Monthly Archives: January 2020

We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet.  They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Rondo.

Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.

 

Rondo

 

 

If ever there was a successful film director who exemplifies the much-decried “male gaze,” it would be Brian De Palma. De Palma’s thrillers – especially in the 1970s-80s — often featured damsels in distress and damsels in undress:  Melanie Griffith in Body Double, Angie Dickinson in Dressed to Kill, and former De Palma spouse Nancy Allen in several of his films, to name just a few.

If De Palma was guilty of glorifying the male gaze, then I’m guilty, too; not just because I enjoyed his voyeuristic images, but also because, stylistically, he emulated the late, great Alfred Hitchcock.

Which brings me to Rondo, written and directed by Drew Barnhardt, a filmmaker who told me he was definitely influenced by De Palma. This is more than apparent in Rondo, with its 360-degree pans, voyeur elements and, of course, sexy ladies.

I confess that I had the wrong idea going in to Rondo. From that title, I expected some macho action flick a la John Wick. “Rondo,” I supposed, would be the protagonist’s he-mannish name, and fistfights would ensue. Wrong.

“Rondo,” it turns out, is the password to gain admission to a perverse sex club. And the movie protagonist is not some hulkish weight-lifter but rather a buxom babe named Jill (Brenna Otts). When something bad happens to Jill’s brother after he visits the sex club, she goes undercover to investigate.

 

Above, Jill (Brenna Otts) comforts her traumatized brother

 

OK, this low-budget movie isn’t in the same league as the best of Brian De Palma. But it is an entertaining (if a bit sleazy and grim) little thriller. If you like bloody violence you will enjoy the ending. And if you enjoy damsels in undress, thanks to actresses Iva Nora and Otts, your male gaze will get an eyeful.

 

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Male Gazing in Rondo

 

“Mrs. Tim” (Iva Nora, above and below) is about to discover the downside of weird sex clubs

 

 

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Brenna Otts, above and below, submits to a pat-down by the villainous “Lurdell” (Reggie De Morton). 

 

Lurdell and Jill discuss the terms of her sex-club desires. Below, Jill goes into more detail:

 

Lurdell and his evil companions enjoy some white-girl booty.

 

Among movie-nudity scholars (yes, they exist), there is some debate about what constitutes actual “nudity.” To me, if you reveal 99 percent of your bare ass — thong panties or not — then yes, that qualifies.

 

 

 

Oops!

 

 

The movies have a long, sometimes shameful history of white-girl heroines being threatened or violated by the “scary black man.”

Between Otts’ sex-fantasy speech about “big dicks” (see above) and the symbolism of a black man pressing his gun into her backside (also see above), well ….

 

In researching this article, we checked out some old thrillers and found this scene from De Palma’s 8mm (1999), in which naked actress Emily Patrick shares the stage with a BBC (look it up). Except

It isn’t a De Palma thriller. We were confusing 8mm with De Palma’s Snake Eyes, which premiered a year earlier and also starred Nicolas Cage. Oops.

The scene below depicts another nude white girl imperiled by a BBC. Except

Emily Patrick doesn’t seem “imperiled” at all. In fact, she looks downright pleased to see her companion’s appendage – much like Jill’s sex fantasy.

OK, so wrong movie, wrong director. Watch the clip anyway:

 

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(Click on photos for a larger view)

 

The movie clip:

 

 

grouchyeditor.com Emily Patrick

 

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We’re giving the final word on Rondo to resident pest Rip van Dinkle:

“OK I give up. I tried to interview Brenna for this article. We tried to reach her through the movie’s publicist. We tried through the film’s director. I even reached out to her on Twitter.

“Could. Not. Get. A. Reply.

“What riles me up is that line in the movie about her character’s preference for “big dicks.” That’s just not right. I’m guessing that if she sees this article and my picture, she will change her mind. So here you go, Brenna. This dick’s for you:”

 

grouchyeditor.com Hybristophilia

 

 

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Did anyone bother to tell Trump that we don’t want any of their damn viruses as part of the China trade deal?

 

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We Need to Replace:

 

Breakfast

 

But, but … “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”

Then why did I just watch Dr. Oz telling us that there is no medical research supporting the benefits of eating breakfast?

Can that be true? If so, breakfast has to go.

 

Rotten Tomatoes

 

This Web site appears hell-bent on rewriting history by allowing “woke” Millennials to write “reviews” of old movies and also, apparently, by deleting negative audience ratings of woke shows like Doctor Who.

Can that be true? If so, Rotten Tomatoes has to go.

 

John Roberts

 

If Roberts is the “referee” of Trump’s impeachment trial, why isn’t he enforcing rules that tell senators they cannot leave their seats, access electronic devices, and eat candy during proceedings?

Can that be true? If so, Roberts has to go.

 

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Us

 

Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit Get Out created a stir because it was a rarity: a horror movie with smarts. Critics gushed because, face it, when it comes to the scary-movie genre, the bar is awfully low. But to me, Get Out failed to achieve goal number one:  it wasn’t particularly frightening.

Not so with Us, Peele’s 2019 follow-up. Lupita Nyong’o stars as the female head of a family of four that encounters their wicked doppelgangers while on holiday in Santa Cruz, California. This time, Peele pleases both critics – there is symbolism galore; what do the doubles represent, the global underclass? Our individual dark sides? – and horror-film aficionados. Peele wisely puts the scary first, the message second.

Also, it turns out you can spend all the money you want on special effects or monsters or gore, but there’s nothing more terrifying than a knowing, evil grin — especially from someone who looks just like you. Release: 2019 Grade: B+

 

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Twitter Is the Devil

 

 

“This quoted Tweet is unavailable.” I am seeing way too much of this kind of thing on Twitter.

If I so choose – and lots of people do – I could post the most vile, disgusting pornography on my feed and that, apparently, would be fine by Twitter. But someone’s political statement must be censored?

 

Also, love him or hate him, millions of us follow Trump on Twitter, if only to see what outrageous thing he’ll say next. So how come his posts never show up on my feed?

 

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Poor Stephen King. Now he knows how J.K. Rowling must have felt last year when she ran afoul of the social justice mob. When you feed the woke beast, someday it will want to eat you.

 

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I tend to agree with Penguin Piers on this one. I also tend to hate myself because, dammit, I do get caught up in all of this British royals nonsense.

 

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Lara Logan Has No Agenda on Fox: She’s a journalist, so of course she has an agenda – even if it’s just going after other journalists and their agendas.

 

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What about the women who willingly slept with Harvey Weinstein just to advance their careers?

I can’t be the only one who would be interested in that story.

 

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TV and YouTube Tidbits

 

 

We publish on Saturdays and so, tragically, many of the week’s highlights are “old news” by the time we get around to them. So if Donald Trump attempts to hump Laura Ingraham’s leg on a Tuesday, we generally don’t mention it because everyone else does — over and over and over again.

Ricky Gervais’ skewering of Hollywood happened ages ago in Internet time: last Sunday. But it was so delicious, we just have to mention it again. And we have to post the YouTube link to his monologue, in case you haven’t seen it.

 

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Poor Schitt’s Creek. Now that it’s airing its sixth and final season, it is at last getting some attention. Apparently the combined efforts of The Grouchy Editor (2017 plug here) and Pop TV are no match for Netflix reruns.

 

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If Tucker Carlson would like increase his reach among middle-class viewers, he might consider changing the way he says the word “rather,” which he pronounces like a stereotypical wealthy snob: “raw-ther.”

 

Speaking of wealthy snobs … not that this show is ever short on juicy material, but this week’s big news about the royals should give Netflix’s The Crown at least one additional season:

 

 

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Dracula: Good grief. Showrunners Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat took a perfectly good first two episodes and completely destroyed this reboot with a boneheaded decision regarding the third and final installment. That’s our opinion, and we’re sticking to it.

 

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Funny YouTube Videos

 

Disclaimer: I am just one person. I can watch just a tiny fraction of the videos on YouTube. But the following are highly recommended:

 

A lot of the best YouTube clips feature grandma- and grandpa-types. In this video, “Marge” (above) is tricked into visiting a nudist beach.

 

Marge again, this time enduring someone’s gas-passing (actually “Liquid Ass”) in an enclosed vehicle.

 

Southern grandpa’s turn to be pranked. More gas-passing in a car.

 

Another victimized grandmother. Grandson is especially cruel.

 

An adult male cries like a little baby. From “The Daily Dropout.”

 

“The Daily Dropout” heads to the beach.

 

We have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of these prank videos take place at the beach because, even if the prank fails or isn’t particularly funny, there are always thong-clad butts to ogle. Certainly we here at The Grouchy Editor would never let such crass considerations affect our judgment about which videos to highlight. (By the way, see screen captures at top and below.)

 

 

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always touched when Facebook asks me if I’d like to share my precious “memories.”

 

 

 

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Predictions!

(Spoiler Alert: None of them are very pleasant)

 

Trump And Conservatives Will Continue To Hype Our “Great Economy”

Congratulations! After years of unemployment or underemployment, you finally landed that new job flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates has enough money to buy several countries, but why should you complain? You have a new job! And that’s all that matters in our great economy.

Oh, but wages are on the rise? Great news!  Instead of earning $12 an hour, you now earn $13 an hour. How’s that for “trickle down”?

 

Conservatives Will Continue To Downplay The Benefits Of Soaking The Rich

As long as Bill Gates and cronies like Stuart Varney can convince conservatives that an attack on Bill Gates is an attack on all businesspeople, well, Gates can go on his merry way. Because, you know, any transfer of wealth from the rich won’t solve all of our problems, so there’s no point in doing anything at all. Right?

 

We’ll Stay Involved In Middle East Wars – But Only Temporarily While We “Train” The Locals

We’ve been hearing this for 20 years. Our soldiers are training the Iraqis, or the Kurds or whoever, to be self-sufficient so that we can finally leave. Sadly, the Iraqis or whoever don’t give a crap about the U.S. or its interests, and will never be “trained.” So we’ll just have to stay there. Right?

 

If We Abandon The Middle East, That Will Open The Door For Russia

So what? The Middle East is a nightmare. Let it be Russia’s nightmare.

But there is money to be made, so we must stay there. Right?

 

I Will Still Be Unable To Stream The Danish TV Shows Forbrydelsen And Borgen

For some infuriating reason, Amazon only sells them on DVD. I’m not even sure if the Amazon DVDs are American-player-compatible. Plus, they are overpriced. Why can’t I buy them digital?

 

Finally, 2020 Won’t Be So Bad – But 2021 Will Be

That’s because, if Trump wins, half the country will become unhinged. If Trump loses, the other half will become unhinged.

Forget 2020. 2021 won’t be pretty.

 

Caveat: The above predictions were all made prior to the offing of that Iranian general. Should that lead to World War III in 2020 … then, well, never mind.

 

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Is that “method acting”?

 

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Great. That means we can expect to see more garbage like Murder Mystery from Netflix.

 

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I thought about reading this article, but good lord, it’s eight paragraphs long. Who has time for that?

 

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