A Gun, a Car, a Blonde (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs up - what can ya say? We both liked this unknown, generally disrespected movie, and we consider it to be greatly underrated.

Scoop's comments in white:

Don't be fooled by the low ratings at IMDb and the lack of reviews in the database. This is a pretty good little flick, although it is aimed at a small target audience. You have to love genre parodies, and you have to love those B&W Spade/Marlowe detective films. And you also have to be able to accept the fact that the film leads from parody into heartbreak.

What hurts it with most people is that it is a parody which doesn't give you a wink or an acknowledgment that it is kidding. The dialogue is hilariously (and intentionally) bad, like the lines in Mant!, that pseudo-movie inside of Matinee.

This film is a sort of the Evil Twin of The Wizard of Oz, in that part of it takes place in a dream world inspired by the real world, but in this case the real life scenes are in color and the dreams are in B&W.


Andrea Thompson did a full-frontal nude scene as "A Blonde".

Jim Metzler shows his butt.

Here's the idea. Richard is a man in a wheelchair, dying of spinal cancer. Between pain, sleep, despair, objectification therapy, and medication, he concocts an imaginary world into which he retreats. It's very similar to the holodeck world that Captain Picard creates for himself in Star Trek TNG. In the fantasy world, Richard's legs are fine, and he's the prototypical tough guy detective from the 1940's, drinkin' hard, crackin' wise, lovin' the beautiful blondes with sultry voices, outsmartin' the crooked cops, talkin' the 1940's gangster slang, and narratin' his own adventures with the usual screwy metaphors.

Of course, the way he imagines it is not the way it really was, nor even the way it was in the movies. It is just the way it would be if you fell asleep and dreamt it right now. The metaphors and wisecracks would be the best that your subconscious could conceive extemporaneously, and the characters in the story would be characters from your real life, just like Auntie Em. You'd talk something like Bogie in those old movies, but you wouldn't be able to duplicate it perfectly because you are you, not Raymond Chandler.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no meaningful features

I thought it was a nice, small movie. The framing story about the dying guy was just OK, but the "holodeck" B&W fantasies were hilarious parodies of film noir, and I especially liked Andrea Thompson's rendering of the bottle blonde with her boozy Bacall voice and some impeccable timing in her lurid come-ons. She did a courageous full-frontal nude scene in clear light, which led me to appreciate her even more.

I liked the way they tied the real world and the fantasy world together. Nicely done, and greatly underappreciated.

Tuna's Thoughts

This movie seems to have struggled for theatrical distribution, and then gone to budget video. The few votes at IMDB have it at 4.6 of 10, and the only review is unkind.

I adored this film.

The problem, possibly, was mismarketing. It was billed as a thriller, but has nearly no action and absolutely no suspense. It is half drama, and half B & W detective noir. Jim Metzler is well-to-do, reasonably young and good looking, and has cancer of the spinal cord. Although it is in remission, he is paralyzed from the waist down, is frequently in pain, and requires the assistance of a nurse companion, Victor Love. He also has a housekeeper, and a gold-digging sister, who has suddenly taken an interest in him now that she stands to inherit his money.

His best friend, John Ritter, is kind of a New Age and alternative healing nut, and tells him about a drug-free method of pain control that is much like a detailed daydream, where you imagine every nuance of the fantasy. Borrowing from his familiarity with 40's and 50's detective noir films, he incorporates people and things from his real life into a wonderful spoof. His becomes PI Rick Stone, and the attractive blonde neighbor, Andrea Thompson, comes to him because her life is in danger.

The noir segments are beautifully done in B & W, but forgo the fog, smoke and darkness common with the genre. Inevitably, he becomes romantically involved with his client, and Thompson has a lengthy full-frontal scene, and some good bun shots. Thompson, of course, is known as a news anchor as well as for Babylon 5, NYPD Blue, etc. The noir segments become more frequent as the film progresses, and the fact that they are stereotypical and over the top keeps this from being a depressing "dying man" film. Real life elements were skillfully woven in to the noir story, which also contributed to the entertainment. For instance, when the sister calls the male nurse/companion a Black Chinaman, you know a Black Chinaman character will appear in the noir story. It is always possible that I was just in the right mood for this film, but I didn't even mind John Ritter's performance in this case. I think this film would be appreciated by a large audience if people had proper expectations when seeing it.

The Critics Vote

  • none online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.6
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or 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. 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.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ (Tuna B-). It won't appeal to that many people, but if you love those old B&W detective movies, and if you enjoy genre parody, you'll get a real kick out of it.

Return to the Movie House home page