A Reason to Believe (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The urge to create is not limited to the talented. In fact, I'd say it probably strikes uniformly across all talent levels, meaning that for every Orson Welles, with an urge to create matched by overwhelming talent and intelligence, there are a hundred Ethan Hawkes who really, really, really feel the urge to create something, and churn out nothing better than masturbatory turtleneck art pieces or obvious afterschool specials.

It is no fun to review the work of those sincere people who really want to make a passionate statement about life or their pet social issues. I'd much rather review the work of guys who view movies as a business, entertainment, or marketing project, because it's easy to crap on films like Pearl Harbor which are made with no greater ambition than making the big bucks.

A Reason to Believe is no commercialized monstrosity like Batman and Robin. It is one of those sincere, bumbling films that are difficult to review. It deals with a very serious set of subjects like date rape and the objectification of women. A woman goes to party without her boyfriend, is date-raped by boyfriend's frat brother, trouble ensues. The author has his heart in the right place, but has no idea how to approach this weighty subject, so he reveals his opinions by distributing pompous and obvious speeches among the sympathetic characters and/or authority figures. It seems like one of those "educational" films from the 1950s.

Something like this:

STONER: Gee, perfesser, women are, like, saying they want sex when they dress sexy, aren't they?

PROFESSOR: There's where you're wrong, my naive young friend. It is a woman's choice to ... (long obvious speech)

SINCERE GIRL IN BACK OF CLASS: Yeah, and besides Jimmy, how would YOU know what women want?

(class giggles)

PROFESSOR: (Stern and sober.) This is not a matter for laughter!

The characters are stereotypical. The situations are obvious. The filming is barely above home movie quality. The actors - just hopeless. They are about at the same level as your local TV staff announcers being forced to do dramatic re-enactments in public service announcements. The leading man of the film, the boyfriend of the rape victim who dumps her because he doesn't believe it was rape, is Anthony Quinn's son Danny, who was 31 at the time, but playing a college kid.

Amazingly enough, this DVD of this forgotten film includes a full length commentary by the author/director, and ten short featurettes about the attempt to make and distribute a small, earnest, socially concerned, inept movie in a heartless freemarket. Of course, they didn't mention the "inept" part. As I have implied, these people are clueless, and really believe that they made something important and of great merit.

On the other hand, it is one of the top movies ever filmed entirely in Ohio. Maybe THE top one, for all I know.



  • full screen, full frame (boom mikes and all!)
  • ten tiny featurettes about making and distributing the film
  • full length commentary


Male: buns from Jay Underwood and Danny Quinn

Quinn's erect penis also appears when Combs puts a condom on it - although it is body doubled (hilariously) by a penis-shaped piece of wood.

Female: breasts from Holly-Marie Combs

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

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 D - sincere, well-meaning, and incompetent.

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