Friday, November 13, 2009

She's Out of Control (Stan Dragoti, 1989)

The human activity known as "parenting" conjures up images of wholesome families laughing and smiling together in a virtual explosion of happiness. In reality, parenting involves the systematic poisoning your offspring's fertile mind. In other words, feeding them the same nonsense that's been festering in your brain for countless years in the hope that will behave the same way you do. Thus, giving you the impression that your inherent lameness will live on in a place most of us like to call "the not-so distant future." This so-called legacy dilemma just happens to be the one conveniently plaguing the lead parent in Stan Dragoti's She's Out of Control, a mystifyingly straightforward yarn about a single father who not only wants to restrain her teenage daughter's unstoppable journey into womanhood, but also desires the opportunity to suffocate her immaculate vagina with the inconsistent hardness of his erect penis. Now, I realize that the plot description I just typed may sound a little far-fetched, and a tad offensive (you know, from an ethical point of view), but that's what I saw transpiring onscreen. And who am I to pretend otherwise? I mean, every time the father in this movie would look at his daughter screamed incest. (It didn't help that the shots of these looks were played in slow motion.) I'm sure the tone of the character was intended to be that of an overprotective father, but all I saw was a perverted baby boomer trying to keep his eldest daughter all to himself for amoral purpose.

Unintentional or not, the film's creepy flirtations with father-daughter copulation were the least of its problems, as the character of Doug Simpson, the troubled father in question, was loathsome on every level imaginable. A sniveling miscreant , who hasn't had an original thought his entire life, this revolting specimen/father of two works at an oldies radio station (ugh), drives a Jaguar convertible (vomit), and, get this, is dating a woman who looks like Catherine Hicks (lucky bastard).

Portrayed by an extremely dead-eyed Tony Danza, this stressed out dad is shocked to find that his fifteen year-old daughter Katie (Ami Dolenz) has taken a liking to wearing striped stocking socks (the kind that drive depraved men wild) in public, jean jackets adorned with buttons, and competently applied makeup. On top of that, she's gotten contacts, had her braces removed, and begun dating boys other than the neighbour kid she's known since she was six.

Unable to think for himself, the moronic dad does what any gutless turd would do, seeks help from a therapist played by Wallace Shawn. Utilizing the psychiatrist's parental self-help book, Doug befriends his daughter's shock-haired boyfriend Joey (Dana Ashbrook) in an effort to curb his bad boy appeal.

This bit of reverse psychology works surprisingly well. Sure, his Jaguar pays the price, but he has his eldest offspring under control. That is, until Katie dumps him for Timothy (Matthew L. Perry), a smirking nice guy with an unquenchable thirst for clean pussy. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this asshole is gonna be a lot tougher to contain than the disaffected softie in the leather jacket.

The reason I saw a sexual connection between Tony Danza's inexplicably named Doug Simpson and his daughter Katie wasn't just because of the lingering way he watched her prance about like an untapped oil well in striped tights. Nor was it his intense dedication to keep her torso, face, and feet sperm-free during the Arsenion age. It was the fact that he somehow able to thwart the aggressive advances of Janet, his leggy girlfriend played by the gorgeous Catherine Hicks.

This particular scene was quite the eyeopener, in that, it showed exactly where Doug's head is at. Which is, I'm sorry to say, firmly up the frilly skirt of his own daughter; his unshaven cheeks erotically rubbing up against the smooth layer of adolescent leg skin left exposed by the thigh-high limitations of her store-bought stocking socks.

The only redeeming things about She's Out of Control were Katie's makeover montage, Dana Ashbrook's hair, and Ami Dolenz' risque wardrobe. As you might expect, I was quite taken by Ms. Dolenz' commitment to striped and non-striped legwear. I say, "commitment," because she even wore them underneath her strategically ripped jeans.

Anyway, like Samantha Mathis' character in Pump Up the Volume, Katie sheathes her legs in striped stockings in order to rebel against authority. Everything about her father is disgusting (his music, his car, his generational pride, his overall personality), and by wearing stripes on her legs, she is able to convey her frustration in a more subtle manner. A fuck you expressed through irregular hosiery for the ages.

Oh, and I got to give fake credit to the producers for using an obscure Yello song on the soundtrack instead of the usual one they play in most movies. Seriously, to hear "Bostich" from their Solid Pleasure album in a mainstream film is pretty commonplace, but to hear an unknown oddity like "Oh Yeah" (a.k.a. Duffman's theme) was an unexpected treat.



  1. Hello. So how's your weekend been? I hope you've been having a good one. Mine's been full of rest and relaxation. I've watched a few movies. I always enjoy stopping by and commenting on your blog. Take care. Have a great week ahead. Cheers!

  2. I remember this one! Can't believe it's been 20 years already.

  3. Completely off context what film does the left picture in your blog title image come from?

  4. Keith: Hey, man, thanks for asking. I watched a lot of "Stella" and helped a pal get rid some old paint cans that had been languishing in their tool shed.

    Tom: Twenty years? Yikes. I'm not surprised the people over at Criterion haven't put out a special DVD commemorating this stupendous occasion.

    Robert: The one on the left is from Stephen Sayadian's Dr. Caligari (1989).

    Oh, and just in case there's any residual curiosity, the one on the right is from Daises (a.k.a. Sedmikrásky).