Bitter Harvest (1993) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Bitter Harvest (1993) is a bad erotic thriller. Stephen Baldwin has just lost his father, who left all of his money to a TV preacher, but left his valuable coin collection and his large farm to Baldwin. The father was no great loss, as he regularly beat and abused Baldwin, and made him sleep in the hay loft. Jennifer Rubin shows up on his place, ostensibly lost, and worms her way into his home and his bed. Then Patsy Kensit shows up, supposedly wanting to buy the farm, and also seduces him. Next thing you know, the three are all doing each other.
Meanwhile, bank robbers are busy in the area. This is the misdirection portion of the thriller. Didn't work for me. Two drop dead gorgeous women who look somewhat alike showing up in the same town to seduce the same repressed hick at the same time stretched the suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. Then two of the robbers are killed, and Baldwin burns them in his furnace, and the three lovebirds decide to hold up a bank for sexual kicks.
That is about the time I lost all interest in where the plot was going, and the nudity was over by then as well.
I haven't even seen the movie. I just noticed the names in the cast, and realized it's a sure bet to be a loser. There are three key elements of this calculation:
Element A: model-turned-actress Jennifer Rubin
We have joked about a lot of people whose presence in a movie guarantees that it will be crap. I've pointed out that Juergen Prochnow's picture on a DVD box has the same meaning as a cow skull next to a water hole, and I've written often of the curse of Bryan Brown.
But, excepting the performers of softcore, nobody compares to Jennifer Rubin.
Prochnow has been in 23 films or TV movies rated 5.0 or lower at IMDB, including House of the Dead, 16th worst of all time. But it took him 36 years in the business to accumulate so many credits in bad movies, and he was also in some good ones like The English Patient and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, and even starred in one brilliant one (Das Boot). Even Bryan Brown, master of the mediocre movie, was in one great movie, Breaker Morant, which is often considered a masterpiece.
But Jennifer Rubin retired with a perfect record. She never had a major role in a good movie. Although the former model is certainly attractive, and some of her performances are ah-ight, her name or picture on the DVD box really is an absolute guarantee that the movie will stink! She was in 29 movies and an incredible total of 22 of them are rated 5.1 or lower, approximately matching in her short career an achievement that took 64-year-old Juergen Prochnow an entire lifetime of acting in bad movies and television shows. TEN of her movies score in the threes at IMDb. That is a truly astounding statistic, because Gerard Depardieu has 113 films with an IMDB rating, and only TWO of them are in the threes. None of her movies are above 7.0. Not a one. She was in one movie rated above 6.5 - Oliver Stone's The Doors, which could fairly be called a good movie - but she had such a tiny role that I don't even remember if she had a line, so you won't find her name or pic on the DVD box, thus maintaining her record.
There isn't much chance she can break her streak, since she pulled a Sandy Koufax and quit while she was ... er ... on top. She retired from films in 2001 while still in her thirties, and is now working as a hostess in a New York restaurant.
Here is her roll of shame.
Element B: pop tart and actress Patsy Kensit.
Patsy did manage to sneak into the cast of a few respectable movies. The top five or six on the list below can all be called "good" with at least some justification, although none is a masterpiece.
And then there's ...
Element C: Stephen Baldwin.
He managed to ruin the trio's perfect record by sneaking into a very good film, The Usual Suspects. That is the only film rated 7.5 or better on any of their bios! He was also in some others which could be called "good" with some justification, but the quality starts to drop precipitously after a while, and his summary numbers end up about halfway between Kensit and Rubin.
For all three of the Bitter Harvest leads combined, the median IMDB score is 4.8!
Just for the sake of comparison, here's what the summaries look like for real actors. Well, to be honest, Cazale's incredible record is a fluke because he died so young. His worst film is 164th of all time at IMDb! The other two guys give a realistic picture of what a great actor's chart should look like. Norton has made no bad movies while Branagh has made only one (Wild, Wild West) among 37 graded entries. Norton has a slight edge in all three measurements at this moment: more great movies, fewer bad movies, and a higher average per movie (I actually used the median, not the mean.)
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