some day in front of an actual audience,
something not possible here. It only grossed $19,000 in the
entire United States, and never played outside of New York and
Oh, sure, a gross of $19,000 indicates a complete lack of
interest in the film, but there is a happy ending to the story.
Even though they returned the camera to Rent-a-Center a
few days late and incurred a penalty fee, they still made a
IMDb voters don't quite see it the same way as critics, and
rate it 5.7 out of 10. Women rated it far lower (4.2), and
women in all age groups liked it far less than the men in the
zipped .wmv of her two topless scenes. Captures are below.
Third party videos:
Multiple zipped .avis of
Melanie Grffith in Joyride, and even
multiple zipped .avis of Anne Lockhart
in the same film. (Movie
House Review). Strange movie, just all
over the place. Neither of us liked it, but
I had a sort of jaw-dropped respect for its
mysterious ability to keep my hand from the
Multiple zipped .avis of
Toni Collette in Lilian's Story, the
semi-true story of a legendary street busker. (Movie
House Review). The ever-so-arty-and-profounder-than-thou
movie won my respect, but no affection. On the other hand, the
quantity and quality of Toni's nudity is quite impressive.
Hollywood Hi-Fi is simply one hilarious book
about the weirdest celebrity record albums ever
Tim Nieukirk, candidate for governor of Illinois
- Pat Reeder of the
Comedy Wire radio prep service summed up the
case: "With no budget, he's running a series of
wild, homemade ads on MySpace and YouTube. The
ads show him knocking a firefighter aside to
rescue a cat, showing he's tough on crime by
arresting the Hamburglar, and lying in bed with
a woman. "Some politicians are in bed with big
business, casinos or even organized crime. But
Tim Nieukirk? He's in bed with your sister!" (We
haven't had a good, serious candidate who would
sleep with your sister since Bill Clinton.) In
another, he's in a mullet wig at a trailer park,
and before he states his platform, he gets
distracted and yells, "Ricky! Get off my Trans
Am!" (He's in the wrong state. He could be
elected governor of Alabama just for his Trans
Am protectionist policies.) Nieukirk claims he's
a real alternative candidate using humor to get
attention for his serious points, he just hasn't
gotten around to putting them in his ads yet.
(He'll get around to that by sometime in
Phillippe's Making Out With A Co-Star In A
Restaurant May Have Been Warning Sign of Marriage
At last, the wonderbra for men - the wondercup!
"designer's underpants promise digital
Amazon's product reviews are some of the best
comedy writing on the planet. Check out the
public's thoughts on K-Fed's masterful new album:
Still in the mood for Halloween? How about some
free horror movies for (legal) download
Colbert sings a duet with his arch-nemesis,
Emmy-stealing Barry Manilow
The Colbert Report for Tuesday, October 31st.
Part 1 ...
Part 2 ...
Part 3 ...
The Daily Show, Tuesday, October 31:
Part 1 ...
Part 2 ...
Microsoft Windows Media — Version 11.0 of Media
Player is now available free.
- The technical nerds are saying that this
download is a waste of time. I passed on it.
"Madonna was accused of snatching away Malawian
baby David Banda from another foreign woman who
had been about to adopt him herself." OK, this
story is old and tired. Leave the woman alone.
A Seven-Year-Old Designated Driver
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Rising Sun (1993)
Rising Sun (1993) is a crime drama based on a Michael Crichton novel. The
novel was controversial, and was considered Japan-bashing in some circles,
because it was critical of the way Japan was buying corporate America. The
film is generally considered to be more respectful of Japan, but launched a
new round of Japan-bashing debate.
As the film opens, a Japanese company is negotiating to purchase an
important US semiconductor company. There is congressional opposition,
claiming that it put the US munitions industry at the mercy of the Japanese.
At a party in the Japanese company headquarters in LA, we see a man go into a
darkened conference room, and have strangulation sex with a professional
mistress. Later, she is found dead on the conference room table. Forensic
evidence points to a Japanese perpetrator. Wesley Snipes is called in to
investigate, and is ordered to pick up Sean Connery, an expert on Japan. What
Snipes thinks is a simple case, especially after receiving a doctored security
recording, is a much more complicated issue, , as Connery knew all along.
Note that they were using mini-LASER disks to record the output of their
security cameras, which was very advanced for 1993!
The critics pretty uniformly gave the film lukewarm reviews. Ebert awarded
2 stars, saying that all the passion of the novel in attacking Japanese
business was diluted. Berardinelli awarded 2.5 stars, and said that the film
was true to the novel. I found it a perfectly good entry in the whodunit
genre, and enjoyed the cultural insights, as well as the interplay between
Snipes and Connery. IMDb scores this 6.0, which certainly places it in the
It earned a very respectable $63.1M at the box office, and received an
ASCAP award for its box office performance. So we have a critical failure that
everyone flocked to see.
I will call this one a C+.
This is a "Hankster Light" day.
From a "Bad Movie" which is not so bad, we have two topless babes in
Caps and a clip (zipped .wmv)
of Noelle Evans showing off the titties while
And an unknown letting the hooters fly. She had nothing to do with the
movie's plot, just there for eye candy.
Notes and collages
Laura Linney in Maze
I first saw this gorgeous redhead in the TV show "Frasier;" wow... she is
Caren Kaye in My Tutor
At her prime, dropping her robe for a late night skinny dip in her
Cashback (2004) is first, with
Irene Bagach ...
... and Hayley-Marie
Here's ever-popular Diane
Lane in "Must Love Dogs"
Pat's comments in yellow...
Police in Batesville, Arkansas, arrested a man for trying to buy cigarettes at a
gas station with a counterfeit $100 bill. A sheriff's spokeswoman said that of
all the phony money cases they'd handled, this was the "sorriest bill I've ever
seen." The ink was running on it, the president's face was missing, and the
name of the president on it was "Bill Clinton."
* It might've worked if he'd bought cigars with it.
Madonna's adoption of a Malawi baby just keeps creating controversy. This week,
she went shopping with him in front of crowds of paparazzi, who photographed him
wearing a red Kabbalah string bracelet. The church sells them for $26 and
claims they work in "the same way as the vaccines of modern medicine." Pressed
on this, Madonna told Meredith Viera that she will educate the boy in her
controversial Kabbalah faith, but "if he wants to be a Christian, then so be
* What's important is that she got him out of the land of
witch doctors and
superstition and into the enlightened world of magical Kabbalah strings.
On this day in 1604, William Shakespeare's play "Othello" debuted in London.
* Starring Joan Collins as Desdemona.
Sharing a birthday: Jenny McCarthy (34) and Larry Flynt (64).
* So Jenny's not the MOST vulgar person born today, but