Episode 010 Transcript

Gala: On this episode of the Video Archives Podcast, Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary enter the world of fashion with Lamont Johnson’s Revengeamatic: Lipstick. A fashion model is brutally raped by her kid sister’s music teacher. When she takes him to court, she finds that she will have to take justice into her own hands. Roger and Quentin discuss the genius of casting real-life sisters, Margaux and Mariel Hemingway, the intensity a score can bring to a film and kindly remind us all that lipstick isn’t always an invitation to kiss. Next, Quentin and Roger jump into the ring with Carl Reiner’s studio comedy The One and Only. Andy Schmidt is a larger than life college student with dreams of becoming an actor. But when he finally makes it to New York, he finds that no one respects his talent. That is, until he accidentally invents show wrestling. Listen as Quentin and Roger quote memorable lines from the film, discuss standout performances from Henry Winkler and Kim Darby, and reveal what it’s really like to be an outsider in the ring waiting to hear the applause. Lastly, we wade into the canals of Venice Beach to find the monster that is Slithis; or Spawn of the Slithis, depending on who you ask. In this 1978 love letter to the city of Venice Beach, a nuclear leak has created a sea monster who terrorizes pets, winos and hippies, leading a high school journalism teacher to solve the mystery of Slithis. Roger and Quentin talk about the importance of film as a historical time capsule and the art of filling your world with unique characters. I’m your girl, Gala Avary and joining us now, here’s Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary. 


Quentin Thanks a lot for that wonderful intro, Gala. I really appreciate it. Okay. Let’s kill the Bacalov and welcome everybody to the Video Archives Podcast. I’m Quentin Tarantino. 


Roger I am Roger Avary. 


Quentin And today we have three exciting picks to talk about. 


Roger Pulled by Quentin from the shelves of Video Archives. 




Quentin Absolutely and first up, coming from the drama section, under L, is a movie that I cannot believe I had waited this long to see, but I’m glad I did. 


Roger Good things come to those that wait. 


Quentin A Paramount Home Video called Lipstick, directed by a director that I’m a big fan of: Lamont Johnson, who also did One on One and The McKenzie Break and The Groundstar Conspiracy


Roger He did this in 1976. 


Quentin Falls into a genre, actually two sub-genres, that I’m a fan of: Revengeamatics and the rape revenge genre. This manages to have one foot in both sub genres. 


Roger Genres that you have always loved. 


Quentin I’m a big fan of the rape revenge genre and a big fan of the Revengeamatic. 


clip from the trailer for Lipstick You’re about to see a scene from Lipstick, a controversial new film about today’s most explosive subject. “Every human being has the right of simple consent. Even women.” “Do you think I should testify?” “Yes, of course I think you should testify. You’ve been raped.” The story of a woman’s outrage and a woman’s revenge. You’ve never seen anything like Lipstick. Rated R. 


Quentin Okay, so now here’s the back of the box for Lipstick


Back of Box Margaux Hemingway makes her film debut as a high fashion model who is violated as much by the system as she is by her rapist. Chris Sarandon (Dog Day Afternoon) plays the low key music teacher who brutally attacks her and forces her to the point of desperation and revenge. As Margaux’s lawyer, Anne Bancroft (The Slender Thread, The Miracle Worker), gives a brilliant and uncompromising portrayal of a woman who takes on the legal system in an attempt to define the rights of women in this complex and controversial issue. Director Lamont Johnson (A Gun Fight) guides the film to a shocking and violent conclusion after convincing the audience that, in some cases, only after a rape occurs does the real horror story begin. 


Quentin I remember when this film came out, I remember the ads on TV. It was sort of like rape had been dealt with to some degree in a lot of different films up until this time, but it really was only TV movies that focused in on rape as the subject for the entire film. I think Elizabeth Gunnery did one called Cry Rape that was a big hit in the early seventies, but this was actually the first studio film to deal with the subject of rape as a big studio motion picture. Now, the thing that was actually interesting that I remember talking about with Roger was it had a wonderful ad campaign, and I remember the TV spots a lot. It showed you a bit of how you thought the film would go. “Is this going to be the rape? The rapist will be in court and he’ll present himself as a more innocent person. There’ll be a doubt cast on Margaux Hemingway, the lead character.” It also would show how she’s basically almost being raped a second time, going through the legal process in the court of law. But it’s suggested that there will be a comeuppance because then it would cut to the title treatment of Lipstick and you would hear an automatic rifle go off. But it never showed a scene from the climax.  


Roger They only implied it. 


Quentin There only was an implication of where the plot would go, but there was never any scene, never any shot, never any still. That’s almost unheard of for a Revengeamatics. So we went into watching this movie, literally not knowing exactly how it was going to end in its last 15 minutes. 


Roger Completely. Actually, I knew nothing about it.  


Quentin You’d heard of it before. 


Roger Yeah. I mean, I had rented this tape to people. To be honest, the box is so beautiful and graphic and well-designed, and it’s one of these amazing Paramount Home Video fold open boxes, which I had forgotten about. When you showed me the box, I was like, “Oh, Lipstick. I remember that.” I just thought it was just a B-level exploitation movie when we’d been renting it, I hadn’t really thought about the movie, to be honest, that much. Then you showed me the box and then you opened it up, because it opens up showing the Paramount uh… 


Quentin Paramount Mountain. 


Roger Yeah, their branding on the inside and they really cared. 


Quentin The Paramount boxes are truly a thing of beauty, of this era. 


Roger Like, a graphic designer’s dream. 


Quentin Yeah. I am also a fan of the Warner Brothers boxes with their arbitrary catalog stills just stuck under their green background. 


Roger Almost randomly. 


Quentin Like, completely randomly. 


Roger But this is an actual graphic design study. 


Quentin What makes it special, is they would take the one-sheets and beautifully conform them to the size of the pack. 


Roger To the new style of packaging. 


Quentin To a videocassette. I’m sitting here holding the Lipstick box in my hand, this is art directed. They cared. Somebody spent time to do it the right way, and if you go through all the Paramount boxes of this time period,they all have that look. 


Roger Two of the movies we saw this week were in Paramount boxes and I noticed both of them were like that. It was like, “Wow, look at that. The both of them are different, but they’re the same.” They’re unified and they have their own personality. It’s great. 


Quentin If you look at the early box for Love Story, look at the early box for Little Darlings; I mean, they all just they’re all uniform to a T. They’re really terrific. So, Roger, what was your take on Lipstick when we watched it? 


Roger Well, I dug up an old review (actually, it seems like a recent review) by my favorite critic, Franklin Brauner. I have to read it in the voice of Bill Margold. 


Quentin [laughter].


Roger Which is because you’ve been reading me all of these Bill Margold and Jim Sheldon reviews and you’ve even been sending them to me, and you’ve had this project you’re working on and you’re kind of climbing inside of their heads. I keep hearing his voice. So when I was reading this review, I couldn’t help but do it in the voice of someone else. 


Quentin Of Bill Margold. 


Roger Bill Margold. [doing an impression of Bill Margold] Gus Barnaby once said about the rape scene in his film Irreversible: “The rape has to be disgusting to be useful.” The rape in Lipstick achieves that lowly aspiration, thanks in no small part to the disturbing source music in the film composed within the film by a rapist teacher who ascends artistically and professionally despite accusations made against him in a court of law by a professional lipstick model, who in turn is treated by the public no better than the whore of consumerist culture. Even her young sister on trial (played with depth and excellence by a pre-teen Mariel Hemingway) who the prosecutor explains that some adults like certain kinds of violent sex. Entering it into public record as fact. 

    The music teacher’s deviant, pedophile and predatory behavior is not only allowed to continue, but is rewarded until he finally hurt someone she loves more than herself, leading her to the only human conclusion possible: hunting this child rapist down like a wild animal and laying him down before he accepts a teaching position at the local Catholic girls school. 


Roger [no longer doing impression] Okay, so that’s Franklin Brauner’s take on the movie. I didn’t know what to expect entering into this. Like you didn’t, I guess neither of us did. Lamont Johnson is a TV director. He’s an old time TV director. He’s like a Frankenheimer style director. He was doing fairy tale theater, like Jack and the Beanstalk. That was a good one, by the way. 


Quentin He also did one of the best TV movies of the seventies, The Execution of Private Slovak with Martin Sheen and he did the first movie about homosexuality on TV; That Certain Summer


Roger There’s an approach to the violence that’s occurring in this movie that somehow makes it watchable, as if it’s mass entertainment. But at the same time, it’s freaking disturbing. This is like a guy who’s been making things for a long time and he chooses this. 


Quentin It’s a big Paramount movie about a rough subject, and it’s meant to be a hard, powerful movie. 


Roger It is! 


Quentin It’s meant to be along the lines of Straw Dogs. It’s meant to be along the lines of Deliverance


Roger With a child. I mean, it’s intense. 


Quentin We can talk about if the rape revenge ruins its seriousness towards the subject matter. I think a case can be made as far as that’s concerned. 


Roger The rape revenge…? 


Quentin The fact that basically it’s an exploitation movie all prettied up and done by Paramount masquerading as a social issue drama, because it’s not quite ready to be as serious about the subject as you can tell that the screenwriters and the movie wants to be, because the script is done by David Rafael, who is Sydney Pollack’s main go to guy. He writes most of his scripts and the film has a very interesting patina. 


Roger Well, you compared it to a Tony Scott film at numerous points. You were like, “This is so stylish,” and it is. 


Quentin And it is. It is so stylish that it bears comparison to that Tony Scott style, even though it’s not exactly it but it’s definitely a precursor to the Tony Scott style. Lamont Johnson does a pretty good job with the film because he’s never really been able to (except for maybe The McKenzie Break) actually inject that much style into his previous movies before because they just weren’t appropriate for it. But this gives him an opportunity to do, almost, an American giallo. 


Roger Well, I was getting some Star 80 vibes, to be honest. I turned to you at some point, I think it was when it became a courtroom drama, which is, like the middle third. I turned to you, and I said, “Is this a real story? Did this really happen?” And you were like, “Noooo, they just made this up.” It’s like a fable, that’s the seriousness with which they take it. 


Quentin I think Margaux Hemingway, who is interesting, never really followed her performance in this up with anything super substantial. She would appear in this movie, she would appear in that movie. She’d appear on this TV show, she’d appear on that TV show. She was kind of famous for being this famous, beautiful model and for being the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. I think she’s pretty fucking good in this movie. I think she’s really solid. That sounds like faint praise, but you buy her as a world famous fashion model. 


Roger Well, she is. Not only that, they double down by hiring her sister to play her sister. Who also delivers (what I think is) the best performance in the movie. 


Quentin She’s fantastic. 


Roger That courtroom scene with her 


Quentin Mariel Hemingway is just fantastic, and the movie lucked out when they got a double Hemingway sister act. 


Roger Completely. 


Quentin Since Lipstick, I have seen this film (almost literally this film) dozens of times, whether it be on Lifetime or whether it be a more lowly exploitation movie or whether it’s out of Italy or out of wherever. But there’s something about Margaux Hemingway’s performance in this. She’s very distinctive. You buy her as a world class model, but also she has that weird way of talking; that she kind of strangles her words when she talks. She has this kind of a lisp. 


Roger She chirps a little, yeah. 


Quentin But it’s charming and it’s distinctive, and it’s her performance that makes the rape scene powerful. 


Roger She’s great. I mean, think this is her first film: her bravery, coming into this film and really throwing herself (literally) out there. 


Quentin I would actually say the most haunting aspect of the entire movie. In fact, I can hear it. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since I’ve seen the movie that I hadn’t thought about that moment right in the middle of the rape; when she goes, “You’re killing me.” That just sounds so real. It seems like the most realistic thing I could have ever heard. Especially since he’s, like, forcibly sodomizing her. 


Roger And honestly, throwing her around a bit. Though it’s obviously controlled, it’s a Hollywood situation and  everything. But, man, she’s controlling those falls and she’s really going for it. She’s in it. She’s inside of her performance. 

Quentin It’s what the movie’s about. 


Roger She may have been feeling that, in that moment. That’s why it feels realistic. 


Quentin Yeah, it’s a real good scene. Now where I think the film has room for rise ability (as far as the film is concerned), I think, is the conception of the rapist character that Chris Sarandon plays. Now he is actually doing a pretty good job, he’s a good actor. But I could totally see a world where, like, De Niro was offered this part and Harvey Keitel was offered this part, and then them turning it down and Chris Sarandon saying yes to it. Now, he starts off interesting in the film because part of the thing is he’s a music teacher and part of the thing about the story is that he’s Marilyn Hemingway’s (who was like 13 in the movie) teacher and she has a bit of a crush on him. So she invites him to meet- 


Roger Like, an innocent crush. 


Quentin Yeah, she’s a young girl with a crush on her teacher. 


Roger She actually, I think, wants him to get together with her sister. That’s like her child dream. 


Quentin Yeah. She has a crush on her handsome teacher, and so she invites him to meet- 


Roger To play his music for her. 


Quentin While she invites him in, especially, to meet her world famous sister. Part of the idea that he’s a composer and he’s going to play some of this music for Margaux Hemingway’s character. So you’re like, “Oh, wow, this is kind of interesting, you know? Travis Bickle as a composer? Okay that kind of seems interesting.” Which is how it comes across at first and okay, that’s an interesting idea. Until he plays the music and it’s so fucking ridiculous. 


Roger [imitating the wild music] It’s really weird. 


Quentin It’s like what you would imagine the rape theme would be as he rapes her is literally the music that he records, and that he plays through the rape. 


Roger That’s what’s going on inside of his head. 


Quentin As if every composition is rape theme number one. Then there’s rape theme number two, and then there’s rape theme number three and then there’s rape theme number four. I’ve got to say that one of my favorite parts of Mariel Hemingway’s performance is that she doesn’t want to listen to the music at that given time but okay, fine. Then he plays it and the look on her face is like, “What the fuck is this shit?”  


Roger She’s happy when the phone rings and she can get away. 


Quentin So happy when the phone rings, like, “I got to go answer this!” Where he stops being able to be taken seriously as a serious character in this rape drama is when he turns into this smoothie movie villain after the rape is over. You could buy him just exploding and doing this, but I don’t buy this kind of movie villain that he turns into after the rape is over. Now he’s this real smoothie and now he’s not awkward at all. Actually, he’s by far not awkward. So he’s a villain out of it. He might as well be a villain out of the Canon movie. He could be the hero. He could be the guy in Ten to Midnight


Roger Yeah, he’s just a psychopath on the loose. 


Quentin Then the movie gets to its next big sequence, which is the courtroom scene; which is the courtroom section of the movie. Now, again, I didn’t buy- I’ve seen these kind of things done a zillion times before, so I didn’t quite buy the obviousness of how Mariel Hemingway is bulldozed over in the courtroom. I’ve seen that scene done a zillion times before, and I’ve seen it done more convincingly a zillion times before. It’s just kind of heavy handed and she’s just bulldozed over. Now, I kind of knew that was going to be the case, but it’s definitely the case. Now, the courtroom scene catches fire halfway through when it actually becomes Anne Bancroft, who is her lawyer, gets to cross-examine Christopher. 


Roger Right after you were like, “Yeah, this is just turning into a courtroom thing,” suddenly Anne Bancroft showed up with conviction.  


Quentin Yeah and when the screenplay gets better and all of a sudden the dialog gets better, you can actually tell that Anne Bancroft and Chris Sarandon actually vibed with each other during those scenes and Chris Sarandon gets to become a good actor again. That’s when his character starts becoming interesting. Now, the way the courtroom section actually ends up on a powerful note. Then it gets to its third act, which presents a situation where Mariel Hemingway falls into the clutches of Chris Sarandon’s rapist character. By this point, Mariel Hemingway the kid sister has practically wrestled the narrative from Margaux Hemingway’s hand. 


Roger She’s so good in that courtroom scene. 


Quentin She’s so good in the courtroom scene and in almost every scene afterward. It’s always a little strange at the beginning when the movie just focuses in on her, but then at a certain point it’s not strange at all because she literally is the co-protagonist of the film. 


Roger Her emotions of a child trying to grapple and understand all of these complex things that are happening play so much on her face. They’re so upfront. It’s so riveting to look at her performance in this movie. 


Quentin There’s even just this wonderful dynamic between the two sisters. You have the one that’s the beautiful fashion model. Then you have the obviously a little bit more tomboy one and that’s an interesting dynamic between the two women. But then, the screenplay almost stumbles on to a provocative idea in the case of Mariel Hemingway. On one hand, she 100% believes her sister’s account of what happened. She believes that her sister was raped. There’s no question. 


Roger Even if she can’t explain it, she believes it. 


Quentin No question in her mind that her sister is telling the truth. She’s actually even willing to lie on stand and suggest that she saw more than she did because she believes her sister so much. But the provocative thing in the story is that while she believes her sister, she does know the teacher. She’s known him for a long time (for a kid, a long time) and she had this crush on him. While she believes her sister, a little part of her can’t believe he did it. 

Roger Yeah. 


Quentin She doesn’t think it’s a mistake, but there’s just a little part of her who can’t believe- 


Roger She’s an innocent. 


Quentin -that he was capable of doing that. 


Roger Because she’s innocent. 


Quentin Then that leads to a scene when she goes to the school and sees that he’s doing some sort of a school project with some dancers. 


Roger It’s like a total Alan Parsons project moment. 


Quentin Yeah, exactly that. He’s totally this Alan Parsons project kind of composer. 


Roger He’s succeeding after that court case. 


Quentin No, no, it’s actually strange. 


Roger He’s virile, he’s empowered.


Quentin That music is better than the music that we heard earlier. So it’s like, “Well, why didn’t you play this for her?” 


Roger And everyone’s dancing to it; all of the girls in the school are into it. 


Quentin Yeah. 


Roger The nuns want to, like, give him an extra tenured job. 


Quentin Yeah. So, like, all of a sudden now he’s not a rapist. He might as well be Keith Emerson, ready to start Emerson, Lake and Palmer.


Roger And after being honest in court, she’s barely able to keep a job. She’s kind of tainted, at this point. 


Quentin It suggests that her sleazy photographer boyfriend, Terry King, dumps her. He was good to go, I was happy to see him go. But then the scene between Chris Sarandon and Mariel Hemingway manages, quite effectively, to pre-date the similar scene in Scorsese’s Cape Fear– 


Roger For sure. The Little Red Riding Hood scene. 


Quentin Is able to charm Juliette Lewis. But then (like the way this movie kind of is) it starts off really terrific and then goes crazy with all the weird laser zapping shit that makes you go “What the fuck?” The movie completely had me, and then all of a sudden you go, “What the fuck is all this shit going on?” 


Roger You were not so upset when she grabs a gun and starts- 


Quentin No, that’s different. We’re talking about- 


Roger You like that crazy when there’s a gun in her hand.  


Quentin We’re talking about Lazarium, what could possibly be the most challenging scene of the movie and then Lazarium and pops up. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin Having said all that, when she gets her high powered rifle and goes after the fucking guy, the whole movie was fucking worth it. The whole goddamn movie was worth it. 


Roger I love that it’s a hunting rifle. It’s a 40 aught, and she’s just out there.


Quentin That ending was worth the whole goddamn film; any misstep it had up to then was completely rewarded. 


Roger She appropriately double taps him, as you’re meant to. 


Quentin Absolutely. We were screaming, “Right on!” 


Roger Yeah. The only misstep was probably the- Because we don’t need it; I don’t need a court of law to tell me that she’s innocent at the end of the movie. That’s irrelevant. 


Quentin Yeah. No, no, no, no. The misstep, just before the final freeze frame, is hearing the verdict of the jury. It would have been stronger if we didn’t know. 


Roger “We let her off. You know, sometimes you have to take law in your own hands.” 


Quentin Yeah, it would have been stronger if we didn’t know the outcome. We should have written our own outcome. Now, I would have written she got off, but I didn’t need to hear them say she got off. But when it comes to the ending, man, I was like, “Right fucking on!” 


Roger Oh, yeah. Especially when she runs around and he’s already dead or dying and she shoots him again. 


Quentin Especially because I hadn’t seen it before, you know. I had a feeling that an automatic rifle would play a part in it; since we see her in a photograph, skeet shooting with apparently her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway. I was like, “Okay. I guess this automatic weapon thing’s going to actually work out.” She’s a famous duck hunter, right along with being the famous model. Oh, and the fact that she does it all dressed up in that red dress. 


Roger Yeah, she’s wearing her fashion because she’s in the middle of a fashion shoot. 


Quentin She’s in the middle of the fashion shoot; her hair is done and her lipstick is done. 


Roger She’s wearing the dress of, like, a murderess in a Fritz Lang film. 

Quentin Yes. Literally, she says, “Wow, this is the most beautiful dress I’ve ever put on in my whole career.” 


Roger Yeah, and that’s the one you’re going to use to kill the pedophile rapist. 


Quentin Yeah, you blast him. I looked at you like, “I cannot believe with how much I love Revengeamatics, that I haven’t seen this movie until just now. 


Roger We were howling at the end. It was such a great feeling at the end when finally, this bastard gets his. 


Quentin She literally does the thing that you want to see in a Revengeamatic: where she’s got that gun, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Now he’s dead and she’s still shooting the dead body until it’s dry firing. That’s right, baby. Unload. 


Roger Yeah. She dry fires in the end. She’d keep going if she could. 


Quentin If she could put in another clip, she would. 


Roger If Roger Avary had been directing, she probably would have used the gun as a club after running out of bullets and just bludgeoned him until he’s a pulpy mess. 


Quentin So that is my take and my final verdict on Lipstick


Roger Well, it’s a good verdict. I was curious about the music. So I looked up the composer, Michel Polnareff, who is a French guy. So I looked him up and I looked up where he was at. I listened to his music. He’s a rock star in France, very well known, very well loved, Johnny Hallyday style rock star. 


Quentin So like Jean-Michel Jarre. 


Roger Yeah, a little bit like that. So I listen to the song that he did just before this which is called ‘Jesus for Tonight,’ which is almost like (I don’t know) if Oasis did country music. That’s kind of what it sounded like. It did not sound at all anything like this kind of [making beep boop sounds] This electronic Alan Parsons music that they had in it. So I was like, “Well, what the hell?” So I looked a little further and he had fled France because of tax evasion, because his business manager ripped him off and he owed taxes in France. And so he fled France and came to the United States, and I suspect it was David Foster who found him- 


Quentin The producer. 


Roger Who was called a music arranger on this but I think that’s a music supervisor at this time, at least on this film. I kind of think we should probably credit David Foster a little bit, because I think he found this guy and knew he was in trouble and looking for a gig, had no money and gave him a job composing. Somebody did, and he stayed here ever since. 


Quentin What else has he done? 


Roger Nothing that I know of. 


Quentin No other movies? 


Roger No, just music. He’s putting out albums. As far as I know, he’s still on tour and is living in Palm Desert, I think. 


[musical interlude] 


Quentin Gala. 


Gala Okay, so I watched this movie on Amazon Rent and for everyone out there that wants to watch it, the transfer is beautiful for Amazon. So, I would go rent it.  


Roger I had my my soft, beautiful VHS. 


Quentin The glory of emulsion in every shot. 


Roger 480 by 320, baby. 


Quentin Chemical swirl. 


Gala Okay well I’m a Chris Sarandon fan. I don’t know why, but- 


Roger I can tell you why. 


Gala Well, he’s in one of my favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine


Roger There’s that, because we’re big Trekkies. 


Gala Yeah, he’s in season 2, episode 11 for all you fans out there. It’s a Ferengi episode, go watch it. 


Roger It’s the luck episode. But he’s also in Fright Night which I showed you, I’m sure, when you were young. 


Quentin He’s great in Fright Night


Gala I love Fright Night, but I’m a Chris Sarandon fan and I loved him in this. I do agree though, with you Quentin, that in the courtroom scene where he just kind of becomes smooth talking and like, “Officer, she wanted me to tie her up.” It just kind of lost steam for me. 


Roger In 1977, that was a legit defense. 


Gala It doesn’t fly now, not in 2022. But one thing you guys didn’t mention is that there’s a lot of encoding in the film that I noticed, and maybe it’s because I’m watching on the beautiful Amazon transfer. But when he is making rape theme number one, when he’s recording the pigeons, there is a magazine behind him with her on it. These are the headlines on the magazine. Number one, “The book that can change your life: Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No.” 


Quentin [laughter] 


Gala And the second one, 


Roger Wow. 


Gala Yeah, and by the way, ‘”don’t say yes when you want to say no” is underlined. Then number two is, “Is love [sudden, intense and brief] with an improper stranger bad for you? The new relaxed view of brief encounters.” So he’s reading this magazine that’s behind him while he’s making that. 


Roger He’s a product of culture. 


Gala Yeah, he is a product of what she’s selling. 


Quentin And I like the fact that Gala makes it a point to read all the headlines of the newspapers in the different movies when it comes her turn. The newspaper headlines in Piranha, Mariel Hemingway’s magazine covers.  


Roger Somebody has to. 


Gala Someone put a lot of effort into this, but I love that it’s like his character is being built upon what she’s selling. She’s selling this whole thing.


Roger What’s weird is she is so professional. She is such a professional in the film, and yet she is the one blamed for everything. 


Gala Yeah and the rape itself. Okay, everyone that I know always quotes Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon being one of the most intense rape moments in movies. It’s always the one that they go to. Man, they should be reaching for Lipstick. I was getting nauseous during it and started getting sweaty. My hands are even sweating, thinking about it. 


Roger It’s nightmarish. 


Gala He throws her around the room and then she slides down and he’s like, wondering where whatever something is that he’s looking for. I don’t know really what he’s looking for, but he grabs her head and he bangs it, and then bangs it a second time on her bedpost. I was just thinking if I was in this situation, because later they ask her little sister, “Well, don’t you think your sister could have fought back?” And it’s like, yeah, her sister’s a strong woman but she just had her head bashed in on the bedpost. 


Quentin He beats the fuck out of her. 


Gala It’s so intense and it’s so believable and one thing I have to say is she fights back, like, in a very believable way that she’s like screaming. She opens the door. 


Roger It felt real. 


Gala It feels so real. 


Quentin He just pummels her and beats her down. 


Gala And he’s actually looking for the lipstick. He’s asking, “Where’s the lipstick?” He takes her in the bathroom and he starts putting the lipstick on her and saying, “I want it on me, I want it” and it’s just ugh. It’s one of the worst rape scenes, personally, I’ve seen. I just thought it was just so gross. 


Quentin That bodes well for the movie because it’s not presenting the rape scene as as entertainment. 


Gala No and it was not entertaining. 


Roger Which, as Gaspar Noe says, it has to be disgusting. It has to be disgusting to be useful. 


Quentin It absolutely, positively presents the killing of the rapist as entertainment. 


Roger Which it is. 


Gala I think whoever you are, after you watch the rape scene, you’re like, “I can’t wait for him to get just, like, filled with bullets.” 


Quentin Which is why the courtroom sequence is so frustrating. 


Gala So frustrating, because it goes on so long. But you know what? I didn’t like the courtroom scene. I was thinking, “This is taking a long time, like, where’s the revenge? Where is it?” But it’s because she’s not doing the revenge for herself. She is doing the revenge for her little sister because he has to go and hurt her. She’s about to go back to Colorado or something and it’s not until he actually does it to her sister and takes her sister’s innocence that she just goes ballistic. That made the courtroom seem worth it because I think a lot of people, when bad things happen to them and the things systems fail for them, they say, “You know what? I just give up. I’m just gonna take it and move on.” 


Quentin Mhm.


Gala But when it happens to someone that you love who does not have a voice to stand up for themselves, who just cries and says, “I was just going in the bathroom.” I’m getting chills thinking about it but man, I was so happy that she did it for her sister, not just for herself but for her little sister. I was just like, “I’m sold. I love this movie.” 


Quentin The thing about the courtroom scene is that obviously, it’s all designed where the metaphor of the idea is she’s being raped again, this time in the public eye, in the court of public opinion, and also in the actual legal court. 


Roger And she’s been talked into it. 


Quentin Now, the thing is, I think it errs too much to simplicity. 


Gala I’d agree with that. 


Quentin But like I said, though, the cross-examination scene between Anne Bancroft and Chris Sarandon goes a long way to redeem it a little bit because the dialog just gets better. Now all of a sudden, Bancroft has something to play other than just righteous indignation. 


Roger How about the prosecution’s interrogation of Mariel Hemingway, her little sister? It’s such a powerful moment. 


Quentin The defense attorney actually gives one of the best performances in the movie, I think he’s better than Anne Bancroft. He’s very good. Is that it for Lipstick


Roger What more can be said? 


Gala I mean, I loved it. I thought was great. 


Quentin Ultimately, I did too. 


Roger Loved that ending. It’s worth it. 


Gala Well you love right before the ending, not the little end cap. 


Quentin Oh that’s a tag. That’s just a tag. The shooting is the climax. 


Roger You just said tag, and Tag was the 2nd film that we saw,


Quentin That we didn’t get all the way through. 


Roger Yeah, we didn’t get all the way through. 


Quentin That puts the cap on Lipstick




Gala I bought my VHS tape on eBay for $29.42. Very strange amount, but it’s the same kind of box. I think they call it a gatefold, these kind of boxes.  


Roger What do they call it? 


Gala A gatefold. 


Quentin I get because it’s not just slipped over the top. It has this little cradle. We like that.  


Gala Quentin is, like, flashing the little tab at me. 


Quentin Yeah, I’m fingering the tab.


Roger Stop doing that. It’s disturbing. 


Gala Stop fingering the tab on a box of Lipstick


Quentin Stop fingering the gatefold tab. 


Roger Okay. That’s enough for this movie. 


Quentin Oh, and the tape number was 2326. 


The One and Only


clip from the trailer for The One and Only The One and Only: the wrestler. [voice on radio] “Well, if you folks just tuned in, this is not queen for a day. This is wrestling from Madison Square Garden, believe it or not. And this is what the well-dressed wrestler will wear this year.” Henry Winkler is The One and Only. A Carl Reiner film, rated PG. Now showing Great Lakes Mall at the Cedar Center and Lowe’s West. 


Quentin And our second half of our double feature, another Paramount Home video (this time from the comedy section under O) is the movie The One and Only. Henry Winkler’s second feature film after he became famous with the Fonz. He had a small movie career and should have had a bigger movie career, I thought he was really terrific in his movies. The first one was Heroes with him and Sally Field, and then the next one is The One and Only directed by Carl Reiner and starring Henry Winkler and Kim Darby. Now the reason I chose this one is that I always really got a kick out of this movie. I saw it (I think the sneak preview of it) at the old town mall when it opened up. But also I’ve been wanting to put more comedies in here and we haven’t found a place. Finally I decided to just make a place. I actually even kind of liked the idea of following up Lipstick with funny Paramount comedy. So, Roger, why don’t you do the honors and read the back of the box. 


Roger Well, first of all, I just want to say it’s another Paramount Home Video box with the- What did they call it? A chiclet box? 


Gala Gatefold. 


Quentin Where did you get that word that you just said? A Chiclet fold? 


Roger [laughing] A chiclet box. 


Quentin Almost sounds like a slur against Gala. 




Roger Anyhow, it is graphically different but beautiful all the same. Same basic design with their interior branding. I don’t know who was in charge of the art direction there, but… 


Quentin That one still kind of has the snap. If you open it up a little bit, then try to snap it back. It has that. 


[snap sound] 


Quentin You’re still doing it too much. Stop using your finger, just give it a flick. 


[sounds of case opening and closing] 


Quentin Yeah see? She got it.  


Roger She knows how to close the box. Okay, so the back of the box. 


Quentin [laughing] Everything you say just sounds dirty. 


Back of Box The One and Only: Henry Winkler, who’s “Fonzie” characterization captivates millions of TV fans every week on the long running Happy Days, portrays an outrageously self-confident but out of work actor; a young man who dreams of stardom and leaves college to pursue fame and fortune, searching for it in the most unlikely of arenas: the wrestling ring. Winkler, in this incisive film role, Kim Darby as his loving wife who finds it difficult to cope with her husband’s antics, are sublime. The witty, well-paced script is imaginatively directed by the comic great, Carl Reiner. 


Quentin That’s it? 


Roger That’s it. 1978. 


Quentin That’s not that good of a description. I mean, it doesn’t even set it in the fifties, which is a very important aspect of the entire story, is that it takes place in the fifties. 


Roger Yeah, you’re right. It doesn’t. And actually a selling point, I would think, because of Happy Days


Quentin Yeah, because of Happy Days and also his strange gateway to success, which is through the first beginnings of televised wrestling. 


Roger Yeah, the rise of wrestling and the popularity of wrestling at that time. 


Quentin The thing about The One and Only: it’s directed very well by Carl Reiner. It’s actually one of my more favorite directing jobs of his. But as time has gone on; even more than Henry Winkler, even more than Carl Reiner, the MVP of the piece seems to be the screenwriter Steve Gordon. He wrote the screenplay, and was to write one more screenplay that he would direct; a little film called Arthur, and then he would die of a heart attack, never to make another film again. You can make a direct correlation between his screenplay for The One and Only and Arthur, just immediately. They’re both about two obnoxious lead characters. 


Roger Hiding their pain. 


Quentin Yeah, hiding their pain with one funny quip line after another, after another after another. They’re both two difficult characters that it’s actually hard to like but at the end of the day, they come across as such powerhouse bulldozers that they end up flattening the audience. Henry Winkler first heard of the script because it was written for Dustin Hoffman, and Dustin Hoffman really liked it and really considered doing it. He ended up not doing it, and then when it went off the market, as far as Hoffman was concerned, that’s when Henry Winkler and Carl Reiner snapped it up. But the thing about it is: there’s an aspect that you could almost imagine that Andy Schmidt, the character that Henry Winkler plays, actually grows up to become Michael Dorsey in Tootsie. There’s a similar aspect to the characters. 


Roger Yeah, the dedication to performance. 


Quentin Yeah, well, I’m sure there’s aspects of The One and Only that Hoffman brought in- 

Roger For sure. 


Quentin -to Tootsie. The big difference being (and I’m almost maybe not on the same side as the movie, when it comes to this) that as problematic as Michael Dorsey’s character is, in terms of being a likable human being, it’s beyond question that he’s supposedly a great actor. He’s Dustin Hoffman. In that case, he’s Dustin Hoffman. His eccentricity has come out of the fact that he cares too much because he’s too self-possessed. He quits Chekhov productions because he won’t go downstage. 


Roger Yes, “I’m not going to be a spear carrier,” is basically the implication. The idea. 


Quentin Okay, now in The One and Only, the character is very similar. However, the movie never makes up its mind, as to whether the guy actually talented or not. Is he actually a good actor? Then I actually remember hearing Henry Winkler talk about it on, like, the Dinah Shore Show; just sitting on that couch with Dinah and a bunch of other people. He goes, “Well, the guy thinks he’s a really great actor, but in actual fact, he’s a sham.” 


Roger Hmm. 


Quentin I didn’t see that at all. I don’t think he’s a sham. I think he would be a terrific actor. I like movies about characters that have got this all consuming passion and even their fraudulent aspects of their human being character is secondary, compared to their artistic pursuits. Now, the reason I like a character like that is that I think that’s what I was like all through my twenties. 


Roger I was watching this going, “This is the Quentin Tarantino story,” as I was watching. 


Quentin It might as well be the Quentin Tarantino story. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin You know, and I had about as much to show for it. I had less to show for it. But the thing that makes this movie, though, is just the jokes are hysterical. It’s just one great line after another. I think it’s a really, really funny movie. So the basic plot line is that he’s going to a college in the early fifties and he wants to be the big actor in school. He falls in love with Kim Darby, who steals the show. Actually, I think her performance is fantastic and she’s not exactly what you would expect. She actually is a stronger character than she has any right to be. It’s on the page, but she also brings it out and he starts pursuing her, even though she’s out of his league. She’s out of his league because she’s sane and he’s insane, but love conquers all. Then he gets her, and then they get married and they move to New York. 


Roger Trying to make it in the big city. 


Quentin And that is as well-done a story of a young couple in the Paul Newman era: to be actors in a cold water flat in New York in the early fifties with only off-Broadway and some live television as an option. Him trying to forge a career, he’s not able to have any luck until he meets Herve Villechaize, who plays a little person wrestler. He plays a little person who’s an actor, but also in his off times he gets involved with wrestling. “It’s like acting, you know, you have cheering crowds.” 


Roger And that was the thing in the seventies, “midget” wrestling. 


Quentin And you play a character. Well, this is the fifties, remember? 


Roger Oh, that’s right. Yeah. 


Quentin Yeah, and so he can’t make it. He can’t get any movement as a real actor playing real roles, but then he finds his own way to performing via this wrestling stuff. 


Roger He hears the ovation of the people. 


Quentin He gets to play characters and he rehearses those characters, and it’s acting. 


Roger He finds fulfillment. 


Quentin He finds his stage and he finds his stage with his people. There’s an interesting scene that’s almost taken- the whole movie is also very similar to Ed Wood, in a lot of different ways, including the group of people hanging around him. Kim Darby almost has a scene straight out of Ed Wood when she goes, “No, no. No you see, you like the freaks. You’re happy with the freaks and the freaks like you.” 


Roger “But when you come home, I want you. I want the real you,” which is what she keeps saying. 


Quentin But what she doesn’t know is there’s no real you there. There is no real you. 


Roger I would argue there is, and that he hides it. 


Quentin It’s never been shown, and it’s not shown in the entire movie. 


Roger Well, 


Quentin What he presents as the real you is actually the biggest lie of the entire movie; when he says, “I’m straightening up my act.” 


Roger Yeah, that is actually the biggest moment of lying. Franklin Brenner wrote a review of this. “To be The One and Only is to be an only child. To be an only child is to be the center of attention. Water finds its level. The child must, for the rest of their lives, work to live up to that attention (for better or worse). For Henry Winkler in The One and Only, it’s for the better. As this proto Garp, proto Jerk hides his insecurities with a narcissistic desire for the ovation of strangers. However, despite all of this self-aggrandization, one can only recall the resonant quote of President Theodore Roosevelt, who said: 

T Roosevelt Quote It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds? Who knows great enthusiasms? The great devotions. Who spends himself in a worthy cause? Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and at the worst, if he fails, at least fails, while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. 


Roger reading review cont. He’s talking about everyone in the audience, anyone outside of the arena. And one can really say that Henry Winkler in this film is fully in the arena, for better or worse. 


Roger In watching the movie, I started thinking, “Who is this movie about?” I mean, I know that it’s the Quentin Tarantino story and it’s about Quentin, but I feel like it’s probably also the Steve Gordon story. It’s probably also the Carl Reiner story.  


Quentin Not only that, there’s a whole lot of similarity to the young Mel Brooks. That can even be a jumping off point for Carl Reiner to do the film in the first place. “Oh, this is like Mel when he was  25.” 


Roger I mean, they do a prologue to the film in black and white: where his character is a young boy and he’s an only child. He’s entertaining for the neighbors and he’s treating them like an audience. As I was like, thinking about my reading and the meaning of this movie, I started thinking about things. Like, that I was an only child and I think you’re an only child. 


Quentin You think? You’ve never met my brother in the last 40 years?  


Roger Well, your dad and mine were wandering types. Who knows what’s out there? 


Quentin Nothing official. 


Roger Nothing official. But, you know, being an only child, in some ways you are the center of attention. I mean, you’re all there is. This movie is about being an outsider. I mean, being an outsider in this movie is kind of about being a nerd.  


Quentin Yeah, I would say more of an outsider than a nerd. 


Roger But because this is Steve Gordon, because this is Carl Reiner, there is absolutely a kind of Jewish outsider discussion being had in here. 


Quentin Oh, absolutely. 


Roger Which at first I was thinking, “No, no, it’s just that he’s a nerd. He’s an outsider,” but then there’s that one moment when it all breaks and he tells her, “What are you going to do? You’re going to go back to Iowa and sit there in a house with Jesus on the wall!” And I was like, “Whoa, I don’t know where that came from.” I don’t know if it came from Steve Gordon. I don’t know if it came from Carl Reiner, 


Quentin Or Henry Winkler. 


Roger I don’t know if it came from Henry Winkler, in the moment, because that’s what it felt like to me. It felt like he was like fully in character. But he’s talking about, at least being in Iowa, being an outsider. 


Quentin And some of Andy Schmidt’s dialog in this, I have kept in my personal arsenal for years. 


Roger Yeah, you’ve used it. [laughing] 


Quentin When she’s had enough of him and she goes like, “I’m going to get out of the car and leave” and goes, “Get out.” “Okay. If I get out, I’m not coming back in.” “I’ll take that chance.” I said that for years. 


Roger I’m sure you’ve said it to me. It’s a good line. This movie is full of, like, really strong lines. 


Quentin It’s a good line. My other favorite line is, “Okay, goodbye. Tell your grandkids you once dated a movie star.” 


Roger And he effectively says what Theodore Roosevelt said, which was that they’re in the audience so I don’t care what they think. They’re all in the audience and they’re always going to be in the audience. 


Quentin Well, now there’s an interesting moment in the film: a funny scene is when he gets a job in his college. They’re doing a production of King Lear and he plays a spear carrier. He has one line. Ed Begley Jr is playing Lear of all people, is playing Lear in this. 


Roger Like seriously, horrible. 


Quentin What looks like a horrible college production. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin So you see him rehearsing the play and Harold Gould as the director is practically ripping his hair out at everything Andy is doing over this one little line, and it finally comes time to do the play and it comes time for his line. He just completely takes over the play: he starts saying anything he wants. He’s doing pratfalls. He ends up committing suicide on stage. He commits suicide with his own spear and when the audience breaks into applause, he stands up and bows and then lays back down again. He ruins the play, but steals the whole show. So later it has him laying in bed with his wife and he’s just going over it, “Oh, man, I killed them. Did you hear him out there? I killed them.” Then finally his wife says, “But what about the play? I mean, you ruined the play. All those people got together to do the play.” He goes, “They didn’t want to see that stupid play!” 




Quentin “They wanted to laugh, and I gave them a reason to laugh.” Well, he’s right! Who wants to see a college production of King Lear starring Ed Begley Jr as King Lear? You hope Andy Schmidt comes out there.


Roger I can hear Carl Reiner even saying what you just said. 


Quentin Yeah, “They wanted to laugh,” and they did want to laugh. They were dying! They were truly dying, and then Andy Schmidt threw him a lifeline. 


Roger What she wants is the real him and we may never really have a true glimpse of it, but we get a glimpse of it by not seeing it. It’s loud in its absence because he pushes everyone away whenever they get too close. Whenever they want the real him, that’s when he turns it on even more. 


Quentin I would argue.


Roger It’s like a defense mechanism. 

Quentin But I would argue (and I don’t think I thought the story of the movie, but I’m thinking of this now) that as we’re talking about it, to some degree or another, she constitutes the real him. See, she’s a real character. She’s a really well-written character, the way that the Liza Minnelli character is not well written in Arthur is as well-written as she is. She’s almost like the John Gielgud character. 


Roger Mm hmm. 


Quentin She’s a real three dimensional human being, in a movie that takes place in the fifties where women aren’t given three dimensional roles, and Kim Darby makes very specific actress choices for this character. There’s nothing cookie cutter about her, it’s a very specific performance and it’s a very specific character. You completely buy that he loves her. You completely buy that. He’s connected to her and he’s committed to her. So the fact that he loves her, that’s the closest to him being a real human being that is offered up. It’s not like there’s another there, deep down there. No, no, no. There’s just more Andy Schmidt deep down there, there’s more ham. So Roger, what is your pompous critic guy’s name? 


Roger Franklin Brauner. 


Quentin Franklin Brauner, and he’s based on William Margold, correct? 


Roger Based on William Margold. [doing impression] They could easily have been friends, but probably enemies. Rivals. 


Quentin And Franklin Brauner liked The One and Only, correct? 


Roger [still doing voice] Franklin Brauner liked The One and Only. Yes. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, Yes, I did. 


Quentin Well, I have William Margold’s review of The One and Only


Roger Splendid. Does he quote Theodore Roosevelt? 


Quentin No, he doesn’t. 


Roger Can you do it in the voice? 


Quentin Yes, I can. 


Roger Okay. Perfect. 


Quentin February 10th, 1978, [which, by the way, came out the same week as Coma, a callback to another episode] 


Roger Ah. 


Quentin [doing a William Margold impression] The One and Only isn’t very much: a sporadically amusing tale of a fellow (Henry Winkler) who feels that he is the pearl and that the world is his delighted oyster. The film has moments, but very little in the way of memories. Although packed with the cuddles of love, marriage and babies, the show under Carl Reiner’s bland direction fails to generate much in the way of caring from the viewer. Winkler, who performed well in the meaty but muddled hero’s role, has only bones to pick through as Andy Schmidt: the kind of guy who figures that life is a circus and that he is the main attraction. 


After embarrassing Kim Darby (who’s pretty good as a victim and then partner to this guy’s ego) off her feet, Andy tackles the world of wrestling. As the film is set in the fifties, when choreographed grappling flourished, the glimpses (as scripted by Steve Gordon) of the comically violent prima donnas. Winkler plays an assortment of caricatures, including a gorgeous George, are the highlights of the production. Support of varying sorts was supplied by William Daniels and Polly Holliday. At first, unrecognizable as the gritty waitress from TV’s Alice, as Darby’s perplexed parents, Mr. Bea Arthur (Jean Sacks) as a wrestling manager and mighty Herve Villechaize. Reiner’s last outing was the far more enjoyable Oh God. This time around, all he has come up with is an “Oh.” C-minus. 

Roger I think Franklin Brauner would take exception to that review. 


Quentin I appreciate its writing style. 


Roger I appreciate the raise style, and I also appreciate his mention of Oh God because I like The One and Only, but I really like, Oh God


Quentin I really don’t like Oh God


Roger I haven’t seen Oh God in really a long time, but my memory of Oh God is super fond. I don’t know; John Denver, the time period, he’s working at the supermarket, i like everything about it. Even George Burns being God, I don’t know.  


Quentin But I think the film is best talked about as the second in a very strong feature film career for Henry Winkler that was unfortunately cut short. It’s too bad. He was a superstar playing Fonzie on television. To such a degree that it’s funny because- 


Roger A household name 


Quentin – I hadn’t seen it in a long time, but I watched The Goodbye Girl and in The Goodbye Girl, Quinn Cummings has a picture of the Fonz on her bedroom. It’s so prominent in her bedroom, that you almost are having a staring contest with Fonzie anytime you go in there. 


Roger Is it that leather jacket one? 


Quentin Yes, the famous one. 


Roger Where he’s leaning a little. 


Quentin Yeah, the famous one where it’s kind of the closest thing to Henry Winkler ever had to a full-on glam shot. 


Roger Yeah, it’s a glam shot. 


Quentin It’s a total glam shot, and he is put right in the middle of the screen. So you’re kind of having a staring contest with it. But there’s even is a touch of character added to it because if you remember the film, part of the deal that they make is the little girl moves in with her mother and Richard Dreyfus gets the little girl’s bedroom. So they don’t let the little girl move all of her junk into her mom’s room. So it pretty much stays, for the most part, Quinn Cumming’s room throughout most of the thing, just with a few Elliot Garfield eccentricities thrown around. It’s obvious that the mother said, “Okay, you can’t take all these,” because it’s great looking at her room to see all the different famous celebrities from that time, there on her wall. 

    Okay. She couldn’t bring everybody, but she could bring one and the one she brings is Fonzie. So Fonzie actually moves over to the mother’s bedroom and again, you have staring contests with him every time that they have a scene there. She can’t bring all the junk, but the one that moved over to the mom’s room was that the photo of Fonzie. That just goes to show what a huge star Henry Winkler, as Fonzie, was at that time, such a star. He was one of the biggest stars on television, by a mile. 


Roger A household name. 


Quentin But then he went into feature films. He was offered Grease, they wanted him to be Danny Zuko in Grease


Roger Really? 


Quentin Yes, but he turned it down because he didn’t want to play Fonzie. One, he was not really a singer and he would just be playing Fonzie and he didn’t want to just do a big budget version of that. 


Roger With Travolta and the way he dances, it’s tough to rip myself out of that movie the way it is. 


Quentin So he plays a Vietnam veteran in the romantic comedy Heroes and then plays this character in The One and Only, and neither film does really well. It doesn’t really set him off on his feature film career. He only goes back to starring in feature films, like, four years later when he stars in Nightshift


Roger Right. Right. 


Quentin For Ron Howard. However, there is one movie that Henry Winkler almost did. I like the movie that was made, but I can also imagine the Henry Winkler version as well. He starred as one of the guys in Lords of Flatbush working with Perry King, and he’s working with Sylvester Stallone in that film. So he moves out to Los Angeles and then within a few weeks, he gets the part as Fonzie and so now he’s set up. This shows on the air. He’s not the superstar he is yet but he’s doing pretty good. 


Roger He’s got a network show. 


Quentin Yeah, exactly. I think it’s past its first season, so Fonzie’s already a thing. So all of a sudden, Winkler gets a call from Sylvester Stallone and he goes, “Hey, look, you know, I just moved to Hollywood. I got my dog, I got my wife and my car just died on me on Sunset Boulevard. Can you come pick me up?” So he comes and he picks up Sylvester Stallone. He’s got his gorgeous wife, Sasha Stallone, in the car. He’s got Butkus, that crazy dog from the of the Rocky movies.  


Roger Sloppy dog. 


Quentin Winkler said, “My whole backseat just, like, needed a snorkel with all the drool. So Sly’s just moved to Hollywood and I help him out (and this is before Sly has written Rocky) the script that Sly wrote that was his big magnum opus,that he was trying to get made before Rocky was a script called Hell’s Kitchen that he later made into Paradise Alley. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin Now, when Stallone wrote the script, he wrote it to be a trifecta. So he wrote the Cosmo character for Robert DeNiro. He wrote the Ahmad Assante character for Al Pacino, and then naturally, he wrote Kid Salami, Vic, for him. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin They said no to all that. So he’s just trying to get it going, trying to get it going, try to get it going. So he shows it to Henry Winkler, and Henry Winkler reads it and goes, “Hey, this is really good. I think I can set this up with ABC television.” And so Stallone goes, “Yeah, sure, go ahead, go ahead.” So he goes to ABC and he gets it set up, and Henry would play Cosmo and Stallone would play Vic and they’d find the third guy to be the brother, Lenny. It’s all set up, Henry’s going to be one of the producers on it. It’s interesting in his career because I understood the Fonzie persona was so strong, when it came to Henry Winkler, that he always leaned away from the black leather jacket person, to try to find things that were the opposite of that. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin If he had done Paradise Alley, that would have been the only time he had leaned in to the persona that he set up. I’m not necessarily saying that I think Henry Winkler would have been better than Stallone was, playing Cosmo. I think Stallone’s really good as Cosmo, but I really would have liked to have seen Henry Winkler, once, do a jumping off point from the Fonzie persona and him playing Cosmo with that terrific dialog that Stallone has would have been a wonderful fit for him. 


Roger And in a way, it would have allowed him to kind of reset all that Fonzie stuff because he would have done something else, in tandem almost. 


Quentin Well, he wouldn’t have been Fonzie, but he would have still been a New York tough guy. 


Roger Yeah, a kind of a greaser- I don’t know what you call that guy, leather jacket guy. 


Quentin It would have been a leather jacket. He would have been a con man, which is not who Fonzie is.  But he would have used the same voice, and the outfit would have been similar. 


Roger And Happy Days was still going strong. 


Quentin No, it was at the beginning. He was able to walk into ABC and they set him up, big time. The reason it didn’t happen, I always heard, was that Stallone was distressed by his magnum opus being turned into a TV movie. 

Roger Those days that was still a big difference. 


Quentin Yeah, so he begged Henry Winkler not to do it and so Winkler dropped it. But that’s not the truth, that’s not the truth at all. Henry Winkler told me, “No, that’s not the case. I told Sly, ‘I’m going to ABC,’ and he was all for it.” It was because ABC was down with Stallone playing Vic and they were down with Henry playing Cosmo, but they wanted to bring another screenwriter on and give the script a polish and Stallone just begged, “Henry, please, please, please don’t let them rewrite my baby. Please don’t let them rewrite my baby.” 


Roger Stallone is a great writer. I mean, he’s an excellent writer. You don’t need somebody to come in and rewrite him. 


Quentin Yeah. So Henry Winkler put the kibosh on it. He pulled it and gave the script back to Stallone. Then the next year, Stallone writes Rocky. But I was always a big fan of Henry Winkler as an actor. I thought he was terrific as an actor, and I really liked the movie Heroes a lot. I think he’s wonderful in that, and I think he’s hysterical in this. 


Roger What I love is that he’s hysterical, but there’s also this layer of, I don’t know, pain. 


Quentin I don’t think the character thinks he’s in as much pain, as you want to put on him. 


Roger I felt a kind of only child syndrome coming out. 


Quentin I felt an only child syndrome. I just disagree that he’s in pain. If he gets a good job, he’s not going to be in pain at all. 


Roger Well, when you are The One and Only you are the one, but you are also the only is the point. You can’t have a normal relationship. You can’t have a normal marriage, even. 


Quentin Okay but you’re not describing anything that reflects anything he does in the movie. 


Roger No, I’m reflecting what she’s saying about him. 


Quentin Well, that was my point. 


Roger She, being his wife, is giving an honest appraisal of him, which he is unable to give because he’s a clown. 


Quentin Well, no. 


Roger And what do clowns do, Quentin? They smile, but they’re crying. 


Quentin No, no. Well, that’s also a cliché, too. You just seem to be full of clichés here. No, he’s not hiding tears, and he’s not just making jokes. He’s talking himself up because what he’s doing, at the end of the day, he thinks is impossible and the only way he can do it is if he creates this front. 


Roger I would also say that Steve Gordon is evidence enough that the psychic evidence of Arthur, to come after this is almost evidence enough of what his agenda is, as a writer. I mean, I agree. Winkler’s playing it as full of confidence. He believes in himself more than anyone. 


Quentin He gets derailed right away. It really is just the early stages of his career, but that’s a time when nobody believes in him and nobody trusts him. So he naturally has to believe in himself. God, for a decade I was the only one who believed in me. 


Roger Well, but you know what? He does have her because she believes in him enough that when he’s like, “Oh, that’s the restaurant all the big stars eat there, and so we’re going to eat there.” She knows they don’t have the money to do that. “We eat there one night. We can’t make our rent,” is basically what she’s saying. She looks at him and she sees his face and she’s the first one to enable him. “Let’s go eat there.” 


Quentin Mm hmm. 


Roger And even though she knows that they can’t, that’s supportive. 


Quentin No, she’s very similar to Grace. 


Roger She’s long suffering. 


Quentin She’s very similar to Grace, my first girlfriend from back in the Video Archive days. 


Roger Yeah, actually. I mean, if you’re going to make it, if you’re really going to make it, you have to believe in yourself more than anybody. You have to believe in yourself when everyone is telling you, “No, it’s impossible.” You have to be passionate, even when you don’t feel the passion. You’ve got to remind people of passion. You’ve got to be persistent. You’ve got to walk into a dark tunnel, knowing that there’s an exit and not turn around and you have to be positive, constantly even when it’s false. 


Quentin One of the things that the movie does offer up, in trying to get to his psyche (which I say is vaguely different from the Michael Dorsey character in Tootsie), even though he says enough things about feeling the character all the way down and everything and he makes references to playing characterizations. And naturally, he wants to rewrite the characterization. 


Roger Of course. [laughter] 


Quentin “I see this guy as sort of a street priest,” which is really funny. But there is a distinction of where he’s coming from as a performer, and it’s not necessarily to be considered this great, serious Old Vic style actor. Nor is it the minutiae of playing different characters and different characterizations, or understanding other people’s humanity by playing other people’s humanity. It’s about the applause, that’s what he wants. 


Roger It’s literally, the ovation of the people. 


Quentin It literally is the ovation of the people, the cheering crowd. That’s what he wants. So when he  pretends to be hurt in the football game, so they carry him off the stretcher for the sounds of the applause, well, that might as well be a hit play as far as he’s concerned. “Slow down, Slow down. I want to hear the applause more.” They keep making it a point that that is his fuel. That’s what he’s looking for, is the cheer of the crowd. That’s why he joins wrestling. 


Roger He doesn’t give a squirt for King Lear or legitimate acting. The art or any of that, what he wants is- 


Quentin That’s to be pissed on. That’s to be made fodder for his own grandiose moments. 


Roger To that end, Carl Reiner even shows himself on TV basically doing the same, which is, clowning for the world and making them laugh because that is the most important thing. If you can get somebody to laugh when they’re miserable in their life, then my God, you’ve saved the world. In a way, that’s what Henry Winkler is doing. And I think a lot of this is about being an only child, otherwise they wouldn’t have that prologue at the very, very beginning. 


Quentin And by the way, we haven’t mentioned though, that Gene Saks, who is very, very funny in the movie, plays the wrestling manager. 


Roger Oh my god yeah, he’s fantastic. 


Quentin One hysterical Jewish gay joke about his son after another, after another after another. At first they’re groaning and then finally you can’t wait for the next one. 


Roger Yeah, he hits it so many times, that eventually it’s funny. 


Quentin Yeah. 


Roger And I like how he’s always got his eyeglasses up on his forehead. He’s especially great with Herve Villechaize, who is magnificent in the film. How does Margold describe him? Titanic or something? 


Quentin Oh, it’s mighty. 


Roger He is mighty in this movie. He’s tough. He’s got, like, a kind of Douglas Fairbanks mustache. He’s kind of suave. [doing an impression of Villechaize] “Let’s go score some chicks.” 


Quentin Well, you have to remember The One and Only was (other than, like, his part in The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight) a project where he’s a real actor in this. 


Roger Completely. 


Quentin Yeah, he’s a real actor, playing a real character. It’s before he became the clown joke that he became after he became successful with Fantasy Island and everything, singing songs on the Dina Shore Show


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin This is back when you actually still kind of took him a little seriously, even though he’s a comic performer, you kind of took him seriously, and he delivers. 


Roger Well, what I love about his comic performance is that it is a comic performance, but then at the right moments, he suddenly becomes serious. He becomes, like, normal. The act comes down and it’s really heartwarming when it does. 


Quentin Well, one of the funniest moments in the movie is when he’s talking to that secretary and he’s on the other end of the desk and he just starts banging her desk with his crotch a little. “Do you feel me? Do you feel me? Huh? You feel me? You like it, you like it? You feel it?” I’m watching that like, “What the fuck’s going on?” 


Roger When he goes over and he starts hitting on her mother, 


Quentin Holly Holliday. Yeah, that was great. Okay, now, that was a moment in the theater when it’s just a two shot between him and her, and you just see his hand creeping over to her knee. The audience was pissing themselves, laughing so much. They were pissing themselves. 


Roger It’s a funny moment. 


[musical interlude] 


Quentin And we’re back, and we’re joined by the lovely Gala. 


Gala Hey, Quentin. Hey, Roger. 


Roger Hey. 


Gala Okay, so this movie is kind of weird. On the drive here, Roger was like, “I don’t think you’re going to like this movie,” and you know what? He’s kind of right.  


Roger My prediction was that you would only find Henry Winkler’s performance annoying. 


Gala Which is like, half true. Whenever I listen to you guys discuss the movies, I always find myself liking them more than I did when I watched them. I kind of went in expecting more wrestling and like less of his thing. 


Roger You thought it was a wrestling movie?  


Gala I thought it was a wrestling movie. So I kind of feel like I was predisposed, and you’re right. I found him really annoying. 


Roger Like Stir Crazy thinking that it’s a rodeo movie. 


Gala Yeah. 


Quentin However, I will say that look, it’s funny you’re coming from that point of view because about midway through the movie, Roger goes, “Oh my God. This is a wrestling movie now.” 


Gala We’re opposites.  


Roger And in fact, I only wish that Gorgeous George character-


Quentin Well, that’s my biggest problem with this movie ever since I was a kid. The way they do it in the script, it works very well: that’s the introduction of the character, and it makes sense that it’s his first introduction and then he becomes a star. Not a bullshit star, he’s actually a star. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin So script wise, it makes sense. But for fun wise, I wish he had been The Lover for, like, 20 more minutes. I would have liked to see more matches with The Lover, and I’d like to have seen him navigate The Lover persona. Like in interviews, see him go on fifties talk shows and stuff. 


Gala Yeah, because actually, the wrestling was my favorite part of the movie. That’s when it actually really lit up for me, is when he got in the ring. Anyone who’s so into their craft, when you finally get to see them in the ring or on the stage, it’s exciting.  


Quentin I thought of his outfit, when he’s The Lover leaving the arena, was magnificent. 


Gala Yeah, I agree. The pimp outfit? 


Quentin Yeah, the pimp outfit was really awesome. 


Roger He also did a really good job playing (I don’t know if it was Hitler, but he had the Hitler mustache) the Kaiser. I think that was his name. 


Quentin The name was Himmler. 


Roger So they actually had a name for that guy. 


Quentin His name was Himmler. 


Roger Henry Winkler walking around with the hair and prancing around on stage. It was funny. 


Gala Actually, the best character of his, though, is the hypnotist doctor.   


Roger That was actually my biggest laugh. 


Gala If he takes his two fingers and he’s like rolling them. 


Roger He does that and somebody is like, “That’s unfair! he’s using hypnotism. It’s unfair.” 


Quentin He’s dressed up like Sigmund Freud. He’s got a Freud beard. 


Roger Those were my biggest laughs in the movie, I think. I was roaring.


Gala That’s the thing, the wrestling was the best part. I wish that there were more wrestling scenes or more scenes of him as his characters. Now, people online (after watching this movie) are no doubt going to recognize that Winkler’s character is considered a Sigma Male. To all of you online people out there. 


Roger Whatever that means. 


Gala It is someone that is above a chad. I’m sure young viewers will understand and resonate with my description of him.  


Roger You’re speaking some strange language. 


Quentin Above a Chad? 


Gala I bet you never thought you’d hear Quentin Tarantino say that one.  


Quentin A hanging chad? 


Roger Something to do with the election in Florida. I think Al Gore won. 




Gala I did not really like his character and I was like, “Oh, God, this guy is so annoying. Why is she still going out with him?” Then he started to kind of win me over, actually, when he goes to have dinner with her family and he starts doing the impressions and he starts to win over her mom. 


Roger Yeah, the mother likes it.  


Gala The mother really likes and her brother really likes it and I started thinking, “Okay, this is what this guy’s got going for him.” 


Quentin When he finally meets the parents for the first time and he walks in the door and is like, “Dad! Mom!” And they’re like these, like, completely sheltered, white Midwestern people. It’s like, this is just not done.   


Roger Have you seen The World According to Garp


Gala No, not yet. 


Roger Okay, so this is in many ways a character that was laid out before that movie. 


Quentin I mean, to such a degree that it makes me think that maybe Henry Winkler should have played Garp. 


Roger No, seriously. There’s a moment, when she discovers she’s pregnant. 


Quentin The whole college section could be straight out of The World According to Garp


Roger When she discovers she’s pregnant and he’s like, “We’re pregnant,” and he gets all excited. He’s listening to the baby.


Quentin And he wants to be an actor the way Garp wants to be a writer. 


Roger Yeah and so, Gretchen (my wife and Gala’s mother) is not a big fan of The World According to Garp. So she was like, “Oh, what did you see?” I started explaining the movie and, “Well, it’s with Henry Winkler, and he’s this wild character, and he wants to be an actor. It’s kind of like The World According to Garp.” She’s like, “Oh. That sounds awful.” 


Quentin But it’s like The World According to Garp, if it wasn’t filled with a tremendous amount of pretension. 


Roger Its The World According to Garp without pretension, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a funny version of The World According to Garp


Quentin This movie evokes a lot of other movies that will come afterwards. You have Arthur, for sure. Then you have (like we mentioned) The World According to Garp, which I really realized big time when we had our viewing of it. But also there’s an Ed Wood quality to the movie. That character could almost be Ed Wood in his own way, and especially with his little motley cast of characters that he carries around with him.  


Roger The flunky performers that group around together. 


Quentin Even to the point that Kim Darby almost has the exact same scene that Sarah Jessica Parker has, when she talks about the weirdos hanging around him. 


Roger If you were Henry Winkler, it would have been me and Jerry and Steve-O- 


Quentin You guys weren’t that weird. 


Roger [laughing] Not weird enough. We’re not like the big wrestler guy. What was his name? Herve Villechaize. Granted, I am not Herve Villechaize, you’re right. 


Gala And speaking of Herve Villechaize, I love Herve. 


Roger Isn’t he awesome? 


Gala I mean, everyone knows I love Knickknack, “Knickknack loves to watch,” I love knickknack. When he appeared in the movie, I didn’t know he was in it. I was so excited. I actually went, “Oh, my God. Oh my God, it’s Hervey.” He brought life to the movie. 


Roger He’s kind of sexy, with the Errol Flynn mustache he’s got. 


Gala I think so. I think he’s awesome. Also, when you guys were talking about- I think the character’s name is Seltzer, his manager. 


Quentin Yeah, Yeah. 


Gala How he keeps on making those jokes, the gay jokes about his son. The short jokes to Herve, at first they’re kind of not funny and then eventually they start to land. Like, as they become more friends, they get funnier. 


Roger You realize that it’s an affectation that he’s doing with him and that at first our natural instinct is, “Oh, don’t make that joke,” and then you realize, “No, that’s how they show their love for each other.” 


Quentin You actually get the impression that he doesn’t have a problem with his son, that just gives him more material to bitch about. 


Roger Yeah, yeah, yeah. He just likes to talk about it. 


Gala But yeah, hands down, Herve was the best part of the movie for me. I loved seeing him and I thought it was so funny. Then Darby, she does a really good job in this movie. I actually somehow believe her, when she loves him. I don’t know how because I found him really not lovable in that way, but I found their love for each other super believable. 


Roger She suffers for him, basically. But she is going to suffer because what she wants is for him to be free to be himself, because that is special. She recognizes that and that he has to be allowed to do that. She’s there to support him because she loves that free quality. 


Quentin Like that line where he’s like, “Isn’t this great, honey? We’re living in a horrible apartment in New York, in just complete squalor. Everybody great who ever came to New York started off just like this. Isn’t this wonderful?” And she’s like, “Yes, it’s very good squalor. How long exactly does this normally last?” 


Gala My favorite scene with her, is the scene on the phone. When she’s at work and her mom calls her and she starts to cry like, “Mom were fine,” and her boss comes over is like, “Is this a personal call?” Because she can’t make them. Then eventually she’s like, “Can I please just have some privacy?” And he’s like, When a moment’s crying. That’s personal to me.” 


Quentin I like that guy, too.  


Gala He gives a really good performance. Now, my problem with the movie is actually involving Darby, the point where her character gives up on him and gets mad at him. I feel like it’s the wrong point in the movie, personally. 


Quentin When she throws him out of the house?


Gala When she throws him out of the house because when you look on the TV, they’re playing Madison Square Garden. 


Roger Yeah, they’re doing well. 


Gala He has an opportunity to go play Madison Square Garden. 


Quentin Well but there’s a reason for it, though. It’s because he’s lying to her. He’s saying he’s going on the road but- 


Gala But before, when they’re together in the bedroom, she says, “If you leave again, I’m going to divorce you.” But I don’t understand why this is the point in the movie where she chooses to take that stand, where it’s an actual opportunity to go be at Madison Square Garden. Why not before, when it wasn’t going well? That’s just the one part that doesn’t make sense and I feel like it betrays her character in a way, because she stood with him all this other time. 


Roger Now, when something is finally happening. 


Quentin One: I think you’re overthinking it a little bit, because they never mentioned Madison Square Garden beforehand. So that could have just happened. It’s a TV offer, it definitely is a TV offer. But the thing about it is, she had laid down the law. She was like, “If you go off to do this, I divorce you. Boom. That’s it.” Now, he doesn’t want to get divorced, but he’s effectively lying. He’s set everything up for the day. “Okay. See you at home. I’ll see you when I come back.” No, he’s not coming back. 


Gala But the moment where she does confront him, I think it’s a good moment, especially with his toothbrush. Like, “You forgot this,” because she knows him. She knows the true him inside that he is going to go off and do this and he’s gonna lie. I just feel-  


Roger “Just go.” Isn’t that it? Isn’t that her sentiment to him? 


Gala Yeah. “My lawyer will contact your lawyer or, like, whatever these people do.” 


Roger “I know you have to do what you have to do. I understand that.” 


Quentin “But I’m not going to be here. I can’t do it anymore.” 


Gala Which is a lie. 


Roger “I have to go back home to Iowa.” 


Quentin Okay but now, here’s the thing. Well, she is back home, living with their parents. They could spend 20 minutes more on that whole last third act and if they spent more time on it, then there would be more nuance to her character. But just in the moving quickly right along, bullet point aspect of it all, it fairly makes sense. “I’m not going to have my mother call me up at work and cry anymore and feel sorry for me. I’m not going to do that.” So now they all move back to Iowa and then he starts doing a good job, and the parents are all happy. Then she gets the call that she’s afraid of and she goes, “Look, if you turn me around and spend my life upside down, I’m going to divorce you. I’m not going to be waiting for you for that.” She knows he’s going to do it and she confronts him on it and he goes and does it anyway. He deserts his family. But then they show it’s at Madison Square Garden and then they show the family watching the match. 


Roger And loving it. 


Quentin You see the father, for the first time, actually responding to something Andy did. Then not only that, he’s become a star. Not just a flaky guy in this wrestling thing; Gorgeous George was one of the most popular TV celebrities of the fifties, and he’s supposed to be that guy. He’s supposed to be Gorgeous George. So he literally becomes a star. So, it makes sense that she shows up. 


Gala Yeah. That’s my problem, though, is because she loved him the entire movie. She stood by him the entire movie, and then she’s like, “Okay, it’s over.” 


Roger Gala’s coming from the perspective of a woman who would stand by her man, no matter what. 


Gala Thanks, Dad. 


Quentin Well, the shit out of him, alright? 


Gala I know, I think for me, it just happened at the wrong time. I feel like her character had, so far, stood by him the whole time. So when finally given an opportunity to do something great, I feel like she would have stood by him. But she doesn’t. 


Roger In her own way she does, though, because she acknowledges, “Look, I know you have to go.” 


Gala Yeah, you’re right. 


Roger “Don’t lie to me. Just go.”


Gala I rented mine on Amazon. It’s available for anyone out there that wants to watch, but I also bought a VHS tape off of eBay for $12.99. 


Quentin Excellent. 


Roger That’s a great deal. 


Gala It is a good deal. 


Spawn of the Slithis


clip from the trailer for Spawn of Slithis Why is this girl screaming? Why is this man terrified? Why is this couple under attack? In the classic rendition of The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Thing, comes now the Slithis; a horror so outrageous that no one believed. Slithis. Rated PG. 


Quentin Okay, and now we’re back for our third and final feature. Our third triple feature spot is usually the exploitation item, and that is definitely the case with our third and final film: Slithis


Roger AKA… 


Quentin AKA Spawn of the Slithis, yes. I just referred to it that way because that’s the poster art, the newspaper ad, everything just said ‘Slithis.’ 


Roger Everything about it screams Slithis, yeah. 


Quentin When you called the Rolling Hills Twin, they didn’t say Spawn of Slithis, they said, “Slithis plays tonight at 7:30.” 


Roger But it needs to be said that the creature in this is not Slithis, it’s not its name. It comes from the Slithis. 


Quentin Yes. 


Roger Which is a certain kind of inorganic muck. 


Quentin It is a spawn of the Slithis. Before we get into this whole thing, since you’re going to start it off like that. What is Slithis? 


Roger It is a semi inorganic (kind of like scales, or a shell) muck that apparently, within the reality of this movie, becomes radioactive and from it comes a… 


Quentin Radioactive induced spawn kind of organism. 


Roger Yeah, something that climbs out of that muck. There’s a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo in this movie where somebody looks like they were looking up stuff, so they have an explanation for it. It’s a traditional monster in that sense. 


Quentin Yeah. No, it’s a very traditional monster. That’s the best thing about the movie, is that it’s a proper monster movie. 


Roger They set up their rules and they stick to them. 


Quentin Again, a beautiful media box. Magnificent media box. In fact, I will even go so far as to say that both Roger and myself watched a 35 millimeter print of this, and we watched the Media Home Video copy of it and dare we say we actually preferred the Media Home copy version. This was in the horror section, under ‘s’ is Slithis, and on the back of the box: “Finally, nature unleashes its revenge. From the pollution of our nuclear waste came the killer we couldn’t destroy. Our worst nightmares come to life with terrifying, scaly monster Slithis. Nominated for two awards by the Science Fiction Horror Academy. Warning: In order to protect yourself from this killer monster, it is strongly suggested that you’re prepared with your Slithis survival kit.” More on the Slithis survival kit later. 


Roger Yes. 


Quentin That’s a lot of hyperbole. Why don’t you explain the story of Slithis to us?  


Roger I’ll do better. I have Franklin Brauner wrote a little tiny capsule review of it, so I’ll just read his review in the voice of Margold. 


Quentin Okay. 


Roger reading review Spawn of Slithis rises from the muck. I refer both to the eponymous sludge creature of the film and of the film itself. Created on an ambitious micro-budget, largely by below the line Hollywood professionals, more attention is given to the day player talent than almost any film this reviewer can recall. The result is occasionally awful, but also occasionally masterful and naturalistic with an almost unreasonable amount of depth afforded to the most minor of characters. Combine this with a seeming dedication to documenting the City of Venice Beach and the fashions of 1977, and we have a horror film with a kind of grit, which recalls the early indie movement and street casting of post-empire Hollywood. 


Quentin That’s, by far, my favorite review of his, because it’s just you with a pompous voice. 


Roger [laughter] It’s just me with a pompous voice. The secret to Franklin Brauner is that it is just me with a pompous voice. 


Quentin You’re trying to hide behind William Margold, but in that one the true Roger came out. 


Roger William Margold is a straw man that stands before me. 


Quentin Okay, so there’s a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo about how the Slithis came about. 


Roger And I’m sure all of it makes sense. 


Quentin Yes, I’m sure it does, as a matter of fact. It’s too dense to not make sense. 


Roger It makes as much sense as Them having ants that grow giant. 


Quentin Yes, exactly. What the movie is, is a pretty decent little monster movie that takes place in Venice, California. Venice is shot as well as it’s ever been shot. 


Roger I just I have to jump in and say I was freaking out while watching this movie because from the opening shot, which is a long, slow pan of the city of Venice Beach in 1977/1978- 


Quentin And there’s a bit of a dissolve there. So it’s able to actually cover one end of Venice to the other:  from the beach to the canal. 


Roger This movie almost serves as a kind of document of the city at that time. There’s a sequence in the movie (when the four are coming together to fight the monster), where they’re wandering around Venice and they’re basically setting up a shot at every monument in Marina del Rey and the Venice area. 


Quentin Not only that, it even deals with Venice nightlife- Branigan’s, which was a big bar at that time, which actually had the turtle races. 


Roger I have to tell you, the fact that they captured the turtle races, the audience watching the turtle races- and this movie has no budget to recreate things. I think I wrote down at one point that when I was watching the movie, I was like, “Oh my God. Hollywood productions tend to insulate the reality. They produce away all of the reality. This film didn’t have that budget,” and so they just went to Brennan’s and shot Brennan’s on a Friday, Saturday night. It is a gift to anybody who wants to preserve fashion or furniture design, or architecture.


Quentin I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s so specific to the city of Venice that it practically almost qualifies as regional filmmaking. It’s not well shot, in this sequence, but there’s a scene where the Dr. John character, who is their expert guy that they got working with them. 


Roger The groovy nerd, they have? 


Quentin Groovy morning DJ nerd that they have. 


Roger [laughing] That’s exactly what he’s like. 


Quentin It’s like, did they cast a local DJ from around here? 


Roger He played a student in Carrie.


Quentin I remember him in that. 


Roger He was in the audience of Black Sunday. Dennis Fault is the actor’s name. 


Quentin The two leads, the boring lead guy, and then his really groovy girlfriend, who I really like a lot. 


Roger Oh, yeah. She was Kate Middleton looking. She was fantastic. 


Quentin Yeah, she’s terrific. He shows up to talk about the Slithis, and they’re in one of the most perfect seventies Marina del Rey apartments I’ve ever seen in a movie. 


Roger It may not have been dressed at all. It looked too real. 


Quentin I don’t think it was dressed at all. I think it literally is a situation where this crew member, this director is like, “Let’s go to Sharon’s apartment and shoot it there.” “Let’s go to Billy’s apartment and shoot that.” Every book on the shelf, every record, every bead curtain. Every potted plant- 


Roger Every candle. 


Quentin -hanging from a yarn. 


Roger Macrame. 


Quentin A macrame hanging thing. Yeah. 


Roger Shag carpets. 


Quentin -is just perfect. The couch, and the designs on the couch, are just. I mean, but that apartment in particular, it’s like, “Oh, man, if I was doing a movie in this era, I would just show this scene to the production manager and just say, ‘Production designer, just do this, do this.’” 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin The monster aspect of it is that there’s a creature named Slithis that has gotten some radioactivity from a leaking power plant nearby and has grown into a cross between the Creature from Creature from the Black Lagoon and one of the humanoids from Humanoids of the Deep. He kind of fits squarely right in the middle. 


Roger And he has some kind of sucker fish mouth that sucks flesh right off the bone. 


Quentin Well, the thing that’s interesting about Slithis, though- 


Roger Spawn of Slithis. [laughing]


Quentin We’ve heard you, okay? The thing that’s interesting about Slithis, is the idea that he’s this gill-y, amphibian type of creature. That’s to be sure. 


Roger Slow moving out of water. 


Quentin But he’s not just the amphibian fish that either the Humanoids from the Deep are or that the Gill Man is with Rico Browning’s version of the Creature. Instead, there’s every indication that he’s made up of shit and scum. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin He’s actually kind of close to the Smog Monster in Godzilla versus the Smog Monster. 


Roger Yeah, like a culture more than a creature. 


Quentin Yeah, I mean, with all the Slithis stuff in there that’s been reanimated, there also is shit and fecal matter has been reanimated. 


Roger That falls out of him as he walks. 


Quentin And guts and, just, garbage. There is a garbage aspect to the creature. 


Roger Smog monster. 


Quentin This creature is out there wiping out people in Venice and a smarmy guy (who’s, like, my least favorite character in the whole movie), who is a journalist professor- 


Roger A journalist teacher in a high school. 


Quentin -and he starts hearing about these murders happening and he starts putting two and two together, and then he starts trying to investigate them. 


Roger And his lovely wife, or is it girlfriend? 


Quentin Girlfriend. 


Roger His lovely girlfriend does not believe any of it. 


Quentin Well, they’re shacking up. 


Roger Yeah, they’re shacking up, and she’s just in love with him. So she’s kind of rolling with it. She’s like, “Oh, whatever.” 


Quentin Well, the guy’s not a terrible actor. He’s not necessarily good. He’s not necessarily bad. He’s kind of a putz in the movie, but his girlfriend is wonderful. 


Roger Yeah, She’s the one who makes me believe that they stay together. 


Quentin Yeah and well, not only that, though, even though I think he’s kind of a putz, they’re kind of sexy together. They’re good together. But then he starts meeting these other characters that start becoming surrogates for the characters in Jaws: there’s the Dr. John character that can figure out aspects about Slithis, and then there’s- 


Roger The sort of Quinn character. 


Quentin Yeah, and then there’s a Quinn character, this black Jamaican guy called Ira. He’s got a fishing boat, and so they’re all going to team up together and put Slithis down. So that’s the monster movie at hand and it’s pretty good, as far as that’s concerned. When it comes to detailing Venice, it’s very, very good. Where it becomes truly unique, which Roger’s written review touches on. It’s got its main character, but there’s a plethora, a kaleidoscope, of secondary characters. They are all given a shocking amount of depth; a day player will show up and then just in the little bit of dialog they have, reveal a character trait or something important about their life. It’s not crammed in, but it’s just like, “Oh wow, okay, now you left that character and the character was just a function for 2 seconds. But I kind of know more about that secondary character than I know about the lead character.” 


Roger I would almost say that I know more about the day player characters in this movie than I know about most characters in any other movie I’ve seen. I frequently heard you have a complaint with characters in movies, where they don’t live any kind of life outside of the plot of this film and you hate it. I always hear you talking about it. 


Quentin Yeah. That’s true. 


Roger And in this movie, that was not going to happen. According to Steven Traxler, the director, come hell or high water, he was going to make sure. 


Quentin This is not guilty of that. That is for sure. 


Roger There’s this great character, Bunky, who’s this kind of Venice Beach wino. He and this other guy, 


Quentin Preston. 


Roger Yeah, Preston. It’s these two winos, and they’re at this little fishing boat that I remember was in the Venice canals and kind of washed ashore and all wrecked up. They’re sitting there, they’re getting drunk. One guy’s kind of passed out and shit his pants. He’s sitting there lamenting into the darkness alone. “The whores in Australia weren’t any different than in Nam. And why would they be? They’re just whores. It’s the same everywhere.” And it’s like, “Jesus Christ, That small bit of dialog told me so much about that.” I didn’t need that, honestly, in this movie and yet it’s given to me. 


Quentin Okay. It was obviously in Vietnam, him doing a rant about the whores in Vietnam, that would be one thing. That fits into the thing of ‘give the nam vet some dialog,’ to bring up Australia for just one line, in a weird way, suggests an entire life. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin Because it’s not shorthand for anything else. No, he’s ranting and it’s one part of a much larger story that we will never hear. 


Roger The scene at Brennan’s Pub, which is an Irish pub on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, and I believe it’s still there, but I don’t know if they still do turtle racing. 


Quentin I think that was a thing of its time, but it’s still there. 


Roger In the seventies, eighties and (I think) even into the nineties. 


Quentin I was actually at Brennan’s as late as nine years ago. 


Roger Really? 


Quentin Yeah. I had some friends-  Sarah Kelley used to live there. 


Roger Oh yeah, yeah. 


Quentin She lived in Venice and we would go to Brennan’s all the time. 


Roger And so first of all I’m having an orgasm that they’re showing turtle racing at Brennan’s Pub and that someone has documented this, and documented it really well. Then these two secondary characters, you’ve never seen them before in the middle of the movie, this guy and this young lady leave and they drive in his little VW bug and they leave Brennan’s and they proceed to have what feels like a ten minute conversation, driving to Marina del Rey to his boat. 


Quentin Yeah, exactly. He’s a smoothie. He’s a lounge lizard guy. If he’s not at Brennan’s, he’s at Tequila Willy’s. If he’s not there, he’s at the Red Onion. The swingin’ single type guy. 


Roger In the seventies. 


Quentin In the seventies. 


Roger The pants, the everything. 


Quentin He’s got everything except the right car. He’s in a shitty blue bag, which actually looks cooler now than it did in 1977. 


Roger Looks freaking cool in this. In fact, there was a moment when they were driving away and they have this whole dialog scene that they’re talking and you were like, “This is like a Paul Thomas Anderson movie.” 


Quentin It’s exactly like one. He’s a Paul Thomas Anderson character. 


Roger Completely. 


Quentin She’s a Paul Thomas Anderson character. 


Roger Completely. You nailed it, when you said that. 


Quentin And then they’re talking, she’s from Saskatchewan or something. 


Roger Yeah, she’s from somewhere far away. 


Quentin It’s this long, involved story about how she came to Los Angeles.  


Roger Yeah, and who she is and what her background is and why she’s there. She’s only here for now  to set things up. But she’s going to go back home and then come back. We learn this whole thing about her. . 


Quentin “Who was that girl you were with?” “Oh, no, that’s Janet. That’s my friend who I’m staying with.” “And who is that other girl?” “Oh that’s Susan,” and that was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s like, “I saw you got carded a couple times?” 


Roger “You must be of age. Yeah, but you look pretty young,”  “That’s why we all had fake IDs back in Iowa. But I am 18, although I don’t look it, do I?” “No, you don’t look it, but that makes me the dirty old man.” It’s like this amazing PTA conversation going on in that car.


Quentin In every way, shape and form; it’s a Paul Thomas Anderson scene. This entire section of the movie could have been ripped from the guts of Licorice Pizza


Roger It was an incredible little sequence. 


Quentin In fact, the lead in Licorice Pizza could be that girl. 


Roger Now, the upside to this kind of low budget, almost street casting feel, is that every now and then you get a bad actor like the chief of police guy. 


Quentin He’s terrible. Yeah. 


Roger Who is so bad that he does his best to bring the movie down. 


Quentin I think he’s that bad, but I don’t think he brings the movie down. 


Roger I saw myself in him. 


Quentin Yeah, because it’s such a hammy performance that you can’t enjoy it. Now we’re talking about the lead guy who, like I said, is kind of a putz. He comes across as a putz.  


Roger More than a putz. 


Quentin I don’t think he’s really that bad, but he’s a putz. But there is one scene- 


Roger Well, I’m going to make my case for more than a putz in a moment.


Quentin Okay. Okay. There is actually a funny sequence that we we’re like, “What the fuck is going on here?” So he’s in school, and then- 


Roger This is the moment, I’m glad you’re bringing it up.  


Quentin So he has a couple of young kids come up to him, “Hey, Mr. Wayne, listen to this: there’s been a murder in Venice,” and then she plays a transistor radio thing for him. 


Roger Reporting another murderer in Venice, which he’s been interested in.  


Quentin He was like, “Oh, well, thanks a lot, girls.” 


Roger He kind of smirks at them and scoffs. 


Quentin Yeah, and they’re like, “You were mentioning these murders, and then you were talking about it, and then it shows up here. So I just thought it would be interesting to hear.” He’s just like, “Yeah, okay. Thanks a lot, girls. All right.” But he’s a total dick to them. 


Roger They’re like, “Okay, you know, I thought you would want to know.” 


Quentin They literally walk away, like, “What was all that about?” Then he turns around and is like, “You know, I think I’m going to investigate this,” and doesn’t give them any credit. 


Roger Then he goes into his obsession, which is investigating this creature. So I started thinking about it and we were talking about it, and I was like, “Well, there’s only one answer.” One he’s got the grooviest van. He’s got the groovy 1978 van. 


Quentin No. Yeah, I got to set that up a little bit better. 


Roger Set it up. 


Quentin Because it’s like we haven’t seen where he drives or anything like that. Venice is a walking city, so they’re usually walking from one place to the next place. But then finally, mid movie, like, deep deep in the film: he’s with his girlfriend and then they get in the car, but their car is this cool seventies van. 


Roger It’s like a Mystery Machine. 


Quentin Yeah, with a big paint job, and they open it up and it’s wall to wall carpet, 


Roger There’s wood paneling. 


Quentin You could tell that there’s a water bed in there. I go, “This is his car?!” 


Roger And that was the key as to why he was kind of treating those students so badly. It’s because he’s banging his students in his van, in his groovy van. That’s probably how he got Jeff, the girl. His girlfriend. Her name is Jeff, played excellently by Judy Motulsky. The probably how he scored her, because he’s got the groovy van. 


Quentin No, you make a good case because it doesn’t make any sense why he blows off the young girls except for like, “Hey, when I’m with fucking Jeff, you stay away.” 




Quentin Here’s the thing: there is enough subtext for all the other characters, that our reading this subtext into it is not out of place for the movie Slithis


Roger Even the dog. Like, remember the guy with the dog and the screen door? 


Quentin He’s great. The guy who looks like Walter Hill. 


Roger Yeah, the Walter Hill character. Walter Hill is in bed and the Slithis is eating the dogs outside. His wife wakes him up. 


Quentin She bursts through the screen door. 


Roger His wife is like, “Get up and check- Something’s in the house.” He’s like, “Ugh. It’s that dog of yours!” And we suddenly realize- 


Quentin “That’s it! The pound!” 


Roger This guy has had this ongoing problem with this dog. 


Quentin Okay, that’s on point. Even in that situation, him being bitchy about the wife’s dog, that makes sense for the situation going on. But then when I say this textual stuff off point is also in there as well, because the wife goes, “Well, honey, look, put on a robe. You don’t have to get dressed completely. Just put on a robe.” [screaming] “Have you ever seen me in the five years we’ve been married, ever put on a robe? When you bought me that robe, it was a complete waste of money and my time. I will never wear that robe, no matter what I do.” 


Roger “I have gotten out of bed and put on my clothes every day for my entire life. I am not going to start wearing a robe. I will get dressed when I get out of bed.” 


Quentin I mean, that is a glimpse into their life. 


Roger We were given that with everyone. 


Quentin Everyone. 


Roger Everyone. 


Quentin When he sees what Slithis has done to the screen door, he’s like, [screaming] “Oh, that’s it. That’s it. That’s it. The dog is going. That’s it you damn dog.” 


Roger It’s awesome. So I was thinking, “Why this obsession with the background and the depth of these characters?” It’s very welcome, but I started thinking about Bill Clark. Okay. So you’ve worked with Bill Clark? 


Quentin Yeah yeah. 


Roger I’ve worked with Bill Clark. Bill is a First AD. 


Quentin He’s my man. 


Roger Yeah, he’s my man, too. As far as I’m concerned. He was amazing to work with for me because, you know, we’re doing this, like, teen movie that takes place in college, and- 


Quentin He was your first AD on Rules of Attraction (for everybody playing the at home game) 




Roger I’m working with the actors and it’s the assistant director’s job to deal with the background. So he would come to me and he’d say, “Okay, so here’s what I’ve done. Those two girls in the background, they’re in love with that guy. But that guy, he’s really in love with her. She’s going to be going over here because she likes that guy.” He had worked out these complicated, inter dynamic relationships between these background characters, and he was maintaining it. So he had his own stuff going on in the background, his own stories that he was telling in the background of the movie, and all of that adds the layer. 

    So I thought, “Okay, so the guy who made this movie who wrote and directed the film, Stephen Traxler, is production manager and is a producer. He’s somebody who probably cares deeply about the backgrounds. So I started thinking, “Well, this is like if Bill Clark had gone out and directed a movie, he’d make damn sure everybody has a full story and a complete story.” I think it’s that kind of dedication that one normally doesn’t get with a director who’s really just a director. I mean, these are people who are production managers and stuff. These are kind of below the line people bringing their skills and talents to this movie and the things that they care about that they feel are normally deficient (because they are deficient in other movies), 


Quentin They are truly, on this movie, putting up front and center what they do on normal productions that is just hidden in the background. 


Roger Yeah, exactly. 


Quentin But then even above and beyond all that, just as far as a monster movie is concerned, the whole idea of introducing you to victim characters that you get to know for 10 to 15 minutes, and have a sense of them and they’re fun and you enjoy them. 


Roger You care. 


Quentin You actually care about them when the Slithis shows up sucks their face off. 


Roger Well, if there’s one misstep in the movie (and I don’t even know if it’s a misstep because there’s moments that I think are kind of brilliant); there was one moment that is so goofy. It involves Bunky when he starts walking and he’s doing that long, “I’m going to go take a piss,” or whatever he’s doing and he starts walking. 


Quentin Oh, the Roger shot? 


Roger It’s the Roger shot where I was just like, “Oh my God, this shot. This shot is brilliant. The music is brilliant.” It’s like [singing] and it’s following him in this crazy long shot as he walks down. 


Quentin The music is the Achilles heel of the film, alright? 


Roger Achilles heel of the film, but it works in that one moment. Now, when the movie begins (here’s what I think happened), the composer got a hold of the movie and said, “How am I going to balance this out?” It’s obviously a campy film. Really, that opening with those two kids and the music is like, you don’t know what kind of movie you’re in for. They’re throwing a Frisbee back and forth and running and that little fat kid running in slow motion. 


Quentin The Frisbee sounds like the bionic sound, like [making whooshing noises].  


Roger And you’re watching and you’re like, “What the fuck is this?” But then you also get the Brennan’s Pub and the PTA moment. This movie, I don’t know. This was like a big feast, a big Slithis feast. 


Quentin Slithis could have had a little bit more screen time. I will say that. He’s off picture a little too much. The end could have been a little better. The fight between them and the Slithis on the boat could have been just a little better, if it was just a little longer. 


Roger I agree. We would like a little more and I will say, some excellent car stunts from the United Stunts of America. 


Quentin Yeah. Just ten more minutes of Slithis. I have a review for Slithis from Psychotronic magazine, issue number 41. Roger will be happy to know it’s listed as Spawn of the Slithis. 


Roger Under its correct title. 


Quentin, reading review Body parts are found by kids in Venice, California and the radio says the smell of fear hangs like a stench over the canal. The police are too stupid to realize that a bigger, meaner, uglier version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon is responsible. But journalism teacher Wayne (Allan Blanchard) investigates. His young friend, Dr. John, figures out that the slimy radioactive “humanoid” is the result of oil company experiments. Wayne’s girlfriend, Jeff, and a jokingly muscular black diver named Christopher Columbus also help. Chris calls Wayne things like “my main man” and he mentions his “crib.” 


Roger [laughter] He mentions his crib. 


Quentin, reading review Humanoids from the Deep copied this low budget indie, especially the main bloody slo mo attack of a woman. In one scene, a stud picks up an 18 year old at a turtle race. 


Quentin But now this is great. This is right up your alley, Roger. 


Quentin, reading review Homeless, alcoholic and Nam vet characters are pretty believable. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin, reading review But the crazy police lieutenant was a bad idea. The cast remained unknown, but Robert Gar Macchio was cinematographer of this and Eaten Alive


Roger [surprised] Oh. 


Quentin The same year, Mimi Leader was script supervisor and Taxler went on to be a producer on John Woo’s Windtalkers


Roger Wow. 


Quentin Okay, So now history wise for Slithis: I saw Slithis when it came out. I saw it at the Rolling Hills Twin on PCH and when I went to see it, I was given a yellow card that was a Slithis Survival Kit. 


Roger Oh, there it is. So it was a promotional thing. 


Quentin It was a promotional thing. Not for the video, but for the feature film. So it was this little yellow card and it had a picture of Slithis and all this design that’s on the cover of the box was on the card. But then you turn the card over and it has a whole list of things that you need to do in order to survive a Slithis attack. 


Roger Wow. Can you remember any of them? Because it’s important to know.  


Quentin Stay away from the canal. Nothing was so clever that it stayed in my mind. However, at the end of it is, “You stand a better chance of surviving a Slithis attack if Slithis knows you’re a fan.” So thus it’s suggested you should join the Slithis fan club. 


Roger Well, that makes sense. 


Quentin And I joined the Slithis fan club. 


Roger You did?! 


Quentin Yes. 


Roger So somewhere on record, you’re on the record. 


Quentin In 1978, (well, I think that’s when it came out)- 


Roger Steven Trexler has your name on file. 


Quentin I never followed through with shit like this, but for whatever reason, I decided to follow through. I sent some money and I sent away to be a member of the Slithis fan club. Then a lot of time passed until finally something came in the mail.  


Roger All the way from L.A.. 


Quentin Yeah, all the way from Venice. All the way from Venice to Torrance. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin It wasn’t something cool, like a Slithis fan club card or anything like that. But what it was, was just an autograph picture of the Slithis. 


Roger Oh, okay. 


Quentin It was an autographed picture, and it was really cool because it was the actor who plays the Slithis in the suit, and then obviously the guys that came up with the suit. 


Roger Yeah, yeah, the FX guys. 


Quentin So all these hippie guys, these Greg Nicotero looking guys, all kind of posing with the Slithis. They’re all smiling. They’re all having a good time, Slithis is standing there in the middle and it said, “From Slithis and all of his friends,” and it was this cool picture. Now, the reason I was looking for it and I don’t have it (and I just remembered why I don’t have it) is because we showed it at about five years ago at the New Beverly. So I gave them my autograph picture and my Slithis survival card for them to make new ones. 


Roger Oh, my God. 


Quentin So when we showed it to New Beverly, we were actually giving away the survival kits and we had the autographed picture of Slithis. 


Roger Fantastic. It’s kind of cool that they sent you back the picture. 


Quentin No, it was cool. 


Roger I bet this was it was a fun movie to work on. I bet this was a fun film to make.


Quentin You even had to send away for it. I never followed through on something like this and it wasn’t that I loved the movie that much, but I was charmed enough to follow through. Then I literally had that picture for 40 fucking years. 


[musical interlude] 


Quentin Gala, your thoughts on Spawn of the Slithis


Gala Okay. So the Slithis takes on organic material that steps in it. So this Slithis, this is part dog, part human, part fish. So that’s kind of where it comes from, I guess. 


Roger It’s a little like The Relic, almost. 


Gala Yeah, a little bit. 


Quentin And part garbage, and fecal matter.


Roger Which he has no problem fingering through, it seems, the Wayne character. 


Gala How long is your VHS tape? 


Quentin 92 minutes. 


Gala Okay, so there are two versions of this movie on Amazon to rent. There is a 16 plus version at 87 minutes and there is an unrated version at 91 minutes. 


Quentin Well, I’ve got a minute more than that. 


Gala So I watched the 16 plus version at 87 minutes. 


Quentin Oh, no, no. This is actually very interesting. Hold it. Hold it for a second. Okay. Media at Home Video was never the one to like, “Oh, no. We’ll get it right. We’ll get it down to the quarter of a second.” 


Roger “How long was that?” “I don’t know, 75 minutes?” 


Quentin Well, Jim Sheldon would be starting his clock at the beginning of each and every movie. He doesn’t believe in any of that running time bullshit unless he actually times it himself. So on the front (it literally says on the front) running time, 92 minutes. However, on the cassette itself, it says 86 minutes. 


Gala Okay, so- 


Quentin I’ve never seen that before. When the cassette, itself, is different than the box. 


Roger That’s bizarre. 


Gala I wonder which one we all saw. If we saw the same version or if we saw a different one. I saw the 87 minute, 16 plus version because 4 minutes counts to me when it comes to movies. So I’ll always pick a shorter version. 


Quentin You can also watch the movie for free on YouTube, and I’m sure it’s pretty much the Media Home Video cassette. 


Gala There’s also a Code Red Blu-ray available with a limited edition slipcover that was pretty cool looking, for any of those fans of Slithis out there. 


Quentin Well, I’m a big Code Red fan, any cool movie that comes out in Code Red, I’m totally about that. 


Gala Yeah, it was a really, really cool slipcover. So I really wanted more of the monster in the movie. I feel like if you go into this movie expecting to get a straightforward monster movie, you’re kind of going to feel a little let down because you don’t just get the Slithis all the time. 


Quentin Here’s a weird part about that: I can imagine you feeling that while you’re watching the movie. But when the movie is over, the Slithis has made a really good impression. So I think back on it being a real fun monster movie.  


Roger To be perfectly honest, from my perspective, if I had nothing but that 18 year old girl and that guy in the VW bug going to his boat with his little temple to himself, that little altar to himself that he has; because he’s so into himself that he’s got a little candle lit altar in there. I could watch a whole movie about those characters, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. I could watch that movie. I would have really enjoyed that movie, actually. 


Quentin I could watch Licorice Pizza, directed by Stephen Traxler. 




Roger Okay, now you’re talking. I’m in, I’m there. 


Gala That’s the thing about the movie: if you go in expecting Slithis, you’re going to be a little let down maybe while you’re watching it. But the best parts about the movie are all of these weird characters. My top three favorite ones were: the cop with a cold,  


Quentin That guy was great. Yeah, that guy’s terrific. 


Roger “If I hadn’t been working overtime because of this whole murder thing…” 


Gala Because I watched this movie with my mom,  


Roger I know everything about that cop. 


Gala my mom always, like, “So, like, did the Slithis give him a cold?” I was like, “No idea.” 


Quentin No, it’s just character. 


Roger We just know about that guy. 


Gala Yeah. I actually wrote down that I liked the over-the-top police chief guy, but I don’t know if I liked him- 


Quentin All credibility is gone. You were doing so good, Gala. You were doing so good. 


Gala I actually kind of enjoyed him because I just felt like it was so wacky and over-the-top.


Roger The problem is- 


Quentin We’ve seen guys seal movies by doing scenes like that. Like the fat guy in the Romero movie.  He wants to be that guy.


Roger Yeah, he’s trying to be that guy and I wish they had that guy. That guy is a genius. He’s the guy from The Crazies.  


Gala And the other guy I really liked was the man who hates night robes. 


Quentin The Walter Hill guy. 


Gala That guy was so funny because that’s kind of when I started realizing, “Okay, the characters in this movie are just over the top and wild. It’s going to be fun.” 


Quentin I’m gonna laugh every time, for the rest of my life imagining him seeing the screen door. After complaining about the fucking dog, he goes, [screaming] “Oh that does it. That does it. That does it. That does it. You are over, you are out of here!” 


Gala And I’m so glad these auxiliary characters exist because I find the main guy, like, really sleepy eyed and bumbling. I don’t really like him as a character. So to have all these colorful people like the street bums, or like when he’s trying to get information for the guy that’s in a mirror room with a disco ball. 


Roger That’s Bunky. 


Gala That’s Bunky? 


Roger That’s Bunky. Bunky is not homeless. Bunky has a little crash pad that he lives in. It’s Preston who’s homeless. 


Quentin Preston lives in the boat. 


Gala Why do we know this? 


Quentin We spent 15 minutes with them. We actually know their situation. 


Roger Bunky is a vet. He gets money from the VA and he has his little crash place. 


Quentin But he obviously has a passport. He went to Australia. 


Roger Yeah. [laughing] 


Gala The guys that he gets the information from, to go find Bunky; I love those guys because they’re just sitting around. 


Roger That is street casting straight out of a Sean Baker film. 


Quentin Those are real Venice bums. 


Roger Yeah, those guys and they start riffing on him, on his wardrobe and his hat and they start making fun of him.


Quentin With the Panama, when he’s trying to blend in. 


Roger And also in leading up to that scene, they do all of this captured footage stuff. The police think that it’s not a monster, they think it’s a cult killing because people thought that was happening at the time, in, ’78. That there were all these cults hunting people down. So they think it’s that and so they have all this footage of them gathering up Moonies and people from the Source which was in Venice at the time. 


Gala And then also, I have to ask: what is up with movies from this time period having women named Jeff and Women in cages? 


Roger Maybe this is like a lost, forgotten thing. 


Quentin It’s just like after I became famous, there was that whole wave of Quentins out there. 




Quentin There was probably some good famous female Jeff in 1962, or something. 


Gala I like this Jeff, a lot more than the other Jeff. 


Quentin This Jeff is amazing. She’s fantastic. She does the best of making him better, because he’s a putz. But when he’s with her, I like them more. In fact, even though I think the character of the guy is a putz, I can actually believe that maybe they could have been a couple in real life. 


Roger That’s thanks to her, though. 


Quentin Yeah. 


Roger No thanks to him. 


Quentin Well, when he’s with her, they have a sexy quality insofar as they’re free to touch each other. They have these little signs of affection with each other, that doesn’t look like two actors who just got to know each other. You get the impression that they’re a real couple. They share a comfortability in their physicality, when they’re with each other, that actually, again, goes a long way to making a subtextual point about the character. 


Roger Absolutely. 


Gala The ending I thought was just stupid, of Slithis. How they throw him- 


Quentin [growling] 


Gala Yeah, how they throw him back in like, “No, you have a bunch of people dead on your boat. You’re gonna throw the evidence of what happened back in the water?” 


Roger It was some bad logic. 


Gala That was just the one thing in the movie that just, I don’t know-


Quentin I don’t remember it jumping out to me as incredibly ridiculous when I saw it, or even when I saw it recently. But this time for whatever reason you said, but also the idea that it’s a water creature. It’s dying right now, but maybe if you kick it in the fucking water, where it’s from, it’ll come back to life and guess what? I didn’t mind the gotcha ending, though. 


Gala I don’t mind the gotcha part. I just think it’s dumb that they kick him back in after all of that. 


Quentin And by the way, I’m glad that the gotcha who got got, I’m glad it got got. 


Gala Yeah, I agree. I got my VHS tape for $29. 


Quentin Excellent. Wow. Good job. 


[musical interlude] 




Quentin Okay, everybody. Award time. 


Gala [singing fanfare] 


Quentin Okay, so for best actor and best actress, I will put up (for sure) Henry Winkler- 


Roger Henry Winkler is my choice for best actor. 


Quentin I could give it to Margaux Hemingway, but I really, really, really thought Kim Darby was sensational in The One and Only. So I’m going to give it to Kim Darby. 


Roger I mean, I was actually going to give it to Jeff, Judy Miltolski. 


Quentin Wow. 


Roger Because she actually made me believe that their relationship was soluble. I think that was her doing that, entirely. Plus, I just loved her in the movie. I cared when she fell out of that car, which, by the way, that was a pretty darn good little stunt in that car kind of flipped sideways. 


Quentin That was good, actually. 


Roger I cared for her, and so. 


Quentin I have no problem with that. 


Gala I’m going to have to agree with Roger for best actress, for Jeff. 


Quentin Okay, this is starting to seem- 

Roger Does it feel like we colluded?  


Quentin It’s starting to seem disrespectful to Margaux Hemingway.


Roger No, I love Margaux Hemingway. 


Quentin Okay, okay. It needed to be said. 


Roger I don’t want to be disrespectful. 


Quentin I’ve made my case as to why I’m choosing Kim Darby. 


Roger I don’t want to be disrespectful to Judy Miltolski along the way. 


Gala Well, you know what? I’m not going to be disrespectful, though, to Chris Sarandon, because I am going to go with him for my best actor. 


Roger Listen, I want to say that really, if this were like an Academy situation and we were really getting down to it, I’d have to take into consideration Margaux Hemingway’s dedication and that entire rape sequence, which is really going to the mat. 


Quentin I agree. 


Roger And on her first film. Next. 


Quentin Okay, Best Supporting Actor. Best Supporting Actress. 


Roger Best Supporting Actor is a tough one for me. Because Herve Villechaize is fantastic in The One and Only. It’s only incrementally and it’s only because he is a confident, real actor in this movie. Whereas Jon Hatfield as Bunky is probably more of an amateur, a day player they brought in. But the depth that he brings to his character and the feeling that he brings to his character, I kind of got to go with Jon Hatfield. 


Quentin Okay. 


Roger I’m going to stand by my man, Jon, wherever you are. 


Quentin And I’m assuming the best supporting actress is Mariel Hemingway. 


Roger Yeah, Mariel Hemingway. Those two sequences, one, the defense interrogation of her and then also (and I can’t remember who’s talking to her, whether it’s a nun or whoever)- 


Gala It’s the nun, it’s a sister 


Roger -in that moment where she’s talking outside of the school. You can see her child mind trying to wrap her head around all the complex, horrible adult ideas that are happening. She’s great in it. And then to see her go on to Star 80 after, there’s the connection between those. She’s incredible in this film. 


Gala I’m going to have to give best supporting actor to Hervé Villechaize because thank you, Hervé, for lighting up the screen and lighting up the movie for me- 


Quentin And your life. 


Gala And my life. I just love Hervé. What can I say? 


Roger “You feel it? You feel me giving it. You feel it?”   


Gala And then, of course, for best supporting actress, I’m going to have to give it to Mariel Hemingway. She was just wonderful. Children can oftentimes be really annoying in movies, and her performance was, I mean, professional. Dedicated. Amazing. 


Quentin She was nominated for a Golden Globe. 


Gala A well-deserved nomination. 


Roger I should say. I also want to just give a little shout out, even though it’s not always good, there is one moment that Anne Bancroft does where she’s trying to convince Margaux Hemingway to go ahead and prosecute. She’s trying to convince her to take the risk, the public humiliation risk, to prosecute this bastard. 


Quentin She was like, “Yeah, well, what should I do?” “You should convict him for rape.” 


Roger Exactly. Then there’s in the courtroom, when she brings her conviction, you can tell that she’s doing the movie because she believes in it. 


Quentin I actually think it’s Chris Brandon’s best moment in the movie, is when he’s being interrogated by Anne Bancroft, because I think the two actors vibe with each other. They play, they connect, and  that makes that scene work well. 


Roger Doing some kind of Meisner thing or something. 


Quentin Okay, well, obviously my best supporting actress would be the same as the rest of you. Mariel Hemingway, She’s amazing. I am choosing Stephen J. Hogue, who played Rex the Swinger.


Roger Oh, yeah! Stephen J.- I didn’t even know his name. 


Quentin He’s the swinger.  


Roger Of course his name is Rex. Rex, in Latin, means “king.” 


Quentin Yeah. 


Roger Of course. His name is Rex. 


Quentin And he’s this wannabe Robert Blake. Wanna be Robert Vaccaro, whatever. But his outfit is great. His jew fro is great. His tan leather jacket is great. His VW bug is great. That guy is terrific, and it’s very funny that he had this framed picture of himself, set up there. But in a way, I think a case could be made that’s a cheap joke at his expense because- It’s still funny. You’re gonna laugh at it. But he’s not a one joke character. He’s not this super vain, jokey kind of guy. He’s not like the Dudley Moore character in Foul Play. Even though he’s presented like that, his wardrobe is like that. But he’s actually kind of an interesting, deep dude. 


Roger Yeah. Yeah. 


Quentin That belies the self joke of that photo. Okay, now, here’s the toughest one. Best director. A case can be made, all three movies are actually fairly well directed. They all have their problems, but direction really isn’t one of them. They’re all pretty well directed for exactly what they are. 


Gala You know, I’m going to throw out (although Lipstick is my favorite) Steven Traxler because you can just see the care that’s put into the movie. Like, it’s evident everywhere. 


Roger The love? 


Gala The love and the care. 


Quentin I’m a huge Lemon Johnson fan. I’m almost such a lemon Johnson man that I wouldn’t choose Lipstick to give him my best director. There’s other movies to give him best director. I thought I was going to pick Carl Reiner because I actually think this is one of the better directed of Carl Reiner’s movies. But after everything we’ve just said about Slithis, I have to give it to Stephen Traxler. 


Roger I love Carl Reiner, but I was like, “Okay, Lamont Johnson.” I was going to give it to Lamont Johnson but frankly, after we’ve talked. Stephen Traxler, I’m kind of they’re also. Like, you know what? Dollar for dollar. 


Quentin Pound for pound for pound, Passion for passion. Off the beaten Traxler. 




Quentin I’m laughing at my own joke. 


Gala We’re all laughing with you. 


Roger I laughed within. 


Quentin I wish I had laughed within. 


Roger Yeah, I would say. Stephen Traxler. Despite some of the wonky stuff. 


Quentin It’s Stephen Traxler’s show tonight. 


Roger I’m going to say Best City Award. Goes to Venice Beach, California. Well represented in this film. 


Gala And also in Lipstick


Roger And in Lipstick. You’re right. Basically he lives in the- 


Quentin He lives in Dennis Hopper’s house. 


Roger Well, he actually lives in, I think, Anjelica Houston’s house. 


Quentin Oh, okay. 


Roger Because Anjelica Huston was married to, I think, a sculptor who had this big art studio right there and the angle that they have of his apartment looks right down into where that hotel and the coffee shop and everything is now. So I think it’s her building, she owned the entire building. Venice wins the day. 


Quentin Venice wins it. Best climax. Absolutely, Lipstick. 


Gala Mhm. 


Roger Oh, yeah. Yeah. Best script supervision, Mimi Later. 


Quentin Even considering that both Lipstick (well, especially Lipstick) had great production design, I still give it to Slithis for their documentary production design. 


Roger They’re a service to humanity and to history. 


Gala What about best VHS box? 


Quentin Oh, well, that’s Lipstick. 


Gala Yeah, 100%. 


Quentin These are three good VHS boxes, but Lipstick wins. Hands down. 


Roger Yeah. I’m going to give it to Lipstick


Gala With the gatefold. 


Roger I kind of like the title treatment on Slithis


Quentin I love the title treatment. 


Roger I love the orange. 


Quentin I reduced points for two separate running times. 


Roger Yes, this is a huge black mark on their record. 


Quentin  In fact, I would definitely say that Paramount wins best company. I would never give that to Viacom. But in this case, Paramount wins best video company. 


Roger Yeah. I mean, serious shot out whoever was doing art direction at the company at that time. 


Quentin Yeah. If you are still alive and you happen to be listening to this show and you were doing the art direction on the Lipstick box and The One and Only box, the- 


Roger Anything for Paramount Home Video. 


Quentin The Little Darlings box. We appreciate the effort to make a high quality product that you did, especially compared to Warner Brothers. And I think that brings us to the end of the- What? 


Producer Josh You didn’t do best picture 


Quentin We didn’t do best picture. Thank you Josh. Okay. The voice of God just came out here and told us that we didn’t do best picture. 


Producer Josh [using mic to sound ominous] beesssst piiiictureeeeeee 


Quentin Okay. I will definitely say, despite all our love for Slithis, I actually think The One and Only was the best movie. 


Roger You know, I would understand that you saying that because this is, I also think, kind of a personal film to you. This is a movie you had a really personal connection to. 


Quentin I think it was not quite as much as you’re making it. But yes. 


Roger I’m turning this into a thing. 


Quentin Yeah, I know you are. 


Roger I’m going to go ahead and say- I want to say Spawn of Slithis. But the truth of the matter is, I’m going to say Lipstick


Quentin Okay. 


Roger I had that moment in the end, the revenge, the delicious revenge moment when you and I were howling and jumping in our seats, off the couch. It was so exciting to watch and that’s what I expect from a movie. I got a lot out of Spawn of Slithis, and I get a lot out of The One and Only. But really, at the end of the day, I think, cohesively and I’ve been thinking about it since we watched it even more so than the other ones. 


Quentin Oh, good. 


Roger Contextually, as one tries to interpret a book or something like that, thinking about what were they doing? What were they saying and why? And I thought about that more about Lipstick than any of the other films, even though it’s just a Revengeamatic in some ways. 


Quentin Mm hmm. 


Roger And then also because we just did Star 80 and though this takes place before Star 80, there’s so many weird tangential connections between the two films that- 


Quentin Well, it was interesting. 


Roger I’m going to be thinking about this one for a long time.  


Quentin Well, you brought up Killer Fish because we watched Killer Fish as a background film because we wanted to see the movie Mariel Hemingway and Margaux Hemingway did shortly afterwards. So that movie was made for Fawcett Major Productions. So they started a film company together. So all of Farrah’s early movies. 


Roger And Lee Majors. Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors. 


Quentin And all the Lee majors, early movies during the time of their TV success, were all done for Fawcett Major Productions. I’m willing to bet that Farrah Fawcett was offered the role in Lipstick. 


Roger I mean, her poster was everywhere at this point. Wasn’t it? 


Quentin Yeah yeah no, she was a superstar. 


Roger She was like a superstar. She was the model, the look, the hair, the body. 


Quentin She was the superstar. So I’m sure she was offered Lipstick. But the thing is, the next movie Lamont Johnson would do ,would be her first big feature film, which would be Somebody Killed Her Husband


Roger Right. 


Quentin The movie she did with Jeff Bridges. So that was her next film, but then when Lee Majors is going to do Killer Fish, they cast Margaux Hemingway. They had to think about the idea of Farrah playing that character. 


Roger Yeah. 


Quentin I mean, that’s even for their own company, Farrah is reading copies of the script. They had to consider it for a second. They didn’t go that way, but they had to consider it. But instead, Margaux Hemingway ends up playing the character. So that’s all kind of interesting to me. 


Gala Yeah. It’s a big circle. My best picture is Lipstick. I mean, I’ve been thinking about that rape scene. It makes my hands sweat when I think about it. When my friends ask me for a rape revenge movie, I’m going to recommend them Lipstick


Quentin How many times has that happened? 




Gala You know what? It happens a lot.  


Roger She’s my daughter, Quentin.  


Quentin I can’t believe her asking for this. But you have these other friends who are asking you, “I need a good rape revenge movie now.” 


Gala Inside of my film club, Quentin. I now have a Vixen fan club. 


Quentin Oh, okay. Continue. 


Gala From people that have gone and found the Vixen movie and are now Russ Meyer fans, so anything is possible. But I’m going to be recommending Lipstick. Out of these three movies, when I think about it, Lipstick is the one I’m going to tell people to watch. 


Quentin Good job. I’ll give you a movie of the mind. Chris Sarandon playing the Ellen Blanchard role in Slithis. How about that? 


Roger Okay. That would be great. Yeah, I would have loved that actually. 


Quentin But keep Jeff. Keep Jeff. 


Roger Yeah, yeah, yeah. You got to keep Jeff. 

Quentin Keep everybody else different. 


Gala And add Herve Villechaize in there, and then you got the best movie ever. 


Roger Frankly, if we had just replaced the police chief with Herve Villechaize. 


[group agreement ] 


Roger It would have played much better. 

Quentin Okay, that would have been good. That would have been good. 


Producer Josh You guys. I’m happy to tell you guys. Brennan still does turtle races, to this day. 


Quentin Josh, clearing it up. 


Gala The voice of God has spoken. 


Quentin Is it on a special day? 


Producer Josh It’s the first and third Thursday of every month. You could go tomorrow if you wanted. 


Quentin Okay, everybody, that’s all for tonight. See you in radio land. 


Roger Be seeing you. 


Gala Byeeeeee 


[musical outro]