The Year That Sucked

The year that was was the year that sucked.  Rude audiences, ram-
pant projection problems, and relentless hype-as-advertising all 
took their toll.  Weekends became box-office blood baths as an ex-
cess of "event pictures" fought for precious screen space.  Blink 
and what you wanted to see was gone.  Wait two weeks and you'd be 
waiting for the video.  The films themselves were hardly an 
improvement, even at the end of the year, when Oscar-baiting 
usually begets better fare.  (How bad were the highbrow holidays?  
Try sitting through THE CRUCIBLE, EVITA, and THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY 
FLINT in the same weekend.)

Most of the movies were overrated and not just the late-year, 
limited releases.  Souls starved for epic romance played through 
the sand traps of THE ENGLISH PATIENT, for example, while space-
opera lovers embraced a boring Borg in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT. 
And there were other huh-zits, from SLEEPERS to SHINE to John 
Sayles' over-calculated LONE STAR.  (Even Yours Truly was guilty.  
TWISTER was a lot of wind and MARS ATTACKS! was so bad that I had 
to leave the theater on second viewing.)  A few weren't even worth 
finishing (MICHAEL, TIN CUP, etc.), but I tried to limit my walk-
outs to once every other month.

Movie Hell indeed, but I survived.  And produced some writing.  And 
had some fun.  The trials and tribulations were many-- the memories 
of which are included below-- but I enjoyed myself.  And continue 
to enjoy myself.  Believe it or not, I still wear a smile when the 
lights come down and the trailer reel begins to roll.  Almost 180 
movies were watched last year.  Many made me laugh and most took me 
away from this world and into their own, and that's a deal any damn 
day of the week.  Here, then, are The Lists-- my stabs at Best, 
Worst, and, even, the ones I wish I had walked out on.  *That* list 
was pruned down from fifty.

      THE BEST                          THE WORST

   1. Fargo                          1. Black Sheep
   2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame    2. Carpool
   3. Courage Under Fire             3. Faithful
   4. The Rock                       4. The Juror
   5. Secrets and Lies               5. Striptease
   6. Bound                          6. The Glimmer Man
   7. Cold Comfort Farm              7. Mary Reilly
   8. Independence Day               8. Spy Hard
   9. Jerry Maguire                  9. Heaven's Prisoners
  10. Trainspotting                 10. Dear God


   o  Big Night                      o  The Ghost and the Darkness
   o  A Family Thing                 o  Girl 6
   o  Ridicule                       o  Mr. Wrong
   o  Trees Lounge                   o  Mulholland Falls
   o  Welcome to the Dollhouse       o  Unforgettable

      WALKED OUT ON                     WISH I HAD WALKED OUT ON

   o  Flipper                        o  Basquiat
   o  The Funeral                    o  The English Patient
   o  Last Man Standing              o  Michael Collins
   o  Michael                        o  Sleepers
   o  Tin Cup                        o  The Spitfire Grill

Not much to say about these.  FARGO was my fave.  Yup, you betcha.  
And I saw it in Minneapolis, my hometown.  THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE 
DAME was Hugo with a happy ending.  Well, why not?  I cried my eyes 
out in COURAGE UNDER FIRE and I was anything but stone-faced in THE 
ROCK.  SECRETS AND LIES was as exhilaratingly exhausting as BOUND 
was exhaustingly exhilarating.  Howling was heard at COLD COMFORT 
FARM, which I had the pleasure to see at the gorgeous Cedar Lee, in 
Cleveland.  INDEPENDENCE DAY was a blast and, frankly, one of the 
few movies of the year that accomplished exactly what it intended.  
JERRY MAGUIRE had all that great dialogue, while Bob Dole's pick-
of-the-week, TRAINSPOTTING, has done its part to discourage certain 
speech.  Specifically, dead-baby jokes.  

More memories of the moviegoing year:

 o "If we don't have order, we don't have anything," WHITE SQUALL
 o  Charleston, to escape an ice storm and see movies
 o  Cheech Marin's pussy pitch, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
 o  The chipper, FARGO

 o "He's committing pesticide!", JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
 o  The first hour of THE FAN
 o  The final reel of SCREAM
 o  Confronted in the lobby of the Rialto, by a woman wanting to 
    know why I was laughing so hard in JANE EYRE

 o  "I cannot make caviar out of fish eggs!", THE GREAT WHITE HYPE
 o  Falling tanker-trucks, TWISTER
 o  Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Pam Grier kicking ass and 
    taking names, ORIGINAL GANGSTAS
 o  Walking out of FLIPPER and still having an entire Friday 
    afternoon intact

 o "You need to see this movie again, this time with your head 
    screwed on right," letter to Hell
 o  An old-fashioned sword fight, THE PHANTOM
 o  Familiar movie music in COLD COMFORT FARM
 o  Lindsay Crouse readying for bed in a hotel room crawling with
    with scorpions, THE ARRIVAL

 o "Elvis has left the building!", INDEPENDENCE DAY
 o "He lives!", THE FRIGHTENERS
 o  Iggy Pop in drag, DEAD MAN
 o  Arnold Schwarzenegger dropping out of the sky, ERASER

 o "Please tell me that you were unusually kind to Pamela Lee    
    because of her girth and her suffering society's pressure for 
    larger breasts," letter to Hell
 o  Michael Keaton arguing with his selves over who gets to sleep 
    with Andie MacDowell, MULTIPLICITY
 o  The worst toilet in Scotland, TRAINSPOTTING

 o "Bite your teeth into the ass of life," BIG NIGHT
 o  Peter Fonda, still a cool dude after all these years, 
 o  Brando, Chopin, and a dwarf, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU
 o  Walking out of FIRST KID because of too many kids

 o "Trust in the Lloyd," THE STUPIDS
 o  Bill Murray trying to drive a big-rig, LARGER THAN LIFE
 o  Maggie Smith meets Sarah Jessica Parker, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB
 o  THE TRIGGER EFFECT predating a week without power after 
    Hurricane Fran

 o "I don't like to clean the brushes, either," BASQUIAT
 o  An answering machine, SWINGERS
 o  Adam Sandler's bare bottom, BULLETPROOF
 o  Brian Cox's monologue about a dog and where it likes to lick   

 o "When you walk out of a film halfway through and ask for your 
    money back, do they give it to you?," letter to Hell
 o  James Garner's potty-mouth, MY FELLOW AMERICANS
 o  A heavenly Microsoft gag, THE PREACHER'S WIFE
 o  The ass of an ass, BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO AMERICA

 o "Sorry about the hand," JERRY MAGUIRE.

Copyright 1997 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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