Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nevada Heat (Matt Cimber, 1982)

A clash of styles if I've ever seen one–and believe me, I have seen some doozies over the years–Nevada Heat (a.k.a. Fake-Out) pits the flamboyant gayness of Bob Mackie ("the sultan of sequins, the rajah of rhinestones," as his bio states) and the needs and wants of millions upon millions of discerning, women in prison movie-loving heterosexual men and their lesbian allies up against Telly Savalas' crippling gambling addiction. Who do you think won out in the end? Let me give you a hint: He's bald, he doesn't give a flying fuck, and he has a habit of ending his sentences with the word "baby." That's right, Telly Savalas. He doesn't care about the length of the slit on Pia Zadora's sequin-adorned Bob Mackie original, nor does he care about the structural integrity of the erection/wetness you plan on unfurling/oozing while trying to imagine what the atmospheric conditions must have been like inside Pia Zadora's prison issue leotard as she thrust her dainty crotch to-and-fro in the gymnasium tucked away inside the South Nevada Correctional Facility, Telly's in Las Vegas and he's got some gambling to do. In fact, you're lucky you got any scenes at all that didn't involve Telly Savalas blowing his immense wad at the craps table. Hell, I think I even saw him drop five hundred smackaroos on a total strangers roll of the dice. Enough about that follically challenged, degenerate gambler, this cinematic endeavour, co-written and directed by Matt Cimber, is, make no mistake, a Pia Zadora film. My eyeballs crave a steady diet of Pia Zadora, and that's what they get in Nevada Heat, not only one of the premiere films in the extensive canon of Pia Zadora masterpieces, but a film that boasts one of the best car/foot chases ever to involve a transwoman wielding an uzi and a pistol-packing member of the Arnaz dynasty.
I won't lie, my life would be a hundred times better if it had some Pia Zadora in it. Someone, not me, of course, should clone Pia Zadora in a laboratory in Switzerland–you know, like a Shetland pony. Except, inside of shedding fur, she would give me a handjob every Thursday. Are you sure you want to be telling everyone this? Why not? My feelings about Pia Zadora are well documented. Yeah, but going on and on about the gingham shirt she wore in The Lonely Lady or babbling incessantly about her scrunchies in Voyage of the Rock Aliens is one thing. You're on the cusp of crossing that line that separates playfully creepy from mentally defective creepy.
On the cusp, eh? Well, thanks for the warning. I'll take what you said under advisement. In meantime, I've got a Pia Zadora film to review.
Should all films open with Pia Zadora, smashingly sheathed in a Bob Mackie designed stunner of an outfit, singing "Those Eyes" in a Las Vegas nightclub? Of course not. But I think most people will agree that every Pia Zadora film should open this way. And in terms of delivering the Pia Zadora singing "Those Eyes" in a Las Vegas nightclub goods, Nevada Heat delivers. Excuse me, but doesn't the film actually open with a casino boss being shot in the parking lot by an elderly woman wielding a shotgun? Man, why did you have go and say that? I mean, I had this thing going about how Pia Zadora films should open with Pia Zadora singing in a nightclub. Why don't you just pretend the scene with the casino boss being shot never happened? Excellent idea.
Throwing the audience, a half-awake throng of degenerate gamblers, mobsters, and cocaine freaks, a thoughtful gaze, Bobbie Warren (Pia Zadora), nightclub singer/gangster's moll/full-time cutie pie, begins to sing "Those Eyes." And, as most of you know, the song starts off sort of slow. But it gets gradually faster as the song progresses. The sequin-adorned songtress signifies to the saps in the audience that the song's tempo is about to increase by doing this twitchy thing with her right leg. As the sparkly strands of garish dress material crash violently against her crotch and upper thighs as a direct result of her spastic movements, which include, spinning, humping, shaking, and kicking, we can't help notice that Telly Savalas is lurking about backstage.
Did you say, Telly Savalas? This can't be good. And you know what? It isn't. Slapping a pair of handcuffs on her the moment she's finished singing her closing number, Telly, whose character's name, by the way, is Thurston, Lt. Thurston, takes her way. What could have Pia Zadora, I mean, Bobbie Warren have done to warrant being arrested by Telly Savalas? It's not what Bobbie did, it's what her mobster boyfriend did. You see, the state believes Bobbie knows something about a murder her boyfriend is alleged to have carried out, and they want her to testify against him. And since Bobbie won't testify against him, the state of Nevada decides to throw her surprisingly shapely ass into, you guessed it, the South Nevada Correctional Facility for contempt of court.
Answer me this, fans of Pia Zadora, fashion, and continuity: How come Pia Zadora is wearing a brown jacket with a western motif when she's in the warden's office, yet when she's being taken to her cell moments later, she is clearly wearing a dark tube top? And, no, I don't think she was wearing the tube top underneath the jacket. Colour me flummoxed as all get out.
Fashion confusion aside, I felt bad for Pia Zadora when she enters her cell for the first time, as her aura oozes sadness.
We jump forward three months in Bobbie's sentence to find that she has quickly become the prison's star aerobics instructor. Would I have liked to have seen how Bobbie Warren went from being mopey and sad to thrusting and heaving her leotard-ensnared crotch in front of a bunch of butch female inmates? You bet I would. But I also have to accept the fact that Nevada Heat isn't a women in prison film. Anyway, watching Pia Zadora stretch and kick in her leotard made me want to grab her and put her in my pocket. Which I hear is the most common reaction to the sight of Pia Zadora doing aerobics in a prison setting.
Despite her enthusiasm, it's obvious that Bobbie is starting to lose her fellow inmates. Even though she tells them to hurl their crotches in various directions ("front, back, right, left"), most of them are too busy fighting amongst themselves to listen to her instructions. And to make matters worse, some of the inmates confront Bobbie later on in the shower. You mean to tell me that Nevada Heat has an aerobics sequence and a shower scene? Are you sure this isn't a women in prison film?
Being sexually assaulted by a smattering of rough-looking chicks is apparently what pushes Bobbie over the edge. Sure, her mobster boyfriend has tried to make her stay in the pokey as comfortable as possible (her cell looks like a successful pimp's living room), but she wants out. Isn't she worried about her mobster boyfriend? I mean, it's obvious, judging by the amount of stuff he's sent her, that he wants her to stay in prison. Yeah, but the incident in the shower seemed to rattle her. While part of me doesn't want her to leave, (Pia Zadora + Incarceration + Aerobics = Cinematic Gold), I totally understand her decision.
You can tell Bobbie was really traumatized by her time in prison just by listening to her talk during the car ride home–and by "home," I mean the Riviera Hotel and Casino. Why, what does she say? Well, for starters, she mentions the desire to take a bath twice. In fact, you'll notice she mentions wanting to take a bath quite a few times over the course of the film. At first, I thought it was just a character quirk that writer-director Matt Cimber added to give Bobbie some extra pizazz. Now, you wouldn't think Pia Zadora would need any "extra pizazz," she's fucking Pia Zadora. You got that right. No, actually, the bathing-centric character trait pays off at the end of the film in a way that will blow your mind.
Accompanying Bobbie to the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas is Lt. Telly Savalas and some square detective named Clint Morgan (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), who have been assigned to protect her until she takes the stand. Of course, Bobbie thinks all this hubbub is totally unnecessary. In her mind, her mobster boyfriend wouldn't hurt her. Oh yeah, then how come two shady-looking fellas carrying a suspicious-looking briefcase have booked the room directly across from yours? Unfortunately, Bobbie doesn't seem to notice them. And why should she? Fresh out of prison, Pia Zadora has got places to go and things to see. Not so fast, Missy. After being allowed to play one round of Keno (a game Telly calls a "tourist trap"), Bobbie is confined to her hotel room. Boo!
While brushing her hair (you can tell she's upset by the frustrated nature of her brush strokes), Bobbie tells Clint that she wants to take a bath. On the one hand, the reason she mentions wanting to take a bath is, like I said, a subtle reminder for the audience to remember that she prefers baths. Yet, she also mentions it in order to shake Clint's resolve. Think about it, you're a man stuck in a hotel room looking after a bath mad Pia Zadora. Are you telling me that your mind is not going start imagining what Pia Zadora's soft, pruny undercarriage is gonna taste like after its been soaking in soapy water for ten, maybe twenty minutes? If your mind doesn't imagine that, then I'm afraid there's no hope for you. I'm sorry.
When the bath thing doesn't work, Bobbie plays the jailbait card while a waiter is bringing a tray of wine to their room. Given her size, Pia Zadora can pretend to be fourteen years-old at the drop of a hat. And does so in order to make Clint look like a pervert in front of the aforementioned waiter. While it might seem like an asinine thing to do, it does lay the groundwork for Clint to decide to take Bobbie dress shopping.
Of course, they can't get much with twenty dollars, so Bobbie suggests they go to the blackjack table to win some quick cash to buy a new dress (all her old clothes still smell like prison). It would seem that her system for winning involves saying the word "blackjack" over and over again. And, hey, it seems to work, much to the chagrin of Buddy Lester, the other player at Pia and Clints's table, who can't seem to catch a break.
I don't know about you, but I'm dying to know what kind of dress Bobbie is going to purchase with all that blackjack money. In fact, the whole dress subplot is the film's most suspenseful. Why's that, you ask? Isn't it obvious? She's got to get past Larry Storch. And, as most people know, Larry Storch is not someone you get past so easily.
Playing Ted King, the manager of Michelle (G. Wesley Stevens), an up and coming actress, Larry Storch injects some much needed life into the proceedings with his seedy portrayal of a clownish man in a checkered jacket. You would think it would be Telly's job to inject life into this things, but he seems too busy gambling and grabbing the asses of unsuspecting casino waitresses.
Don't worry I haven't forgotten about Pia Zadora's new dress. It's a low cut pink number with a mild slit down the side, and she looks stunning in it. As you might expect, the film's focus shifts away from the dress, as the infamous scene where a man on foot chases a car containing Larry Storch and a transwoman firing an uzi from the passenger side window takes precedence. I don't think I've ever seen a man chase a car  on foot before. And I'll admit, I did make me forget about Pia Zadora for a few seconds. Which is the highest praise something that is non-Pia Zadora-related can get in this crazy, Pia-obsessed world.

video uploaded by AussieRoadshow


  1. I'll be honest with you: I have a hard time comprehending your Pia Zadora affection. She's not nearly has heinous as her negative legacy makes her out to be, that's for sure. The pop starlets of today and the past 15 years are far fouler. Pia just looks kind of lost all the time is all.

    Personally, I'm pissed about what she did to Pickfair Manor. While the scumbag she was married to was ultimately responsible for that, her claiming that ghosts on the property scaring her and her kids was no reason to demolish one of the most historic properties in the country. Shameful.

    I didn't care for her singing so much. I'm now listening to the "Horse Rotorvator."

  2. Larry Storch sealed the deal for me.

  3. We had several similar picture stills in our respective reviews, showing a similarly keen eye for Pia-ness.

    Cimber directed this as a remake of a movie starring blaxploitation and TV star Lola Falana, whatever the name is.

  4. @ido: Warning: Any attempt to comprehend my Pia Zadora affection may cause brain damage. ;)

    A historical plaque marks the spot where Mary Pickford was born in Toronto.

    Mmmm, COIL.

    @Bunched Undies: Larry Storch is the shit.

    @Thomas Duke: We obviously see the world through the same pair of Pia-tinted glasses

    According to your Nevada Heat/Fake-Out review, that film is called Lady Cacoa.

  5. @ May Pickford is a fascinating figure. She defined the film industry in so many far reaching ways. As far as North American silent film actress go, however, Lilian Gish was a superior actress. Unfortunately, too many of Dorothy Gish's films have been lost. She was supposed to be incredible, as well.

    I need to get more COIL.

  6. I didn't know there was a Dorothy Gish; it's obvious I'm not up on my silent cinema.


  7. Her Dorothyness on wikipedia:
    The Dorothy Gish Project:

    And Her Imperial Highness Herself: