Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Wednesday Ramble: Skinemax Nights
I really don’t know how I can talk about Single White Female without first talking about the Playboy channel and a bunch of other bullshit. My parents went all out with the cable back in 1995 and so we had every dang movie channel and the stupid Playboy channel. Of course, this was before there were 18 HBOs and 50 Showtimes but hey, we were living the good life. I’ve always been obsessed with the bizarre shit that cable channels use to fill their late night programming and I was sometimes richly rewarded (Wicked City) or sometimes horribly destroyed (Mask of Death). I probably shouldn’t just hint at the amazing cinema of Lorenzo Lamas. The guy was in Terminal Justice, probably the best movie cable television has ever transmitted. The story involved those oh so important elements that make our lives in the future (the film takes place in 2008) tolerable: gratuitous nudity and virtual reality.
Here I am (circa 1997), remote in hand, and ready for some unwholesome entertainment.
The Playboy channel was (and probably still is) friggin’ genius IN A BAD WAY. They had a talk show about sex that was completely bogus and retarded. The most hilarious thing was when they would show porno movies and then cut out the bits that made them pornos. Apparently, the channel had some pretty strict standards and it was just surreal and strangely sad. The forbidden and magical channel of my youth turned out to be a bunch of silicone crap and a complete waste of time. And yet, I couldn’t look away. The few occasions where I actually had friends over and my folks were out late or out of town, I’d put on the Playboy channel for a laugh. I was quite the entertainer. I feel like Bob Crane all of a sudden. Why am I talking about this? Oh yeah, so I would flee from Playboy to see what was on HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. And oh boy, there were some surprises, yessireebob.
This all begins to make more sense when you take into account the fact that I worked the night shift as a security guard back in the day. Sometimes I worked 10pm until 6am but most of the time I worked from 6:30pm ‘til 6:30am! Needless to say, on my days off I would stay up very, very late. The graveyard shift affects your mind and you don’t see the world as other people do. Things that would not normally entertain anyone suddenly become strangely fascinating. Like Doom Generation or Full Eclipse. Don't forget I'm also a dude so of course when my friend Scott and I saw they were going to play Malicious with Molly Ringwald, we were pretty psyched. You know the movie? The one where she plays a psycho and gets nekkid. Well, we just had to check it out. The only embarrassing thing about that is I actually liked the movie. Go Molly! Go Molly! It's (actually not) your birthday!
One of my favorite films from this sleazy time in my life was Poison Ivy: The New Seduction. Now I don’t mean to dis Drew Barrymore or Alyssa Milano’s efforts in the first two films but seriously, Poison Ivy III is awe-inspiringly stupid and totally genius. Obviously, Jaime Pressly is totally awesome as Violet (the sister of Ivy!) but this movie (written by the mind behind The Skateboard Kid II) is wildly entertaining and only slightly insulting. The most surprising thing is the person who steals the movie: Megan Edwards. She plays Joy, a tennis playing, uptight, and sheltered rich girl. Violet comes in and wrecks her life. Why? Because she’s a friggin’ psycho, that’s why! But Joy is such a great character. She’s kind of like this oppressed gothic heroine. And those tennis outfits! Oh my goodness. Terrible shit just keeps happening to her and finally, she’s left all alone in the world which is better than how she started. The film just stops with her running out of the house with dead bodies all over the place. Perfect. I imagined myself there, in the driveway (in my 1976 Ford Granada), just waiting to rescue her.
For little to no reason at all, skip to 1:10 right now:
Shit, I was just thinking about the films that nearly ruined dirty movies for everyone everywhere, all over the world. Of course, the most offensive (and not in a good way) is Basic Instinct. Thankfully, Stephen Chow parodied it in Fight Back to School 3. Then there’s the wretched Body of Evidence and The Temp. These movies are so darn soul-destroying. Oh no, I just remembered Jade. William Friedkin was quoted as saying “Hee hee hee hee, I made a sexy thriller!” There was a time when David Caruso was pretty awesome. No, seriously. You could take Jade and (before throwing the DVD in the garbage) make it a double feature with The Last Seduction. I think I just died a little. Poor little Linda Fiorentino wouldn’t properly recover until Kicked in the Head. Go figure. Of course, The Last Seduction has Peter Berg. I don’t trust that guy. He totally creeps me out. Plus, he directed Friday Night Lights. Lame.
Okay, so I’m talking about these corny ass adult thrillers, right? Are there any good ones? Well, yeah. More Skinemax filler comes in the form of Romeo is Bleeding (not to be confused with Romeo Must Die ) but this one blows all the bullshit out of the water. The fact that it comes from director Peter Medak (The Changeling) might have a little to do with that. And when you get a classy duder like Gary Oldman (don’t mention Lost in Space, please) and the stunning and frightening Lena Olin, you got yourself a winning combination. Throw in some neo-noir stuff, a very, very dark story, some amputee fetishism, and whammo! Instant classic!
Have I talked about Single White Female yet? No? Well, I’m going to. Right now. It is hard to imagine a trashier or more ridiculous film than this Bridget Fonda/Jennifer Jason Leigh vehicle. Have either of them ever been in a movie better than SWF? No? I didn’t think so. To illustrate how evil Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is, they have her kill a puppy! Like, whoa dude, that’s foreshadowing. There’s a shower scene and legitimately steamy sex scenes and murders and a gay neighbor and- DAMN IT! That puppy scene is still disturbing even after all these years. Being a guy, I tried to imagine what I would do if crazy Jennifer Jason Leigh was my roommate. Like how far would I let her crazy behavior go on before I was all like “Hey look, this isn’t working out. You need to stop dressing like me.” But then again, who doesn’t want to have sex with themselves? Right? Who's a doppelganger banger? Doppelbanger? Hello? Uh oh. The important thing is that of course, I knew I was the one who could save poor old crazy Jennifer Jason Leigh from herself. Isn't that romantic? SHE KILLED A PUPPY!