Kathryn Erbe has come close to stardom, or at least
B-list stardom. I suppose the apex of her career was a good 1999
supernatural movie called "Stir of Echoes," which might have been a
hit if it had come out two months sooner. It came out in early
September of 1999, about a month after The Sixth Sense, which was a
box office phenomenon, and a very similar movie. Stir of Echoes not
only came out while The Sixth Sense was still kicking box office ass,
but it happened to be released the very same weak as Stigmata, another
Stigmata took the #1 spot that week with about $18
million, barely ousting The Sixth Sense from the spot it had held for
more than a month. The Sixth Sense was still a strong second with $16
million. Stir of Echoes did manage to finish third, but far behind
with only $6 million. It dropped only 32% in its second week, which
was a sign that it had some good word of mouth, but it has simply
started too slow and the field was too crowded, so it finished with a
mere $21 million.
If Stir of Echoes had come out in July of that year,
Kathryn Erbe might now be a household name. It didn't, and she isn't.
So it goes.
Here's a video clip (zipped .wmv) of her frontal flash
Here's a preview collage
Mr and Mrs Smith (2005)
I usually write these summaries long after the film has come and gone
from the theaters, and that chronology affects my perspective
significantly. If I had reviewed this when it came out, the summary
might have concluded, "It's been a very dry summer, and this is about
the only thing that might entertain you this week, especially if
you're looking for popcorn entertainment." The story is different now.
Watching the movie, then looking back on its impressive box-office performance,
one must conclude that the proper focus for the article is, "How in
the world did this average movie become such a monster hit?"
The answer is that all the planets had to align
perfectly, and they did.
1. Jolie and Pitt are just about the biggest
stars in the biz, and they are just about the ultimate in potential
couples, if the sole criterion is that portion of DNA which controls
physical appearance. It would be difficult to name a more beautiful
couple, even given a completely blank slate, unrestricted by whether
the two people really are a couple. Paul Walker and Jessica Alba?
Maybe, but they seem like callow kids, while Pitt and Jolie also
have all this talent, all this ... presence. And then the ultimate
potential couple seemed to become a couple for real. Not only that,
but they never came out and admitted it, and the whole thing
happened in the high media glare which was already upon the
2. The summer line-ups just seemed to work
out perfectly for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The new releases in the
previous week were Cinderella Man (a good picture which bombed), The
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and the Lords of Dogtown. The new
releases opening directly against Mr. and Mrs. Smith were The
Honeymooners, High Tension, and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava
Girl. No popcorn. No humor. Nothing for guys. Nothing even close to
a hit. That was a summer weekend, with plenty
of movie-going dollars to spread around, but if you were looking for
some light summer entertainment that weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Smith was
just about your only choice from among the movies of the two most
recent weeks. The following week brought Batman
Returns, an excellent but deadly earnest film which still left all
the comedy dollars on the table for the Smiths.
Everything had to work together. Summer. The
Competition. The Stars. The Gossip. Take away any of those elements,
and this film loses much of its appeal. Take them all away, and it
goes nowhere. Make the same movie with Walker and Alba, have those two
remain faithful to their previous lovers, release the film in February
against a good comedy ... nothin'.
I suppose every successful movie has a touch
of genius and a lot of luck, and this was no exception. It obviously
had the luck, and the genius was there as well, although it was not
filmmaking genius, but marketing genius.
The basic premise of the film? A deadly
assassin has married just to have a cover. Unbeknownst to him, his
wife is also a successful assassin who has done the same thing.
Neither is aware of the other's true career. One day they both happen
to be assigned to the same hit and ... well, you get the idea. Their
cover blown, they are soon assigned to kill one another, and then they
end up working together, blah blah.
The entire film is essentially a deadpan
comedy. There is not one moment when their situations can be viewed as
credible. They each have surreptitiously assembled massive stashes of
documents, money and ammunition in their home - behind paintings,
beneath the tool shed, and in the stove, for example - yet neither of
them has ever accidentally stumbled upon the other's secrets in their
six years of marriage. Thing about that - a brilliant secret agent
looking for the best place in the house to hide something never things
of the same places as the other brilliant secret agent living in the
same house. They both work for agencies that basically
could not exist, let alone compete with one another. They are
apparently both immortal, and virtually invulnerable to harm. They
employ technology which does not exist. And so forth. I am not
objecting to any of those things, which are all perfectly acceptable
in a comedy. I'm simply reciting the litany to identify to you that the film is not
meant to exist on any other level besides humor. It's a goof. A $110
million gamble of a goof - and it paid off.
You may construe that my making the following
comments indicate my having taken the film far too seriously, and I
will not dispute that. It is obvious that the filmmakers knew a thing
or two about entertaining people because audiences across the world
responded very positively with their pocketbooks. The filmmakers and
marketers obviously needed no help from me. But for the record,
here are my two main thoughts:
- The only really funny moments in the film
are those which involve Vince Vaughn as an assassin who still
lives with his mom. I suppose the best jokes are probably Vaughn's
ad-libs. I would have liked the film much better if Vaughn had
a bigger part, and had actually seemed to be part of the movie
instead of something tacked on after the fact. If Vaughn had been
woven into the main fabric of the film, as Tom Arnold was in True
Lies, it could have been funnier than it was. And certainly funnier than Tom
- The film is more than two hours long, and
the running time is extended not by witty dialogue or creative
ideas, but by chase scenes and long gun battles. Of course, since
the film is no longer in theaters, that point is no longer
crucial. DVD allows us to do the editing which the director failed
to do. I experimented, and found out that one can watch
this film in 90 minutes on DVD without losing anything even
remotely entertaining. I didn't skip any sections, but rather
watched them in fast-forward. If you are one of those "half-full"
guys, you can spin that very positively: "This blockbuster film is
even better on DVD than in the theaters, because the DVD allows
you to watch only the material that interests you and to devote
only the amount of time you wish to devote." In other words, if
you fast-forward through the explosions, car chases, and gun
battles, it actually is a pretty tight piece of entertainment.
No nudity, but a hint of some visible areola
from Jolie, and probably an actual nipple in collage #1. The third
one is blurry to begin with, so I don't know what it is, and it's
probably a stunt performer anyway.
Kevin Costner's Hairdresser Nicked His Computer
- This is shocking! Somebody admitted to being Kevin Costner's
- In other news, I'm Bill Shatner's voice coach. Tape at 11.
Homer Simpson - Portrait of an Ass grabber ... with Dennis Franz
Here is the film clip of the firefighter who caught the baby thrown
from a burning building
Some preview footage from APOCALYPTO (Directed by Mel Gibson)
Conan_O'Brien looks far, far into the future with Jack Black
The trailer for 'Catch and Release', a romantic comedy starring
Jennifer Garner and ... Silent Bob??
Like the FBI, we have our "most wanted" list. Here's our hardened
criminal of the day:
The sentencing of a Wellington woman who smuggled a hamster into New
Zealand has been adjourned after she failed to appear in court.
- In case you were wondering, and how could you not, the
hamster's name is Eric.
- The maximum fine for hamster smuggling is five years in jail
- In a related story, insert your own joke here about Richard
Gere being in New Zealand for Peter Jackson's next movie.
Classic Weekly World News headlines
What else will Yahoo buy?
Janet Jackson has had a massive weight gain since the wardrobe
Jon Stewart has a lame conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker
Jennifer Aniston: "I might as well pull my pants down at this point,
since they've seen everything else."
Naked in Public
- Play the "free video preview" and listen to the old lady's
classical British under-reaction.
JibJab has posted their latest vid: Bush's year-end round-up
Star Wars in 30 seconds with bunnies (Now with deleted scenes!)
"King Kong Bombing Big Time at Box Office"
- "Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' - a three-hour, $300 million
extravaganza that wowed advance screening audiences - is a
catastrophe in the making."
A New York woman threw her one-month-old son from the third floor of
a burning building and the baby was caught by an amateur baseball
player standing outside
"For the third time in four years, singer Britney Spears is No. 1 --
as far as Internet users are concerned.
- Spears topped Yahoo's annual list of the most-searched for
names on the Internet.
Letterman's "Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear At Your Office
Teri Hatcher won substantial libel damages on Friday from a British
newspaper that alleged she used a camper van outside her home to
have sex with a series of men.
- The Sport's lawyer David Hirst said the paper was sorry for
the article "which they fully accept was entirely false."
BBC - The life of Charles Dickens (animation)
The Nigerian Santa Scam
Bad Santa's Favorite Evil Toys
Top Ten Villainous Moments in Comics
Stern Goes Out in (His) Style
Stephen Colbert and Congressman Major Owens swap rap poems.
Some things Stephen Colbert is looking forward to in the coming
Daily Show Headlines - Iraq: The Vote
- It seems like Election Day is the only time things don't blow
up in Iraq.
"Until Hell Freezes Dover"
- The Daily Show's Samantha Bee investigates a wretched town
that was an idyllic paradise until they voted God out.
"THE SEVEN NOT-SO-DEADLY SINS"
- PHONINESS -- Putting on a bogus British accent when you merely
vacationed in England for two weeks angers the Lord.
- IGNORANCE -- "It really irks God when someone prays to Him
using poor grammar," the Bible scholar says.
The domestic and international trailers for Freedomland
- "Based on Richard Price's bestselling novel, which opens as a
bruised and bloodied white woman named Brenda Martin stumbles into
a Dempsey, New Jersey, emergency room, claiming that a black man
stole her car with her four-year-old son in the backseat. Veteran
detective Lorenzo Council is assigned to investigate the case, and
despite reservations about Brenda's story, he launches an all-out
search for the abducted boy. Jesse Haus, an ambitious young
reporter for the local newspaper, also suspects that Brenda is
hiding something, and she befriends the grief-stricken mother in
an attempt to break the biggest story of her career. But as the
search for the alleged carjacker intensifies, smoldering racial
tensions between the predominantly black city of Dempsey and its
mostly white neighbor, Gannon, threaten to explode."
'Desperate Housewives' will be shown in China starting on Monday",
where it will be known as "ambitious, yet subservient housewives."
Voted Best Beer Commercial of 2005
- You have to be patient. It stars out pedestrian, but the last
few seconds save the day. Sorta
Looking back from 2105 - the Christmas gadgets of the past century
Yakov Smirnov joke of the day - in Soviet Russia, the monkey spanks
you. (Warning: Really, REALLY, not safe for work. Any work. Not
even if you work in the Japanese Octopus Porn industry.)
Conan does his own analysis of King Kong
A full 5 Minute Clip from Casanova
The trailer from American Dreamz
- Bizarre premise for a comedy, but I did laugh a few times
during the trailer!
- Filmmaker Paul Weitz-whose comic explorations have ventured
into the synergistic halls of corporate culture ("In Good
Company"), the perils of psychological isolationism ("About a
Boy") and the vicissitudes of losing one's virginity ("American
Pie")-now delivers a comedy yanked from right-now popular
culture...where the nation's shrinking attention span is more
focused on "what's hot" than on hot-button headlines: American
On the morning of his re-election, the President (Quaid)
decides to read the newspaper for the first time in four years.
This starts him down a slippery slope. He begins reading
obsessively, reexamining his black and white view of the world,
holing up in his bedroom in his pajamas. Frightened by the
President's apparent nervous breakdown, his Chief of Staff (Dafoe)
pushes him back into the spotlight, booking him as a guest judge
on the television ratings juggernaut (and the President's personal
fave), the weekly talent show American Dreamz.
America can't seem to get enough of American Dreamz, hosted by
self-aggrandizing, self-loathing Martin Tweed (Grant), ever on the
lookout for the next insta-celebrity. His latest crop of hopefuls
includes Sally (Moore), a conniving steel magnolia with a devoted,
dopey veteran boyfriend (Klein), and Omer, a recent Southern
Californian immigrant (who just happens to be a bumbling, show
tune singing, would-be terrorist awaiting activation). When both
Sally and Omer make it to the final round of Dreamz-where the
President will be judging along with Tweed-the stage is set for a
show the nation will never forget.
"the biggest decline in movie attendance in 20 years."
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
"Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom"
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1973) is another in the Japanese Pinky Violence collection of exploitation films. We open in a school for wayward girls, in sailor uniforms, where a group of girls identified as the discipline committee tortures another girl to death. Cut to Miki Sugimoto arriving with two other new girls. We soon learn that the discipline committee was established by the vice principle to torture any students who cause him trouble. He assigns them to orientate the new girls. Although he is engaged to his assistant, Jun Midorikawa, he is clearly having sex with the girls in the discipline team.
It becomes clear that Miki has come to the school to revenge the death of the girl from the opening scene, who was her second in command of her girl gang. To complicate things further, a young paparazzi type journalist is hatching schemes to blackmail local politicians, all of whom are connected to the school. His scheme is chiefly to get photos of them in compromising positions with the school girls.
As the powers that be began their rapid decent, Jun Midorikawa has sex with "The Chairman" to "clean up her husband's mess." She is wearing all white, and he uses a vibrator with a red center on her, making fun of the Japanese flag. I mention this as a key to what these films are all about. Director Norafumi Suzuki is demonstrating that all of the respectability in a formal Japanese society is a thin veneer, and not far below the surface, all of the establishment are perverse perverted. You can imagine how this was received by the young Japanese audiences who saw these films. Suzuki championed the marginalized in society, most especially wayward girls. All of his films contain as much nudity and sex as the Japanese censors would allow, and a liberal dose of BDSM as well. In this one, a girl is forced to drink water, then kept from using the bathroom, until she finally pees all over her school desk in class, and that is mild. They also tie girls up, and connect electricity to their nipples and vagina. As usual, there are plenty of cat fights as well.
Miki Sugimoto shows only breasts this time, but Jun Midorikawa shows breasts and buns. Reiki Iko has a cameo role in this one as a rival gang leader who wants to fight with Miki, but will wait until she has her revenge. IMDb has this rated at 8.2. Clearly, I am not the only fan of these Pinky Violence films. This, again, is a B-. Elements will appeal to many that would usually not be interested in a WIP or reform school girls sort of film.
Today we Take the Time Machine back fifteen years to 1990 for the silliest horror movie you could ever lay your eyes on... "Evil Toons". Yes, cartoon characters terrorizing the ladies! It was only an excuse to expose some flesh (so who am I to complain).
So let's have a look at some of the Scream Queens from that era all with topless scenes.
Suzanne Ager (no nudity)
Suzanne Ager & Stacey Nix, now Suzanne shows the tits.
Michelle Bauer certainly one of the all time Scream Queens.
Monique Gabrielle...no slouch herself.
Monique Gabrielle with Madison Stone
More Stacey Nix
Porn star Madison Stone
Just one actress in 4 clips today, I'm afraid.
East German-born Anne Kasprik delivers a triple B performance in an episode of Polizeiruf 110-Falscher Jasmin (1990). Anne does so both on dry land and under water but I must warn you that in some clips a nude dude can also be seen briefly.
'Caps and comments by Dann:
If you've ever seen the porn classics Behind the Green Door or Inside Marilyn Chambers, you can thank the Mitchell Brothers. This 2000 Showtime bio tells the story of the brothers who invented "porn with a story", discovered Marilyn Chambers, introduced live sex shows to San Francisco, took enough dope to kill a large whale, and pissed off the authorities so bad they were constantly in and out of jail.
The brothers entered the porn industry in the early 60's, and decided to do things differently. They made films that looked like Hollywood mainstream films, but with explicit sex. They bought an old theatre in San Francisco to show their films, and eventually turned it into a live sex club. They were constantly high on drugs, and for a while, were arrested every time they premiered a new movie.
Eventually, the drugs lead them on a downward spiral into bankruptcy, and finally the murder of Artie by Jim. Jim served three years of a six year sentence for manslaughter, and returned to running the business when he was released.
An interesting biography, with an excellent performance by real life brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez as the Mitchell Brothers. Also good was Tracy Hutson, who made a very convincing Marilyn Chambers.
Not surprisingly, the film was released with an R rating, but the caps are from the unrated DVD. It contains only a minute more film than the R version, so apparently only a few seconds of the most explicit stuff was cut.
Thanks to Squiddy for another view of Rachel McAdams' recent red carpet nip slip.
Pat's comments in yellow...
KINKY FRIEDMAN DOLL RUNS FOR GOVERNOR
Rick Perry Has Better Plastic Hair - Texans are seeing some of the most
hilariously odd political commercials ever aired: iconoclastic singer/writer Kinky
Friedman (of the Texas Jew Boys band) is raising money for an independent run
for governor by selling talking action figures of himself. The ads show the
plastic Kinky doll holding press conferences and barking Kinkyisms at real
reporters, such as "I don't know how many supporters I've got, but they all carry
guns;" "I'm gonna de-wussify Texas if I have to do it one wuss at a time,"
"I'll keep us out of war with Oklahoma," "I can't screw things up any worse than
they already are," "Criticize me all you want, but don't circumcise me any
more," and his campaign slogan, "Why the hell not?!" (See them at www.kinkyfriedman.com)
* Ironically, Kinky is the only politician you can tell apart from a plastic figure.
* A plastic action figure can't become a governor! Except in California and Minnesota!
"BRITNEY" TOPS 2005 YAHOO SEARCHES
Looking Up Britney - Yahoo announced that their most searched-for term on the
Internet in 2005 was "Britney Spears." She's been #1 for three of the last
four years, displaced last year by "American Idol." The rest of the top ten
are, in order: 50 Cent, Cartoon Network, Mariah Carey, Green Day, Jessica
Simpson, Paris Hilton, Eminem, Ciara and Lindsay Lohan. A Yahoo spokesman said it
shows "people are fixated on the activities of pop culture icons."
* Or else it shows people are dumb as rocks.
* Most of the searchers were press agents for the people on that list.
* They actually had to SEARCH for information on these people?! I hear
about them day and night, no matter how hard I try not to!
* Britney spent most of her time searching for Kevin
Federline...Not on the Internet; she was just trying to find the S.O.B.