Without You I'm Nothing (1990) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is a complex, fourth wall destroying, performance piece from Sandra Bernhard. It is presented as if it were a documentary - kind of a concert film with a little bit of background data. In fact, it is a scripted mockumentary with the premise that Bernhard has developed too big a head from doing a one-woman show on Broadway, and finds out that her act just doesn't "play in Peoria." We see her performing lavishly choreographed and orchestrated pieces in elaborate costumes, but we also see that her audiences generally consist of very few people in a small summer club, and that even those few aren't remotely interested in her "show business insider" material.

Bernhard presents some standard comedic punchlines, but most of the show is high concept performance art. For example, Bernhard performs material entirely inappropriate for the crowd, until the entire act turns into some kind of Brechtian effort to alienate the audience. It's brilliant, cutting-edge stuff, in a way. She's obviously an intelligent person with a strong aesthetic sense and a wide-ranging grasp of different aesthetic and performing styles. She does solid impersonations of showbiz characters, sings well, dances well, and strips down to show off an excellent body.

Having said all those nice things, I should probably add that I was just as bored as her fictional audience. I guess her conceptual humor is over my head, or just too damned "inside," or maybe just too aloof for my taste, but the bottom line is that I basically hated it, even while admiring her far-reaching talent.



  • The widescreen transfer is anamorphically enhanced (16x9)
  • No significant features



Bernhard does a long dance number while clad only in pasties and a small g-string.

There is also some gratuitous lesbian shower action which features breast and crotches, but no faces. There is also a marginally relevant scene in which we see a woman's bum while she has sex with Bernhard.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

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 C. Brilliant, but hard to sit through. The kind of offbeat, arty material that critics like more than the rest of us.

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