Red Letters (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The bad news: they were not smart enough to avoid casting Pauly Shore

The good news: they were smart enough not to mention it! He is uncredited.

The opening sequence is marvelous. A stark naked coed sits on her professor's desk, reading him erotic excerpts from his own fiction.

As the scene progresses, we realize that he broke off an affair with him, she is using his own words to show him how hurt she is, and she intends to file a sexual harassment suit against him.

If only the rest of the movie had that level of imagination, eroticism, and poetry. As it stands, it's a movie that's good enough to sit through if it pops up late at night, but isn't good enough to go out of the way for.


The woman in the marvelous opening scene was stark naked, and the camera angles included a full-frontal

Nastassja Kinski did a sex scene where most of her breast were showing, but I never saw any nippleage.

Mostly it's just another made-for-cable thriller in which Peter Coyote, a noted Hawthorne scholar (hence the title) with a weakness for young girls, finds himself enmeshed deeper and deeper into criminal activities beyond his depth. The plot requires plenty of coincidences and incredible behavior.

Dismissed from one university in disgrace, Coyote gets enmeshed in the entire plot by reading the mail of the guy who used to live in his apartment (Pauly Shore). Seems that Pauly was corresponding with a woman in prison for murder (Kinski), and was going to help her with something, but changed his mind. Coyote writes the woman and offers to help her in any way he can.

Turns out that Kinski and her sister manipulate Coyote and his hacker friend (Jeremy Piven) into engineering a jailbreak. Piven finds it simple to hack the prison records and arrange for Kinski's release. Then Kinski manipulates Coyote some more, and the dramatic tension of the plot centers around this question - "is Kinski just a manipulative killer, or is she really telling the truth about her innocence?"

DVD info from Amazon.

Has a lot of features for a made-for-TV film. Widescreen anamorphic, full-length commentary, stills gallery.

One of the more incredible plot twists involves the policeman who captures Coyote for abetting Kinski's escape and for conspiracy to commit another murder which Kinski committed while she was out. (She says it was self-defense). The detective just lets Coyote go, even though all the news reports have declared him a killer, on Coyote's promise that he'll turn himself in within two days if he can't solve the crime!

Of course wimpy English teacher Coyote has as much chance of catching hardened criminals as his Uncle Wily has of catching that roadrunner, but he beats the odds, as I'm sure you have guessed.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.3
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 or C-.

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