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The Bottom Shelf #109

Why is it that this column has become synonymous with only giving positive reviews? I've been writing this column for nearly a year (my first was #64 on July 13th), so I think I've set the tone of The Bottom Shelf in the fact that I recommend watching movies even if I didn't consider them to be 5-star affairs. I guess I wonder this as the third PIRATES installment is opening this weekend and it has automatically become (along with everything else that has heavy enough marketing) synonymous with being a "must see." So on that note...I give you one bad review. Why? Because I can. Now go watch your franchise. I have a pool to win.

PRIVATE RESORT (1985)
Directed by: George Bowers
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rob Morrow

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-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

I wonder if Rob Morrow has regretted creating his signature acting move over the years, having to learn to distance himself from the fallback stoner smile that he first debuted in this flick. He uses it almost as often here as Wiley Wiggins pinches the bridge of his nose in DAZED AND CONFUSED. It's certainly something that carried over into his successful television career. Oh, and then there's the guy that he co-starred in the movie with. Some good looking kid who went on to a similarly successful television career, amongst other things.

PRIVATE RESORT has to be one of the only sex comedies that I've watched that contains a good deal of nudity and suggested sexual overtones and yet is severely lacking in the one that that's supposed to define the genre: Sex. Two young men entering a supposedly posh hotel for a weekend of debauchery end up being chased by a diamond thief, mixed up with a bunch of crazy broads who never end up putting out as much as their revealing spandex outfits might have suggested they would, saving the day and winning the hearts of the service staff. It's sheer stupidity at its finest with some solid moments of hilarity.

The main reason why anyone is going to remember this movie is that it was Johnny Depp's second film role and the first one where we get to see more of him than just his abundance of blood rushing out of a bed. Long before the eyeliner, dreadlocks and stilted speech patterns... hell, this was even before he had tattoos, evident in the scene where he strips down nude and gives you a great shot of his ass. This is the 21 Jump Street Johnny with the fluffy hair, skinny body and woefully misplaced talent. Would anyone have guessed that this kid would go on to win awards and capture the hearts of not only drooling women but the men of the world who all admit that if they HAD to play grabass with a guy, it'd be Johnny? It's yet another one of the shining examples why I love that film freezes people in time. It's not always for the best, but it is the most entertaining.

Favorite Scene:

Cousin Shirley and her vacant eyed gaze, removing all "artificial layers."

Favorite Line:

Leslie Easterbrook's speech patterns and the way that she refers to her husband as her "Hew-bie Bew-bie."

Trivia Tidbit:

Director Bowers is also responsible for the sex comedy MY TUTOR, but after making PRIVATE RESORT changed careers to become a successful film editor, working again with Johnny Depp 16 years later when he edited FROM HELL.

See if you liked:

MY TUTOR, PORKY'S, BACHELOR PARTY

THE HOLE (2001)
Directed by: Nick Hamm
Starring: Thora Birch, Keira Knightley

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

Ah, a young Keira Knightley. Untampered with; free of the constraints of rock star boyfriends, high fashion couture and all of the other annoying trappings that come along with being declared young, beautiful and screen-worthy. There's something intriguing about the prospect of that, considering that as an American I've seen Keira in pretty much no other light than the spot variety. She seemed to come straight off of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM and into our cozy hearts and homes. Funny what a size zero body will do for you around these red, white and blue parts. So color me excited when I discovered that she'd starred in this low budget number that most people have never heard of.

THE HOLE centers around a group of 4 privileged British private school students who want to get away from school and family to have a little fun. By getting both far away and yet staying really close by, they get their fun and then some. When only one of the four emerges from their little party hideaway after the group has been missing for 18 days, the inept police force in England tries to piece together how everything transpired. Luckily they have the help of the delightful (and completely misused) Embeth Davidtz as the doctor assigned to figuratively cracking open the head of the remaining student.

There was something about this story which seemed interesting to me, yet at this point I am failing to remember what it was. The movie drags for stretches and then turns on the charm, usually in the form of nudity or sexually explicit situations in order to regain your attention. What starts out as a potentially psychologically thrilling story devolves into nothing more than a Nascar event, waiting to find out who is going to crash and burn next. The script is obviously written by an American who knows to throw in a couple of British slang terms here and there but for the most part allows the teenagers to use American phrases to insult one another. The only bright spot is one for the Keira-philes as you get to see little nibblers not once but twice. Other than that, I can understand why this is a movie that few people have heard of and even fewer people want to associate her with.

Favorite Scene:

I saw humour in the scene where Birch is a blonde again, causing me to remember the first spooky movie that she was in and bearing her natural hair color.

Favorite Line:

"Put your knob away."

Trivia Tidbit:

Desmond Harrington, the actor who plays Mike Steel, son of an American rock star (and oddly enough has more of a rock star name than his character) was in a movie in 2000 called MASSHOLES. I want to see it simply because of its title. Can anyone get me a copy?

See if you liked:

WRONG TURN, CABIN FEVER, WOLF CREEK

The top part was so long winded that I ran out of any brain power with which to write something clever for this little bottom portion. So, um... How can you tell a blonde was driving that SUV? (Email me for the answer.)

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