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If you've never heard of Heidi Fleiss, the enterprising young woman who
from adolescent party girl to high profile prostitute and became
Tinseltown's richest and most famous madame within the span of just a few
years, this fast paced made for television drama will fill you in on all
sordid details. What it won't do is help you understand people like Fleiss
or care in the least abut her or any of her associates. Norman Snider's
script offers few insights into the madame's motivations, though to his
credit, he wisely avoids the heavy handed moralizing I expected. Director
Charles McDougall's constantly moving camera and slick, quick cuts make
movie look like a 90 minute music video. The combined result is a
interesting but rarely emotionally engaging tour through Fleiss's world of
seduction and betrayal. The film often seems like little more than an
to show sexy babes modeling skimpy lingerie, lounging around the pool in
their bikinis, or servicing clients in carefully edited softcore sex
It's all entertaining fluff, but I found myself wishing for a bit more
substance underneath all the superficial gloss.
The film's biggest problem can be summed up best in just three words: Jamie-Lynn DiScala. This young actress seems competent enough playing the pampered daughter of a mob boss on THE SOPRANOS, but then I doubt that role would be much of a stretch for a lady who was apparently so obsessed with her own appearance she suffered from a type of bulimia for years. To the best of my knowledge, the Fleiss character is DiScala's first serious adult role and I'm sorry to say she doesn't exactly rise to the challenge. Her idea of portraying a confident, calculating woman is to parade through the film wearing the same vapid smirk on her face in practically every single scene. Her performance is so staggeringly unconvincing it drags down the whole production to the dramatic level of a sixth grade classroom play. In an interview in TV GUIDE, DiScala herself openly admits she wasn't able to relate to the Fleiss character. She goes on to say she discussed the film's sexual content with the director and told him `I don't know how I'm going to be able to do this.' She also divulges that during one of the sex scenes, she broke into tears and had to be replaced by a body double, even though no on-screen nudity was required. These confessions are very sweet and precious, but they do beg the obvious question: why would she accept the leading role in a film about a prostitute if she was so nervous about doing erotic scenes? Did she even bother reading the script before signing the contract?
DiScala claims she trimmed down by 15 pounds for the part, an admittedly serious health risk for a former bulimic. But considering how awkward she looks throughout this movie, her torturous physical preparation for the role only reveals how utterly warped her priorities are as an actress. My advice to Ms. DiScala is skip the dieting in the future and instead concentrate on some acting method classes. Or better yet, stick to playing pouty adolescent princesses and leave the serious adult roles for real actresses.
In a way, though, I suppose DiScala's presence in this film is ultimately appropriate. Both she and the movie as a whole look extremely sexy but fail to display one iota of depth.
This came on a late night on U.S.A. and I immediately noticed Jamie-Lynn
DiScala from the Sopranos so I decided to watch. I was rather surprised to
see her in a role like the one she had in this. Had a nice little plot that
kept me tuned in, had some really sexy scenes for a movie that comes on
Very reminiscent to Boogie Nights and Blow, Jamie-Lynn holds her own as a cut-throat businesswoman in a surprisingly flashy movie - for a TV movie, this one DOES contain some nudity and heavy drug use.
nice movie about the high class prostitution rings from the eyes of a young woman - Lynn DiScala's character was nicely developed throughout the movie and she brought Heidi Fleiss's story to life cool, decent stuff 8/10
For starters, a movie like this should have been produced to air on cable. That way, sex scenes, foul language and nudity could have been used to save this film. How can you tell a story about prostitution and drugs in LA with PG rated material? Somehow, the network showed some new wave style of nudity that showed very little with fast paced editing and dissolves. It was nice to see Ms. Jaime-Lynn in a role like this, I only wish she had more to work with. Still, the casting for this film was terrible. The Casting Director should be questioned by a congressional panel on why the actors in this movie were terrible. On a serious note, I feel bad that Jaime-Lynn did not hit a home run with this movie. From here, she has to prove herself with some gritty independent features to make herself stand out among the other mediocre actors of her generation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**Spoiler Warning! ** While the title pretty much spells out this movie,
please be advised that
specific plots points are discussed herein.
`Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss' is a story that involves my two favorite things: sex and cash. Now, according to some, that may make me morally challenged, but c'mon, we've all gotta work. USA Cable Network's Heidi makes it seem like a good cash business in this retelling of the infamous Hollywood Madame's story.
This incarnation of Heidi Fleiss is played by the fabulous what's her name from HBO's `The Sopranos.' What can you say about her performance? She almost looks like Heidi Fleiss, she memorized her lines real good and in theory that Sopranos gig gives her, and by default this movie, some street cred.
`Call Me' is not some rerun episode of `Cops.' `Cops' can do a real good job at putting a downer on anyone's sex for cash fascination. Here though, Heidi's girls aren't a bunch of frightening crack whores from the depths of the local trailer parks offering `Johns' a half- and-half for twenty bucks. Twenty bucks? Wait a minute here! Heidi's girls, -er, I mean ladies, have all their teeth, thank you, and the yellowing of the skin from Hepatitis has not begun to show. In Heidi's world, sex for cash means $5,000 a night. And as Heidi says in the movie, `That's per girl. Plus a little spending money for shopping. And I'm gonna need money for their plane tickets too if you want them in Vegas tonight.' `Leave 'em happy.' Isn't that what B.T. Barnum or Samuel Goldwyn said? Or was it `Keep 'em wanting more?' Well whatever, you get the idea.
This movie really put me in the fabulous world that is Heidi Fleiss. Just imagine the days sitting around the pool at Heidi's house sipping cocktails up in the Hollywood Hills, while `Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun' plays over and over again on the radio. Need to go to the doctor-wink, wink-no problem. Heidi's father Dr. Paul Fleiss (who is played here by Saul Rubinek who'll you will recognize from somewhere, but won't really care enough to put you finger on it) is a sweet pediatrician with a little office over in Silver Lake. He's like your own little dr. grandpa. He'll hook you up. Give him a freebie and tell him Heidi sent you.
Speaking of drugs, I don't approve of all the coke (lower `c', not the brand name cola) that goes on in this movie. Maybe its because this is a made for cable movie and they wanted to push the envelope, but all this coke snorting has got to go. Geezus Heidi you're givin' me a headache! Sure it keeps you skinny so you could eat whatever you want.hey wait a minute. stay skinny.eat what ever I want.work all night.sleep all day. Hey, since when did I become such a Puritan?
What really makes this story so heartwarming is that Heidi has the same problems that most of us can relate to. She's too young. She has WAY too much cash. She has all the business she wants. She's all coked out. She forgets to pay off the police. Did you pay the phone bill? Yeah. The mortgage? Umm..yes. Cash payment to the police? Oh, sweet mother of God.I forgot! It seems Heidi learned so much from here previous employer, Madame Alex, but in the end she forgot the most important lesson of them all. Pay off the cops! Throw the LAPD a bone now and then and no one gets hurt.
In regards to Heidi's previous employer, Madame Alex, she is NOT the kind of Madame that you'd wanna turn tricks for. She is old and ugly. Yuck! She is fat and doesn't get out of bed. And that smell.holly merde! I understand why all the girls left her for fun loving, albeit coked out, Heidi Fleiss. To make matters worse, Madame Alex has some vague Germanic accent and calls Heidi a `little Jew *itch' when she gets made at her. Think of Nurse Diesel from `High Anxiety' and you've got Madame Alex.
I give the first part of `Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss FOUR STARS. Tivo past the rest of the jail, court, loses everything and rehab part unless getting bummed out is your thing. I'm going back to Heidi's pool, where Juanita the house keeper is more than glad to freshen up whatever you're drinking. Here's my idea: Let's pretend she never got busted and turn it into a weekly series with special guest star ala `The Love Boat' and `Fantasy Island' Ms. Fleiss. Madame Heidi, you can `Call Me' anytime. I am already a BIG fan!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lets face it, this story is a sleazy one and when you tune in you know
your not gonna see a story about little bo peep. But even knowing this,
I was not prepared for the DEPTH of the sleaziness.
Firstly-to many shots of Heidi fleiss having sex. WHO CARES? I mean everyone knows Heidi fleiss has had sex in her life-why feel the need to make a movie about it? This was called "the rise and fall of Heidi fleiss" not Heidi fleiss having a lot of sex.
Secondly-I couldn't buy into some of this stuff-I'm not saying it didn't happen like this but...Heidi fleiss REALLY found girls to work for her by standing outside high schools and approaching females? I was a bit skeptical but hey what do I know...
Thirdly-the character of Heidi just got on my nerves after awhile-I thought this movie might be a character sudy and that would be OK and make up for the sleaze factor-only it wasn't. I think the makers were trying to do the "little girl lost" thing but all it did was make me really not like Heidi fleiss-especially when she stole her former boss's business. In fact I almost turned off the movie there.
The Charlie sheen clone thing was tacky and tasteless.
In fact the whole movie was pretty much the same. I like TV movies about real people if their done well. I like character studies. What we had here was lots of hookers looking sexy and numerous shots of Heidi having sex and double crossing people and not much more. But then again-maybe, after all there isn't a whole lot more to this story. In any event-only positive-Jaimelyn's performance as Heidi. The rest-skip it. 2 out of 10 stars.
Jason Stewart's first big role is nothing short of amazing. I can't believe he hasn't accumulated a larger body of work at this point in his career. His radio production talents notwithstanding, this fine young actor is geared to take the lead for the next generation. Think Brando in Streetcar Named Desire, except with more gusto. Think Nicholson in The Last Detail, but with more unpredictability. Think Neil Patrick Harris on Doogie Houser, but thinner. However,the moles on his face steal the show. The depth, heart, and sincerity they bring to his persona are one to grow on. Rumor has it that he will be connecting the dots for facial tattoo purposes for a future roll in the next Hannibal Lecter film.
Whomever had the bright idea to cast Jamie-Lynn DiScala as the
notorious Hollywood madam deserves to be fired on the spot. The girl is
hot? yes. Can see act? No Her attempt are laughable and her refusal to
disrobe leads the director to have the most obvious body double I have
EVERY witnessed. This barely passes muster as a TV movie, the "unrated"
version is beyond laughable.Steer clear, this film blows harder the the
real Mrs. Fleiss did when she was getting started.
Eye Candy: Most of the time when you see Jamie-Lynn DiScala naked it's a body double (I know BOOO!!), but the first time when she dances for Robert Davi you can see a nip slip, not much I know but the best you gonna get; also Emmanuelle Vaugier shows her ass
My Grade: D-
Prostitution shouldn't be a criminal offense punishable by law. It
should be considered unethical and people could be tarnished with the
black brush of shame, shunned by society, but keep the police out of
it. Indeed, let them catch real criminals. For it is even more
unethical for the police to get involved in a matter that is simply
people, adults, having consensual sex.
(I think this is my wisest review of the lot, but of course nobody's going to pay heed)
Make no mistake, this movie is a goodie. There are four, five bad video edits, you know, the way two scenes are linked together, I see bothersome stripes, beats me how they let that through, possibly hurried work to beat a deadline. But as a product, it has the kind of shine I welcome into my pretty-girls-on-DVD- collection. As for the story, it has to keep to the constraints of being a biopic, this actually happened, nothing is added. The real problem lies in identities that had to be protected just in case of nasty lawsuits. So, some names are very superficially mentioned, but a tell-all this of course ain't. Maybe in a few decades?
There are some disparaging comments made in the reviews, but Jamie-Lynn gives an excellent performance as Heidi Fleiss. Okay, she didn't want to do the nude scenes, but clever (if altogether obvious) editing got past that problem. The complaints about her smirk sounds laden with envy, lots of haters out there who can't stand to look at a pretty girl, and now they're blurring make-believe with reality, and dumping their frustrations on an innocent actress who happens to be playing the part of a prostitute. The sarcasm, the grin, that was her take on Heidi Fleiss, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
She's unforgettable in that bit where she, the Jewess, is offered to an Arab, and absolutely beautiful in that scene where she is lying on the yacht, with old Ivan massaging her back, oh that graceful throat. Not forgetting that plethora of scantily-clad maidens, lazing by the swimming pool, or diving in like graceful dollphins (get it?)...
Movie also very clearly shows just how uncool drug usage is. Red noses anybody?
Wild child Heidi Fleiss goes from party girl to queen of Hollywood
commercial sex - but the careless house-of-cards soon starts to wobble.
Based on an over-reported true story.
Money. Sex. Power. Like cherries on a one armed bandit when they line up you should give a decent pay-out. Here, however, they barely give out a profit.
For a start sex on the mainstream screen is all about foreplay, tease and aftermath rather than the act. The power soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty used sex with far more effect than these producers because they knew the audience could fill in the blank between the bedroom door and next morning themselves. Here we are forced to watch a coupling only being performed for financial gain. There is no before and no after. Nothing has changed. We learn nothing. Does the fact that big money is being exchanged add anything or change anything? Is it any more dramatic (or different) from what goes on in a motel room on the wrong side of town?
Jamie-Lynn Sigler was good (as the questioning daughter) in the Sopranos, but that was an undemanding role. Here she plays a complex women who is supposed to be smart and yet at the same time very dumb. Well dumb if not going to jail is one of your high priorities in life. She also mixed selling drugs with selling sex - one of the golden no-no's. She all but painted a cross on her forehead. Add her refusal to pay bribes/inform to the police and you have a perfect "how not to do it."
Nick Bloomfield's documentary was far more interesting as it played her life as unscripted comedy and tragedy. A bizarre version of the American dream where being famous and being infamous are pretty much the same. I am all for the legalisation of prostitution, but if these are the people that are going to benefit then maybe things are not so bad as they are...
The cameo by the man behind the Jim Rome show, aka the Jungle, is enough to put this movie right up there with the greatest of all time. Move over Citizen Kane, watch out Godfather and the heck with you Schindler's list, it's all about Call Me! There's a new star in Tinsel-town and he is J-Stew. Forget the "rat pack" it's the XR4-TI Crew's time now! '"Ivan, Ivan! One more!" I haven't seen a performance like that since Dustin Hoffman played Charlie Babbit in Rain Man. And the method acting was incredible. Jamie-Lynn and Robert Davi were completely upstaged by this up and coming future superstar. It's only fitting that J-stew portrayed a member of the paprazzi because surely he is going to be hounded by them for the rest of his natural life. War Call Me! War J-Stew for an Oscar. I am out!
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