Tag Archives: Adam West

The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971)

marriage of a young stockbroker

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Husband is a voyeur.

William (Richard Benjamin) seems to be living the dream having both a stable job and a beautiful wife named Lisa (Joanna Shimkus), but underneath he’s bored and as a source of escape begins to get involved in voyeuristic activities. He spends hours at an adult theater and uses any opportunity he can to spy on scantily clad women through his binoculars. Eventually Lisa, in a fit of frustration over William’s behavior, walks out on him and moves in with her sister Nan (Elizabeth Ashley) and her husband Chester (Adam West). Nan is very controlling and makes every attempt to keep Lisa away from William even as William tries to reconcile. Although her marriage seems fine on the outside it is actually as troubled as William and Lisa’s, which comes to a head when both couples get involved in a group therapy session.

The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Charles Webb, who was also the author of The Graduate, which became a hit film that was produced by Lawrence Turman who directed this one. Clearly Turman was hoping for the same success and this one begins well. The opening bit showing William bored with his job is funny as is his trip to an adult theater and the many thoughts that go through his head as he watches a nudie flick. The cinematography by Lazlo Kovacs captures the California coastline in a lush style and the overall narrative takes a refreshingly open-minded approach towards sexual fetishes as well as the institution of marriage while also questioning society’s conventional understanding of both.

Benjamin is good playing almost the exact same type of character living the same type of detached existence as the one he did in The Steagle. In fact this film could easily be considered an extension to that one and both movies were released less than a month apart. This one though fares a bit better as Benjamin gives a more well-rounded performance. In fact this may be his best work second only to the one that he did in Diary of a Mad Housewife.

The beautiful Shimkus does equally well and I enjoyed the scenes with the two of them together. Ashley makes a strong impression as the meddling sister and has a few funny moments. West, who campaigned hard for the role in an attempt to shake his Batman image, seems a bit too transparent and there needed to be more of a backstory involving both his character and his marriage to Nan.

Unfortunately all of these good things get crushed by a script that doesn’t know what direction it wishes to take. The scene with Tiffany Bolling is just one issue as she plays this really beautiful woman who for some indiscriminate reason decides to invite William, who is a complete stranger to her, into her house for sex after spotting him walking down the sidewalk. Why such a gorgeous woman would invite a schmuck like Benjamin into her place on a sexual whim makes very little sense and seems too much like a male sexual fantasy that demanded much more of an explanation to be believable. I realize this scene was part of the story arc to show William’s dissatisfaction with having sex with women who were strangers and thus propel him to try and win Lisa back, but the same point could’ve been made in a more realistic way had he done it with a hooker that he met on the street instead.

The ending is the biggest letdown as it employs too much of a feel-good, happy curve that comes out of nowhere. The two main characters suddenly turn into frolicking, youthful lovebirds that do not in any way resemble the same people that we’ve been following for the first 90 minutes. It comes off like a cop-out that is jarring to the overall tone while undermining all of the other issues that the film had previously brought up.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: August 19, 1971

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated R

Director: Lawrence Turman

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: http://www.modcinema.com

Doin’ Time on Planet Earth (1988)

doin time on planet earth 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Weird people don’t belong

Ryan (Nicholas Strouse) is a teenager who has always been ridiculed as being ‘weird’, but finds that he may actually be an offspring to aliens from another planet. This may be the case with all the other weird people too. He and his fellow ‘weirdos’ must now band together and return to the planet that their forefathers came. Charles and Edna (Adam West and Candice Azzara) are the two that are heading the mission.

This is definitely an original idea that is on the most part handled well. The humor is certainly quirky and on the whole not bad. The problem is the fact that it is treated too lightly like it is nothing more than a harmless joke. A deeper, darker underlying theme might have given it more stature and not made it seem so silly and forgettable. It also places too much emphasis on the kids high school life, which makes it seem at times like just another redundant ‘jock vs. geeks’ thing. There is also has too much of that 80’s look, which gets annoying.

Technically it could have used a bigger budget. The quirky humor gets you through it, but the sets are poor and the special effects tacky. The editing is choppy and the color schemes ugly.

The lead himself is the blandest ‘weird’ person you will ever see. He really doesn’t seem that strange at all. The weirdest trait he has is that he has booby trapped his bedroom so anyone that doesn’t knock gets caught in a net. This seems more like a trait of someone who is immature than weird. He is also way to clean cut. A weird person should have a little more of an eccentric style or look. It also doesn’t help matters that the actor who plays him is quite poor and never went on to play anything else.

The presence of West and Azzara help a lot. Azzara’s outrageous beehive hairdos and fingernails alone make it fun. West seems to act like this is nothing more than some campy walk through, but it is still nice to see him doing something more than just a token appearance. Martha Scott is the real surprise as she really seems to get into being a bitchy, snobby mother-in-law.

If your expectations are moderate and you are just in the mood for something that’s just a little bit different than this might fit the bill. There are a few good chuckles and a higher than usual quotient of movie references.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: September 14, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 25Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Charles Matthau

Studio: Cannon Film Distributors

Available: VHS