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Movie B+
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

I know James DiGiovanna just did a big review on this at the end of March, but the dang thing is out on DVD already, and that makes it fair game for me. James was highly complimentary of this sick morality tail, and I'm right there with him.

For starters, I didn't see how it could be possible for me to enjoy a film about a girl with a toothy vagina. Were I to make a list of things I didn't need to see, that would've been right up there with turtle porn and the history of diarrhea. The idea of seeing men getting their dicks ripped off caused psychosomatic pains in my crotch.

Alas, writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein has concocted a very funny, somehow moving and, yes, appropriately disgusting fable about young Dawn (a luminescent Jess Weixler), a well-meaning sweetheart of a high school student who just happens to be armed with shark teeth in her cootch. She starts the film by preaching abstinence to young teens, and winds up as a strange sort of superhero in the fight against date rape and misogyny.

Somehow, Lichtenstein and Weixler make Dawn a truly sympathetic character. When she finds herself in certain situations, you find yourself rooting for her nether regions to do the deed and teach some disgusting male his lesson. Of course, not all men are pigs, and the script properly includes some men who are righteous and thus never come face to face (or shaft to serrated hole) with Dawn.

The film has some stomach-churning moments, but it never goes overboard (unless you consider a dog swallowing a severed cock overboard). In the end, the film is an effective parable about a young woman armed with the ultimate weapon to defend herself. Dawn, through some miraculous filmmaking, comes off as a hero rather than a monster.

Special Features: Lichtenstein delivers a commentary, and there are some disposable deleted scenes. The best feature would be a behind-the-scenes look at the film, with a discussion of the "vagina dentata" myth, the character of Dawn and the crew's take on the severed penises.

Square Pegs: The Like, Totally Complete Series ...Totally

Show A-
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

While this short-lived, early-'80s sitcom is most remembered as the vehicle that brought Sarah Jessica Parker into the limelight, I remember it as one of the premier forces in the alternative-rock-music movement. This show introduced me to Devo and The Waitresses, and was devoted to exposing new wave artists. It was also pretty damned funny.

Parker played a geeky high school student looking to be popular with rah-rah types like Muffy (Jami Gertz) and Jennifer DeNuccio (Tracy Nelson). I had a crush on Nelson. Actually, I still have a crush on Nelson.

The most memorable character was Johnny Slash, played by the late Merritt Butrick. He was a strange character, totally dressing the new wave part, complete with a long, slim braid hanging over his shoulder. My favorite episode involved Johnny Slash, not known for his athletic prowess, emerging as a baseball hero. As the crowd screamed, "Johnny, Johnny!" while he rounded the bases, he became alarmed, asking his coach, "Why is everybody screaming? Is there a bug on me?"

It was sort of an early incarnation of Freaks and Geeks, which also had a short life. Square Pegs is fondly remembered as a hip sitcom at a time when the format (including shows like a waning Happy Days) had become supremely lame. It was cool enough to get Bill Murray to guest star as a substitute teacher for an episode.

Special Features: Some great recent interviews with the likes of Parker, Gertz and Nelson. Nelson is especially fun in her recollections of the show, including how she was accused of imitating Moon Unit Zappa's "valley girl" accent. (Nelson was first.)

I'm Not There

The Weinstein Company
Movie B+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

This is one strange movie. Numerous actors--including Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, who was nominated for an Academy Award here--all play Bob Dylan in different phases of his career. The film isn't so much an accurate portrayal of Dylan's life, as an intriguing, symbolic portrayal of Dylan's impact on history. It definitely gives off a satisfactory Dylan vibe.

Blanchett plays Dylan during his electric phase, and the portrayal is uncanny. It is honestly one of the more inspired casting choices in modern cinema history. If you've seen footage of Dylan during that time of his career, you might concur that Blanchett nails it.

Todd Haynes' film possesses a surreal, dreamlike quality. The folk-singer phase and even his born-again period are all touched upon. I especially loved the sequence where Blanchett's Dylan meets up with Allen Ginsberg, played hilariously by David Cross. It's beyond weird.

Special Features: A two-disc set featuring a director's commentary, deleted and extended scenes, and even some auditions and outtakes. Nice work.

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