Keys to Tulsa (1997) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white:

Keys to Tulsa (1997) is a crime drama set in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eric Stoltz (as "Richter Boudreau" - Cajun enough for you? ) has just returned to town after an absence. He is a womanizer, and seems to have been previously run out of town for something he did to a rich man's daughter. His mother is from high society, and is just as promiscuous as he, having slept with nearly every rich man in town at some point.

Eric is nearly broke, and works as a movie critic at the Tulsa Journal, a job he was given as a favor to his mother. He never makes any deadlines, and there is no evidence he ever actually goes to a movie.

He ends up in a blackmail scheme when his buddy discovers a hooker with pictures of an unsolved murder committed by the son of a certain rich guy that Stoltz hates. The hooker (Joanna Going) wants revenge because the murdered girl was her best friend. Going and Stolz end up becoming an item. Other stuff happens. Not sure what. I couldn't really follow the story, or understand the character's motivations, and the plot required figuring out a lot of history without enough evidence to do so.

The film does look good, even in this pedestrian 4/3 transfer, and the nudity from Joanna Going is very nice, but I liked nothing else about the film.

Scoop's comments in yellow:

Here's how I think the story conference went before this film was greenlighted:

The producers really liked The Big Sleep. They decided, "Hey, that's considered one of the best movies ever made, and the plot is completely indecipherable, so give us a plot equally confusing." Some of the people in the conference room liked those exaggerated Southern Gothic personalities, like Burl Ives as Big Daddy and Vivien Leigh as Blance DuBois, but there was only one problem. They felt those characterizations were much too subtle. "We need something more over-the-top, more stereotypical - something more like that Foghorn Leghorn character in the Warner cartoons."

There you have it.

It's The Big Sleep in Louisiana, with typical Louisiana names like Richter Boudreau. Everyone dresses as if hanging around a decaying southern mansion waiting to audition for a KFC commercial. (Men in white suits, carrying canes, smoking cigars). So as not to offend the good people of Louisiana, they called the movie Tulsa. Believe me, there is no chance that the people of Tulsa will be offended, although they may be confused, because they won't recognize anything even vaguely familiar. The film obviously has nothing at all to do with Oklahoma. My guess is that if any Tulsa residents actually see this film, they won't even think about that, because the title makes a lot of sense compared to the plot.

It's one of those where you have no idea what is happening, but you know at one point that all the main characters are about to die. Then at the last minute something completely unexpected happens, allowing everyone to be saved, and the film spends the last ten minutes explaining what has happened before that.

"Oh, sure, it was easy to fake your death because the bullets were made of chocolate, but then how did you get the chocolate stains off your Colonel Sanders suit when the gun backfired, and how did you account for the missing corner of the Snickers bar?"

"That was easy ...  I ... ".

You know the drill

I have to admit the whole thing is fascinating. The cast does some of the hammiest southern-fried acting ever seen. I've never seen so many actors overact at one time. I mean every character in this film talks like Foghorn Leghorn - "Ah say, son" - even the women. Even Mary Tyler Freakin' Moore! James Spader looks like Young Elvis with a goatee, and dresses like Old Vegas Elvis. Michael Rooker is completely demented. James Coburn does Colonel Sanders.

It's like watching A Streetcar Named Desire with Bill Shatner playing every part.

When movies are boringly bad, I hate them as much as anyone else, but this bad movie is never boring. Confusing: yes. Over-the-top: yes. But it is sexy, and never boring. I rather enjoyed it, even though I had about as much chance of understanding it as I have of understanding Steven Hawking's theories of the universe.


  • no widescreen

  • no features

  • (nice transfer, however)


  • Joanna Going shows all three Bs.
    • breasts in her strip act
    • everything in an initial sex scene with Stoltz
    • breasts popping out of a very low cut dress
    • a breast-slip in another dress
    • then breasts and buns getting into bed.
  • Two anonymous strippers also show breasts and buns.
  • Debra Unger briefly flashes her lower body.

The Critics Vote

  • James Berardinelli 2/4

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it  5.1/10
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. 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 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.

Based on this description, it's a C- (both reviewers). Barely watchable, but kind of fascinatingly over-the-top. Excellent nudity, especially from Joanna Going.

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