Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So it came to pass that a new era of film would be ushered in. Many came. Many went. And all was good. There ain't nothing like a good 90's thriller. Sadly, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS is not one of them. All the signs pointed to a stroke of luck with NTTS. A BadMovieArt favorite, Rebecca De Mornay's return to "classy" thriller is neither classy nor thrilling. Toss in a fresh faced and ready to take Hollywood by storm actor by the name of Antonio Banderas and you have all the trappings for a sexy, sexy good time. NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS is neither sexy or a good time. Scrapping together pieces that resemble much more popular 90's thrillers, the film failed to capture an audience at the time of its release and has become a permanent fixture on my Roku. That being said, just among you and I, NTTS is kinda wonderful in its trashy way.

Even as the opening credits start you realize exactly what type of movie you have gotten yourself into. An uptown melodrama overheated mystery that has a very cheap look, but filmed well. An enigma that plagued many at 90's thriller. We are subjected to Babs De Mornay doing her best Jodie Foster to Harry Dean Stanton's Hannibal Lector. She,like Clarice, has to walk down the hallway of jail cells. No one cums on her, but 'tis life. In the role of Dr. Sarah Taylor, De Mornay channels Peyton Flanders and gives some good icy stares at just about everyone in the movie. UGH ALERT!!! Dennis Miller plays her best friend/old flame/same character from The Net. I can't be alone in this, but wasn't there a time when we all liked Dennis Miller. He didn't really do anything great or anything, but he wasn't an asshole. Now it seems like he is always mouthing off about the dumbest stuff. Honey, go back to playing weird straight guys in women heavy thrillers. I think fake Hannibal Lector reads Dr. Sarah Taylor to filth, but is so static that you just tune it out for a touch, but I at attention when he said he heard TV voices telling him to do things. Someone get Jo Beth Williams STAT!

Since this is a sexy movie, everything gets to be sexy. Dr. Sarah Taylor has to attend an erotic art opening and trembling and queefing at the pictures of pierced nipples and legs spread apart. Then the oddest thing happened at 4 minutes and 25 seconds the line, "Ephesus with a hard on!" was uttered and suddenly, I had one of those Carrie Bradshaw flashbacks and it all came back to me! I would say I have a baker dozen viewings of NTTS, but I always forget what happens. But that line made me remember all and I GOT REALLY EXCITED!

So the artist is Banderas and De Mornay says some shitty stuff about his work to his FACE and they get all hot and bothered for each other. So now she has to work on her psychological profile of fake Hannibal Lector for the state department and have a MAJOR case of the hornys at the same time. PROBLEM! The movie, like De Mornay's eyes, has a cold feel to it, because everyone wear HUGE coats in the movie. You think the movie was set in Anchorage, AK or something. It's like RENT A COP freezing and everyone looks miserable. De Mornay, who loves a good bit of business while acting, gets to act with a cat the whole movie. This is a patent pending trademark of hers.
GUILTY AS SHIT - coffee and pencils
HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE - coffee, blue sweater, baby
AND GOD CREATED WOMAN '88 - guitar and boom box

The cat is really cute and pretty good in the film. Antonio finally stalks De Mornay and seduces her in a quik stop while discussing the merits of cheap wine. If you look closely, De Mornay's shopping cart is full of huge bottles of water. He finally completely wins her over by whispering, "You look like a woman who must be won". That is a panty dropper if I have ever heard one. Babs, turned on by the prospect of sex that she can't concentrate anything, is all thumbs. She drops a bag full of spaghetti sauce all sexy like and it runs down her apartment stoop. "Excuse me miss! You gotta clean that shit up"! That is what I imagine Pearl from 227 would yell out her window if she saw that happen.

Then it happens. NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS has been sprinkled with clues that there was something much more sinister at hand. A visible crack is when De Mornay breaks a bunch of glass in her kitchen, she sweeps it up and dumps it into the sink. She then turns on the garbage dispose. ODD. Hitchcrapian through and through. She starts to apply frenetically chap stick on her lips throughout the whole movie and tries to be all SILVER on our ass with modern technology and shit, but fails. She then gets a box of dead roses and stale bread, but decides that she should go on her date with her sexy, mysterious new beau. They go to a seedy club and there are some gays kissing. Very Basic Instink. They then go to a carnival and you if you look closely you will see Santa Claus in the background roaming around. NTTS suddenly is set during Christmas. We are a good 45 minutes into it and there has been no mention of the holiday spirit. I ain't complaining, but it's ODD.

De Mornay shows up at Banderas artist condo and they fuck like animals in an actual cage in his living room. See, classy! It is kinda like prison sex as De Mornay takes the dominate role and proceeds to toss Banderas salad! Once again, it is not sexy. It has this animal shelter feel about it, which reminded of Mutley Crews AKA Boris Beauty Shop. LATER.....they are looking at some of her case files and there is one about child abuse. Banderas voices his opinion on child abuse, which is the more popular opinion and De Mornay silently reads the documents, smiling. ODD.

LATER....De Mornay is cooking dinner for them and Banderas goes to take a leak. It seems Babs has a rattling heater with the screws closely coming out of the sockets. CLUE! The phone rings and De Mornay mumbles something then says, "Call me closer to Christmas". Which I think I am going to start saying all the time now when people are bugging me. They have sex again.
She shows her tits and he shows his ass. A good trade off. She awakens in the middle of the night to find Antonio digging through her purse! My mom always told me that you should NEVER DIG IN A WOMAN'S PURSE. That would be a good title to the sequel.

When her cat ends up dead, you know the shit is going down. We do get a montage of Banderas and De Mornay falling in love and it involves trust falls in the snow! That I like. The scares are getting piled on as De Mornay goes to take a bath with the above mentioned rattling wall heater looming next to her. There is also a lot of WATCHER IN THE WOOD mirror scares and....SPOILER ALERT....

I am not a big fan of the spoiler alert, but with NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS it really doesn't matter, but if you don't want to know the ending, just stop right here. But the movie goes bat shit.

Okay, so we then find out ala SILVER that De Mornay is STALKING HERSELF!!! She has multiple personalities and Banderas is just a hapless lovelorn erotic artist and she is fucking nuts. After you get out of the fetal position from the shocking revelation, you get to see EVERYONE cast member start shooting at one another and then it is all over! 86 minutes of pure 90's thriller goodness. The ending is full of so many twists that you don't even know what is going on, but it is always the journey that counts.

Alternate titles for NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS:


I would like to go on record now and state I LOVE REBECCA DE MORNAY

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Don't come back from the dead.

I had the most befuzzling evening the other night. I have recently found myself on this weird Shelley Long journey. With a madcap romp through OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE and TROOP BEVERLY HILLS and I decided it was time to say hello again to HELLO AGAIN.

As it started I realized that I had not seen HELLO AGAIN in over two decades. It perplexed me, because I remembered it vividly or did I? If you had asked me two days ago what I thought of HELLO AGAIN, I would most likely have replied, "It's pretty funny and I love Shelley Long". Today things changed.

The credits started and I already felt off balance. The name Susan Isaacs popped up as writer, producer and CASTING DIRECTOR! I could have screamed with delight and slight dread. Ms. Isaacs is world famous for her novel SHINING THROUGH. Yes, that Shining Through! The movie where Melanie Griffith fights Nazis and gets some of the best FOR THE BOYS aging make-up ever. That is all beside the point though. We get a close up of Long's big eyes and some of the cheapest ass rom-com music I have ever heard. We get a hurried back story of Long's character, Lucy Chadman. She is an ordinary gal with an okayish husband, played by Corbin Bernsen in his hottish years. Her barely legal son is a dreamboat though. He is an aspiring chef and wears an apron with a bandanna decorating his neck. A look that is possibly one of the fastest ways to get me in sack. But what you really need to understand is that Lucy Chadman a KLUTZ! A big one too! She falls down at the drop of a hat. She walks into a fancy party and her skirt falls down around her ankles! HA! It's funny, yo! It's like 20 minutes into the movie and I thought, "Ain't this hag dead yet? HELLO! AGAIN"!

OH! Sela Ward is in HELLO AGAIN as a best friend/arch enemy to Long's "ordinary lady" and she is the shit! She gives us some DIE NASTY realness and shoot glamor out of her ass. Judith Ivey is on board as Long's sister and she is super satanic. The director, Frank Perry, seemed to want to stir away from scary super satanic, so Ivey is funny super satanic. Problem is, she is terrible. I usually love me a Judith Ivey supporting role, but this is the pits. Shelley Long chokes to death and we have to watch her funeral with her son completely losing his SHIT and everyone super sad. FUN! Cut one year later and super satanic sister has stumbled on a spell that will bring her beloved sister back from the dead. ONE YEAR LATER! Honey, I read Pet Sematary, I know what they come back like! HELLO! AGAIN!

So one day, Lucy shows back up and has discovered that her husband has dealt with his grief by banging Sela Ward (is there any other way?) and marrying her! Lucy bust up in her home and finds Sela getting busy in her OWN BED! Also, her son is a famous cook and married to some ugly girl,but no one cares.

She is not a ghost, because you cannot walk through her. She goes to the doctor to get blood test and x-rays, once AGAIN (!) proving she was dead but now isn't? I'm cornfused. Well, now what do you do with her? She loves her Coke (proud sponsor of HELLO AGAIN) and she is DYING to know what is happening on Knots Landing. My kinda fresh out of the grave gal. We get baker's dozen dead mom jokes, all flat lining, a couple more pratfalls in which you hope they result in a death inducing accident and lots of leg! Oh, Shelley has legs for days and she is gonna show 'em off. Then, Super Satanic Sister informs Lucy that she needs to find true love by the first moon after her revival and she has less than a month to do so! GIT IT GIRL!! There is some pre- Troop Beverly Hills high fashion, which is fun, but without the yuks. She also is forced back into the hospital for some reason and meets cutie Gabriel Byrne M.D. She has to take some Exorcist 2 testing and walks down the hall with her hospital gown flapping open and showing her BUTT! There is the yuk!

Lucy decides to embrace her dead self and say to the world….all together now….HELLO AGAIN! She embarks on a world wide rainbow tour of the continents kissing babies, giving lectures and shopping and apparently forgetting her "must find true love in a month" curse. Or maybe there was not a moon that month and she got a get out of the grave free pass. She morphs into a fame monster for a little while but learns a valuable lesson and helps troubled kids. There is this little girl named Lil' Debbie who won't stop looking at the camera. She tries really, really hard not to do it, but she just can't help it. I would look too.

Sela Ward gets mad and holds a press conference to prove that Lucy Chadman is a fake and a phony. She claims that Lucy never really died because she doesn't have cobwebs in her pussy or worms under her skin or smell like dirt for that matter. The great part about the press conference is two fold. First, it looks like it held in that gross Chinese restaurant in Ballard. I forgot what it is called, but I have had lunch there more than three times and it is creep out city. Secondly, a roving reporter is played by that lady on Where the fuck is Carmen Sandiego? We found her!!! She is at the HELLO AGAIN press conference! Score! And she is throwing some MAJOR attitude. Shelley blows off the crowd and the nay sayers and walks out the building ala Pia after delivering her Award Presentation Ceremony speech.

Later! At a fancy party that the entire cast has been invited too, sans Lucy, Sela Ward is the queen of the ball. That is until Lucy crashes the party along with her super satanic sister. SSS starts conjuring up the spirits and someone flashes the lights on and off and on and off quickly. At this very moment something fell in my back bedroom and scared the shit out of me. So now I can say I got scared during HELLO AGAIN. Lucy's husband dumps Sela Ward, but Lucy dumps her husband for Gabriel Byrne M.D. and everyone is happy I guess. The end. This has the stink of a two hour made for TV pilot.

The final credits play over a montage of photos of the entire cast marrying one another, then a montage of photos of the married couples with their children. Shelley Long is, of course, the last and she has what all girls dream of…ZOMBIE TWINS! TOO CUTE!!!

Shelley Long's portrayal of Lucy Chadman hearkens back to Ally Sheedy in MAID TO ORDER or for Deena Jones' sake, Madonna in WHO'S THAT GIRL? On paper the role seems like a good idea, but once visualized you want to kill! You want blood after having to sit through it. All in all, it is a pretty miserable experience. Director Frank Perry who created two of my favorite movies, MOMMIE DEAREST and THE SWIMMER, seems to have just filmed some shit, turned it over to the studio and let the editors have a go with their chainsaws. I imagine this is one of those films that the studio tested and preview audiences hated, so they went back and changed more stuff and filmed more scenes. Evidenced through hair styles going from shorter to longer. Not Sela Ward though. If she showed up to do any more re-takes, she made sure she looked exactly the same. Where is her OSCAR?

*******And now I can't stop calling this movie DEAD AGAIN!!!********