Body of Evidence
June 17, 2015
Todd: Okay, before we get to today's movie, we need to talk about two important things that happened the year before, in 1992.
- Footage from Entertainment Tonight while Madonna's song "Erotica" plays in the background.
Todd (VO): The first is that, Madonna, released a book. It wasn't a memoir, or a novel, or anything in-no-i...it was...
Todd: ...a book of pictures of her naked.
Todd (VO): It was called Sex because, you know, why beat around the bush? And it was literally a book of Madonna naked pictures, just barely artsy enough to be called erotica. And you couldn't say you were reading it for the articles either because there were not any articles, just naked pictures. This thing cost $50. Even in the days when people still paid for porn, that's a lot.
Todd: But apparently, there was something in the air that year that brought out the sex-starved adolescent boy in all of us...
- Clip of trailer for...
Todd (VO): ...because the other thing that happened that year was a little movie called Basic Instinct—the film in which Sharon Stone flashed her crotch and became a superstar. The artistic merit of either of these things is basically zero, but both these exhibitions of obscene filth made obscene amounts of money. Clearly, Madonna was never gonna be more in tune with the zeitgeist of popular cinema, so...
Todd: ...it was time to step back into trying to be a genuine leading lady movie star.
- Clip of trailer for Body of Evidence
Todd (VO): And this time, she was gonna make something that perfectly matched her talents—a dirty, sexy, erotic sex thriller full of dirty, sexy, filthy sex! You'll watch it, you perverts.
Todd: You can't resist. [beat] Or you'll stay away in droves, one or the other.
- Movie begins
Todd (VO): After a short string of disappointingly decent movies, Body of Evidence reestablished Madonna's reputation as both a horrible actress and box office poison. There is far too much competition for me to declare Body of Evidence the worst Madonna movie, but it is...
Todd: ...substantially the stupidest.
Todd (VO): And yeah, that title also has plenty of contenders, but none of them are remotely close to Body of Evidence in sheer, hysterical badness. Of all Madonna's movies, this is the one I'd recommend for Bad Movie Night...as long as you're not embarrassed by watching porn with your friends.
Todd: What's it about? Well, here, let me get you the pitch.
- First of several clips to come from...
Todd (VO): In Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone plays a wanton seductress who's suspected of murdering her lovers during sex. How do you top that?
Todd: How about a woman suspected of murdering her lovers with sex?!
- Robert Garrett (Joe Mantegna): You will see she's not only the defendant, she is the murder weapon itself.
Todd (VO): No joke, that's the plot of the film. Madonna is accused of having literally, intentionally fucked a man to death. She found a rich guy with a bad heart and banged him 'til he died to get his inheritance. And instead of a cop, this time, it's a lawyer played by Willem Dafoe, who she seduces into her web of intrigue and sex and...more sex and possibly murder, but definitely sex.
- Frank Dulaney (Willem Dafoe): You can't convict.
- Robert: In conjunction with cocaine slipped to a rich old man dying of heart disease? I think I can make that case.
Todd (VO): Now, as part of Madonna's alleged murder plot, she's accused of making this poor bastard's heart pop not just with her hot, naked body, but also by dosing his Flonase with cocaine beforehand.
- Dr. McCurdy (Charles Hallahan): I believe that he was drugged without his knowledge.
Todd (VO): If she was gonna blatantly drug him like that, she might as well just straight up poisoned him, or stabbed or shot him.
Todd: But then, of course, there would be no [clip of blocked out...] sex involved, and no one would watch this unless the plot revolved around [clip of Frank approaching censored nudity] sex.
Rebecca Carlson (Madonna): Have you ever seen animals make love, Frank? It's intense, it's violent.
Todd (VO): One of the great things about this movie is how literally every single character can think and talk about nothing at all but sex.
- Rebecca: There's nothing wrong with admitting that you want me, Frank.
- Charles Biggs (Stan Shaw): What the hell is this?
- Robert: That is a nipple clamp.
- Michael Dulaney (Aaron Corcoran): Can you really screw someone to death?
Todd (VO): Yes, even the kid. That's his only line of dialogue. This is a story that also involved drugs, murder, money, but nope, sex is the only thing they can talk about. Every major witness had sex with the accused or the deceased.
Todd: The victim's secretary says Madonna's a drug user!
- Joanne Braslow (Anne Archer): I don't have much sympathy for drug users.
- Frank: And did you tell your boss what you had seen?
- Joanne: I wanted to keep my job. That didn't include telling him his girlfriend was a cokehead slut.
- Home video of naked (blocked) Joanne
Todd (VO): Oh, it turns out she's the cokehead slut!
- Frank: Weren't you a patient at the Mt. Hood Substance Abuse Center from January 5 to February 5 two years ago?
- Joanne: Yes.
Todd (VO): Then the old man's doctor says that he dated Madonna, and told her about the dude's heart problems, and then she immediately dumped him to get with the old man. That's suspicious, right?
Todd: But it turns out that he was a crazy stalker.
- Frank: Didn't you attempt to blackmail her into seeing you again by threatening to falsely testify against her? I have a tape from Rebecca's answering machine
- Dr. Alan Paley (Jürgen Prochnow): [on tape] Rebecca? I can put you away, Rebecca, for the rest of your life.
- [Judge Burnham (Lilian Lehman) bangs the gavel]
Todd (VO): I realize that cheesy, overdramatic courtroom antics aren't new, but everything that happens in this trial is ridiculous.
- Judge: I can't change the titillating nature of this trial, but if I had wanted to work in the circus, I would have learned how to ride a trapeze. So I will not put up with any performances by counsel or by the gallery.
Todd: That's right! No monkey business in this court!
- Robert: Were you watching a pornographic videotape you had made of yourselves?
- Frank: Objection as to the characterization.
- Joanne: [in tears] I never would have hurt him.
- Frank: Even if he asked?
- Robert: Your honor!
- Jeffrey Roston (Frank Langella): She tied me to the bed.
- Frank: Flailing about in the throes of sexual ecstasy.
- Frank: With handcuffs?
- Jeffrey: With my own belt.
- Clip from Mystery Science Theater 3000 - "Agent of HARM"
- Professor Bobo: We're gonna hear the word "panties" used a lot in this trial, so let's get them giggles out right now. Panties, panties, panties, panties, panties panties
Todd (VO): I've seen pro wrestling referees be tougher on shenanigans than this judge.
- Judge: I'll allow it.
- Judge: Objection overruled.
- Frank: He opened the can, your honor.
- Judge: And I do see worms crawling all around you, Mr. Garrett.
Todd (VO): And by the same token, I've seen black churches that were harder to get a response from than this crowd, who seem to be close to having their own heart attack anytime anyone says anything.
- Jeffrey: She said she was going to fuck me like I'd never been fucked before.
- [The crowd murmurs]
Todd murmurs along
- Jeffrey: I had a bad heart.
- [More murmuring, with Todd joining]
Todd (VO): Oh, yeah, and this guy. Get this—she dated a second old guy with a bad heart, tried to fuck him to death, and then immediately dumped him after he got his ticker surgically repaired.
- Rebecca: I have to testify.
- They're gonna convict me if I don't tell my side of the story.
Todd (VO): All right then, Miss Carlson, why did you end your relationship with him unless you'd realized you'd been thwarted in your scheme...
Todd: ...to fuck him to death?! You intended...
Todd (VO): ...to commit slutty murder! Didn't you, Miss Carlson?!
Todd: Answer the question! Are you or are you not a murder slut?!
Todd (VO): Why did you break up with him?!
- Rebecca: He was in bed with another man.
The crowd murmurs and Todd gasps
- Robert: Mr. Rolston isn't here to defend himself; you can say anything you want about him.
- Rebecca: Yes, he is!
- [Everyone turns and sees Jeffrey sitting in the back]
Todd (VO): So he is! He is, in fact...
Todd: ...right there.
Todd (VO): See, this is why Who's That Girl failed as a comedy. It just didn't have this movie's sense of comic timing.
Todd: A major problem is that everyone in this movie is a shitty person.
Todd (VO): Like, even if Madonna isn't a murderer, she's still a lady who thinks it's a good idea to seduce married men while she's on trial for murder. So, at the very least, she's an amoral, life-wrecking lunatic. And as for Dafoe.
- Frank: You're my client, that's it. I don't want to have anything to do with you beyond that.
Later that day...
- Frank fucks Rebecca on the floor
Todd (VO): What a douchebag.
But more than anything, this movie fails because it's just not very sexy. Now, saying Body of Evidence is a bad erotic thriller is redundant. The entire genre is bad. I'm pretty sure at least one awful erotic thriller [poster for Showgirls] got nominated for a Razzie for, like, twelve straight years in the '80s and '90s. It makes the current era of [logo for Jurassic World] PG-13 tentpoles look like the Golden Age of cinema.
Todd: So I didn't get why exactly everyone was so harsh on this one in particular until I re-watched...
Todd (VO): ...Basic Instinct. Now, Basic Instinct is, in fact, a terrible movie.
- Gus (Michael Dzundza): And the other one. Well, she got that magna cum laude pussy on her that done fried up your brain!
Todd (VO): Yeah. But it's a stylish terrible movie. It looks good, it has atmosphere. Body of Evidence doesn't have any of that, and that starts right with the casting.
Todd: Now, trading Michael Douglas for Willem Dafoe, Sharon Stone for Madonna, seems like a lateral move, right? Pretty even trade? No, both of those moves are for the worse.
Todd (VO): Michael Douglas, say what you want about him, is, you know, he's a decent-looking dude. He can be sleazy, but he's got that leading-man charm to him.
Todd: Willem Dafoe...
- Rebecca: You want me to look around the room and tell you if there's someone here that...has the same taste that I do?
- Frank: That's right.
- [Psycho theme plays while zooming on Frank's toothy smile]
Todd (VO): Yeah, you know, [pictures of Dafoe in Speed 2: Cruise Control...] this guy, [...in the Green Goblin costume in Spider-Man] this guy, [...and Shadow of the Vampire] this guy. This is not a man anyone wants to watch have sex. The only other time I've seen someone give Willem Dafoe a sex scene, [clip from Antichrist] it ended with his testicles getting crushed.
And as for Sharon Stone, no one's ever called her a great actress, but at the very least, she's still an actress.
Todd: As opposed to Madonna, who, um...
- Rebecca: A big part of my life has been taken away from me, and people are saying it was my fault. They've taken something good between two people in love and made it dirty.
Todd (VO): This is straight up one of Madonna's worst performances. Now, at first, I thought maybe it's not her fault. Maybe this would've come off better in a more stylized movie like Basic Instinct, 'cause without that Paul Verhoeven gloss to make the style come together, even good actors come off looking really bad.
- Frank: I got a shitload of work to do.
- Sharon Dulaney (Julianne Moore): You mean you could've use the time to screw your client.
- Frank: What did she say?
- Sharon: She didn't have to say anything. I could hear it in her voice. In the way that she said your name.
- Sharon: What did she do to you, Frank?! How did you get those marks on your chest? What are they? [Arrow pointing at Julianne: "Oscar winner"] What are they, bites? What happened to your back?
Todd (VO): But no, thinking about it, there's no excuse for this. She's trying for seductive femme fatale, and yet somehow, she wound up with horny cheerleader. "Ooh, I'm naughty. My parents aren't home. Like, it wants to be so shocking with its handcuffs and candle wax, like I haven't seen all that in Ricky Martin videos. There's no real seduction, the sex just kind of happens. It shouldn't be hard to figure out why a dude would decide to have sex with Madonna, but I legitimately didn't get the guy's motivation.
Todd: That's a special level of incompetence.
- Jury Foreman (Peter Paul Eastman): The jury finds the defendant...not guilty.
Todd (VO): And get this—turns out she did do it!
- Rebecca: Thanks. You almost convinced me.
Todd (VO): Surprise! And the doctor was in on it!
- Rebecca: Frank.
- Frank: Paley goes on the stand, makes you look guilty as hell. Then you set me up to destroy him so I can make you look innocent. Sort of a reverse character witness, huh?
Todd: Yeah, that... hold on, that doesn't make any sense.
Todd (VO): Instead of making the most damning testimony less credible, you could've just not testified.
- Frank: I'd have given you the same goddamn defense.
- Rebecca: But you wouldn't have been as believable.
- Frank: Oh, if I didn't fuck you?
- Rebecca: It works.
Todd (VO): Yeah, nothing makes a person more inclined to believe you're a good person than destroying their marriage. I mean, Madonna has all these monologues about how everyone should quit slut-shaming her, it's you prudes who are making everything dirty.
- Rebecca: The women hate me, they think I'm a whore, and the men see a cold, heartless bitch they can pay back for every chick that's ever blown them off in a bar.
Todd (VO): As if this movie isn't all about how dirty and evil this all is! I mean, she...
Todd: ...wrecked a marriage, killed a guy, but no, it's you small-minded hypocrites who just can't handle hot sex.
Todd (VO): And then the bad guys get caught, Madonna gets killed for being a dirty murderess ho-bag, and presumably, Dafoe goes back to having vanilla missionary sex like God intended.
Todd: Look, this was a disaster.
Todd (VO): It earned Madonna a well-deserved third Razzie, and reestablished her as box office poison. But it should be pointed out that she made two movies that year. One of them she preemptively trashed as a total failure.
Todd: And it wasn't the one you just watched. How bad does a movie have to be that Madonna intentionally sabotages it herself?
- Trailer for...
- Frank Burns (James Russo): And I'm not about to bare my soul to nobody, especially to a god that doesn't exist!
- Announcer: Harvey Keitel. Madonna. Dangerous Game.
Closing tag song:
"Body of Evidence" is owned by MGM Pictures
This video is owned by me