Following The Amazon Prime Recommendation Worm #1

I know everyone has been dying for me to do another one of those movie roundup things I used to do. And by everyone, I mean no one. Well, this is gonna be sort of like that again. Late last year I decided to conduct a little experiment. On Amazon Prime you can go to a section marked “Customers Also Watched”. In there is exactly what you think. I thought it might be interesting to pick a movie, then when I finish it, take the first recommendation in that section and keep repeating this until I run out of recommendations. Basically traversing a probabilistic graph like an ant algorithm except there may be no end point and since it’s just me, there’s no convergence on a path. It’s just me following the probabilistic graph generated by what other customers picked to watch after they watched something else. I started on December 18th, 2015. Since I can’t always get around to doing full reviews of things, I thought it would be fun to give you occasional updates with little reviews of each of these films. And boy are there some strange ones. This is going to be a big one with 34 films I’ve watched so far. I’ll try to do these in shorter amounts in the future. We’ll see how long I can keep this up. I will keep poster art out here because of the enormous number of films in this one. Here we go!

  1. Seduction: The Cruel Woman (1985, dir. Monika Treut & Elfi Mikesch) – Last year I watched a film called Female Misbehavior (1992) by Monika Treut. She is a German director who, at least in the 1980s, made really bizarre arty sex movies. This was no exception. While I did enjoy Female Misbehavior quite a bit, this was just weird. But kind of weird in a good way. It follows a woman who runs a place that caters to people’s fetishes. That’s really it. There’s not much to say in retrospect except to make sure you are in that experimental arty mood if you are going to sit down and watch this. If you are, then you could possibly enjoy it. I kind of did.
  2. Satan’s Slave (1976, dir. Norman J. Warren) – This one just wasn’t any good. It was a 1970s British horror film that reminded me of the awful Virgin Witch (1972). It was just plain boring. A girl goes and stays in a house with family and gets caught up in a cult. Or at least that’s the plot summary. It’s just boring stuff that tries to build an atmosphere and has a few “scary” sequences. Not worth your time.
  3. Cruel Passion (1977, dir. Chris Boger) – This in an adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s Justine. Unfortunately, it’s almost as boring as actually reading the original book. The general story is about a girl who is cast out and goes from place to place being taken advantage of sexually. So wait, that means Lars Von Trier got Dogville from Justine and Nymphomaniac from Anita: Swedish Nymphet (1973). Interesting. Far more interesting than this lousy sexploitation movie. She really doesn’t do a whole lot of wandering. She really isn’t taken advantage of that much either. At least it knew how to end itself properly. By that I mean it had her killed off. You are better off with Justine de Sade from 1972 instead.
  4. Her and She and Him (1970, dir. Max Pécas) – This is one of those movies put out by Audubon Films. They brought a lot of foreign sex related films to the U.S. and dubbed them. This was one of them. It’s actually pretty offensive. A naive exchange student from Sweden shows up in Paris and winds up in a screwed up lesbian relationship with an older woman. Meanwhile, a young man is in a messed up gay relationship. Both the lesbian and the gay guy are portrayed as damaged or just plain weird. Of course the two young people end up together and say some stupid things to imply that being straight is normal, but we should still feel sorry for the homosexuals. Do I even have to say skip this one? Oh, except there is one funny goof in this movie. The young girl goes down on the older lady who is standing in a well lit room. Yet, her lower half must be in a different place cause it’s like nighttime down there.
  5. Virgin Machine (1988, dir. Monika Treut) – This movie is about a German woman who becomes fascinated by sexual things outside the perceived “norms”. As a result, she ultimately winds up in San Francisco. It’s arty for sure, but you can still kind of follow along here. There is the scene where the male impersonator simulates ejaculation with a beer bottle. However, the only thing really worth seeing here are the few scenes with Susie Sexpert/Susie Bright. I didn’t know who she was, but she’s apparently well known in my neck of the woods. You can find her online. She has been known as the “Pauline Kael of Porn”. People probably know her best as playing Jesse in the Wachowski’s movie Bound (1996) as well as being a technical advisor on the film. The few scenes with her are rather interesting. I could have watched a whole movie where the lead character just talked to her. Too bad she doesn’t.
  6. The Immoral One (1980, dir. Claude Mulot) – My advice here is to simply not watch it on Amazon Prime. They edited it heavily. Shouldn’t surprise me I guess since it’s made by the director of the porn film Pussy Talk (1975). It’s about a woman who is in a car accident that recovers from her amnesia by listening to audio tapes. It’s just a thin excuse to show her as a call girl going to her clients. Unfortunately, the second anything starts it just cuts away to the next non-sex scene. It’s really abrupt like you’ve just come to the end of a Godfrey Ho movie. And it’s a real shame to cause the lead actress is very pretty and the movie is well shot. The sex scenes are probably very well done, but you won’t see them on Amazon Prime. Too bad. Also, a little strange considering I believe Her and She and Him had hardcore penetration in one scene. Whatever.
  7. Sexus (1965, dir. José Bénazéraf) – Oh, god! This was terrible. It’s one of those movies where seriously nothing happens. I think Michael Snow’s Wavelength (1967) had more action than this. A girl gets kidnapped and she kind of falls in love with her captors and things fall apart. It’s the worst kind of foreign arthouse garbage. Just stay away from this thing. I really can’t stand Godard. I’m really not even a fan of his first film Breathless. Take Breathless and remove anything enjoyable about it and make it about a kidnapping. That’s this movie.
  8. The Lickerish Quartet (1970, dir. Radley Metzger) – I like my review on Letterboxd: “That was an artsy and pretentious mess.” Yes, it is. It’s about two older people and young man who watch porn films together. Then they go to a carnival and bring a woman back who they think was in a movie they watched. What follows is a film really wanting to be something akin to Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961). A lot of arty stuff and a lot of stuff that just screams: “You wouldn’t understand if I told you” nonsense. It even tries to get really meta about it all at the end. Don’t bother with this. Go watch Last Year at Marienbad instead. It’s wonderful!
  9. Sweet Ecstasy (1962, dir.Max Pécas) – Back to Max again. This time he brought along Elke Sommer to be in a film that wants to be something akin to Antonioni’s films with Monica Vitti. Except it’s stupid bad foreign upper class stuff that you saw a lot during this period. My biggest problem with this movie, other than that it sucked, is the burning boat scene. There’s a part where the adult children are on a boat having some sort of auction where they have Elke Sommer tied up. The boat catches on fire and they all flee onto lifeboats. They then realize they left Elke behind and rescue her. Afterwards, they try to punish the guy who accidentally set the boat on fire. They make him do stupid childish things. It’s dumb. But what pisses me off is that while people are fleeing the room where Elke is we can clearly see her tied, not gagged, but not screaming for help. Sorry, but once you see it, then you just keep yelling at the screen that it was your own damn fault for letting them tie you up and then saying nothing as the room burned. Regardless, more worthless foreign stuff.
  10. The Curious Female (1970, dir. Paul Rapp) – It took ten of these, but I finally hit one I would recommend. This movie takes place in the future where apparently a master computer rules over everything. However, instead of making everyone “moral”, it makes them all orgy bisexual loving folks. Some of them gather in a place where they can watch old movies that show how people used to live. It’s certainly is weird. They only watch two films. The first is a silent movie where a vacuum salesman shows up and gets screwed by the lady of the house. Then they watch some movie called The Three Virgins. That makes up the rest of the film. It cutting between the film and the folks in the room watching it, who by the way, are also actors within the film they are watching. The Three Virgins thing revolves around a computer dating business and what happens when a guy comes in looking for a virgin. There’s only two things I really want to mention here. One, is the black lesbian character named Pearl. I watched several lesbian movies directed by women at the beginning of last year from the past 10 years or so and this was a much better character. The movies I watched were like Loving Annabelle (2006) or Bloomington (2010). They quickly turned into basically softcore porn, tried to make lesbianism as forbidden as possible, and just wouldn’t stop to let us actually get to know them a little. Pearl is just a girl who figures out that she’s still a virgin at her age because she likes girls instead. That’s it! We get to know her a bit and she just discovers that about herself. Nice, simple, and positive. Then there’s the extremely over the top gay guy who comes into the computer dating place. He’s an odd duck. He’s every stereotype you can think of, but at the same time he stands up for himself and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. He’s interesting. Oh, also we find out that 13 year old girls are taken to the “elderly gentleman” to lose their virginity in the future. Yes, just the girls. It never says where the guys are taken though and they obviously don’t keep their virginity in the future either. I recommend this one.
  11. Days of Sin and Nights of Nymphomania (1963, dir. Poul Nyrup) – This is just an odd sit. It’s a Danish movie that was again brought over by Audubon Films which means more sex stuff. It’s basically a house party with mostly naked women doing whatever it is they were doing in front of the camera. But then near the end it just seems to turn on a dime into a heist movie that ends with a guy killing a girl, I think, and getting arrested. Some of the stuff with the girls is kind of pretty, but there’s just no reason to subject yourself to this.
  12. Chain Gang Women (1971, dir. Lee Frost) – Spoiler alert! There are no chain gang women in chain gang women. It goes for awhile like a gritty look at men on a chain gang before finally letting a couple of them escape. Then they run into two women. One is attached to one of the guys, but the other rapes her. Then they run into a very young girl who is married to a much older man. They sort of take advantage, sort of go to rescue her, but the old man kills them both and keeps the girl. Just a pointless sexploitation film with a title as accurate as 1,000 Convicts And A Woman.
  13. Savage Abduction (1973, dir. John Lawrence) – This one actually goes under three titles: The Bloody Slaying of Sarah Ridelander, Cycle Psycho, and Savage Abduction. Well, Sarah Ridelander is killed at the beginning, but that death is hardly important enough to be called a “Bloody Slaying” or be in the title. Cycle Psycho at least alludes to the fact that a motorcycle gang is in this, but they are hardly psychos. Strangely, Savage Abduction is the most accurate title. The movie is about a crazy guy who blackmails another guy into getting two young girls for him. He does this because he murders the man’s wife at his request. A motorcycle gang with the word “savage” in their names do the abducting. And by abducting I mean simply pick up two stupid young girls who thought hitching a ride with random motorcyclists was a good idea. The rest of the film is just killing time till it decides it has enough minutes in the runtime to have what little climax it has in store for the audience play out. After Savage Island (1985), I’m beginning to think Fred and Ben Savage are the only good things with “savage” in them.
  14. The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967, dir. Harald Reinl) – More like dangle Christopher Lee in our face, take him away, then bring him back for the end. This was pretty bad. Most of the movie you follow two guys and two girls on their way to some castle. The girls basically overreact in fear to everything. However, the guys underreact to everything just running towards the obvious danger. What a waste of time. Making it in the first place, and then me watching it.
  15. Sacred Flesh (2000, dir. Nigel Wingrove) – Wanna watch nuns have sex with each other while the Mother Superior argues with Mary Magdalene? No? Neither did I. This is just nunsploitation that tries to give itself some meaning with the Mother Superior/Mary Magdalene stuff. If I want something in that vein, then that’s what Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) is for. Seriously, go watch it now. It even looks like it’s available on Amazon now. In the past you had to track down a copy online because the film was being sat on by the studio to a ridiculous degree. Skip Sacred Flesh.
  16. Primitive London (1965, dir. Arnold L. Miller) – And by Primitive London, they mean heavy cynicism and a bunch of stripping. It’s a Mondo movie. Nothing ridiculous like the pond scene from Brutes and Savages (1978) or anything like that. The most interesting things are probably the stripper running from club to club to make money and when they talk to Mods and Rockers. Can’t think of a good stripper movie to recommend really, but as for Mods and Rockers, see Quadrophenia (1979) for the Mods and Rocker (1972) for the Rockers. I’m not sure if it’s become easier to find Rocker now years after I tracked down a copy, but it’s worth it. If memory serves, the movie is easy to find, but English subtitles for the German aren’t. Still worth it. This movie is okay. Nothing to seek out.
  17. The Wild Women of Wongo (1958, dir. James L. Wolcott) – There’s a hell of a title for what is a really boring movie. I know I say boring a lot, but that’s because I never took the SATs. Yeah, sure, that’s a good enough excuse for me. I could explain the plot, but there’s no point. It’s just a 1950s primitive exploitation film that is just some nonsense some people thought up to have some attractive women run around in small outfits and that’s it. No reason to watch this at all.
  18. Bad Girls From Mars (1990, dir. Fred Olen Ray) – Ah, good old Fred Olen Ray. This film tries to be meta about the production of a movie because it’s cheap and that way it doesn’t have to build many sets until it settles on an ending that was already tired even before Sleepaway Camp (1983). And I haven’t even seen that movie yet. I’ll get to it eventually along with Fatal Games (1984), but it’s just a slight twist on the ending of Friday the 13th (1980) because Girls Nite Out (1982) already proved that having it be the mother again was done for. I know I’m getting to be a broken record here, but no. Skip it!
  19. The Nude Set (1957, dir. Pierre Foucaud) – Also called The Fast Set and Mademoiselle Strip-tease. Just a whole lot of stripping. Another primitive exploitation film from overseas. These movies are such a waste of time. I can’t even tell you how unbearable some of them are. However, there is something weird that happens near the end of this film. Up until it happens, the movie is just about a girl and some friends visiting strip clubs. Then seemingly out of nowhere a dream sequence happens that looks like it’s straight out of Fred and Ginger 1930s musical. No joke. And it isn’t even clear that it’s a dream at first either. Then the movie just crashes into it’s ending. Onward! Unfortunately, it’s to more stripping.
  20. Lap Dancing (1995, dir. Mike Sedan) – Think this might have been rushed into production to capitalize on Showgirls (1995)? You’re probably right. Especially when one of the guys even bares a resemblance to Kyle MacLachlan. It’s not good, but at least it didn’t hinge it’s success entirely on a single performance that didn’t hold up like Verhoeven’s film did. As you can tell, I’m not one of those revisionist critics who wants to turn Showgirls and Starship Troopers (1997) into misunderstood masterpieces. They’re both garbage. At least Starship Troopers is entertaining garbage and you can tell yourself Verhoeven was trying to make the whole film like it was a piece of propaganda from the fascist regime within the film. However, you’re better off exploring other Verhoeven films such as Soldier of Orange (1977) or Turkish Delight (1971) that he made before coming to the states. Even Black Book (2006) with its spaghetti western archetypes is more worth your time. As for Lap Dancing, it’s kind of bi-polar. Most of the time it’s just stripping, but then it will suddenly go into full on sentimental mode complete with sad music. It’s about a girl who comes to Hollywood looking for fame and ends up at a strip club that looks like the night club from Atom Egoyan’s Exotica (1994). Or at least it did for me. Skip! And apparently, I can’t stop referencing other movies. I think it’s a disease.
  21. From The Head (2011, dir. George Griffith) – Want to see a film that will probably make my gems list at the end of 2016 now? See From The Head. It’s an indie film that takes place entirely inside the men’s restroom at a strip club. The main character is a bathroom attendant. People come in and go out delivering there bits (literally and figuratively). It does start to drag a bit, but it still pulls through. I like when they had the women’s restroom break and the ladies just used the men’s and neither the guys nor the girls really seemed to care one bit about using the same bathroom. As they shouldn’t. But then they take that away by having their bathroom fixed. Honestly, I think it needed that to liven things up more, but like I said, it still pulls through. The lead, played by the director, is interesting, and it’s a job I don’t think I’ve ever seen given the attention of a full movie. Worth seeing.
  22. Las Vegas Story (2015, dir. Byron Q.) – There really isn’t anything to say about this. A lady with kids is a prostitute in Las Vegas and we just see her go about her stuff as she moves towards trying to open a male escort business. That’s really it. The only thing I remember of interest is that apparently a girl playing the slots was acting too suspicious as a prostitute on the casino floor to the lead actress by simply playing the slots, but later she and a friend will just go right up to a lady at a bar to try and sell her on buying an escort from them. Didn’t get that. This is one of those that I can’t recommend, but I can see other people getting more out of this than I did.
  23. Birthday (2009, dir. James Harkness) – This on the other hand. I can’t see getting anything out of this rambling nonsense. It’s one of those movies that feels like you are sitting in a college liberal arts class where people who have no idea what they are talking about say things they think are profound in the hopes somebody will be impressed. The only difference is it’s a brothel with David Lynch lighting and the prostitutes are the ones talking. Yep. Boring as it sounds. I love when people call something like this a meditation on something. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen that done. This isn’t it.
  24. The Case Of Unfaithful Klara (2009, dir. Roberto Faenza) – A guy hires a private investigator to follow around his girlfriend. The guy basically strings him along under the pretense of protecting his client from being hurt which has ties to his own personal life. Nope! Nope! Nope! Boring! I didn’t care about any of this.
  25. Extase (2009, dir. Cheyenne Carron) – Speaking of not caring about any of this. I didn’t care about this either. It’s once again people yacking in a room with artsy shots and sets. This time it has to do with God. Wow! What a surprise there. This is just one of those short indie arty modeled on good foreign films films that I think is made by a director to simply try things out and hopefully go on to make something better, less derivative, more coherent, and original. However, her other films look like they are just taking the sex and religion thing and running with it. Next!
  26. A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy (2009, dir. Ian McCrudden) – Oh, boy! You mean I get to watch several storylines between several people play out at a party where Luke Perry is brought in so people will go see the movie and the characters keep switching from Swedish to English and back? Wow! Don’t sign me up. This is one of those movies that you would have expected Hugh Grant to be in back in the early 1990s like Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994). People have some issues, they come out at a party, and things resolve. I don’t know what to say about this movie except that it’s so not worth your time.
  27. Camembert Rose (2009, dir. Barnabás Tóth) – It’s an indie coming of age story from Hungary that’s reasonably good. Nothing amazing here. A kid who wants to see the world has a bit of a nutty dad who still loves the hell out of him. He leaves and goes somewhere else for awhile, then returns home. Not great, but I kind of enjoyed this one.
  28. Please, Please Me! (2009, dir. Emmanuel Mouret) – Wanna see a modern day French director desperately try to make his own Jacques Tati film and fail? I know you don’t, so skip this. It has a stupid beginning and a stupid ending with mostly a party sequence in between that acts like a really lame and childish version of the restaurant scene from Tati’s Playtime (1967). Just go watch a Tati film instead. There’s no reason to settle for this.
  29. Strange Fits Of Passion (1999, dir. Elise McCredie) – I’ve heard the mermaids singing, and they are trying to tell us to stay away from Strange Fits Of Passion. It’s about a girl who you will spend the entire film screaming at to please let her get laid already so she can calm down. She even has two gay friends who can see her festering and having the female equivalent of blue balls, but do nothing about it. I wanted to step into the film and punch them in the crotch. I know very few people will get the reference at the beginning of this, so go watch the movie I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing (1987) instead of this movie. So much indie! So much indie! My head is going to explode and dancing suns are going to pop out!
  30. Summer Vacation (2012, dir. Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon) – Luckily, the next film was not only a short, but decent too. It’s from Israel and is about a family who is on vacation when the father runs into a former male lover. Not sure if he’s supposed to be gay or bi, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a nice little film that shows the father’s struggle. Nothing more, nothing less.
  31. Cold Blooded (2007, dir. Sylvie Verheyde) – Back to France for more indie. This movie is supposed to be about a messed up girl and a former soldier, but it’s mainly about the soldier. The stuff with her wasn’t really anything I thought was worthwhile. I could have really just done with a movie about the soldier dealing not only with his past, but his present demons. The lead actor kind of made me think of a French Benicio Del Toro. A definite skip, but I liked the actor and wouldn’t mind seeing him in something else.
  32. Enthralled (2014, dir. Chip Tsao) – This is when Amazon Prime launched me into Asia and I’m still stuck there. This comes to us from Hong Kong. It’s supposed to be about some guys who were friends as kids, then we see them as adults, but if I hadn’t read the plot summary then I wouldn’t have made the connection. As for the dialog and the message, it felt like they kept taking a brick and bashing it into my head to drive home its points. The only thing noteworthy here is that a guy sleeps with both the mother and her son.
  33. Desire (2002, dir. Eung-soo Kim) – Wanna watch a movie about lifeless, soulless, and loveless characters made by a director in love with Zhangke Jia, Robert Bresson, and Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman? If you said yes, then what the hell is wrong with you? This is one of those movies I thought was going to kill me. The only film I can think of that it really reminded me of was Bresson’s The Devil, Probably (1977), but that’s probably just because everything happens with such lifeless acting that Bresson was known for. Heck maybe Marguerite Duras’ India Song (1975) is a more appropriate film to think of based on Desire. I didn’t like either of those movies and they are still better options than Desire. It’s just several people who walk through a series of loveless stuff and empty moments that aren’t what anyone would call life.
  34. Origin Of Monogamy (2013, dir. Min Kyeol) – Sticking with South Korea like Desire, this one was actually not in IMDb at the time. Amazon Prime seems to have a lot of Korean cinema in it, but the titles are alternate and usually not in IMDb. Oh, and of course they don’t subtitle the credits. Heck, even a Korean director quote tweeted me on Twitter, then went on to say that Amazon Prime basically makes Korean cinema more accessible outside of South Korea than it is within the country itself. As for this movie, oh god! The movie begins with a therapist seeing a doctor who tests people for deadly diseases such as AIDS. During the session it comes out that she is manipulating results to make it look like certain men have AIDS which causes them to kill themselves. I’m sure there was more stuff I was supposed to pick up on, but I got stuck on that and that it seemed all the Korean girls wore way too much makeup and lipstick combined with really short dresses. I believe it ends with her deliberately infecting a guy with AIDS so that he will be stuck marrying her. It ends with them in front of a grave stone dressed for a wedding with him looking half dead. I guess that’s where this title comes from. It also goes under the title Sins Of A Marriage.

I got through it! I promise I will try to do this in smaller chunks in the future. Should be interesting to see how long Amazon Prime is going to keep me in South Korea adding these unIMDBd movies into their database.

3 responses to “Following The Amazon Prime Recommendation Worm #1

  1. Oh you’re quite brave to sit through some of Amazon’s recommendations. I gave up using their book recommendations the first month I got my first kindle. They really try to stick you with the independent makers stuff don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not brave. I just really like coming up with algorithms and blindly following them to see where they take me.

      To be fair, I started with an indie movie so it makes sense that it would still have me there 34 films later. Should be interesting to see when it really does move me into something distinctively different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That will be interesting. Amazon has tried to give me recommendations, but they’ve always been by something I’ve never even heard of and least likely to watch or read. Or I’ve already seen or read it, this making them recalculate the recommendations. Again.

        Liked by 1 person