Monday, May 10, 2010

"I used to love sex."

Before I say one word about today's motion picture extravaganza, take a little time to view the film's AMAZING trailer!

I dare you...I DARE you to tell me that you didn't want to see it after viewing that!

Whore is another weird and quirky film from weird and quirky filmmaker Ken Russell. You might remember Russell's other noteworthy films like The Who's hallucinogenic rock opera Tommy (staring my homegirl, Ann-Margret!) and Crimes of Passion, where Anthony Perkins tries to impale Kathleen Turner with a sharp dildo, all the while, bathed in garish neon lighting (not even kidding!)

With these, and many other, sordid and spooky films under his belt, Russell seemed eager to please my trashy self with, Whore, his answer to 1990's sugary sweet Julia Roberts rom-com confection Pretty Woman.

As the film began, I saw this familiar logo on screen...

Vidmark, for those in the dark, was one of the finest 90's trash dispenser video companies out there. They mostly specialized in dime store pretentious indie crap, trashy "erotica", and straight to video terrors. Upon seeing that Vidmark had a grimy hand in this, I think I peed a little bit. This could turn out to be a long lost trash classic. With trepidation, I held my breath and hoped for the best.

Whore tells the story of working girl Liz, played by the fantastic Theresa Russell, who lets the audience spend a typical day in her shoes. Since the film happens to be shot in an almost mockumentary style, Russell always speaks directly to the camera, which lets us inside her head more than if it was just a simple, straight drama.

So, there's the story! Sounds kinda depressing, right? Well, my friends, let's break it down for you.

It's been a long time since I've seen a film with such ripe dialogue. Russell is a refreshingly realistic, worldweary, and sarcastic heroine and some of her line deliveries and facial expressions must be seen to be believed. Take a gander at some highlights!

Theresa, I love you!

We follow her turning down tricks left and right, including one scummy Indian guy who doesn't want to use a condom. Don't worry, he returns later to pick up another tasty morsel of female perfection.

Different strokes for different folks.
Truth be told, as discriminating as Liz is, I'm surprised she's not starving. But our girl Liz has standards. As a guy stops for a woman who stands on the corner with her jacket open, exposing her boobage, Liz shouts "Even tricks need a little bit of mystery, AIDS carrier!!!" before remarking to the audience "Y'know, she's a fucking strawberry, won't accept cash, only crack. I would never pull out my breasts in public!" I think I love this movie!

Liz recalls a tough time when she was gang raped by a group of horny young boys who recruited her with this line "You're a prostitute aren't you?" to which Liz responds "No, I'm a wet dream on legs!"

It's official! This might be my new favorite movie!

Liz continues her storytelling session with a real doozy about an old guy named Charlie. Let's see a pic of good ol' Charlie.
I always wondered what Burgess Meredith was doing around this time.

So, Charlie liked for Liz to whip his crazy ass, but he had a stroke and now resides in a rest home, where Liz still visits under the watchful eye of Prudy McPruder.

Don't judge me with your devil eyes, Prudy!

After all as Liz so eloquently puts it "Just cause he's in a rest home don't mean he's gotta rest." Liz brings Charlielikesitrough a apricot(?) during each whipping session and tells him that it's from his own garden back home. This section is actually kinda sweet. Trash with heart! I LOVE it!

Hey, girl heeeeeeyyyy!

Pretty soon, Liz makes it clear that she's terrified and on the run from her maniacal pimp, Blake. There's a chase scene as she tries to maneuver her way through the city and winds up in bar. Doesn't the name Blake just fill you with dread? Just wait until you see this goober that Liz is so terrified of.

Are you intimidated yet?

At this point, I thought that, so far, this is a little too normal to be a Ken Russell film. Then, THIS shows up on my screen.
What the Hell is that? An African ritual of some kind?

With a bunch more of these creepy performance artist strippers in the background, Liz recalls how she and Blake had dinner in a very nice French restaurant. How do I know it's French you may ask? Well, because Blake remarks "This is a French restaurant" to which Liz asks

"Well, then how come...there's no French fries on the menu, huh?" A smart one, that Liz! Check out her fancy dress attire, especially the ingenious use of old burlesque nipple tassels for earrings.
I swear I saw those on Ms. Gypsy Rose Lee herself.
Turns out that Blake really is a world class ass hole and Liz theorizes "I didn't think I could be promoted and I wondered if a whore could be fired." Apparently, it's their anniversary as pimp and ho. Liz doesn't much like her food and I mean, would you if your pimp ordered this for you?

Yes, she's not beyond a phallic comparison here.
Just as soon as Liz makes a scene in the joint, Blake the pimp, begins telling her she's fat and needs to work out. He might have a point, but does anyone really work out like this?
Didn't think so.

Liz mentions that she used to be married back in the day. We are treated to a lovely flashback when pre-ho Liz, looking and sounding every bit like a young Charlene Fraiser from Designing Women, bets on a sexy guy in a bar to win a drinking contest. 
C'mon, admit it! There are some similarities.
Then, he appears to be taken...or something. Prepare yourselves for cinema history's most disgusting on-screen kiss.
Pretty gross, right? Surprisingly, this still doesn't turn Liz off and pretty soon, she and this lowlife...

are married with a kid. Lowlifey McSleaze returns home one day and barfs on the meal Liz prepared and she decides she's fed up and leaves him. "I guess playing house is fun when you're seven years old, but when you're seven months pregnant, forget it!"
Go girl!
In one of the more emotional moments of the film, Liz regales us with stories of how her son, Chris, was staying with her mother until she died and now lives with his adopted parents. The scene of Liz seeing her son picked up from school as she hides behind a tree is surprisingly heartbreaking.
Liz has a run in with some cops on bikes and laughs them off. When discussing how an officer recently gave her the choice of blowing him or getting arrested only to bust her for jaywalking, she notes "I didn't use a crosswalk on the way to his dick. Well, excuse me, officer, but if your dick had been long enough, I wouldn'ta had to cross the fuckin' street!" Genius!!!!!

There's also a scene where one of Liz's tricks sucks on her high heel as Liz monotonously reads out a prepared monologue the man gave her about what a naughty boy he is.
Pure heaven, I'll tell ya!
Also, Liz had a friend named Katie who she lived with for a little while before loose cannon, Blake, put a knife to Katie's neck and took Liz away. What a bummer! I'm really starting to not like this guy.

During a particularly hilarious scene where Liz rides a horny old man before he drops dead while climaxing,an unenthusiastic Liz lights up and takes a few puffs as she routinely calls out such pleasantries as "Oh, honey, I'm so hot for you!" I know you?
Ultimately, Liz makes friends with a random black hobo and he ends up saving her from Blake, the killer pimp.
Oh, and you must see what I suppose is the hobo's victory dance.
In the end, Liz struts away with a flip of her hair and I couldn't wait for The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song to start playing. It's that empowering!
You're gonna make it after all, girl!
I gotta say that I really enjoyed the Hell out of Whore. Theresa Russell is all sorts of dryly comedic amazingness and Ken Russell plays it straight without too many of his oddball flourishes. It's probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed the unique raunchiness of the whole affair. It's like Showgirls, but a little bit more sufficient in the drama/acting/directing/writing departments. It's almost legitimately good...almost.

Let me leave you with some words from the film. Liz can sum up the film better than I ever could.

"You remember your old whore Jillian? She had crabs like crazy!"

8 out of 10 wet dreams on legs!

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