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Released: Nov 01st, 1988
Running Time: 85
Director: John Leslie
Company: VCA Pictures
Cast: Peter North, Britt Morgan, Joey Silvera, Chanel Price, Aja (I), Rene Morgan, Brandi Wine
Critical Rating: AAA 1/2
Look, I have absolutely nothing up my sleeve.
Unquestionably a first rate feature in terms of lush productions values, sex and acting, Josh Leslie’s The Pillowman is also something of a magician. It works beautifully on a premise that must have been devised during halftime of an AFC football game – something about a list of women’s names stolen from a bogus dating service run by Joey Silvera who behaves like Capt. Queeg when he discovers it’s missing. It’s merely a list, Joey, not a $58 million lottery ticket.
Alden, Pillowman (Peter North) swipes the list from the grizzly “Chief” (Jose Duval) who first swiped it from Silvera. Catatonic North is going to use it to meet girls (he hasn’t had any for two months), thereby establishing the premise for several ditzy sex encounters: Aja whose “husband” F.M. Bradley sucks on a pacifier while she makes it with North; Brittany Morgan, a Jack Webb freak who recreates scenes form the D.I. with North, and a memorable opening cat burglar suck scene with Chanel Price (what you get if you mated Marlene Dietrich with Larry Bird).In and around this amphitheater of the bizarre, director Leslie creates fascinating background by-play: a frantic Pakistani landlord (Helen Haze); Duvall’s slip from reality; the finer pints of tenant eviction under California law and co-scripter Silvera’s head bobbing like a dashboard figurine. All the little human quirks work beautiful against nice backdrops, but this whole idea about a stolen dating list and get it at any cost mentality is really forced and flimsy. This may be the one time where the storyline deducts points. Nice box cover art with Aja and North.