"No Good Deed"

No Good Deed (2002) is less than the sum of its parts. It was finally given a brief theatrical review, and is now on video. The ingredients look promising. We have a plot based on a Dashiel Hammett short story, The House on Turk Street, Samuel Jackson as a diabetic cello playing police detective, Stellan Skarsgard and Doug Hutchison as bad guys, and Milla Jovovich as a femme fatal. All of this is directed by Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces, The Postman Always Rings Twice.). Jackson is supposed to be going to band camp for vacation, but agrees to try and locate a neighbors runaway daughter, when he happens into a house inhabited by an oddball gang in the last stages of a $10M bank swindle. They assume he is after them, tie him to a chair, and hold him prisoner.

Stellan Skarsgard is the cool mastermind behind the scheme, Doug Hutchison is a hothead muscleman, and both think they will end up with Jovovich. She has the ability to charm any man when she wants something. When it is time for the heist, she is left to guard Jackson. The two get to know each other, and she reveals that she had been a concert pianist in Russia. There is also an old couple in on the heist, and a bank officer who also thinks Jovovich will be his.

Things, of course, start going wrong, until only Skarsgard, Jovovich and Jackson are left, and there is a chance that Jackson and Jovovich will end up together. Jovovich shows breasts, buns, and a little bush getting out of the shower. She also has a nip slip. IMDB readers have this at 5.2 of 10. Ebert liked it at three stars, mainly because of the noir atmosphere. Most critics were as unempressed as audiences. I found it a little slow, and didn't relate to Jackson's character at all. C-.

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  • Milla Jovovich (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Angels Hard as they Come (1971):

    There was a large volume of quickie exploitation films shot to fill out the double and triple features for drive-ins in the 60s and 70s: biker films, cheapo horror, nudies. Although complete shit, this was one of the better biker films, featuring a script by Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) and co-starring Gary Busey and Scott Glenn. (See the review page for pictures.)

    • Janet Wood (1, 2) (If you like Janet, check her encyclopedia volume. She did extensive nudity in a film called Up!, and Tuna capped the hell out of it)
    • Nina Davis



    No Good Deed (2002):

    It doesn't get much worse than this. It opened in 402 theaters its first week, and grossed only $127,000. Do the math. $315 per theater. Playing four times a day, that's 28 showings - $11 per showing. That means an average of one and a half people watched it every time it screened. At least the studio didn't have to worry about bad word of mouth. Nobody saw it to talk about it.

    Madonna's notorious stinker, Swept Away, was in half as many theaters, and grossed three times as much.

    Oh, yeah, 0% good reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. (A bit deceptive. Roger Ebert did give it a positive review.)

    What a suck-fest, considering what they had to work with. I think you could argue that this is the worst film ever made in this sense: if I gave you twelve million dollars, Milla Jovovich and Samuel L Jackson, I am convinced that any one of you could make a better movie than this.

    Unless Madonna is reading this.

    This film is also known as The House on Turk Street, which is also the title of the loosely adapted source material, a short story written in the 1920s by Dashiell Hammett, the father of modern American detective fiction, creator of Sam Spade and The Thin Man.

    I was looking at the reviews for this film and was fascinated. When a film is in limited release, the published reviews will ordinarily be from New York and LA, and maybe the Austin Chronicle. For this film, the MRQE shows reviews from only three cities: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago. There are none from New York or L.A. That had to be one offbeat marketing plan. Despite the direction of Oscar nominee Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces), and the presence of Samuel L and Milla, the film bombed big-time in the States. The investors certainly didn't plan to recoup their money with a hot DVD. This one came out with no meaningful features at all, not even a widescreen version of the film, a fact which is made insulting to consumers by the fact that disc's only feature on this movie is a trailer - a widescreen trailer. (See the review page for pictures)

    One of those three cities where the film got reviewed was Chicago, and that happens to be the hometown of Roger Ebert, so it just so happens that pretty much nobody reviewed this except the best known reviewer on the planet. Strange stuff.  (As I mentioned, he liked it. God knows why.)

    Samuel L. Jackson plays a cop who has been asked to find a friend's runaway daughter. He delayed his vacation to do this good deed. When he started to look for the girl, he stumbled accidentally into a crackpot gang of bank robbers who thought he was looking for them. Milla Jovovich plays the femme fatale, a Russian former piano prodigy turned gun moll, whose contribution to the gang is her ability to make everyone think she is in love with him and him alone, including a bank officer who was essential to their plan.

    At one point, Milla and Jackson played a piano/cello duet. Here's how that happened. Jackson is a cello-playing detective. Milla found out. Jackson was tied up in the criminal lair. Milla untied him, then held a gun on him and forced him to play. They bonded. She set down the gun so that he could give her a cello lesson. After the lesson, he went back to his bonds. No explanation. We see him free, talking to her, then we see the criminals doing their thing in the bank, then we see Jackson back in his bonds.

    OK, let's think about that.

    Let's say you believe that Jackson, suddenly unbound and no longer covered by a gun, is such an honorable man that he gave her a cello lesson instead of picking up the gun, arresting her, and escaping. OK, you're a gullible fool, because Samuel L. knew that the psychotic evil dudes would probably come back and kill him, and he also knew they were pulling off a massive bank job, but I'll be generous and call you a romantic, because Milla had saved his life earlier, and he owed her one.

    But I still have one more question for you: how many criminal gangs keep a spare cello on hand?

    Here's how that happened. Jackson is a diabetic who lapsed into a coma. Milla rifled through his IDs, found his address, went to his apartment, got his insulin, and rushed back to save his life.

    Oh, and while she was there she noticed that he owned a cello, so she brought that, too. Just grabbed it on the way out.

    By carrying a cello case larger than her own body.

    Oh, yeah, she also brought his sheet music, and his music stand.

    I don't even want to talk about the details of the actual robbery, in which the stupid psychotic guy said stuff like "I found that the power source is guarded by an unexpected security back-up that will need to be disabled. It's controlled by the main computer, and I'll have to hack into it. It'll take me an extra 2-3 minutes." Geez, imagine how fast a smart guy could have done it.

    Oh, well, there is one major positive: Milla naked.

    • Milla Jovovich (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.

    Ok, so we're not covering any new ground here, but since I found this in the bargain bin for only $5.99, I figured why not take another look at Pam Anderson in "Barb Wire" (1996).

    Personally, I kinda like this flick. It's poorly acted and the plot is a cheap rip off of "Casablanca", but so's funny! Of course all the humor is unintentional, but if you think of it as a campy and toungue in cheek, it's a decent watch.

    At the time, Pammy was just about the hottest babe on the planet thanks to "Baywatch", so naturally they took advantage of that by starting the movie with 5 minutes of Anderson baring her breasts and being hosed down. Not too shabby. For the average viewer, that's pretty much all you'll be able to stand of this flick. However, if you're a fan of "it's so bad it's good" movies, you should add this to your collection...especially if you can get it for 6 bucks.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Superstarlet A.D."
    One of the weirdest movies you'll ever see, this 2000 Sci-Fi comedy tells of life after the apocalypse where man has returned to being slobbering cavemen (so what's different?) and women have survived to form beauty cults, where they dress in outlandish make-up and segregate by hair color. The only clothing strong enough to survive were 50's style womens underclothes.

    One group, the Superstarlets, set out to find their grandmother's stag films in the decaying old movie theaters. Since the Superstarlets have members of all hair colors, they are hated by all the other groups, so it's war among the beauties to find the films.

    This movie is so campy, goofy, and uterly strange, that it's a lot of fun to watch. Oh, and to make it even stranger, it's shot in a mixture of black and white and color, and purposefully made very grainy. Makes for some tough caps, but interesting nonetheless.

    Kristin Kreuk
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Gorgeous High Definition 'caps from Wednesday night's "Smallville". It could be an illusion, but it looks like there might be some see-thru nipple sightings in links 4, 6 and 7.

    Mischa Barton
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Kelly Rowan
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    A little cleavage from Wednesday night's episode of "The O.C.".

    Mila Kunis
    (1, 2)

    The producers of "That '70s Show" have a strategy for November sweeps..."More Skin". On Wednesday night's episode Kunis was in a bikini (#1) and then joined by Laura Prepon for a barely dressed dance number (#2).

    Sharon Stone
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Señor Skin 'caps of Stone topless and baring her bum in scenes from the 1993 'thriller' "Sliver".

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    The Peter Principle - The British job firm Cognisco studied 40,000 employees over three years in all types of workplaces and found that eight in ten are no good at their jobs. Only 18 percent could pass Cognisco's test of basic skills for the jobs they held. Lucky for them, they manage to avoid making any huge blunders, so they don't get fired. However, four out of ten are hopelessly incompetent, and these are also the workers with the most self-confidence, who are always giving out wrong information and selling people the wrong insurance policies.

  • And getting elected to Congress...
  • So always buy insurance from someone with no self-confidence.
  • It's nice to know that 80 percent of the people installing gas lines in homes don't know what they're doing.
  • Of course, this could all be wrong...After all, 80 percent of the pollsters at Cognisco are incompetent.

    She's Filing Divorce Papers - Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper reports that an unnamed Israeli lawyer filed a court petition demanding that his wife agree in writing to have sex with him twice a day, "every morning and every night." He also demanded that she confirm she was complying "under no pressure whatsoever." The court rejected his petition.

  • The judge suggested that he go screw himself.
  • Typical lawyer: he expects you to sign a contract that lets him screw you, then thank him for it.
  • Hey, it's only twice a day! It wouldn't take ten minutes of her time, tops!

    We Turn Your Putter Into A Wood! - The makers of the new anti-impotence drug Cialis have reached a sponsorship deal with the PGA Tour, to compete with Viagra's sponsorship of the National Football League. A Cialis spokeswoman said, "The people who watch and play golf are an important audience to us."

  • Why? All they care about is golf.
  • Of all sportsmen, golfers have the smallest balls.
  • Golfers will take any pill that promises to turn them into a Tiger.
  • If golfers want to improve their sex lives, step one should be a new wardrobe.

    A Second Chance For "The Bachelor's" Rejects - Former California gubernatorial candidate and porn star Mary Carey will host a new reality show on pay-per-view called "Can YOU Be A Porn Star?" 28 women will be brought, four at a time, to a house in L.A. for photo shoots, interviews and "surprises," competing for $100,000 cash and a one-year porn contract. The producer compared it to "Paradise Hotel," except it will show "real people having real sex," which is edited out of "Paradise Hotel."

  • This is more like the Paradise Motel.
  • Actually, it will be real women having real sex with the producer...In that respect, it IS like "Paradise Hotel."
  • Actually, it's more like "Fear Factor," where the women have to be willing to put horrible things in their mouths.
  • Do amateurs really have to compete to become porn stars? Isn't a home video camera all it takes?

    OH! I Get It, Now! - Mary Carey is also cashing in by starring in a porn film lampooning the California governor's race. Carey will play herself, with Ron Jeremy as Spooge Cruztamante and bodybuilder/porn star Lee Stone as Ernie Gropenegger. Producer Mark Kulkis said, "It's kind of like satirical. Our attorney told us to use different names from those of the real candidates, but I guess it's pretty obvious."

  • I hate porn when the social satire is too obvious.
  • They should've asked Arnold; he might've been willing to play himself, too.
  • Arnold hasn't even taken office yet, and he's already creating thousands of jobs for Mary Carey.

    After just three low-rated episodes, Fox has canceled "Skin," a modern "Romeo & Juliet" series about a romance between the kids of a warring D.A. and a porn king...Like Romeo and Juliet, it was doomed from the start...Fox never imagined people wouldn't tune in to see "Skin"...Viewers must've thought it was one of those plastic surgery shows.

    Heiress/model Paris Hilton is upset that an ex-boyfriend wants to market a private sex tape they made...But who'd pay good money to see a stick figure naked?

    Yet "Skin" Was Canceled After Three Episodes - "Wheel of Fortune" has taped its 4,000th episode, a highlights show to mark 20 years on the air. Vanna White said it's so popular because watching it is one of the few things entire families can do together. She said, "Even babies like to watch the wheel go around."

  • Sure, it retards their development a little, but still...
  • Toddlers learn about the alphabet from it...For instance, they learn that consonants are free, but vowels cost $250.
  • And watching Vanna reveal the letters keeps families one step above illiteracy.
  • Dads enjoy watching Vanna provide the T and A.