[Screen It]


(1997) (James Spader, Holly Hunter) (NC-17)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Heavy Heavy None None
Heavy None Minor None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Extreme Moderate None Mild Moderate

Drama: A group of people gets sexually aroused by car crashes.
James Ballard (JAMES SPADER) is a film director who gets into a car crash where he's badly injured and another driver is killed. The driver's wife, Dr. Helen Remington (HOLLY HUNTER) survives and she and Ballard later meet at the junkyard where they're both looking for their wrecked cars. Although James is married to Catherine (DEBORAH UNGER), he and Helen begin a flaming affair. For some reason auto wrecks now turn him on and Helen introduces him to Vaughan (ELIAS KOTEAS), a grand master of that strange fascination. Vaughan specializes in recreating famous car wrecks (such as the one that killed actor James Dean) when not out photographing other auto crashes. Soon he, his lover Gabrielle (ROSANNA ARQUETTE), and James and Helen get involved in passionate affairs with each other that arise from watching auto accidents.
They might, but since it's rated NC-17, only those seventeen and older will be able to see it.
For numerous explicit sex scenes. The film also contains "accident gore, some graphic language and aberrant sexual content."
There are no good role models anywhere to be found in this film.


OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
This is an odd and perplexing film that also has no social redeeming values, or for that matter, any real point of why it was ever made. While controversial films occasionally come along, at least they sometimes have some redeeming quality to them. They may have high artistic values or use their extreme subject matter and the presentation of it for some statement (such as in "A Clockwork Orange"). This film's purpose, however, is just to showcase a bunch of sick individuals who like to have sex after getting turned on by car crashes. Their behavior is never explained and no character development takes places. The caliber of actors in it is surprising, especially that of Holly Hunter who must have thought this would have turned out differently when she signed on to do it (or we hope that's the case). The film is so pointless and ludicrous that at times it becomes unintentionally funny. When the main character knocks his wife's car down an embankment and then has sex with her right there, you can't help but to roll your eyes. Granted there might be sick people like that out in the world, but wouldn't somebody stop or least slow down when they see an overturned car? Or what about when James, Catherine and Vaughan come upon a car wreck (that just happens to involve one of Vaughan's cohorts) and then pose and take pictures in front of the wreck? Wouldn't the police stop them, or at least ask what they're doing? And the scene that starts the film where James runs off the road into oncoming traffic and then runs into a car containing a woman who gets off on car crashes is ludicrously astronomical. The worst is a scene where James helms a car as it goes through what has to be the longest car wash in the world while Vaughan and Catherine have sex in the backseat. Using shock value just for producing exploitative shock is pointless. We get the idea after the first car wreck/sex scene and the rest of the film becomes the epitome of redundancy. While we realize that nearly no one who's reading this review will have any desire to see this film, take it from us. Don't waste your time or money. We give this big celluloid wreck a 0 out of 10.
Although children under seventeen aren't admitted to this film (as long as that policy is enforced), we wouldn't recommend this film for any age. Still, if for some reason you want to see this, the film is filled with sexual activity all relating to becoming aroused by car crashes. One character seems to be the "master of ceremonies" for the wrecks and later tries to cause several. Some characters smoke marijuana, but surprisingly there's little profanity. There are many, many sexual encounters, including one homosexual and one lesbian, and there's quite a bit of nudity. In addition, just the fact that these characters want to be involved or cause car crashes instantly makes this film unsuitable for any children. We don't recommend it to anyone of any age.

  • Gabrielle lights up a joint for Vaughan, who then gives it to a friend of his.
  • A woman drinks beer.
  • Vaughan and James smoke marijuana as does Gabrielle.
  • Gabrielle smokes another joint.
  • Throughout the film, many of the car crash victims are bloody and several photographs showing bloody victims are also seen.
  • Pins of a brace apparatus penetrate James' leg after his car crash.
  • Large, gaping scars are seen on the back of Gabrielle's thigh, Vaughan has many gross looking scars, and James has a few smaller ones on him as well.
  • Everyone gets off on seeing or causing car wrecks (especially Vaughan who actively recreates and/or causes them).
  • Everyone has affairs with everyone else.
  • Vaughan, James, and Catherine stop at an accident scene and take pictures of the wounded, the dead, and then have Catherine pose in front of the wreckage.
  • None.
  • None.
  • James tries to read while driving and that causes him to run off the road and into oncoming traffic.
  • Causing and/or recreating car wrecks, including smashing two cars into each other. Also, Vaughan likes to drive up close behind other drivers, including Catherine.
  • Having sex in cars.
  • Vaughan, James, and Catherine stop at an accident scene and take pictures of the wounded, the dead, and then have Catherine pose in front of the wreckage.
  • James wildy drives down the road and often on the wrong side of it.
  • None.
  • There's just a minor bit of mainly strange sounding music here and there in a few scenes.
  • None.
  • 4 "f" words (1 used sexually), 3 "s" words, and 1 slang term for breasts ("tits") used as exclamations.
  • Catherine exposes and caresses her breast, and then rubs it against an airplane. A man then pulls up her dress (showing her bare butt) and has sex with her from behind.
  • James' face is plastered into a woman's butt and is stimulating her in some fashion. There is sexual movement and sounds, but they are interrupted before anything else can happen.
  • Catherine then asks James "did you come" (about the above) and he asks her the same. Meanwhile, she reveals her butt to him and he has sex with her from behind out on their balcony.
  • Helen's bare breast is seen right after her car crash with James.
  • Catherine soaps up her hand and runs it up under the covers to manually stimulate James. He then put his hand into her crotch.
  • Helen exposes her breast to James and he feels it. She then climbs on top of his lap, he pulls her underwear off and undoes his pants and they have sex in the front seat. Movement and sounds are seen and heard.
  • James and Catherine have sex with her on top of him in a chair. Again there is movement and sounds.
  • Vaughan manually stimulates Helen.
  • James and Catherine are seen in bed together, their bodies intertwined. Female full frontal nudity is seen as they talk "dirty" to arouse each other. She mentions that Vaughan's car is so big that he must have "had" many women in it and comments that it must "smell of semen." She then asks James if he's seen Vaughan's penis, and he responds that it's badly scarred. Meanwhile he has sex with her from behind and there's a great deal of sexual movement and sounds and their bare buttocks are seen. She says, "Can you imagine what his anus looks like...describe it to me....would you like to sodomize him?...Would you like to put your penis into his anus?...Thrust it up into his anus?...Describe how you'd reach over and unzip his jeans...Take out his penis...Would you kiss it, or suck it right away?...Do you know what semen tastes like?...Some semen is saltier than others."
  • Helen sits on top of James as they have sex in the backseat of a car. There's movement and sounds, and she mentions a long list of people she's had sex with in cars.
  • Gabrielle, James, and Helen get aroused watching a videotape of test car crashes. Each of them has their hands in the others' crotches.
  • Vaughan picks up a prostitute and has sex with her in the backseat while James drives the car. Her bare butt and breasts are seen and he puts his hand into her crotch. She then climbs on top of him and there's more sexual movement.
  • Catherine exposes her breast to Vaughan while going through a car wash. He feels it and they fool around and shots of his hand in her exposed crotch are seen. Later, her hand is covered in what appears to be semen.
  • Catherine and James are in bed togther and we see full frontal nudity of her for long periods of time.
  • Gabrielle's bare breast is seen and she fondles it while she's with James. They then have sex in a car and more sounds and movement are heard and seen.
  • Vaughan and James then have an encounter where it appears that Vaughan is performing oral sex on him. They then kiss, and James undoes Vaughan's pants who then turns around and it's implied that they have sex.
  • Helen and Gabrielle get into Vaughan's wrecked car and make out. They're seen in the backseat with their legs intertwined and it's implied that they have sex.
  • James manually stimulates Catherine.
  • James drives Catherine's car from the road and it turns over several times. He stops and finds that she's been thrown from the car, but is still alive. He then caresses her breast and has sex with her from behind (with movement, bare butts, and female full frontal nudity).
  • Catherine smokes many times and Vaughan is also seen smoking.
  • Helen smokes occasionally and says that she picked up the habit while in the hospital.
  • None.
  • The sick perversion these people have.
  • Helen's husband is thrown through his windshield into and through James' windshield and is instantly killed.
  • To recreate the accident that killed actor James Dean, Vaughan and two other drivers ram their cars into each other, causing some injuries to everyone involved.
  • James, Catherine and Vaughan come across a car accident that they then learn was caused by an associate of Vaughan's. The man, a woman and a dog are all killed.
  • Catherine lies fully naked on a bed and has many bruises across her body, indicating a rough sexual encounter with Vaughan.
  • Vaughan repeatedly rams his car into one where James is sitting.
  • Vaughan tries to run into Catherine and James' car but ends up crashing through a guardrail. They stop and see that his car has crashed into a bus and has caught both of them on fire.
  • James drives Catherine's car off the road and it turns over several times. He stops and finds that she's been thrown from the car, but is still alive.

  • Reviewed March 21, 1997

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