Monday, December 05, 2005

Last Rites

I have spent a whole lot of time in video stores. I worked at a couple, I have friends that work in video stores and I have a membership to at least two dozen stores in 5 states.

I love them. I have found some of the most amazing videos in the world in video stores. Not in a Best Buy or a Frys, but in the discount bins and 'general titles' sections of video stores tucked away in ugly strip malls in small town USA.

One day as I searched through a 'drama' section I stumbled across Last Rites.

I think did a triple take.


If YOU are also one who lurks in video stores you probably know what I am getting at. Maybe you also did a double take at the sight of Last Rites. (I doubt you did a triple take, and I refuse to believe it unless you have photographic proof.)

For the rest of you, if you are wondering what in the name of Ida Lupino I could be babbling about, perhaps this will help:

Let me assure you, there has been no Photoshop to these images. On the left is Last Rites, a 1988 flick about a priest with mob ties. The film was a flop and Roger Ebert named it the "worst film of the year."
On the right is the Tom Cruise mega-hit The Firm. Released 5 years later, this film told the story of a lawyer who uncovers sinister happenings at a top law firm.

The VHS tapes were produced by two different companies and it is a pretty big stretch to assume that the makers of The Firm had any desire to have the two films seem connected.

It's just one of those things. Still, it's remarkable. Both have the profile of a man, highlighted in blue. The face is almost at the exact same angle! In addition, both faces have superimposed people ghosted onto the image. Even the priest collar on Last Rites lines up with the light from the door on The Firm.

Really bizarre.

This is not the first set of semi-twin boxes I have seen.

The Snapper and Sibling Rivalry both feature pretty women who are either:

A) Doing laundry
B) Hiding the shame of their nudity
C) Getting their sheet ready for a KKK rally

The cover of the horn dog classic Spring Break has been duplicated more recently by the film American Women.

But none of these are as startlingly similar as The Firm and Last Rites.

I have never watched Last Rites, and all I remember about The Firm was a scene where Wilfred Brimley got a vicious beat down.

I have to wonder, does Tim Conway suffer a similar beating in Last Rites? If so, I suggest they file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations is up.

Take a look at the DVD cover for 2005's Casanova:
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Now take a look at the cover for the 2000 film Italian For Beginners:
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Didn't see the resemblance? Then take a closer look at the BOTTOM of both of those boxes:
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What on Earth is going on? How does that happen TWICE? Look closely at the pig, his eyes are saying "please don't sue for plagiarism, and don't stick an apple in my mouth when you cook me. I hate apples."

"And, it's demeaning."


  1. Anonymous12/05/2005

    Interesting. I can't belive that Last Rites cover. Eerie!

  2. I think I have to finally check out The Firm for the Wilford Brimley beat down.

    And since we're on the subject, I'd have to say that Don Rickles getting hit with the phone by Pesci in Casino has to be one of the best beat downs ever.

    Also any Don Moraco match was sure to be a beat down.

  3. I saw a tape of Don Muracco beating down Paul Roma yesterday. It was F.A.B.

  4. Anonymous12/08/2005

    LAST RITES is a hard movie to find in the rental stores, but well worth the effort. Apparently some group (!) has tried to keep it off the shelves because of the content. Don't let someone censor your viewing--rent or buy this movie and judge for yourself. This flick is full of surprises, from beginning to end. Colorful location shots. Extremely sensual. Good plot. Better-than-average dialog. Excellent acting, directing, photography, editing. A real story, not just a movie created to show what some computer whiz kid can do with special effects. It is much better than the long and winding sleight of hand based on the vastly popular novel survives due to its stunning cast and remarkable direction by the always dependable Sydney Pollack. Other than the similarities of the video boxes there is no similarity between these two movies. In THE FIRM Recent law school graduate Tom Cruise takes a job with the titled entity, a deceptively dark and crooked organization with intense Mafia connections. Ok both movies involve Mafia subplots and similar VHS boxes, but that is where the similarity ends! "The Firm" is a movie with lots of dead weight to it, but enough action and suspense makes up for that huge shortcoming. An all-star cast which includes Gene Hackman, Wilford Brimley, Gary Busey, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris, David Strathairn and Holly Hunter (in an oddball Oscar-nominated role) helps to keep John Grisham's wild novel believable and coherent. 4 stars out of 5.

    Anyone who doesn't think this is a great comedy obviously has no grasp of the Irish sense of humour. Great Irish comedy stems from the fact that we can laugh at ourselves in even the worst situations. It's comedy people can identify with because it's real life comedy. How many times have you looked back at something terrible and laughed your a**e off. That's all well and good laughing in hindsight, but why not just try at the time - you'll live longer if you laugh at yourself once in a while. I watched this because I really like Kirstie Alley, not thinking it'd be too good. But the laughs kept coming. Just when you think things couldn't get more awkward another silly scenario comes along. Like the TV show Three's Company, but actually funny. Not a bad hour and a half, I give it 7 out of 10.

    This film should not be viewed by Irish people. It portrays them as thick, ignorant people who couldn't catch a cold. Basically it's about a bunch of lads in County Donegal who want to find some women, so they advertise in the Miami Herald for American women "to share in the outdoor life.... Indoor facilities also available". Just about sat through it in the cinema. It's Ok but that's all the praise I'm giving it. Good luck to yis.

    As far as 80's teen comedies go, this might just be the Holy Grail. While it doesn't have all that many moments of intentional hilarity, the entire film is full of lovably cheesy and wild antics. It is about four guys having the time of their lives, and it is great. The soundtrack is stocked with some great 80's bands like 38 Special and NRBQ, complete with MTV-style editing.

    This film certainly wont win any awards, but it sure is one electric and fun trip back to the 80's. Never a dull moment, this is a film definitely worth saving from those dust covered VHS shelves! Forget "Friday the 13th", this is Sean Cunningham's masterpiece!

  5. Since I added an update, I want to update my comments. It wasn't Paul Roma, it was Jim Powers.