1997 Movie Review: PRIVATE PARTS, 1997 (Howard Stern)

Movie Reviews

Directed by Betty Thomas

Cast: Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, Mary McCormack, Fred Norris, Paul Giamatti, Jackie Martling, Carol Alt, Allison Janney
Review by Jarred Thomas


The film tells the story of Howard Stern, the popular radio personality whose candor and crude humor revolutionized radio.


One of the most controversial disc jockeys of all time, Howard Stern revolutionized radio for the masses and created a radio show that all other personalities try to emulate but fail in their attempts. The film is based on the popular book of the same name and chronicles the career of Howard from his childhood to high school and college to his early days in radio eventually leading to his radical career in broadcasting.

Love him or hate, Howard Stern is truly an entertainer and Private Parts shows not only his eccentric persona but also the struggles and challenges he faced from all angles. Whether it was local bullies or vindictive program directors, every obstacle was essential in developing the personality that would later become an iconic radio star.

Howard Stern plays, who else, but Howard Stern and while that may seem like an easy task considering he’s only playing himself, it’s not. He has to be able to convey his emotions and dramatic moment convincingly, no matter if he’s retelling an experience he went through. It still requires that he present a believable moment and this requires good acting, which he does.

Betty Thomas does an excellent job balancing the crude humor with the more heavy scenes. The supporting cast does a fine job as well. Paul Giamatti is great as spiteful program director, Lenny, or “pig vomit” as Howard refers to him. Together their scenes are absolute gold as both Howard and Paul play off each other perfectly.

There’s a memorable scene in which Paul addresses Howard and his gang (Robin and Fred) about the seven dirty words they are not allowed to say. This of course only entices Howard, who later develops a segment in which he says those exact words but in the context of a game show so as to make it seem innocent and appropriate for radio listeners.

Those who are familiar with the Howard Stern show can expect the typical naked sexy women and certain bits that are popular on his radio program. But there is also a heart to the film that provides warm moments between Howard and his wife Alison, played by the talented Mary McCormack. There’s one intense scene in particular that felt completely real as the two argue about a bit Howard did on the radio about a recent miscarriage the two suffered.

Howard has always made it clear that nothing in his life is private and he can at anytime use parts of his life to entertain his audience. The issue of the miscarriage is one of them. It’s interesting to see behind the scenes and the method to his madness.

With a strong supporting cast topped off with standout performances from both Howard Stern and Paul Giamatti, Private Parts is one of the funniest films filled with an abundance of pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a fan of the popular radio personality, I can assure you that this move will have you laughing and sympathizing with the famous disc jockey. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of who Howard Stern is as a personality, but more importantly as a person.



PRIVATE PARTS, Fred Norris, Howard Stern, 1997, (c) Paramount

Film Review:DRONE (Canada 2017)

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drone.jpgIdeologies collide with fatal results when a military drone contractor meets an enigmatic Pakistani businessman.

Director: Jason Bourque
Writers: Paul A. Birkett, Jason Bourque
Stars: Sean Bean, Patrick Sabongui, Mary McCormack

Canadian director Jason Bourque directs this new thriller shot entirely in his native Vancouver, British Columbia. The film centres on a drone pilot who conducts covert operations from his hometown.

DRONE begins predictably with an overhead shot of a good kill, similar to the recent film about drones which is also called GOOD KILL. It is an effective device – the overhead shot. But the problem in this film, is that it has been used in drone films all too often already and the taut atmosphere is slowly diffused after the first segment.

An innocent girl is taken out by mistake somewhere in Pakistan. The distraught father (Patrick Sabongui), obviously seeks revenge. He is seen later on in the film, suddenly apparently a successful businessman, Mr. Shaw (without explanation) stalking the contractor that affected the kill. This contractor is Ian (Brit Sean Bean sporting an American accent in a Canadian made film) who’s father has just passed away. His wife is having an affair. His son is too quiet for comfort. Ian never visited his father regularly in the senior home. He has issues with his younger brother. Yes, Ian has family problems. Are all this necessary?

Too many incidents are crammed into an apparently what should be simple film with a solid purpose. At the funeral home, the sibling rivalry emerges but its origin is never explained. How Neil got into the drone business is also unexplained. The poor relationship between Ian’s son and wife are also left vague at best.

The constant intercutting among Pakistan and the United States is disorienting. The audience is never sure whether they are supposed to be sympathetic for be Ian or for Mr. Shaw.

The film goes about with Ian’s problem of writing his late father’s eulogy for the funeral. “Allow the story of your father have true meaning.” is the odd advice the enemy gives to Ian for the writing of his father’s eulogy.

The film is so bad, it ends up an interesting watch, but only to see how many more mistakes can be found in the film.

Performances are ordinary at best. What can one expect from a bad film with a bad script? It is also odd to phantom the reason a Canadian film would be tackling an American subject, especially when the subject of a guilty American at war (also tackled in Clint Eastwood’s AMERICAN SNIPER) has been down and done so well before.

The film has a climatic takedown at the end. But the film is confusing in whether Ian will pay for his crime.

Ian says at one point int he film to Mr. Shaw when his wife keeps talking about other matters, “We better get back to the business (selling of the boat) at hand.” This is advice the director should have taken for himself so as not to get too distract from all the too many elements in the script. This supposedly taut thriller ends up diluted with poorly executed family drama.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UqxCUrT5-Y


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