Paradise (1982) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Phoebe Cates and Willie Aames play two young teens who are on a caravan between Baghdad and Damascus in the early 19th century. The caravan is attacked by marauders, and the two teens end up as the only survivors. Their escape does not please the Evil Arab Ransacking Dude, because he is a white slaver, and the main reason he attacked the caravan was to get Phoebe Cates in the first place. Of course, before he sells her, he plans to  ... well, you know.

The two teens miraculously live through their solo trek in the desert, and they eventually settle down and build magnificent living quarters out of palm fronds and dates. Evil Arab Ransacking Dude pursues them, and captures Cates, but Aames quickly rescues her, and they run off to create an even more impressive camp out of sand and coconuts. This time they settle on the coast of the Mediterranean, which is no simple matter when one considers the precise route from Baghdad to Damascus. In this tropical milieu they learn about sex, they adopt a family of chimps, they encounter the Evil Arab Ransacking Dude again, and ...

Oh, who am I kidding? Why bother with a summary? There is really only one reason for this film to exist - Phoebe Cates gets naked constantly. She showers naked under several different waterfalls, walks naked around the deluxe hut, swims naked near colorful coral reefs, bathes naked in lagoons, wades naked in the Mediterranean, has sex with Willie Aames ...

I guess some of you may also enjoy looking at Willie Aames naked. I know when I used to watch Aames and Van Patten in Eight is Enough, I'd think to myself, I gotta see willie and dick, if you catch my drift, but that was a deeply troubled time in my life. Strangely enough, my dream has been deferred once more, since Willie's willie has been digitally blurred in every scene on the Korean DVD I watched. IMDb says that this was simply done in the DVD mastering process.

Phoebe Cates certainly made an interesting, unique contribution to cinema nudity. Basically, she spent the entire year of 1982 naked (this film plus Fast Times at Ridgemont High), and then kept her clothes on for the rest of her career, which was only about a dozen years. Then she retired to raise a family, and hasn't really been seen on screen with or without clothing for a decade. So her entire collection of nude scenes was packed into a single year. But what a year! It is possible to argue that her nudity in this film is the all-time summit of celebrity nudity in film. She was 19 years old and as cute as a button, she looked even younger and sufficiently virginal to fulfill any man's schoolgirl fantasies (no wonder this film went to DVD in Japan before any other country!), her body was flawless and natural, and there was no tease. She showed everything again and again.


  • Phoebe Cates shows everything at one time or another, especially her bum which seems to be uncovered for most of the film's running time. While she is underwater, the camera even catches her with her legs open.
  • Willie Aames shows his bum for sure. There are a couple of scenes where his penis came into the picture, but it had been digitally blurred, similar to the technique used to blur Laura Harring's pubic area in Mulholland Drive. I saw a South Korean DVD, and I am assuming this was done in the DVD transfer, not on the original medium.

Besides Phoebe's flesh, there is one other positive feature of this film: the locations and cinematography are interesting. The director found some beautiful locations in the desert, and the cinematographer did as great a job on photographing them as he did on photographing Phoebe.

The rest of the film? Well, the story is ridiculous and maudlin, and their co-stars are a family of chimps. The acting is terrible. The Arab guys are one-dimensional villains. Phoebe herself is simply not that good, but she seems like Siobhan McKenna compared to Willie Aames. Come to think of it, the chimps seemed like the Royal Shakespeare Company compared to Aames. I notice that he moved to Portland in 1986 or 87 and packed up his career as a distinguished thespian, except for a couple of Eight is Enough reunion shows.

Available on DVD only in Japan and South Korea.

In 1999, he made a bit of a showbiz comeback by writing and directing and starring in Bible Man, "a Christian video series designed for children ages 3-9," who are presumably too young to criticize his acting. That series of videos then expanded into a Bibleman road show, which Aames starred in until 2003, when he announced that he would be stepping down from the part of Bibleman in the touring production in order to "spend more time with his family." I thought that meant "in his parents' basement," but IMDB has established that Aames and his second wife now live in Olathe, which is somewhere in rural Kansas.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviewer has written about this film, but Stomp Tokyo has a very amusing overview.


The People Vote ...

  • It grossed about $6 million in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. To be honest, the film stinks, but you can tolerate it for the nice photography and Phoebe Cates naked.

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