Nowhere Man (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"Nowhere Man might be the best film ever made about a guy who gets his dick cut off."

 - The Village Voice

"It might be the only film in history in which a cameo by Troma kingpin Lloyd Kaufman actually increases its overall class content."

 - The Onion A.V. Club


At the beginning of Nowhere Man, we hear a couple arguing. She has taken something from him and he wants it back desperately. She says she'll return it for $560. Lacking the cash, he refuses the deal.

As the story develops, much of it in flashbacks, and flashbacks within flashbacks, we discover that the missing item is the man's penis, which the woman has snipped off, Lorena Bobbit style, and placed on ice. The guy, who resembles the notorious Mr. Bobbit, then goes on a typical film noir detective pursuit - well, typical except that he's not looking for a falcon statuette or a missing person, but his own dick, which adds a certain urgency to his quest. The two stories, past and present, unfold in parallel. In the present, he pursues his missing pee-pee. In the flashbacks, we see why he lost it in the first place, and gain some unexpected sympathy for the woman. As the story unfolds, we find that Rochon is not just an insane bitch, but was reacting to a flurry of abuse heaped upon her after the guy, who supposedly loved her, discovered her porno past and was unable to deal with it.

I'm not sure what relationship, if any, this film had with Troma Studios, but there seem to be some connections, as noted in the quotes which begin this article. The emperor of Troma, Lloyd Kaufman, appears in the film as the doctor who explains the victim's medical options. The Lorena part is played by the film's co-producer Debbie Rochon, who is to Troma approximately what Gwyneth Paltrow once was to Miramax - their muse, their resident diva, and their best actress. She's the centerpiece of their repertory company, and can handle almost any kind of character. I suppose she is the low-rent Paltrow - kind of a Gwyneth Skidrow, so to speak. Whatever connection there may be to Troma, this film is not a Troma campfest, but a tense drama with some occasional offbeat and pitch black comedic fringes.

Unexpectedly, it did receive a brief mini-release into theaters. According to IMDb, it had an opening weekend below $200 (!!)  in one theater on the March 13th weekend (2005). The actual weekend gross of $173 is the lowest such number I have ever seen. Assuming three showings per day for three days, that's $19 per screening, and I guess that would be $19 at Chicago prices, because the film was reviewed by several Chicago-based critics. (I didn't see an Ebert review, however.)  Nowhere Man later expanded to another theater, finishing with a domestic gross a bit above $3,000. I guess the second theater must have been in New York, because the film picked up notices from The New York Times, The Post, and the Village Voice, and they pinpointed an opening date in late March. The metacritic score is 41, which is not so bad, although one must appreciate that the score was not derived from a bunch of wishy-washy 40/100 reviews, but from scores in a very wide range from 0/100 to 80/100. There were some harsh pans, to be sure, but Nowhere Man also picked up four pretty good reviews. (Village Voice, Film Threat, L.A. Weekly, Chicago Reader.)

I think director Tim McCann did yeoman's work to stretch the non-existent budget as much as he could to create a film with some tension and a professional look and sound. The film is only 75 minutes long so it's a short trip, and the road is made a bit smoother by the fact that Rochon did a good job in the lead. One would be hard pressed to find a better actress in the world of B and C movies.

That's the good news.

The bad news is, well, let's face it, it may be the best no-budget movie about a guy looking for his dick, as the Village Voice contended, but it is still a no-budget movie about a guy looking for his dick, and the acting can sometimes descend to the porno film level.



  • The widescreen transfer is anamorphically enhanced (16x9)
  • full-length commentary by the director and Rochon



  • Michael Rodrick: buns

  • Debbie Rochon: breasts (in a grainy old tape)

  • Occasional body parts in frames without faces.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.6/10. (Not a meaningful statistic. It is based on 25 votes, and nine of those awarded an unlikely 10/10.)
  • Box Office Mojo. Opening weekend: $173. Total gross: $3,000 in a maximum of two theaters.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a film which I simply did not enjoy on any level, but which had an appreciative response from some respectable critics, so I guess C- is the correct grade based on our scale.

Return to the Movie House home page