Thursday 19 June 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 81 The Smokers

We here at are pretty totally whatevs when it comes to the battle of the sexes. In our offices sexual harassment is more the rule than the exception. Of course with just one intern and no employees, sexual harassment sort of loses it charm. Speaking of losing charm, there is this movie. I guess it’s hard to lose your charm, when you never really had any to begin with. That would put this movie in the negative in terms of quantity of charm. That’s impressive in its own right. Alright, let’s get to it. Ladies, and in a broader sense, gentlemen, I present to you…
Thora Birch, ladies and gentlemen. 

The Smokers (2000)
This movie was made right in the butt end of the 90s, where some movies dealing with either the battle of the sexes or sexual harassment, or both! were met with somewhat positive reviews. A movie like Thelma and Louise, with two strong female characters from ’91, or Disclosure featuring Michael Douglas vs. Demi Moore, a movie about sexual harassment of the rarer (I don’t have any evidence to base this one so I’m going with just an assumption) kind where the female boss does the harassing. The Smokers didn’t have any strong female characters. Or any strong male characters. All the people in this flick were quite the characters however. To quote the ever efficient Mr. Winston Wolf speaking to the not always lovely Julia Sweeney (we’ve dealt with her before in these reviews): “just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character”. What Winston Wolf probably didn’t realize when he made that acute observation was, that The Smokers would embody it so perfectly. It seems to be one of those movies, where everybody is an asshole. As opposed to movies that are actually about the struggles of the sexes, this movie seemingly deals with those themes but actually doesn’t really go beyond the usual ‘violence and rape is bad’ rhetoric we all know and understand. I say ‘we all’ because even people who actually do rape and exert violence are aware of it being wrong, I’m sure, they just chose to ignore it. And in many cases they are enabled by a general apathy towards the subject in society. But that’s well beyond the scope of this review, and so far beyond the scope of this movie, that I doubt any of the cast and crew even really knew that was the underlying theme.
Fun night with the girls. And Thora Birch in a purple Jamiroquai hat

The movie, in a nutshell, is about 3 girls rooming together in college. We are treated to all the usual college movie bullshit, including, but not limited to, dope smoking, excessive drinking, bitchy girlfights, macho moronic jocks, geeky but lovable doofuses and going off campus to attend parties with artsy aloof dickwads who happen to live near by. The most extrovert of the 3 girls goes to hook up with some sort of business dude in his limo. She dreams of the yuppie jetset life, but wouldn’t you know it, it turns out the dude is just really out for sex. Color me surprised. She seems kind of OK with it at first, seeing as she’s putting out left and right already, but then she isn’t quite OK with it anyway, for reasons unknown (perhaps because the dude is a douche) but is pressured into it anyway. This spurs on a revenge fest, in which she wants to rape dudes at gun point, so they can see how it really feels. I can see why that would seem rational in a time like that, but still it’s kind of far fetched. She doesn’t seem really affected by the incident, however, just enough to make her start a little cult with her two roomies, involving a mouse mask, that I honest to Zeus can’t remember why the fuck was in this movie. Why that particular mask was chosen, I mean. Things turn pear shaped when another of the girls, desperately looking for affection, tries to set up a sexual encounter with a dude, only to find that he is actually gay. She returns to campus desolate, and starts talking to the resident geeky guy who’s kind of bullied by the other dudes. He’s totally sweet and understanding, but still poses a threat to the main chick because of his male status. A series of bemusing misunderstandings and tepid drama ensue, culminating with an attempted rape of a girl and subsequent murder of the rapist during the graduation party. The drama is extremely undramatic. My watching companion was asleep at this point (and almost any other point during this movie) but I was trucking on like a champ. That’s how much I care for you guys.
I don't know, you guys. He just really gets on my nerves. His acting doesn't help

We’ve got a few known names going for us in this flick. Busy Phillips of Dawson’s Creek fame played one of the main girls. I never really watched Dawson’s Creek (as in I never watched a single minute of it) so I only knew her from various bit parts in various series (most recent of which was Cougartown with Friends alumni Courtney Cox. I haven’t watched that either). Furthermore we see Thora Birch in, what can only be described as, an extremely lame and pointless role as the little sister of one of the girls, who smokes and drinks more than the FDA would probably find cool. I think if what she did in this movie happened in reality she’d be rushed to a hospital asap. Or at the very least get counseling hours. She looks and acts stupid. Thora Birth is known, to me, from American Beauty and from the classic Patriot Games as Harrison Ford’s daughter. Patriot Games is a sublime piece of action cinema, and American Beauty has a special place too with me, so I’ll let Thora off with a warning. We also see Dominique Swain as the main girlie girl. Dominique is arguably the most well known face of the lot, her first role being John Travolta’s daughter in Face/Off followed by a string of smaller parts the chief of which were Lolita in the remake of the same name. Our goofy geeky dude is played by a really doofussy looking guy named Nick Loeb who also served as producer of this travesty. I don’t know what it is about this guy, but just looking at him made me annoyed and uncooperative. His face has this quality of somebody who acts friendly and helpful, but is really just a gigantic assbaron. He might be a fucking Nobel peace prize laureate for all I know, but his face just annoys me. I’d become a violent man hating murderer too, if I had to stare at his greasy skin every day.
Second actual rape. Notice the yuppie's driver is just casually looking on with a lollipop in his cakehole. 

Later on, when doing thorough research for this, I found out some more about old Kat Slater. Her own personal story, as told through small bits of writings from people who knew her, is sort of amusing. No no, it doesn't hold within it lots of stories of abuse as a kid or musings about rape incidents. I didn't dig that far back, so I don't know if it was the case. But The Smokers was Kat's (not her real name) first feature film, that she both directed and wrote. She had tried getting it produced for a decade, and finally managed to rustle up enough cash to actually get it made. For anybody who knows anything about the movie biz, this, in and of itself, is impressive. After the movie was made, and not met with positive reviews, or even reviews at all, Kat decided to return home to Wisconsin, to her folks, by way of Las Vegas. And it was in Las Vegas, that she was first introduced to the Pornography business. Somebody suggested that she direct porn instead, because getting your stuff made there was easy as pie. So she did, and had a relatively successful stint directing for Hustler with titles such as Cum Swappers #7 and Young Sluts, Inc #1-15. She doesn't act in any of her movies per se, but she does participate with her hands while filming. I read a few reviews of her movies, and thought about finding one of them. You know. For science. But they are notoriously hard to come by, it seems. Even scouring the old web just looking for a clip from the movie turns out troublesome, unless you're willing to shell out actual monies. Call me dedicated, but there is no way I'm paying for porn. It's not the 90s anymore! Anyway, after 2006, it seems, she quit that biz and haven't been active anywhere since.
We close with a good old fashioned fire gone terribly wrong. 

Overall, it’s should be blatantly clear by now, this movie stunk. It stunk up my entire living room. And it’s a spacious room too. Why it was called The Smokers I can’t say for certain. The ladies smoked a lot, but that’s hardly the basis for naming the entire movie I don’t think. But I might just give old Kat Slater more credit than she deserves. The movie didn’t lampoon anything, didn’t have any interesting references, didn’t follow anything or carry any sort of merit whatsoever. I guess I’ll give it a little kudos for at least being an original piece of work. Just too bad that the originality of it was totally unoriginal. I don’t know if the actors were just shit, or if they were shit because of the source material. Perhaps a combination. I don’t have anything positive to say really, besides those things. And they weren’t really positive, were they? No… no they weren’t. 
Feeble attempt to rape this guy at gun point. She finds out, moments later, that the reason he didn't want to have sex with her, is because he is gay. Her immediate reaction is: "OMG YOU HAVE AIDS?". I don't even...


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