Ragtime (1981) is a period piece from Milos Forman centered in New York, Circa 1910. Coalhouse Walker Jr, is a piano player who finally lands a good job with a band, buys a new Ford, and finds his old girlfriend (who has his son) at the home of a conservative family who took her in. After proposing, he is harassed by a group of Irish volunteer firemen, who trash his car. The rest of the film is his attempt to get justice, then revenge.

While that is the main plot, it takes a while to get there. Elizabeth McGovern plays a former showgirl and model who posed for a nude placed atop Madison Square Gardens. Her conservative husband demands it be taken down, and ends up shooting the man responsible. McGovern taes up with a member of the same family that has taken in Walker's girlfriend and baby. McGovern shows all three Bs. She also has breast exposure in a deleted scene, but it was pixelated -- all but one frame.

The credits are rather impressive, and include names like James Cagney, who was lured out of retirement, Pat O'Brien, Donald O'Connor, Mandy Patinkin, Mary Steenburgen, Norman Mailer and Samual L. Jackson. IMDb readers have this at 7.1 of 10. It was nominated for 8 Oscars and 7 Golden Globes, but didn't win a single one. The score received a Grammy nomination. Ebert gives 4 stars, applauding the choice to simplify the source material, which had many interlocking plots. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 83% positive. I found it a little long, and confusing in the first act, but with many rewards, not the least of which was the great look of the film, and the sound track. This is a C+. Those who like epic period pieces should enjoy this one.

  • Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails

  • Elizabeth McGovern (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Hillside Strangler (2004):

    If you can imagine it, there were two version of this story made in 2004. This is the version starring C. Thomas Soul Man Ponyboy Howell as serial killer Kenneth Bianchi

    Bianchi was born in my home town (Rochester, New York), and is not much younger than I. In fact, Bianchi was going to high school in Rochester while I was teaching high school there! (I think Bianchi is still alive, in prison somewhere.)

    I think I can best describe the film by quoting from the official site. The marketers chose to place some quotations from reviews on the page, which is characteristic of official sites, except that these quotations are not the typical official choices:

    "No amount of ironic posturing can excuse the exploitative and misogynistic way the camera lingers over a procession of naked and lifeless bodies."

    And that quote comes from the ultra right wing New York Post, which is not normally known for sensitivity to misogyny and other such feminist issues! The point, however, is not the source of the quote, nor even the content, but the fact that the marketers are proud of it. They think it represents a sentiment that will help to sell their product. The purveyors of these videos have chosen to cite a review that says - in essence - this movie sucks, but is filled with naked bodies. That gives you a very clear idea of the marketing strategy and the target market.

    If you rent this account of the brutal Hillside Stranglings in the late 1970s, you should not expect to gain any insight into the characters of the two men who committed the crimes, nor should you expect to learn what made them what they were. You should expect to see a lurid, detailed recreation of the pleasure that they derived from killing their victims, and some graphic pictorialization of the crimes, including explicit nudity, some unpleasant violence, and two creepy guys exulting in the feeling of power they attained from brutalizing and killing women.

    The official site also links to the summary page at Metacritic, which estimates that the average review converts to about 18/100, a score roughly in the Gigli range. The Metacritic page linked from the movie's official site includes the following quotes:

    • "A good horse kick, or a fistful of Valium, may help you get through this relentlessly sadistic exercise with your soul more or less intact."
    • "Relentlessly unpleasant film."
    • "Irresponsible, exploitative trash."
    • "Here's one for the Sick Voyeurs Club."


    ... and you should see the bad reviews!

    (Rim shot)

    The reviewers are right about the exploitative nature of the project, as proven by the very fact that the marketers are so proud of those bad reviews that they quote them and link to them. This is a pure exploitation film, 1970s style, right down to the glamorization of the crimes. The real guys killed a variety of females, the most famous victims having been two little girls from a Catholic grammar school, aged 14 and 12. In the movie, the two men are seen killing really sexy prostitutes and pretty girls with great bodies - in other words, women who look great tied up naked.

    Q. Does that mean the movie doesn't work?

    A. Not at all. It does work on some level. You can fairly put this film in the same group as "I Spit on Your Grave": a tawdry, slimy movie that elicits strong responses from viewers.

    The actors in this film are far better than the principals in "I Spit on Your Grave". The lead performances by Nick Turturro and "Soul Man" Howell are frightening and powerful, Turturro brutal and absent of remorse, Howell slimy and dishonest in every way. By the time the film is half over, seeing these guys will twist your face into the same involuntary expression it makes when you see a rotten banana. By the time the film is completely over, you will feel the urge for a shower. I had to watch a bit of comedy to "cleanse the palate" and get this film out of my head.

    That means it has a certain elemental power. People were horrified by this film, and it is absolutely a putrid example of exploitation, but it is my contention that the score could not be less than C- by our system of evaluation, for two reasons.

    (1) Despite a small budget, it is not a choppy or amateurish film. It flows quite smoothly.

    (2) The Hillside Strangler evokes powerful reactions, and bad movies do not cause people to become so emotionally involved. An exploitation film which can provoke such outrage must, ipso facto, be doing what the director intended it to do.

    This film was designed to shock, to place the viewer inside of the killers' mind-sets, and to make the viewer feel guilty and ashamed for being turned on by watching really hot women get tied up, just as the killers did. It succeeds on all counts. It is a slimy and nasty film, but not one that leaves audiences indifferent. I hated it. I wish I had never seen it. But I can't deny its effectiveness.

    The bad news for me: I watched the R-rated version and there is also an unrated one, so I will have to sit through it again. EEEW!




    Suspicious River (2004):

    I haven't seen the film. There is an R-rated trailer on the DVD for The Hillside Strangler, which means that marketing geniuses think the two films target the same audience.

    Whoever that is.

    One of the collages is made from the trailer, the other from Shiloh's film clip

    • Molly Parker (1, 2)




    Even Cowgirls Get The Blues (2004):

    I was looking through some files last night in preparation for archiving, and I noticed that Sean Young did some nudity in this film (reviewed here).

    Tuna and I both missed it.

    Now I have to wonder how Tuna and I both missed nudity from a well known star in a movie we just watched, so I reviewed it frame-by-frame and it turns out that

    (1) We did really miss it, in the sense that Sean Young's nipple is on the DVD. At least if you want to be literal. The nipple is there. No breast. No face. Just a nipple.

    (2) You'd never realize it was there or who it belonged to unless you knew in advance. The nipple is there, but Sean's face and 95% of her breast are casualties of the widescreen DVD.

    Do you think Sean got paid extra for doing a love scene with Crispin Glover? And not just regular Crispin, but comb-over Crispin!


    Other Crap:


    Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the links above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for Other Crap




    Here are the latest movie reviews available at


    • 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 Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.


    Words from Scoop.

    .avi's from Shiloh.

    .wmv files made by Scoop from Shiloh's .avi's.

    NOTE: because of a unique combination of circumstances with the Windows media player and some substantial bandwidth theft, we will have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Left click on the files as you normally would to view a picture. When you get a choice, click on "save", and put it on your hard drive in the directory of your choice. UnZIP and play from there.

    I know this is not especially convenient, but it allows the film clips to continue. I can protect .zip files from hot-linking in the same way I can protect still images. For some reason, if I protect .avis and .wmvs from hot-linking, they will not play in the Windows media player, and I can't get a satisfactory work-around. Perhaps I will find a better solution, but for now this new policy allows you to continue getting the movie clips you want to see, which is much preferable to my abandoning the clips altogether.


    Suspicious River (2004)

    We interrupt our normal presentation of Single White Female to present Shiloh's clip from Suspicious River. Makes sense, since Dann and I just ran into this movie at the same time. From the clips and Dann's description, this looks and sounds like one fucked-up movie. (Back to SWF tomorrow)


    Perhaps these tips will help if you have trouble with the codecs for these movies:

    Shiloh says:

    FYI when I hypercam vids to make the file size smaller I use DivX MPEG-4 Fast-Motion for the video compressor, then I use virtualdub to compress the audio. The properties for the vids says the video codec:  DivX Decoder Filter & audio codec:  Morgan Stream Switcher which I'm not familiar with. When I compress the audio with virtualdub I use MPEG Layer-3.  A friend of mine told me about compressing the audio about (6) mos. ago. Like I said previously, only been capping for a year & a half & I'm no expert. Hopefully this info will help members with the proper codecs for my vids.
    When I cap big brother's I use hypercam mostly & sdp & asfrecorder if the set up allows me. I stopped using camtasia cause the file sizes were always too big, could never figure out the process, over my head lol, plus it cost too much to buy in my opinion.

    A reader says:

    You mentioned that some users were having trouble with the videos on your site. There is a tool designed to determine what codec is needed for a video. Hope this is useful to you or your users.

    Scoop says:

    I made the .wmv versions of each video. The codecs for these: Windows Video V8, Windows Audio 9. The upside of these is that you know the codecs, and they'll play in the Windows Media Player. The downside is that they are slightly larger, and slightly lower quality.


    Words, pictures, and vids from ICMS

    Gazon maudit - (1995) - part 2

    Hi Scoopy !

    This time we'll continue our look at the French comedy "Gazon maudit" (1995), starring Victoria Abril. As usual Victoria isn't very shy about her body (check the huge volume in the Encyclopedia), so there are ten clips in all. Today I'm sending along the last five.

    (Scoop's note: Some of these clips contain no Abril nudity, but are included for the entertainment value and/or to maintain the continuity between scenes.)


    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    Today from the Ghost...a couple of video clips from the new made for Showtime series "Huff" (2004).

    • Paget Brewster zipped .wmv. Pushing the limits of showing skin without actually revealing anything in a love scene with Hank Azaria.

    • Two zipped .wmvs of Nichole Robinson clearly topless. No teasing here. (1, 2)

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Suspicious River"
    It wouldn't be unfair to say this 2000 drama is depressing from start to finish, and part of that may be that star Molly Parker's pained expression doesn't change much throughout the whole film.

    A married woman (apparently unhappy in her marriage, although that is only vaguely hinted at in the film) prostitutes herself on the side while clerking at a local motel. She becomes drawn to one of her customers, who the first time is abusive and hits her, then apologizes and on subsequent visits becomes loving and affectionate.

    It's only after becoming involved with this guy that she discovers he has something darker in mind, leading to gang-rape and beating, and a very down ending. And no, the pictures on the bottom part of the collage do NOT show her dead body. She simply laid like a statue, refusing to respond as they raped and beat her.

    I'm still trying to figure out the point of this movie. I can't say I liked it, but I can't say it's bad either. This is the kind of movie where every viewer will come away with a different opinion. Just plan to be depressed.

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    A few quick frames sharing the theme of "brief nipple sighting".

    • Ione Skye see-thru/pokies from the Cameron Crow film "Say Anything..." (1989).

    • Janine Turner...the former "Northern Exposure" star with a partially open shirt in a scene from "A Secret Affair" (1999).

    • Parker Posey, a side breast view of the Queen of Indies in a scene from "Party Girl" (1995).

    • Winona Ryder showing a paritial nipple view as her hand covers most of her breast in a scene from "Autumn in New York" (2000).

    Johnny Moronic
    Paz Vega
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    The beautiful Spanish actress bares breasts, bum and a whole lot of leg in scenes from "Zapping" (1999). On December 17, American audiences can catch her on the big screen in the upcoming Adam Sandler movie "Spanglish" (2004).

    Chelsea Field
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Cleavage, pokies, legs, partial rear nudity, see-thru breast exposure and toplessness! Scenes from the 1994 movie "Rules of Obsession" aka "A Passion to Kill". All of Field's love scenes are with co-star Scott Bakula. They ended up getting married in real life two years after this movie was made.

    Avril Lavigne
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Paparazzi pics of the young Canadian singer wearing a bikini top during a day at the beach.

    Sheryl Lee
    Laila Robins

    Both ladies are topless in scenes from the 1997 movie "The Blood Oranges".

    Jennifer Love Hewitt
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Señor Skin 'caps of Hewitt in her undies. Plenty of cleavage in scenes from the movie "If Only (2004). Links #4 features a nice partial breast view as she makes out with a dude.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    She'll Wear An Orthopedic Thong - Mick Jagger's ex, model Jerry Hall, told the UK Mirror that she'll keep modeling as long as they pay her. She said she's had to tone down her outfits a bit with age, "but I've still got fabulous legs and wear mini-skirts. I'll keep wearing bikinis till I'm 80." Hall said she intends to "grow old gracefully in public, and disgracefully in private."

  • Unlike Mick, who will be old and disgraceful in public and in private.
  • She'll be appearing in this year's "Modern Maturity" swimsuit issue.
  • There's nothing wrong with wearing bikinis until you're 80, as long as you wear a LOT of clothes over them.

    I Wanna Hold Your Gland - The NFL signed 62-year-old Paul McCartney to provide the halftime show at this year's Super Bowl. McCartney said he's "looked at all facets of the show, including talent selection, song selection and costume selection, to ensure we wouldn't have a repeat of what happened last year."

  • Yeah, nobody wants to see Paul McCartney's man-boob.
  • He will not, at any time, be sharing the stage with Justin Timberlake.
  • He knows the FCC will fine him for obscenity if he sings "Come Together."