Thrashin’ (1986)

After finishing out 2022 with Get Crazy, I decided it wasn’t time to leave the radical 80s behind quite yet.

So to kick off 2023, B-Movie Enema is going to look at a quartet of 80s David Winters movies in a theme month I’m calling David Winters Winter! We aren’t really doing this in any kind of timeline or chronological order. Nah, I don’t think we really need to do that. BUT what I did want to do is look at movies of Winters’ that came from different genres. We get things started with his teen skateboarding drama, Thrashin’!

This comes during a time in which skateboarding exploded. Skateboarding had been around as a relatively popular activity for kids at least back to the 70s when my brothers were kids. By the 80s, it became something of a lifestyle. Skater fashion would eventually kind of take over from the late 70s/early 80s punk fashion before being replaced by more hip hop fashions by the end of the decade and going into the 90s.

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The Farmer (1977)

Welcome back to B-Movie Enema. This week, I’m going to look at the 1977 action crime drama, The Farmer. Now, there’s little about this movie that I have the resources or time to really dig too deep into. That said, there’s a whole other thing about this movie that is a real deep rabbit hole that I can kind of traipse around.

But to get started, David Berlatsky directed the movie. It’s his only directing credit. His actual trade was as an editor. He was decent enough at it to get nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the 1978 mini-series, King. But he also did a lot of other stuff. For example, he edited 1977’s The Deep for director Peter Yates. He also edited 1973’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid for Sam Peckinpah.

In the 80s, he edited a couple episodes of the short-lived, 1984, Glen Larson series Automan. What’s Automan? It’s about a computer-generated superhero. That superhero can also computer generate a car to drive around in. How does computer-generated things become physical objects? Who knows and who cares. He also edited the first season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Haven”. Which one is that? That’s the one that introduced Counselor Troi’s horrifically annoying mother and had something to do with a ship of diseased people closing in on a planet that would be wiped out by said disease.

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Circle of Power (aka Brainwash, 1981)

Welcome back to B-Movie Enema. This week, I’m going to talk about that thing we all love to do in our free time – training retreats! Woot woot! How exciting! Yaaaaayyyy – being forced to give up a perfectly good weekend to be bored out of our minds at a seminar!

Yeah, this movie goes by a few names, but the most common are either the original title, Brainwash, or Circle of Power. It also had the names Mystique and The Naked Weekend. This was based on a narrative nonfiction book called The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled. That book was written by Gene Church and Conrad D. Carnes and was published in 1972. Basically, it’s about the practices that went on during a four-day training weekend for executives run that involved folks from companies run by one William Penn Patrick. More on that later.

After this movie came out, the writers did a follow up called Brainwash – likely in conjunction with the film’s title. The appeal was that there was this brand new phenomenon called “encounter group training” that began to crop up in the 60s and 70s. This could help people with various business skills or interpersonal communication or even with relationships. Oftentimes, these were kind of viewed as someone, who was seen as something of a guru, trying to train others to think and react the same way to situations. In a lot of ways, this not only evolved for business practices into the 80s but, for personal stuff, think of your Tony Robbinses or other self-help folks who ran seminars.

The book helped expose some practices. This movie came out during a huge explosion of controversy that dropped at a particular event. These things will be covered here in just a moment, but let’s start by talking about our star of the movie – the recently departed Yvette Mimieux.

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Mean Johnny Barrows (1976)

Welcome to this week’s B-Movie Enema. This week, we’re following the exploits of Mean Johnny Barrows as he tries to bring himself up out of the gutter and get back at the Man for always standing in the way of him and his prosperity.

Now, you may look at that opening salvo for this article and think, “Sweet! This is Fred Williamson in a blaxploitation classic!” I don’t blame you for thinking that. I thought that too. However, it’s not. It’s not listed as a notable blaxploitation flick. It’s more of a crime drama than an exploitation movie. Yes, it is directed by Williamson himself and he likely got that opportunity because of the 70s black cinema coming into prominence. Yet, this seems to transcend the blaxploitation moniker.

I’m sure there will be elements here. I mean he’s dishonorably discharged from the military. He’s busted for being drunk. He’s homeless. He’s not able to be with the woman he loves. He blames these things on the Man, and there’s probably fair reason to. So, yeah, the mistake thinking this is part of the blaxploitation subgenre that was running through black cinema of the time is acceptable and understandable.

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Monamour (2006)

Welcome to the conclusion of Tinto Brass Extravaganza here at B-Movie Enema. So far, we’ve featured a comedy with some fairly mixed morals on sex and love in Cheeky!, followed by a very good drama about an Italian aristocrat falling in love with a Nazi officer in Black Angel, and then a mixed bag of shorts in the anthology Private. Now it’s up to our final entry, the 2006 drama Monamour, to tip the scales to one side or another in terms of full on quality.

I’ll admit, that while not everything in Cheeky! is something I would like to deal with as a lover of a free spirit, I absolutely cannot deny that there is lots of very pretty things to look at whenever Yuliya Mayarchuk was on screen. It made the movie watchable and kind of vaguely enjoyable for its raw sexuality. Hell, I’d say the movie dropped any pretense of sensuality to just give us a lot of Ukrainian beaver cinematography.

Private is split 50/50. Half the stories were interesting or sexy, and one was even kind of sweet at the end to put a bow on the whole anthology. But that didn’t pretend to be sensual either. It was anywhere from 12-15 minutes of the private lives of very horny couples. VERY horny couples. Black Angel was where Brass dumped all his effort into actually exploring sensuality. It had an aging woman aching for excitement even if it had to come from something wrapped in the uniform of objective evil. As an aging person myself, well, well, well past his prime in most everything except for eating McRibs and writing about B-movies, I can identify with that.

Monamour seems to be a bit of a return to that exploration and need of a return to sexual excitement and spontaneity.

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Private (2003)

Here we are in the third week of Tinto Brass Extravaganza at B-Movie Enema, and, so far, we’ve had a sex comedy with very confusing messaging and a very serious erotic Nazi drama. This week, we do something different again – we have ourselves an anthology. Private, as it is titled here, is made up of six independent vignettes.

The vignettes largely deal with couples and their various sexual turn-ons and either retelling stories that feature them or a pursuit of doing these things. Mostly, we’re looking into the lives of normal people who have kinks. The title in Italian is Fallo! which is translated to English as Do It! However, Fallo is also the Italian word for Phallus. So it’s a little bit of a play on words again as with the Italian title for Cheeky! a couple weeks ago.

Just guessing, but I assume all the potential titles that you can use for this film all tips the film’s hand at showing these private moments of couples, their perversions, and the tendency of these people to want to, or be encouraged to continue to, keep doing what they are doing. I will give Brass one thing – he has lovely free association with his titles and plots. Also, the Italian Fallo! cover of this movie looks like a dick with a giant set of balls. Also, the Private DVD cover looks like an American back room porno tape.

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