Balloting is finished

  • See the numerical results here.

  • See the pictorial here.


SHORTBUS (2006):

For those of us who love screen nudity, our Holy Grail is a great movie with great nudity. It's never really happened. There are been great movies, and there has been great nudity, but the two have never gone hand in hand. The best we can hope for is generally a pretty good movie with excellent nudity. But movies with spectacular nudity, like 9 Songs, are just never great movies, and the truly great movies like The Godfather never seem to have more than just a little nudity, if any. Why hasn't our Grail been found? Well, part of the problem, maybe all of the problem, is that real-time sex simply screws up a movie's pacing. Story-telling is all about forward progress and pacing, and a script writer has about 90 minutes to grab our attention and spin his yarn. It is simply not possible to show several real-time sex scenes, taking several minutes each, in a 90-minute drama. Basically, in terms of storytelling, the sex scenes are just long stretches when nothing happens. That is the problem with The Lover, for example, a magnificently photographed film - a genuine work of art - which has some damned good sex scenes. It's only a great movie when the sex isn't happening. And it only has great nudity in the boring part of the film. It has the core of great nudity and great filmmaking, but they never come together. I suppose the the two films which best integrate substantial nudity into the fabric of a pretty good film are Basic Instinct and Sirens.

Shortbus comes, very, very close to what we have been seeking. It is a wise and honest ensemble dramedy about modern relationships. I don't even like that kind of movie in general, but I liked this one. The music is good. The jokes are good - I laughed out loud a couple of times. The drama works - I was emotionally invested in the story, and profoundly moved a few times. The characters, even the quirkiest ones, are human and believable, and I was rooting for them. The film is technically excellent, and marvelously inventive, with more than a touch of magic. The sex is explicit, and doesn't go on too long to slow the story down. In fact, the sex scenes are all interesting to watch for some reason or another, because the characters are communicating in some way which is integral to the story or at least to maintaining a high level of energy and entertainment.

"So," you are wondering, "why is the film only 'close' to our goal?"

I think Shortbus very well could have been our Holy Grail if the storylines had been split into two separate movies, one for the straight audience, one for the gay. It would have been a simple matter. There are basically two complete storylines. On the one hand there is a woman who has never had an orgasm. This is particularly ironic, since she's a sex therapist. Her euphemism for her condition is that she is "pre-orgasmic," but nobody knows what the hell that means. One guy hears her use the term, then asks, "Does that mean you're just about to have one?", and steps back to give her some additional room! Half of the movie is about her quest for the big O. The other storyline is about a monogamous homosexual couple which has come to a crisis in the relationship because one of the partners is profoundly depressed. The two men look for answers - and their search includes a consultation with a relationship therapist - which brings us back to the other story.

As it stands, the film is ... er ... polymorphous. Is that the word I'm looking for? The sexual activities take every shape possible. There are guys having daisy chains with other guys. There is masturbation by both sexes. There is heterosexual sex. There's even a guy who can blow himself - and swallows! In all honesty, this is not what I want to watch. Homosexual sex doesn't repulse me. But it doesn't interest me either, so when the guys were getting it on, there wasn't anything on screen that I was interested in. Let's face it, I don't have any interest in watching some naked guys lickin' and suckin' away and jackin' each other's beanstalks.

So the film came close to ringing the carnival bell but ultimately won no cigar.

Be that as it may, Shortbus is still a good movie, close to a great one. I think I can say I would have loved the film if all the relationships had been hetero and the sex scenes had all involved at least one woman. That's the upside, and I've told you the downside, so I recommend the film for anyone who is not scared off by my description. I have a feeling that's a pretty small audience, which is something of a shame.

We've already had the film clips here a couple of times, and the darker scenes will have to wait for a commercial DVD, but here are captures of the scenes with Sook-Yin Lee.



As I was assembling the film clips for the annual Top Twenty list, I realized that we had only one good clip of Annabeth Gish, and no good captures, so I did my best to remedy the situation. Here is a zipped .wmv from the first three episodes of Brotherhood, and here are some captures (Very difficult scenes to work with. Not only dark, but with colored filters as well. But I did what I could.)







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.



  Bobby Deerfield (1977)

Al Pacino plays the top Formula One driver on the European circuit and Marthe Keller is the dying woman he falls in love with. As the film opens, Pacino's teammate dies in a crash, and he is determined to find out why before he races his car again. He decides to drive to the clinic where a survivor of the crash is recovering from a broken neck, to see if he can learn more about what caused it. It is there that he meets Marthe. He is vulnerable to her charms because he's clearly not getting along with his current significant other, who is more interested in spending his money than making him happy. Thus, when Marthe hitches a ride out with him the next day, Pacino finds her perplexing but irresistible. It is only after he learns that she has a fatal disease that he decides he loves her, and tries to become the man she wants -- one who enjoys life to its fullest.

Only Sydney Pollack could make a three-hanky weeper out of a Formula One racing movie. Then again, only Sydney Pollack would have cast Al Pacino as the driver. (Can he even reach the pedals?) I thought Pacino was uncomfortable in this role beginning to end, but never more than the several times he had to sing to Keller. Suffice it to say that there is no Grammy in his future, and he presents no threat to the vocal skills of the Rat Pack. In fact, he's not even ready to compete with the original cast of Star Trek.

Bobby Deerfield is professionally acted, photographed and directed, but it is only for those who love weepy love stories, and offers nothing for those who are not addicted to that genre. If dyin' woman weepers are your thing, you may enjoy this one as well, but I won't be watching it again anytime soon.


IMDb readers say 5.2



Marthe Keller shows her breasts in a well lit scene.












Today the Time machine journeys back to 1980 and "Altered States." Blair Brown starred along with William Hurt and she gives up breasts and buns in these caps and 4 zipped .wmv clips.










Notes and collages

The Celebrity Showers continue


Nancy Allen in Dressed to Kill

...some women are pleasant to look at/ others are fun to hang out with: I image Ms. Allen as the latter. She is pretty enough yet I can envision her in a pool game at a casual bar.



Neve Campbell in When Will I Be Loved?

...a cute woman.  I'm glad that her career has continued on after the "Scream" franchise came to a close...










"La Estanquera de Vallejas" (2006)



El comienzo del especial de Eloy de la Iglesia ...

Eloy de la Iglesia (Zarauz, Guipúzcoa, 1 de enero de 1944 - 23 de marzo de 2006 España) era director de cine español con un estilo muy personal, disidente, transgresor, provocador y lleno de fuerza; Debutó en 1966 con 'Fantasía… 3' y completó una filmografía de 22 largometrajes. Siempre fue un director y guionista polémico porque presentaba escenarios y personajes marginales, yonquis que morían por sus adicciones, delincuentes juveniles…

Durante lo que queda de mes, os iré presentando capturas de varias de sus películas empezando por La estanquera de Vallecas. No porque sea su primera película sino porque es en las primeras películas en las que se desnuda Maribel Verdú.

Sinopsis: Leandro y Tochoentran intentan atracar un estanco de uno de los barrios madrileños más conocidos: el barrio de Vallecas. Todo parecía facil, pero la inesperada reacción de la dueña del estanco, la señora Justa se lo impide. A los asaltantes no les queda mas remedio que atrancar la puerta del local y tomar como rehenes a la estanquera y a su sobrina. Despues de un rato largo que llegue la policía la situación del secuestro cambia por completo, al principio era un ambiente tenso, pero poco a poco se transforma en un ambiente cordial y, se podría decir, de amistad entre la pareja de atracadores y las dos rehenes.





The beginning of a special new series on the films of Eloy de la Iglesia

Eloy Iglesia (b. Zarauz, Guipúzcoa, January 1, 1944 - d. Spain, March 23, 2006) was a Spanish director with a distinctive personal style which was rebellious, iconoclastic, transgressive, provocative and forceful. He debuted in 1966 with “Fantasy… 3” and his complete filmography includes 22 full-length theatrical films. He always courted controversy, both as a director and as a  scriptwriter, because he concentrated on the people in the margins of society, like unreconstructed young delinquents, or junkies who die of their addictions. This month, I will be presenting captures of several of his films, starting with La Estanquera de Vallecas, not because it is his first film, but because it is the first film in which Maribel Verdú undresses!

Synopsis: Two small-time hoodlums try to rob a tobacconist in Vallecas, one of the most famous districts in Madrid. The shop had seemed like an easy mark to them, but the little old lady who runs the business simply refuses to hand over the money, and a situation develops. Eventually the police arrive and lay siege to the shop, and the crooks have no choice but to lock the door and make the people inside their hostages. At this point the tone of the film changes completely. At the onset of the robbery, the situation in the shop was tense and antagonistic, but as the story unfolds, the atmosphere becomes cordial and an unlikely friendship forms between the criminals and their hostages.



Maribel Verdu









Dann reports on Joyeux Noël:

By the end of 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever (at the time), was in full swing and there was no place bloodier than the Western Front. Suddenly on Christmas eve, at various places along the front, front-line officers and troops called an informal truce and met in No Man's Land (the areas between the trenches) to celebrate Christmas.

This beautifully done 2005 drama, a French production that used English, French, and German for dialog, tells the story of one such incident.

It brings out the harsh horrors of war, but also shows men at their best as the various soldiers interact. Diane Kruger plays a Danish opera singer who was in Germany at the start of the war performing with her tenor boyfriend. The boyfriend is German, and is called to the front to fight. She persuades a high-ranking German officer to allow her to go to the front to see her boyfriend and perform for the troops. The two singers turn it into a concert for ALL the troops.

This is a poignant and magnificently done movie that, I suspect, will someday be considered a Christmas classic.


Diane Kruger








Ah, the classics! A former "best nude scene," Katie Holmes in The Gift

Nasty Kinski in To the Devil, A Daughter

Virginie Ledoyen in The Beach. She might have become an A-lister if this DiCaprio movie had been any good, but it wasn't and she isn't. Very few French female stars become box office draws in the United States. Juliette Binoche probably came the closest with The English Patient and Chocolat.




Pat's comments in yellow...

The Wall Street Journal reports that talent agents are getting up to $200 an hour for "Bad Santas."  Many party hosts want to hire rude Santas who sing dirty songs, tell R-rated jokes, insult the guests and hit on the women.  One Santa said he was hired for a Denver country club soiree for 85 women where he was expected to sit on their laps and tell them what he wanted for Christmas.

*  And you thought KIDS were excited at the idea of Santa coming down their chimneys.

*  That kind of Santa ignores the good girls and rewards the naughty ones.

Jon Gettman, the former head of the pro-marijuana group NORML, released a report claiming that U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of pot annually.  That makes it America's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined.

*  He would've gone on, but the thought of corn and wheat combined made him really hungry.

*  That figure, like Mr. Gettman, seems a little high.