Wednesday, July 09, 2003


I subscribe to the daily Newsnight mailout from the BBC. Fans of the list await the daily mailing with baited breath, for there’s a reasonable chance its been written by the God-like genius that is Jeremy Paxman. For those of you who not been paying attention, or merely living in America, Paxman is the acerbic presenter of Newsnight and University Challenge renowned for his persistant interview technique. He will not let a politician slither off the hook - he once asked the same question of a squirming government minister more than a dozen times until he got a straight answer. He’s that kind of guy, and as such would never appear on CNN.

Fans have realised that under that frightening exterior, there is a comedian struggling to get out, and it finds its release in his daily newsletter. For example, Zen philosophy, Paxman style:

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead.
Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow.
Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow.
In fact, just clear off and leave me alone.

And on eating out:

They've just opened a politically-themed restaurant around the corner. The waitress announced: "Today's special is the Richard M Nixon I-Am-Not-A-Burger."
"Sounds interesting," said the customer, "What is it?"
Waitress: "A burger."

Boom, and indeed, tish! The man needs his own show. Stand-up. Prime-time. Now. Come on Greg Dyke, you know it makes sense. Unfortunately, he’s taking the summer off from Newsnight. The world is a darker place already.

“Oh No! Not another Bad Movie review!”

Striptease - reviewed by Balders

Carl Hiaasen Says "Gimme More!!"

I should probably start with my excuses and thus get the embarassing admissions out of the way first. For starters, I like Carl Hiaasen's novels. Sure they're never going to win any literary awards, but they're entertaining, humourous, often quite satirical and always enjoyable. And the two collections of his articles for the Miami Herald should not be missed, especially for anyone intrigued by the Bush - Gore election fiasco.

Then there's Demi Moore who, for all her weaknesses as an actress, is a bit of a babe. In fact, I'll give you a little tip about Demi Moore - watch her hair. When her hair is long, the movie sucks (The Butchers Wife, Disclosure), but when it's short the movie is generally at least ok (Ghost, A Few Good Men, GI Jane).

Right, confessions out of the way, let's take a look at this baby.

Moore plays Erin Grant, an ex-FBI agent who loses her job, closely followed by custody of her child to her ex-husband who's a bit of a psycho. Desperately needing money to keep afloat and cover her legal fees in the custody battle, she takes a job as a stripper at the Eager Beaver strip club.

On paper it makes all the right moves to begin with. Based on a good novel by a popular novelist, with a star in Demi Moore who has some successful movies under her belt (in her knickers, bra,etc?) and a supporting cast of decent actors it has a lot going for it. Armand Assante knows his way around a decent movie, Ving Rhames had notched up a decent portfolio and Burt Reynolds was undergoing a sort of renaissance. Then there was Andrew Bergman who not only directed, but also wrote the screenplay. The same Andrew Bergman who wrote Blazing Saddles, Fletch and The Freshman.

The soundtrack was pretty neat too, including songs by Spencer Davis, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Prince, Smokey Robinson and original music by Howard Shore, Kenny Loggins and Stevie Winwood. Throw in the frisson of Demi getting her kit off and you've got a winner, haven't you?

In a word, no.

First warning sign was Demi's hair. Remember what I said earlier. Well, in Striptease the babe has long hair and that doesn't bode well. Then factor in her $20Million paycheck. And the titilation factor amounted to about 11 seconds. It was the screenplay that killed it though. A comedy that wasn't funny, a thriller that was just plain stupid and dialogue that required three - count them, THREE - dialogue editors. It isn't Shakespeare for heaven's sake. The acting varied from average to okay, although after his performance in this, it is a miracle that Burt Reynolds made it to Boogie Nights.

This movie was liking ramming a roadblock for most of the cast and crew. The damage done by this movie to the Holywood reputations of Bergman, Moore, Assante, et al is probably irrevocable. And deservedly so on the basis of this film. Oh yes, and Rumer Willis perfectly illustrates the fact that acting ability and talent are not genetic traits you can inherit from your parents.

The only way to salvage anything from this film would be to edit the thing down to a 10 minutes movie of Demi "strip dancing".Along with the shot from inside the washing machine.

Carl won't be complaining. Since this dog was released he's published at least a dozen books so his career didn't suffer whilst his bank balance gained a tidy sum from this film.

As for the rest of us. Well I for one would like my money back, along with 115 minutes of my life thank you very much. And yes, you can have the soundtrack CD back. Doesn't matter how good it is, I don't want to ever be reminded of this film.

Votez-vous dans notre election de films mauvaises, s.v.p! Pompt de pompt de pompt-pompt, as they say in the Latin Quarter.

The Scaryduck Archive

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