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Nobody will accuse Todd Fields of being a workaholic, I guess. After considerable critical acclaim and many post-season awards for In the Bedroom in 2001, it has taken him five years to develop this follow-up. The eponymous source novel for Little Children is a complex story about suburban angst, an ambitious literary effort which walks a fine line between condescending toward its characters and compelling us to get involved with their lives. As one Amazon reviewer noted, "Most of the individuals in this novel are hypocritical, selfish, and immature. Nevertheless, Perrotta is such a gifted writer that he humanizes the characters and makes us care deeply about them. The author implies that even when we grow up and become parents ourselves, in some ways we all remain ''little children' inside." The novel is filled with intricate references and allusions to other works of literature. Sarah's book club is discussing Madame Bovary, and the parallels between Emma Bovary's life and Sarah's own are readily apparent. The work also uses some of its relationships to comment upon others. For example, the interactions of the suburban adults are pictured as grotesque mirrors of the interactions of their children.

Sarah (Kate Winslet) is an unfulfilled suburban housewife who is married to a dipstick of a marketing consultant and internet porn addict. She still seems to define herself in terms of her failed Ph.D. in English Literature, but is condemned to an everyday life of drudgery and motherhood to a three year old.  Todd (Patrick Wilson) is an unfulfilled househusband who depends on his wife to support them because he can't seem to pass the bar exam. He still seems to define himself in terms of the star quarterback he once was, but is condemned to a life of everyday drudgery as sole caregiver to a three year old. It isn't long before the two of them realize that they are basically the same person with different genital organs, and not much longer before they start rubbing aforesaid genitals together, using their fleeting moments of passion to recapture the adolescence they miss. A major sub-plot involves their neighborhood's local child molester who has been released from prison and the disgraced former cop who harasses and bullies the pervert and his mother. The two stories intersect at various times, but the moments of intersection are not outrageous stretches of our credibility, and are not even particularly critical to the development of either story, so the film is basically structured as two stories which unfold in parallel in the same neighborhood.

In order to keep the story as faithful as possible to its literary roots, the film uses a PBS announcer to recite some eloquent prose from the novel. I'm sure you realize that such a device rarely works. Words which seem eloquent and stirring on paper often seem pompous, and insincerely rhetorical when spoken aloud in a conversational context. I cringed when I heard the announcer speechifying at the film's outset, and there were other moments when I though it seemed artificial, but on balance I give the authors credit for keeping the narrator's presence low-key and unobtrusive enough that it accentuated the tone they were trying to maintain.

The script had to make some hard choices about how to treat the novel's tone shifts between romantic drama and black comedy. Fields and the novelist worked together to tell the stories as seriously as possible, trying to prevent the main characters from being comic devices by making them real. It would be possible to make both the child molester and the disgraced cop into cartoon monsters, for example, but the film wisely avoids this. 

The decisions that they made worked in the sense that the film does bring the viewer into the lives of its characters, and develops all the major ones in multiple dimensions. The humor is there, but it is basically buried deep inside the absurdity of the situations, and the script concentrates the scathing condescension on a few minor characters, like Sarah's husband.  Unfortunately, all the decisions which maintained the integrity of the project also made the film much too aloof and self-important to have any significant box office appeal, and the film's financial path walked along the same rickety bridge as similarly worthy literary adaptations like The Door in the Floor. The market for this type of film is not a large one. Little Children maxed out at two million dollars in 30-40 theaters. If it is any consolation to the co-authors, the general critical consensus was that the film was a significant artistic triumph. (83% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, lots of year-end top ten mentions, and even a bit of Oscar buzz.)

Kate Winslet (Zipped .wmv)

I made some new collages because the source medium was better than what I had before:



More of 2006's nude scenes. These all missed the Top Twenty, but represent some fine nudity.

National Lampoon's Pledge This: Angela Dodson, Camilla Langfeld, Sharon Moore, Brooke Newton, and more. (Five of LC's .avis zipped together.)

American Pie 5 - The Naked Mile:  Alyssa Nicole Pallett, Candace Kroslak, Jaclyn A Smith, Michelle Cormier, Angel Lewis, and others (Several of LC's .avis zipped together)

Agnes & his Brothers: Susan Anbeh. (Two .avis zipped together.)




Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.





Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.




The Rules of Attraction (2002)

Vamp (1986) is a stylish, humorous vampire film partially inspired by another film, After Hours.

Three college men take a road trip to attempt to hire a stripper for a fraternity party, and end up in a club owned and staffed entirely by vampires, with the exception of one waitress, Dedee Pfeiffer, who knew two of the boys as kids. Robert Russler as the slickest of the three boys decides Grace Jones, the head vampire, is their woman, so he heads backstage to meet and hire her. Big mistake. She takes a bite out of his neck, and is about to have him discarded when she is told he had friends with him. At this point, it becomes a chase movie, with all the vampires out to get Dedee Pfeiffer, and the other two guys, one of whom is Long Duck Dong from 16 Candles, who was brought along only because he owned the car. As payment for the use of the car, the cool guys agreed to take him along and pretend to be his friend.

The script was written over a weekend, shot in 25 days (much of it at USC), edited quickly, and fully assembled for only $1.9 million. It does not look at all like a low-budget production. Grace Jones brought in her friend Andy Warhol to help decorate the set, and the entire film was shot in green and orange lighting, giving it a very unusual look. In addition to the distinctive appearance of the film, it is populated with good character actors.  I am sick to death of vampire films and was entertained by this one


IMDb readers have this a little low at 4.9.

It earned only $4.9 million at the box office, but that was just fine relative to the budget.

Scoop's note: Tuna and I seem to be the only fans of this film. I also thought it was a decent little flick. Review here. In addition to the low IMDb score, Ebert assigned two stars, and Maltin could offer no more than 1.5.



Grace Jones wears a bikini and g-string made of coils of wire that leave little to the imagination.




Real-life stripper Tricia Brown shows breasts and buns during her strip act.




Lisa Lyon, as one of the vampire strippers, is wearing pasties and a t-back.











At number 4 on this year's list of the best nude scenes, here's Maggie Gyllenhaal in Sherrybaby. She was hot hot hot in this movie and frankly I thought she would be # 2 to Gretchen Mol.








Notes and collages

The Celebrity Showers continue


Kim Cattrall in Above Suspicion


Anne Heche in Girls in Prison

... a beautiful set of natural breasts



Phoebe Cates in Paradise

... a very pretty figure








Cleaning up my hard drive. 

The real find is former MuchMusic VJ Laurie Brown in some rare topless stills in Drying Up the Streets.
Carrie Clayton in Rhinoceros Eyes
Heidi Hawkins in Recon 2020
Kristin Booth in Exhibit A
Liana Kerzner in Ed the Sock
Patricia Bellemore in Kottentail






Michelle Burke in The Last Word (She was Connie Conehead.)

Chulpan Khamatova in The Whore's Son (She was in the terrific German film Good-bye, Lenin.)




Pat's comments in yellow...

Researchers from England's University of Southampton claim that vegetarians are smarter than meat-eaters.  They tracked 8,000 volunteers for 20 years and found that those who were vegetarians at 30 had scored on average five points higher on IQ tests at age 10.  This could mean a vegetarian diet boosts brain power; however, it could
just mean that brainier kids grow up to be more concerned about their health or animal welfare.  One interesting side note: vegans, who avoid all animal food products, even cheese, scored significantly lower on childhood IQ tests: ten points lower than vegetarians and five points lower than meat-eaters.

*  They left a lot of the questions blank because they were too weak to lift the pencil.

For 36 years, WPIX-TV has shown a film of a burning Yule log on Christmas, accompanied by holiday music, and it became a weird New York City tradition and got high ratings.  The son of the creator said,
"In a way, it was the first music video, and the star was a burning log."  This year, the film has been restored and it will air for three hours instead of one.  But it has competition: INHD, a high-definition cable network, plans to show a burning log in high-def for 24 hours.  A spokesman said the HD log is far superior to the scratchy 1970 film, but one of the WPIX log film restorers said it can't hold a candle to the original "magnificent" log and its "roaring, happy, mesmerizing fire."

*  The log was the first music video star, but thanks to K-Fed's rap career, it's not the most wooden.

*  Both logs will draw a bigger audience than the CBS News with Katie Couric.


Indian runner Santhi Soudarijan, who won silver in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games, will likely lose her medal after failing a gender test.  The Times of India reports that the test found Soudarijan "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman."  Sports officials in her home state said they have no information on her

*  Have they checked Hooters?