Saturday, January 05, 2008

Signs that I'm online way too much

And no, 'pita' isn't an acronym for 'pain in the ass.'

When I spied the bag of Stacey's Pita Chips on the counter, I read the cholesterol listing on the bag as "Oh my God! Cholesterol" instead of zero milligrams.

And when I realized my error, I wanted to hit Ctrl-Z.

Hopeless, I tell you.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Counting down the hours...

Stop! We are not through! And before you skidoo, we'd like to introduce our cast and crew.

I'm getting ready to check out Skidoo at long last. Being a Harry Nilsson fan, I've already listened to the soundtrack, and now I'll get to see how the songs fit in with the movie.

And special thanks to Mark Evanier for putting out the word about this being on Turner Classic Movies and making the swell banner above.

Tonight at 2 a.m. Set those Tivos, kids. If you see only one movie in which Jackie Gleason trips out on LSD, make it this one.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

O is for 'Oh, hell no!'

Sometimes you can just smell quality when perusing movie titles, especially if you have synesthesia. Take the latest winner in the Bad Movies From A to Z sweepstakes: Over 18...and Ready. This review may not be suitable for all audiences. The movie is suitable for no one...

Also at this point, I'd like to mention the scarcity of movie titles that begin with "O."

The movie in a nutshell: Girl goes to Hollywood to be an actress and starts from the absolute bottom. I think that's what happens in the movie, too, for that matter.

The story: Honestly, it doesn't start off too bad. It's a travelogue of sorts, showing you what Hollywood looked like back in the day, which, judging from the marquees we see (Paper Lion, Camelot, Barbarella) I'm going to guess late 1968, early 1969. This was supposedly released in August 1969.

I should mention that despite that film date, the movie is in black and white, which to someone of my generation, still makes me think it should be a lot older.

At any rate, after 2 minutes of Hollywood, we get our title card, and a splendid one at that.

Wow. Makin' that buck-fifty they spent for titles work.
Barney Merritt, hip mogul at Nu-Art Continental Pictures, bemoans the lack of starlets for his newest project. And given that he refers to them as "broads," one gets the impression that he's not working on one of those Merchant Ivory pictures.

There are so many things wrong with this.His secretary, Lyn Stevens, aside from having a bra so pointy that it's an occupational hazard, also has a desk setup that would send any workplace ergo evaluator into conniption fits. Her typewriter is in front of her, sure, but her phone is off to the left of that, so when she answers it, she reaches across with her right hand to speak into the receiver while reading from the script surreptitiously placed in front of her.

Clearly, her mind is on other things than ergonomic safety. In fact, she wants to be in Barney's next picture, even though, as he points out, he makes exploitation films.

No problem, says she. She came to Hollywood to be an actress. You've gotta start somewhere, right?


Big pimpin'Later, Barney complains to his wife, Billie, about the casting situation. His wife, you can tell, is married to an important Hollywood type because she wears an ascot and smokes with a cigarette holder. Tres cool. But before he gets too into the conversation (like after two sentences), he realizes that darnit, he left his briefcase at work. On a Friday evening, no less.

Oh noes!

Billie suggests that he call Lyn. At home. You know, rather than just get off his lazy ass and drive back to work and get it himself. That's why they have help, I suppose.

He calls, and wouldn't you just know it? She's in the tub when the phone rings. Ain't that always the way? Oh well. Lyn, as we find out, is a very thorough bather. I don't think they missed an angle from which to show her scrubbing something.

When Barney explains that he needs his briefcase before going back to work Monday (maybe it has the soul of Marsellus Wallace or something), Lyn's 5K brain hatches a plan.

Almost every person in the whole movie, right here. It's a happy accident that Barney looks like he's checking out Lyn's rack.On Saturday morning, Lyn goes to a photographer to get some nude shots taken of her. That way, she reasons, she can show that she has the parts for the part. I hope Barney likes what she looks like, because she can't do a natural line reading to save her life. Even in post-production looping.

Let's talk briefly about pacing, shall we? No, not like the kind you're apt to do while this is on your TV. In the crap movies I've seen, nudity is often used to keep the viewers' attention. Intro, boobs, story, story, scare, story, boobs, etc.

So why do we need to see her complete nude photo shoot only minutes after we saw her bathe? I realize it's the next day and all, but damn. Even better, the skeevy photographer decides to take an alternate form of payment for the rush developing job. Maybe it's just me, but photography aside, if this is how you accept payment, I wouldn't make a big point of how fast you can get done.


On the plus side, he's fully clothed while he makes out with her, and there's an arty cut to an acoustic guitar (no G string joke here, folks) before anything too graphic.

Sunday morning rolls around, and Lyn dutifully brings Barney's briefcase. Lyn meets Barney's wife, Billie, who talks to her about the movie Barney is working on. Billie doesn't beat around the bush.

"You have a very nice body, my dear," she says.


"Do you think you can act?" she asks.

"Oh, I know I can," Lyn replies. "And you don't have to be the best actress in these kinds of movies." True. A very meta moment for a late-60s movie, don't you think?

Billie helpfully mentions that she's going out of town for a few days. Even more, dinner's already done -- Billie says that since she's leaving, Lyn should stay. Right. Uh-huh. That could happen. In the bedroom, Billie asks Barney if he's going to use Lyn for the movie. She says he should see the pictures of Lyn in his briefcase.

"Au naturel," Billie says.

"You're kidding. In the nude?"

This brilliant deductive reasoning, no doubt, is why this cat is a studio head, even if it is a crap studio.

'You're kidding. In the nude?'
Billie demands that he use Lyn. In the movie as well, I presume, but I may be overthinking this. Barney acts all butthurt about his wife's demands. Yes, it's a stone-cold bitch when your wife demands that you use your giant-racked secretary in your next flesh feast and have her over for dinner as well and forces you to look at naked pictures of her.

It appears to be a case of Barney protesting too much, because once Billie's out of the picture, he decides to butter Lyn up to appear in his film.


"How do you think all the other dames make it in this business? On their backs, of course." -- Barney, on why Lyn should bone him.

She has to think about it. See, darling Lyn has some standards. Sure, she got nudie pics taken of herself and then stuck them in her boss' briefcase, but still, she's not that easy. You know, I don't think they covered this kind of scenario in those videos you have to watch at work during sexual harassment training.

Ah, romance. With the precision skill of a surgeon (who is not only blind drunk on moonshine but also had both arms fall asleep), Barney undresses her, and I'd imagine that an inflatable doll would have a more lifelike countenance. I'd have to ask my brother to be sure (rimshot).

Seriously. It's like watching boobs on a plank of wood. But less realistic.

Lyn gets, um, more employment questions, and sure enough, there are openings to be filled. She gets the position.

But oh, snap! She hauls ass out of there while Barney's asleep. This bird has flown, Norwegian Wood.

On Monday morning, Gary the skeevy photographer asks Lyn on a date to celebrate her impending stardom, to which she agrees.

And next, without the benefit of transitions or segues, Barney goes over the ins and outs (so to speak) of exploitation film shooting.

Ladies and gentlemen, Martha the Maid. Or as we see shortly after her first appearance, Martha the Made.Meanwhile, poolside at Chez Merritt, Billie and Martha the Maid swim in the nude and soak up some rays. I don't know what they're paying Martha, but it can't possibly be enough to be rubbing suntan lotion on Billie.

But wait, wasn't Billie supposed to be gone for a few days? Yep. But she came back early, which really frosts Barney's cheese wheel.

"You just can't wait to get your hands on her," Barney says upon her early return.

So I leaned in closer...and kissed her...right on the eye.Cut to Lyn and Gary out on their date. They're parked out on some kind of lovers' lane. She says they can't go further in their relationship. It's too complicated.

"Uh-huh," Gary says, and the camera pans away as they play some tonsil hockey.

Some time later (see, the scenes are just shown in order without any great effort at establishing date and time. There's no tomorrow or yesterday, it's just next. Next. Next.), Lyn visits the Merritts. Billie looks a bit eager and tells Martha the Maid to take care of their guest. In most of the other movies I've reviewed, that would mean that Lyn is about to meet an untimely end. But in this flick, well, you do the math.

Lyn takes a second as soon as she's in her guest room to break a date with Gary, and as you can imagine, he's not happy.

The next day, Billie and Lyn are on the beach. Billie, who looks as though she's seen the sun a lot, helpfully slathers Lyn with sunblock, paying special attention to her chesticles. Don't want those babies getting burned, do we? Then all of a sudden, it's a girl-on-girl From Here to Eternity homage.

Back on the ranch, Martha the Maid brings Barney breakfast in bed. Main course: Martha.

Again, she can't possibly be paid enough. For reasons unknown, she bolts out of bed and dives into the pool. By the time I looked up from my notebook again, they were back in bed performing the rejected video for "Ebony and Ivory."

Finally, the first day of shooting arrives. Huzzah. Lyn's character is tied to a pole, stripped, and whipped. Maybe it's a movie about Joan of Arc or something. The shots seems to follow a formula: show up, get naked, repeat.

Now that I think about it, Billie reminds me a little of Mrs. Roper from Three's Company. So if you ever fantasized about the Ropers getting it on, this movie was made for you. Forty-seven minutes in and I finally realize that Barney and Billie are both supposed to be horny and middle-aged. Barney just looks like he had a mishap with some white shoe polish and guyliner.

Next (see what I mean?), Gary reveals his love for Lyn. And then, because he's Mr. Effing Smooth, he says, essentially, all the other chicks Barney employs end up in the sack with him -- how about you?

And while we're reeling from that lost scene from Love Story, Barney says shortly after to Lyn that he only stays with Billie because of her money. Once his movies have made the fortune they obviously will, he can kick her to the curb. Ah, young love.

Jilted Gary tries calling Lyn at home to no avail because she's once again staying with the Merritts. She also has to take another bath. And in case we forgot what that experience is like, we get to see it again. In the same order. She is obviously a creature of routine.

Oddly, the Merritts seem to have the exact same tub as Lyn's. Or they just reused the bath footage, thinking that the viewer would be so distracted by nakedosity that he wouldn't notice.

No number of baths are going to make me feel less dirty for sitting through this crapfest. Not even with a full box of Mr. Bubble.

And because Lyn hadn't been naked onscreen with Martha the Maid yet, Martha rubs moisturizer on Lyn after her bath. Who says you can't get good help these days?

At this point, I notice that the film is nearing the end of its supposed running time, and it's nowhere near a logical chain of events for an ending. I think the filmmakers noticed this too, as things start to move quicker. Or to be more precise, even more disjointedly.

Billie, Barney, Martha the Maid and Lyn hang out on the back porch, either watching footage from Barney's movie or having flashbacks.

Afterward, they share a joint before Billie and the nude-except-for-her-apron (sure, why not?) Martha the Maid head back down to the beach. While they're out, Barney decides that he wants to do the bow-chicka-bow-bow with Lyn, who, showing at least a few synapses firing, says no.

Hmm...smells like teen spirit...Gary arrives at Chez Merritt and sneaks into the house. He stumbles upon the pot remnants and hears Lyn telling Barney to leave her alone. Gary busts in, punches Barney, flees, and drives away in his car, leaving Lyn to chase after her Prince Charming.

While she drives after him, she thinks about all the things that have happened to her in the period of time the movie covered, which is a dandy excuse for reusing yet more footage. The cuts get more and more rapid, presumably as her state of mind gets more and more erratic.
This is when she finally read the script for this crapfest.
Finally, it's all too much for her, and she plows into a tree and dies. But at least she has the presence of mind to die with one boob hanging out. Rest in peace, classy lady...

Afterthoughts: Well, that sucked.

I'm not going back to check -- one viewing was more than enough -- but I believe this is the first movie wherein pube continuity was a problem. In her first bath scene, she's like Kojak, has a fro on the beach with Mrs. Roper, and then is clean-shaven again a day or so later when she bathes again. Either they did indeed reuse the bath footage from the beginning of the movie, or Lyn has the world's fastest growing hair.

Oh. Um, I hope you weren't eating when you started reading this.

This movie has it all: plotless plot that makes The Bikini Carwash Company seem plausible, inane dialogue, feeble acting, and boobies, boobies, boobies.

All with a running time of 66 minutes, part of which is repeated footage. You can watch this film thanks to the wonderful folks at Something Weird Video, without whom these kinds of films, as bad as they are, would be lost forever. Over 18 and Ready is the back-end of a double bill DVD with Alley Tramp, which sadly, I did not have the intestinal fortitude to attempt to watch following this travesty.

As always, the Something Weird disc offers a host of extras, making it well worth your time if you have a lot of it to kill.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dumb Things I've Done (10 in an occasional series)

In junior high school, I was doing dishes (under duress, as usual), and since the batteries to my Walkman had run out again, I was humming to pass the time while my fingers got progressively prunier. After zoning out, I found myself humming a tune that, upon reflection, I couldn't quite place. Where the hell had I heard it? Finally, it came to me. It was from this commercial:

Why that stuck in my head, I can't tell you.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Yes, it's so last year...

Get in on the ground floor with what I'm sure will be the coolest thing going in 2008: The LOLRamona:

Hm...Hai Karate...

Monday, December 31, 2007

So long, 2007...

What a year.

Got a new job, got an addition to the family, served on a jury for the first time, and I got a lot closer to figuring out why I am the way I am.

Yep, 2007 wasn't dull. Here's to a pleasantly eventful 2008.