Friday, September 14, 2012

Worth Mentioning - Nouns, basically

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody finds indie love and travels at high rates of speed with Tommy Lee Jones.


Sara is a prim and proper schoolteacher, an OCD neat freak who plans and schedules every element of her life. Virgil is a big, intimidating biker, a tattoo artist who's covered in ink.

Sara and Virgil's paths first cross when one of her students, whose father works at the tattoo parlor that Virgil runs, brings him in for show and tell. They don't leave with good first impressions of each other. Virgil thinks she's way too uptight, she thinks tattooing is nothing more than a filthy, skin-endangering habit.

Their second encounter isn't any better; Sara comes barging into the tattoo parlor to chew Virgil out for giving her third grade students markers to "tattoo" themselves with.

But when Sara's engagement-phobic live-in boyfriend moves out for a trial separation, driven away by her controlling ways, a friend gives Sara some advice: she needs to go out, have fun, allow herself to lose control. The first person who comes to Sara's mind after hearing that, the most out of control person she knows, is Virgil.

Sara and Virgil's third encounter is at a video store, where the public domain sounds of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead emanate from an offscreen television, Sara randomly grabs a copy of Satan's School for Girls, and Virgil's rental choices reveal his soft side - he's renting The Last Time I Saw Paris for the second time in two weeks, he's got a late fee for Pillow Talk. The characters are actually pleasant to each other this time, and Sara invites Virgil to have dinner with her. As the night goes on, Sara attempts to get to know Virgil and understand him.

The third time's the charm. That night kicks off the love story the film's title promises. Sara and Virgil continue hanging out, having fun together, and gradually fall for each other, to the disappointment of Sara's ex, who starts re-thinking his "trial separation" idea, and to the chagrin and mistrust of their friends and family members, who are as judgmental as the couple were previously.


Shot on 16mm in Boise, Idaho for a budget of around $450,000, Tattoo, a Love Story is a very enjoyable independent romantic comedy with endearing, entertaining characters. The only film from director Richard W. Bean, the movie at times has a style that is reminiscent of early Kevin Smith, and it's no surprise to find that the cinematographer was regular Kevin Smith collaborator Dave Klein.

Megan Edwards and Virgil Mignanelli are great in the lead roles, it's a shame that they haven't gone on to have much bigger careers in the years since. This is only acting credit listed on Mignanelli's IMDb page, in an ideal worl
d there would be many more.


Tommy Lee Jones stars as Quint, a professional thief who's about to pull off what he intends to be the final job of his career. "I'm getting too old for this." Anyone who watches movies knows that the "one last job" is always much more complicated than characters expect.

The Lucky Dollar Corporation in Las Vegas is the subject of a grand jury investigation for racketeering and tax evasion, but there's a lack of evidence. The FBI needs to get a look at their financial records and statements for the last tax year, which are believed to be saved on a certain data tape in the company's accounting offices, but they can't get to the tape themselves and legal procedures have been exhausted. They need to go outside the law and hire a "freelance operative" to get the data tape for them. That's where Quint comes in.

Quint infiltrates the accounting offices in Las Vegas and steals the data tape, overcoming the minor inconvenience of security guards' machine gun fire to make his escape, driving off into the desert to deliver the tape to the government agent who hired him in Los Angeles.

At a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Quint hides the tape in a jet car prototype called the Black Moon that's being hauled to Los Angeles. The car's body is made of Kevlar, it runs on hydrogen that is split from tap water by a converter in the engine, and it can reach speeds up to 325 mph. (We actually see its digital speedometer get up to 330-something, but its inventor and test driver celebrate 325.) It's being taken to L.A. to be shown off, and Quint will catch up to it and retrieve the tape there.

Hiding the tape in the Black Moon was a very bad idea. Car thief Nina (Linda Hamilton) steals the car before Quint can grab the tape. This puts Quint in a tough situation. The agent who hired him wants the tape. Lucky Dollar's security team wants the tape. Quint needs to get it, and to do so will have to figure out how to get the Black Moon out of the towering, fortress-like parking garage headquarters of the sinister car theft organization that Nina works for... But given that Nina has a rocky relationship with her boss, Quint might just be able to get an ally on the inside.

The plot revolving around an experimental car with rocket boosters gave me the mistaken impression going into my first viewing of the film that it would feature a whole lot of vehicular chase mayhem, but it's actually a heist film, the bulk of it dealing with Quint trying to get in good with Nina and figuring out how he can get the Black Moon from the parking garage. The Black Moon does get put to use in some fun moments, though.

It's an entertaining little B-movie, directed by Harley Cokeliss and featuring a cool score by Lalo Schifrin. The story was crafted by John Carpenter (Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing '82), who also co-wrote the screenplay.


  1. I happen to live in Boise Id and have been to the exact video store shown in Tattoo. As for the actor Virgil Mignanelli I know at one point he worked at a local pawn shop but that was several years ago.

  2. Suddenly at loose ends, Sara (Megan Edwards aka vagrant) stalks Virgil (Virgil Mignanelli "I'm the one your mother warned you about") as he rides his hog from his Mayhem Ink Tattoo shop (1035 S Lusk St Boise, ID 83706) to Video Memories (4504 W Overland Rd, Boise ID 83705 29 years+) ....(Zutto Japanese Restaurant - sushi 615 W Main St
    Boise, ID 83702)...dug up the addresses for my video store list, thought I would share them...

    1. Thanks for the location addresses! That's very cool.