Tag Archives: Dark Secret from past

Report: Florida Teeming with Sleazy Bachelors Harassing Wholesome Housewives, Students

Lesbians Pool Celebrities Naked Sex

Wild Things (1998)       Directed by John McNaughton

Body Heat Movie Poster with Kathleen Turner Standing over William Hurt smoking

Body Heat (1981) Directed by Lawrence Kasdan

FLORIDA –  Miami police grapple with two painfully obvious crime cases labeled by local media outlets as Body Heat (1981) and Wild Things (1998). According to police records, these two cases bring Florida’s neo-noir problem front and center.

A perpetually wet personal injury lawyer, Ned Racine (William Hurt), and a high school counselor that drives a Jeep Wrangler, Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon), went virtually undetected as slimeballs despite their disinclination toward wearing shirts and inability to speak to women in respectable tones.

Attorney Ned Racine reportedly told mild-mannered housewife Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) that she “shouldn’t wear that body” and followed her to her marital home in Pine Haven on multiple occasions under the guise of “seeing her wind chimes” which was an obvious cover for stalking and possible murder.  Police refer to the well-known studies that show males under the age of 60 lack the capacity to identify wind chimes, lumping them all in together with “old lady stuff” like scented candles and birdhouses.

In the second case, high school counselor Sam Lombardo was seen driving  his low-tech meets low-brow Jeep Wrangler with student Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) inside, ostensibly taking her home from high school. Especially damning reports label Lombardo as “blasting Third Eye Blind and Smash Mouth.” These offensive reports have not yet been corroborated.

Matt Dillon looks like a douche as he drops Denise Richards off at home in Wild Things

I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life, baby, baby.

Detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) went on record to note that Van Ryan was so thankful for Lombardo’s kindness with the transport home that she went so far as to wash the Wrangler for Lombardo – without payment – in the course of her charity work for her cheerleading duties as a Blue Bay Buccaneer. Van Ryan gave Lombardo the “Full Service Plus” wash and even when, at the end, she found herself with no towels to dry off the vehicle, valiantly offered up her already soaking t-shirt and shorts. Sadly, she was later to have this generosity repaid with murder.

Matty Walker’s character has also been roundly lauded, primarily by neighbors in the town of Pine Haven for keeping a “lovely garden with a veritable orchestra of windchimes” as well as donating money on a weekly basis to the Pine Haven Tavern. All regulars at the Pine Haven Tavern will mourn the loss of Mrs. Walker’s presence, just handing out dollar bill after dollar bill once she finished her bourbons. “We really liked Miz Walker,” one swarthy bar patron offers, “she was somethin’ to look at, what with those all-white dresses that went total, like, see-through after an hour in this hot-ass dump. I didn’t even mind that some batshit weird atonal saxophone seemed to follow her around wherever she went.”

According to police investigations, both Lombardo and Racine live just above the poverty line and seem to funnel all of their discretionary income into douchey cars and high-waisted pants. Meanwhile, Walker and Van Ryan enjoyed comfortable upper-class lifestyles and loving relationships with the families that provided them their closets full of white linen garb and gun lockers.

Detective Duquette considers these open-and-shut cases, with both Lombardo and Racine as obvious stalkers that were in no way encouraged by the beautiful yet demure (in that femme fatale way) Walker and Van Ryan. Lombardo is facing murder charges while Racine is looking at arson. Both cases are stalled, however, at the insistent petitioning of  prosecutor Peter Lowenstein (Ted Danson) for the Racine case and high school student Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell) for Lombardo’s.

“Both Lowenstein and Toller have made exceedingly bad style choices,” Duquette opines, “and that is a sure mark of an untrustworthy source. Lowenstein is tooling around town in Junior Soprano glasses and floods. Toller won’t let go of the Craft multi-layered beaded necklace trend. Don’t even get me started on her mushroom haircut.”

Prosecutor Ted Danson reads book on couch as Peter Lowenstein in Body Heat
Obvious disreputable source.

Neve Campbell as vampy slut in Wild Things

                                                                                   And again.


This reporter was granted access to interview Lombardo and Racine while in their holding cells, the cells sans air-conditioning, because it wouldn’t be a Florida noir if everyone wasn’t sweating their balls off in every scene.

REPORTER: Hello gentlemen. I’ve come to discuss with you some of the more damning aspects of your cases as explained to me by HPI, the Hillbilly Police Investigators.

SAM LOMBARDO: I’m innocent! Goddamit.

REP: Fine, Mr. Lombardo, we’ll address your situation first. I see here that you secured world-famous comedian Bill Murray as your lawyer.

SM: Yes, that’s right.

REP: Can you tell me why you chose him?

SM: Based on his track record as a weatherman, a Ghostbuster, several mentally unhinged characters, his stint in the army, and then a few more repeats of the weatherman job, he seemed like the most seasoned attorney available. Plus, he had great style, what with his – seersucker suits, white fedoras, and pimp cane – which of course would heavily sway Detective Duquette’s professional opinion of the case since Murray comes across basically as a disabled pimp.

Bill Murray as Matt Dillon's lawyer in Wild Things, dressed in white pimp outfit

“You’ll watch me in anything, won’t you?”

REP: Fair enough. Now Mr. Racine, I see here that besides representing serious criminals in court you also fraternize with them in your free time? Teddy Lewis (Mickey Rourke), for example. He is a known arsonist that you kept out of lockup. Interestingly, Ms. Walker reported that her boathouse exploded after she had made it clear she no longer wanted any relations with you.

NED RACINE: The only reason – and I told Duquette this – that I hang out with Teddy is for his mind-bending song and dance performances. He is a struggling artist and has to hold all performances in his garage/apartment/bomb shelter. That is why Peter saw me exiting the premises looking especially soaking wet and sweaty the other day. Not because I had just procured a bomb and was nervous about it but because I had been joyfully grooving with Teddy as he exuberantly bopped around the shop.

REP: I see. And you both – you and Lombardo –maintain that the women in these cases – Walker and Van Ryan – were NOT perfect snowy white angels of virtue?

[Note: When visiting Walker and Van Ryan at their palatial estates this reporter was simply bowled over by the gracious manners and gleaming white teeth and clothing of these women. They were perfect hostesses at the pool parties, steak dinners, and boat rides we enjoyed at their husband’s and father’s expense. In fact, when I had had a little too much to drink, they were both equally kind enough to put me in a car and send me home. Whoops. Looks like I’m still missing my driver’s license and social security card. I’ll have Duquette get on that after the interview. But I digress.]

…and that is how, my friend, the femme fatale always gets her man. Me, in this case.

REP: Yes, yes, [clears throat, shuffles papers]. Mr. Lombardo, I see here that you enjoy driving an air boat in your free time. An air boat? Really? You should have taken a spin in Ms. Van Ryan’s yacht! Woo-baby!  And Ms. Walker really lets it out when we race down the coast in her red Ferrari.

[Both incarcerated men glare and squint contemplatively.]

REP: You know what? I just remembered. I forgot an appointment I need to be at. [Shuffles through messenger bag, finds sunblock, lovingly pats it, finds some Ferrari keys and jingles them. Reporter returns attention to incarcerated men.] “Gentlemen. It isn’t my place to pass any judgment but I have to say, it’s not looking good for you fellows.

NR: Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.

As both cases progressed, Detective Duquette dug up more damning evidence. Both Racine and Lombardo had been seen moodily smoking cigarettes while looking out windows into neon moonlight. The haunting sound of saxophones followed whenever they drove. Both had that squinty way of looking at you and wryly smiling. It was not very long before they were both locked up in the big house for their neo-noir crimes.


 Reporter stands by the window. His eyes are strangely dreamy and he is uncharacteristically drinking scotch far earlier than 5 pm. He watches Matty Walker breeze into the room.


Morning, Angel.

There’s a copy of the Sun-Sentinel on his desk. Walker points to it, grins.



Some men, once they get a whiff of it, they trail you like a hound.


(in a queer, tight voice)

Did you lead me astray, Matty? Was I wrong?


Your Matty’s been kicked around her whole life. And from now on, I’m kicking back.


(intense worry creeping into his face)

What the fuck does that mean? I printed those articles on the basis of your story. Are you telling me that you misrepresented the story?


I don’t go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.


I’m not asking you to swear on the Bible. Just tell me – did you falsify your story? Because, Jesus Matty, this article really swayed public favor. It was a miracle – right? – that the jury wasn’t moved to a new county, or state, even!


The lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It’s my own fault if you can’t believe me now.


WTF! Stop talking in riddles and just come clean on your story! Matty, we essentially put two men away on murder charges for a looong time, honey. Wait, what? Where is that saxophone music coming from?


Just come meet me later at my new and improved boathouse set waaay far back from the road. I’ll leave you the key to our new life there. We can go away together, I just need to settle up a few matters first with Racine’s will.

 OVER SCENE the SOUND of the corridor door knob rattling. Walker sashays to the frosted window, squints through a crack in the door. The Reporter stands, leaden-faced, entranced by his writing hand.


(in a flat voice)

Ted Danson is here. He brought Demetri Martin with him.


I’m an unlicensed private detective ma’am.


Matty, get my gun.

Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson in suits in Bored to Death

We are your new noir.

– Written by Kelli



Filed under "Thriller", Awesome Action, Bad Erotic Thriller, Breaking News, Loose Cannon Cop

What the World Needs Now is a Film About How We Are All Connected (And That Racism is Bad)

Another theme should probably be that peace is a good thing. (Credit: ion-bogdan dumitrescu)

Another major theme should probably be that peace is a good thing. (Credit: ion-bogdan dumitrescu)

OPINION/COMMENTARY – By a Hollywood Producer

It’s been an emotional week. Not gonna lie. What, with all the joy — and sadly, vitriol — surrounding the SCOTUS decision to knock down DOMA (Hooray for Chad and Brian! Cannot wait for the invite) and Wendy Davis’ courageous stand in Texas, it’s almost like something out of a Hollywood movie.

Speaking of, I believe what the world needs most — in this exact, powerful moment — is a film about how all of us are interconnected in some way. Also, it should say something about racism. More specifically, it should convey that racism is bad.

Let’s face it, in a world where everyone’s favorite saucy Southern Aunt Paula gets caught throwing around the N-word, we need more films that show the interconnectivity of all of our lives. This is true whether you’re a woman who made millions off of selling an image of wholesome butter, or whether you’re a low-wage food service employee from the suburbs of Atlanta. We are all connected.

That’s basically what this film will be about. That and the racism thing.

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Filed under Bad Movies, Fake News, Movies That Pander, Rant

Jean-Claude Van Damme Saves Future, Runs from Past in Cyborg

Jean Claude Van Damme as Jesus in Cyborg

For God so loved the Earth.

Need evidence that Wikipedia is a tenuous source for information? The site’s page for Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “the fewchur is scary” film Cyborg (1989) includes an 850-word-plus* plot summary. Holy god; 850 words?! Considering the film must have set records for “Least Amount of Pages Included in a Script Since Octagon,” the essay seems dubious at best. In place of storyline, character development and dialogue Cyborg delivers the same 3 tedious flashbacks (always of the mostly silent, now-deceased woman who Van Damage couldn’t save, somewhere in the distant, sad past) in a constant loop, roundhouse kicks and a series of vaguely homoerotic grunts and growls as greasy, half-naked men wearing shoulder pads wrestle around with one another in water.

Here we have an excerpt from the script:

Hero: “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”


Hero: “NnnnnnAAAAAAAAAAAarrrrrrgggggggggh.”

Villain: “OooooorrrrrryyyyyGGGGGGGGGsssssssssaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”

And it goes on like this.

The semblance of a story involves a gang of futuristic pirates led by Fender Tremolo who is never afraid to slowly remove his cheesedick sunglasses in order to reveal his primary weapon: a pair of piercingly sensitive blue eyes that seem to look directly into your soul. So dreamy. When they aren’t rehearsing for a revival of Tremolo’s off-broadway musical, “Cats: After the Fever,” the pirates drift around the mostly vacant Eastern seaboard trying desperately to control the cure for a plague that has ravaged the countryside and forced Starbucks to close at least half of its franchises. When we meet them, the ruffians have scored very little in the way of booty beyond a few Mad Max wardrobe cast-offs and a cyborg whose futuristic brain is known to house the answer to how to solve a Rubik Cube in less than 5 minutes.

Fender Tremolo from Cyborg

It's just so frustrating. I can get the green side to line up, but this red side...Ugh!

Gibson Rickenbacker (Van Damme) is the mercenary who comes–begrudgingly–out of retirement to scrap with his old opponent, Fender, and humbly serve as a Christ figure before finally saving mankind from the future and etc. Oh, and, AHHHHHHHARRRGGGGGGGHHHHH…there’s this supremely awesome final fight scene:

At Rental Rehab, there’s nothing we love more than a good film-based drinking game as evidenced here, here and here. As such, we offer, The Cyborg Drinking Game. Rules are outlined below:

Gather your preferred post-apocalyptic beverage of choice. This could be a nice bottle of red to symbolize the blood Christ Van Damme shed for you, or a bottle of scotch to help you forget every time you have an extended flashback of your dead lover who, because of your small penis, you were unable to save. Got it? Great, you’re ready to begin:

  • Take a drink every time a cyborg is mentioned, shown or plays a pivotal role in the movie.

OK. That’s it. Game over. At this point, you are entirely sober and can drive yourself to the cinema to watch a movie that doesn’t completely suck all of the air out of the Thunderdome. You’re welcome.

Rental Rehab review by Tricia, with a special thanks to the Serba Sucky Sinema for hosting Cyborg as part of a recent reunion lineup of le’film terrible.

*Figure accurate as of 2:49 p.m. 8/14/11


Filed under Audience Participation, Awesome Action, Bad Movies, Contains Jean-Claude Van Damme, Future World

Film Appreciation 101 Professor Begrudgingly Grades Another Term Paper About “Twin Peaks”

Twin Peaks Red Room Cooper's Dream About Midget and Giant

Just one of hundreds of scenes beyond the realm of comprehension for 18-year-olds who otherwise consume hours of "Beverly Hills 90210" on a weekly basis, according to Dr. Miller.

April 16, 1994 – Kalamazoo, Mich. – Owing to his duties as a faculty member of the Film and Media Studies department at Western Michigan University and the fact that he has “no fucking choice in the matter,” Dr. Joseph Miller, Ph.D. set about the task of grading yet another 10-page single-spaced essay attempting to analyze David Lynch’s groundbreaking television series “Twin Peaks.”

“If I had to estimate, I would say this is the 12th or 13th time this semester that I have read an exceptionally poorly argued assertion that Agent Dale Cooper is a Messiah figure, and the owls represented Lucifer trying to draw him away from the White Lodge of Audrey’s ample bosom,” Miller sighed, shuffling a pile of papers around his desk and reaching for a cup of “fairly shitty coffee.”

“You’d think after reading several dozen times about the supposed parallels between the death of Laura Palmer and America’s fall from innocence and how the repetitious use of donuts and running water symbolizes this connection, I would be numb to it, but I’m not. I’m not.”

Miller said ever since screening 1986’s Blue Velvet for a class of freshmen in 1990, he has been inundated with “superficial analysis of Lynch’s surrealist, often nostalgic dreamscapes that use rich color, carefully executed sound editing and absurdist motifs to comment on….Oh, Jesus. Listen to me. I’m starting to sound like them.”

According to carefully transcribed notes–kept in a small, glossy red-and-black bound diary stored in a secretly hollowed out bookshelf in his WMU office–Miller has read at least 67 essays on “Twin Peaks” since the series finale in 1991; more than twice the number of papers he has graded on Eraserhead and roughly four times that of any Star Wars movies, “thank Christ for small favors.”

“You’d think that because I am a rather devoted Lynch fan, that this would be easier for me, but it certainly is not,” Miller said, as he took off his wire-rimmed glasses to slowly massage the area between his eyes, before reaching for a packet of aspirin stored in a hollowed-out coconut on the corner of his credenza. “Did you know that James Hurley could be compared to a certain James Dean and other rebels with a heart of gold? Were you able to easily pick up on that yourself? Cause I would love to read three poorly punctuated paragraphs on what you think of the matter.”

“I love Dr. Miller’s class,” said Rochester freshmen Ted Manning, 19, who recently submitted a 5-page paper for Miller’s class that asserted that everything in the whole of “Twin Peaks” was actually a dream that Cooper had during his flight to Washington state. “We got to watch Blue Velvet in our second class of the semester. Did you know that you totally get to see that French lady’s boobs in that thing?”

Taking a break “that was needed more than you can even begin to comprehend” from reading a passage about the hollowness of war as represented by the Log Lady’s wooden companion and finishing the remains of a piece of cherry pie, Miller begrudgingly admitted that the onslaught of Lynchian scrutiny in recent years is certainly preferable to “what happened after I had the big idea to show Evil Dead to a group of sophomores in ’86.”

–By Tricia

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Filed under Contains Kyle MacLachlan, It's Good

Counterpoint: Secretary Attains Wall Street Investor Status in 3 Weeks

Working Girl Movie Poster Griffith Ford Weaver

How to Sleep Your Way to the Top

November 18, 1988 – New York, NY – Wall Street Investment bank employee Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), 30, was offered a job as head of the Mergers and Acquisitions department this week despite her lack of experience and continued complaints about her performance from prior managers at the bank. “She wrote that I was a ‘sleazoid pimp with a tiny little dick’ on our electronic stock ticker crawl display,” complained previous manager David Lutz (Oliver Platt). “Is that means for a promotion now? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”

Oliver Platt Working Girl Movie

Oliver Platt - sees same 'face guy' as Mickey Rourke

“Well, he deserved it,” countered a smug McGill sitting in her new corner office replete with Mac SE and private Sanka station. “He tried to set me up with one of my superiors (Kevin Spacey) in order to better my career. That jerk picked me up in his private town car, offered me high-end champagne and blow and tried to take me out to a swanky hotel. I told him to buzz off and jumped out of the car, marched home in my trainers to my shabby little apartment, and nuked a nice warm sanctimonious bowl of Dinty Moore.  I showed those bastards.”

Following her reassignment to a new department, Tess quickly moved up the ladder by impersonating her new boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), after Parker suffered a leg injury while skiing in Europe. After an extensive getting-to-know-you period of interaction with Parker before the accident, one week at most, McGill could accurately mimic Parker’s voice on the telephone, fit into Parker’s wardrobe, and hold meetings in Parker’s office without remonstrance from any co-workers at the bank.

In yet another fortunate turn of fate, McGill unexpectedly charms Parker’s beau Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford) into falling in love with her. Trainer, of course, is also the primary executive contact for Dewey Stone, the company with whom McGill is pitching an upcoming merger. “How, in all of the romantic comedies based in New York, would I accidentally go to bed with the very man who I had an important meeting with the next day?” muses McGill as she removes her leg warmers and puts on her pumps.

“Of course I got wrapped up in the fun,” friend Cynthia (Joan Cusack) says drolly, using air quotes. “I had to pretend to be her secretary so she could keep up appearances with Jack. Nevermind that my desk is in the typing pool on the other side of the building. I mean, how did I get any work done when I was spending hours helping Tess with her crazy plots and schemes? For all intents and purposes, I would probably have been fired, had this plot been based in reality.

Working Girl Movie Joan Cusack Close-Up

Joan Cusack practices being John Cusack in drag.

Since it wasn’t, though, I kept my job. I even had a little fun of my own. That first night she slept at Jack’s I had given her a mammoth dose of Valium before she went out to the mixer at the bar. And then she took a bunch of tequila shots on top of it! Glad I didn’t have to hold that wall of Aqua-Net back while she puked. Ha. In fact, a regular person would probably be comatose for days after swallowing such a potent narcotic and so much booze.”

Working Girl Melanie Griffith Tess McGill

I dream of Unscented Extra Super Hold.


“Not everything worked out perfect though, ya know,” a pert McGill said. “I still had to work as Katharine’s personal assistant/nurse at home despite obvious conflict of interest issues. And the fact I’m not registered as a nurse to dispense drugs to injured patients. But hey, I’m the plucky underdog here, so I get, like, a bunch of free passes.”

As of last week, McGill had successfully started her new job as an executive, turned down a marriage proposal from her deadbeat yet still very sexy ex-boyfriend Mick Dugan (Alec Baldwin), been both fired and re-hired at the bank, had a showdown with boss Parker replete with the word ‘Johnson’ included, and moved in with a philandering man whom she had known less than one month.

Big Johnson T-Shirts

SO so glad these have all but disappeared.

–       Counterpoint review of Working Girl (1988) to Tricia’s Rental Rehab review of The Secret of My Success (1987) written by Kelli

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Filed under 80s Business Flick, Bad Movies, Bad Romantic Comedy, Contains a Baldwin

Baffled Young Hot Shot Somehow Fails to Achieve Corporate Success in Two Weeks

Michael J. Fox in Secret of My Success

Carlton Whitford is equally baffled as to the lack of a meteoric rise for Mosher, as Mosher is at least 5'5".

September 24, 1987 – New York, NY – Despite a chipper Midwestern work ethic, a business degree from Mid Plains Community College and an unrealistic measure of self value, Grant Mosher, 22, is disappointed to report that he has yet to ascend to a lucrative position at the top of the corporate ladder in the high-profile Manhattan financial company where he presently holds a job cleaning toilets from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and occasional Saturdays.

“It doesn’t make any sense that I haven’t yet saved this company from a hostile takeover,” said Mosher, as he surveyed the graphs, charts and stick figure drawings strewn about an otherwise vacant office once occupied by a high-level accountant who was fired two weeks ago because of corporate cutbacks.

“I’ve been slaving away in this office for two – almost three – days and nothing,”  he said, indicating the meaningless paperwork he sneaks into the office to scribble on for a few minutes every night when the night guard tucks the newspaper under his arm and heads to the restroom down the hall. Mosher went on to explain that most of the “hard-crunched data and analysis contained therein” is based on his introduction to business strategy class and a viewing of the 1983 Eddie Murphy comedy Trading Places. “I started as a janitor way back on September 2. I think I’ve paid my dues.”

“At this rate, I should have already had sex with the boss’s wife, tricked the board of directors into believing I was a newly hired executive that no one had heard anything about and developed a murky ten-point plan to save our company from financial ruin. At the very least, I should have been making inroads with that blond accountant. You know; the one with the androgynous haircut and the boxy jackets? But the closest I’ve gotten to any tail around here is changing the tampon boxes in the ladies’ room,” Mosher paused to squint at a page of sheet music. “Sorry. That was gross. I’m just so frustrated. I wrote this song about my life and even finagled Night Ranger into doing the demo. The song has very specific lyrics that describe the overall narrative I’m aiming for here as well as my career aspirations; none of which include staying in that shithole apartment on Staten Island any longer than one, two weeks tops.”

“Mosher? Is that the little shithead who keeps filling the soap dispensers with floor wax in the men’s room on the southeast corner of the 24th floor? I don’t even think he can read,” said Floyd Hemmel, 58, assistant building maintenance manager and Mosher’s direct supervisor. “He’s always ‘sneaking’ around and dressing in a suit and tie for part of his shift, like I can’t see the ***ing thing under his T-shirt and jeans. Maybe it’s some kind of weird Midwestern sexual kink or something, I don’t know. As long as he cleans the used condoms outta the stairwells every night, I could give a rat’s ass.”

“My friend, Brantley (Foster), from summer camp, moved to New York around the same time as me, and he’s already a billionaire and he got to nail his hot aunt, who also owns the company that he was working for and now kinda owns,” Mosher shook his head. “When I made a move on my Aunt Hilda, she just got this weird look on her face, told me to get out of her apartment and not to contact her again.”

At last reporting, Mosher said playing Yello’s “Oh Yeah” on a loop during otherwise ordinary circumstances has failed to net him either oral sex from a powerful older woman or the years of hard-earned real world experience that would be necessary to actually pull any of this shit off.

This ambiguous Rental Rehab review of Michael Fox’s hit film The Secret of My Succe$s (1987)an entertaining but certifiably ’80s exercise– was written by Tricia.




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Filed under 80s Business Flick, Childhood Memories

An Ex-Raver Compares and Contrasts “Groove” and “Human Traffic”

Movement 2011 Edition

PLUR bitches 

My initial concept for this blog is a testament to how long it has been since I’ve watched these movies. I wanted to compare and contrast Human Traffic with Groove in order to declare a winner, a better version of my rave zeitgeist. I remembered Human Traffic being about a rave. It’s not. It’s about some kids in London going to a club for the night.  So comparing the “rave” in Human Traffic to the actual rave in Groove would be an illogical argument.

However, I spent 4 hours watching these movies and they are getting compared.

To start, I should concede that Human Traffic has 2 major things going for it with which Groove can only barely compete:

  •  Human Traffic’s Music Supervisor was Pete Tong; and
  • Carl Cox does a cameo as a club owner.

 Groove competes with these heavyweight electronic music personas with only a John Digweed cameo. And he played his generic trance tracks that have been remixed into mall store music a decade ago. Carl Cox and Pete Tong totally kick John Digweed’s ass.

 Oh, excuse me, DJ Pollywog is also featured in Groove. PASS.  I don’t know where to start, be it with the white girl dreads, the gold body paint or the horrendous rave slut outfit.  At least she isn’t as bad as these dangerous predators: raver girls.

 So you can probably tell I am leaning towards Human Traffic from the start. Groove just rubs me the wrong way. If you take part in an alternative zeitgeist like raving, you don’t want it defined by the populist media. Groove is to raving what Urban Cowboy is to country music.  They portray almost everyone in the scene as an idiot and they’ve aligned bad fashion choices with an entire subculture.[1]

I may have somewhat disliked Groove when I was going to raves but that is nothing compared to how much I now wince at the well-meaning candy kids’ antics.  Light shows, cuddle puddles, conga line back massages, Vicks VapoRub, furry clothing, and finally the actual candy, really make me shudder at our generation’s arrested development in wholly new ways.

Rave Yarn Hair Pink Miami

Yarn hair is for cabbage patch kids.


*Image from Miami New Times

At the very least Groove was probably a way for raving to be introduced to the masses without the moralizing firewall of Times and other local news broadcasts which gleefully reported on the handful of ecstasy deaths that were ultimately the result of dehydration/heart arrhythmia brought on by a cocktail of drugs.  So there’s that.

 But if you are one of the few rave movies set in the U.S. then you have a responsibility to accurately depict the zeitgeist.

 Groove opened in 2000 in San Francisco and centers around 3 main characters : David and Colin Turner (brothers) and Colin’s fiancée Harmony. David is the requisite “straight” who has never been to a rave. So this is his first experience raving and subsequently his first experience spending the night on a nasty warehouse floor where he expostulates about the minutiae of his life to whoever will listen, in this case, Leyla (Lola Glaudini). 

Lola Guardini Leyla Groove Movie

Possibly the only redeeming feature of this movie.

Since Leyla is an old-school raver and this is her one-millionth rave then she does not take ecstasy and lolls around listening to David’s bullshit. She moved to San Francisco from New York because she screwed up her life so much there raving all the time that she ultimately lost about 4 years in some rave worm-hole. So she comes to San Francisco and immediately goes to a rave?

Homeless man sign ecstasy marijuana

Ostensibly what Leyla was doing in New York.


But she is not ready to give up the lifestyle just yet, so she immediately logs on to some pre-historic analog rave forum and requests a ride from anybody in the bay area. So the first people that offer her a ride are the candy kid ravers from the local college, who ordered their pink wigs and furry boots from harajukugirls.net.

Harajuku girls lolita japanese

We love cute! ❤

 And off they go. The candy kid harajuku girls spend a lot of time in the “chill room” at the rave which is an interesting fantasy that a stoned special events coordinator from the film studio must have thought up.  There is a free buffet of fruit and FREE bottles of water laid out in said room as well as multiple non-mildewed couches and beanbag chairs [how darling]. People that throw raves in empty warehouses on the sly definitely always supply their guests with a free continental breakfast. We have all seen catered raves with candles burning everywhere, I’m sure.

Room filled with candles


 So Colin classily proposes to Harmony at the rave and she gleefully accepts but it also turns out that Colin is bi-sexual. Awkward!  So Harmony gets angry at him for rolling his face off and making out with the creepy massage guy and she ends up running away, tiny backpack bouncing.

 But she gets over her homophobia I guess and they kiss and make up on the dance floor just like how they used to do it at Studio 54. We all know how well club love works out.

 Party Monster movie cover

 Later, the cops break up the rave and everybody sadly leaves.  BUT THEN they all come back because John Digweed shows up at 6 am like a diva headliner. Somehow this all occurs without the mass usage of cell phones. 

 Then John Digweed plays that one trance song. The end.

 The real problem with this movie is that it spotlights all the rave stereotypes without commenting on them in a new way. Now I’m going to go ahead and bring back Human Traffic. In Human Traffic, viewers get a snapshot of club life in London that also weaves about 6 distinct characters [with background information! Wow!] into said snapshot. It also highlights things about the culture that others may not know from vague observation.

Explanations of different types of music are offered. For example: Two-step is kind of garage is kind of grime is kind of dubstep.  They also reveal some of the unfortunate consequences of consuming ecstasy, ahem, like problems in the bedroom.  Kinda obvious but following that, you get a front seat view of some neurotic mind games that one plays as the sun rises and the roll disappears. Basically, they can fully flesh out some understandable human relationships. What you might learn from partying for 8 hours straight with the same people. 

 Groove’s human relationships can be likened to more of a pre-party. You just scratch the surface with polite accessions of similarity but you don’t get down to the real, the gritty stuff.

Groove affirms what people already think they know:

  • ravers wear strange clothes,
  • take drugs, and
  • act promiscuously.

They try to infill with a little sob story and morality alert about partying your life away.

There is no real growth or epiphany. It is the film version of John Digweed’s generic trance song.  You know what’s going to happen after the build-up.  You know when the bass will drop.  You can dance to it easily because the beat will never confuse you.   Human Traffic is like a good Venetian Snares track.  You go in thinking one thing is going to happen, then something completely unexpected and amazing happens and by the end you feel like you’ve come to understand something new about the world. 

Oh, and here’s another thing about Groove.  In the middle of the party, one lonesome cop comes up to the door and wants to know what all the noise is about. The cop, interestingly enough, is a young Ron Swanson with the moustache in full effect. The guy throwing the party leads Ron through the warehouse, explaining that he has just purchased the property for his business, plans to renovate it, and his having a celebratory party. He walks around, showing Ron where he will be putting the cubicles, cafeteria, and fax machines [ancient!]. 

Meanwhile, everybody that attended the party has hidden in the chill room, on command from the dude throwing the party.  Does this seem even remotely right to you? They stopped a rave within 10 minutes and made hundreds of people hide from the cops, a mass exodus from the dance floor that the viewer never sees. Plus, this one policeman in California decides, “Hey, I’m gonna check out this huge party without back up, I am sure nothing will happen to me.” Never in Detroit.

Groove can transport ex-ravers back in time to a slightly not really good facsimile of what they may have experienced. For the Detroit raver memories, there would be more jaded locals who will charge you for parking and then let a random crackhead jack your car at the Theatre for the winter coat you stashed in the backseat.

Ah yes, just one of many fond memories straight from the D.

[1] I enjoyed watching Urban Cowboy.


Filed under Afterparty, Detroit, Music, Rave