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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1991


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This is one of Fox's best later years, just saying....

Unusually for a '90s year, the biggest hit came right off the bat with Sleeping with the Enemy, a film that was very Lifetime-esque, but lifted a bit above its trappings by a well-nuanced performance from Julia Roberts.

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Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Gene Hackman both shone brightly in the courtroom drama Class Action, a cracklingly good time.

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Robert Townsend made a film about a musical group in The Five Heartbeats, an audience pleaser.

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A different decade, a different mannequin in Mannequin II: On the Move.

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Robin Hood, with Patrick Bergin (last seen as the psycho in Sleeping with the Enemy) and Uma Thurman, saw its theatrical plans scuttled in the US thanks to the Kevin Costner film, but Fox still handled it elsewhere in the world.

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Maureen O'Hara returned to the big screen for the last time in Only the Lonely, a bittersweet romantic comedy-drama that owed a lot to Marty. As John Candy's Archie Bunker-esque mother, she stole the whole show and gave a tremendous performance, one of her best. But honestly, Candy and Ally Sheedy were never better as well, and Anthony Quinn had a very amusing supporting turn. The film was lovely.

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Julia Roberts returned as a nurse to dying Campbell Scott in Dying Young. She ended up falling for him. Vincent D'Onerfio, David Selby, Ellen Burstyn, and Colleen Dewhurst (who actually died two months after its release, and was Scott's mother in real life) co-starred.

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Kathryn Bigelow's high-tension action film Point Blank with Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and Lori Petty became a major cult film of the 90s.

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Dutch was a teen film from the John Hughes factory, but the Ed O'Neill starring film disappeared quickly.

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Hot Shots was a popular spoof of films such as Top Gun.

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the Committments telling of a rowdy Irish band was one of the big surprise hits of 1991

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barton Fink won the Palme D'or and was a gloriously unsettling film with rock solid turns from John Turturro, Judy Davis, John Mahoney, and Michael Lerner, and an unforgettable performance from John Goodman, never more terrifying. A must-see of the dark side of Hollywood.

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Joe Pesci and Vincent Gardenia were around a tenement in The Super.

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29th Street was a comedy-drama about an Italian-American neighorhood with Danny Aiello, Anthony Lapagella, and Lainie Kazan. Sounds good to me.

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Bette Midler had her best ever peromance in For the Boys, a fine showcase for her comic, dramatic, and singing skills. The film had its longeurs, but it was seriously emotionally effecting, and George Segel, in a smaller part, underplayed nicely. Nice period detail to boot.

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Grand Canyon continued the winning streak with a deeply affecting and emotional tale with excellent work from an all-star cast, and a hopeful, thoughtful, intelligent script.

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1991 closed with Peter Weller, Judy Davis, and Ian Holm in David Cronenberg's surreal Naked Lunch, a film that was one of the more unusual big-studio films of the 90s and as such has a big following today.

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A weak year, full of passable filler and mediocre efforts. My faves:

  1. Barton Fink
  2. Naked Lunch

I've also seen Sleeping with the EnemyClass ActionMannequin 2: On the MoveRobin HoodOnly the LonelyDying YoungPoint BreakHot Shots!The CommitmentsFor the BoysGrand Canyon, and The Super.

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SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY was a huge-huge film. It had a lot of initial interest because Roberts had scored big the year before in PRETTY WOMAN. But it was so expertly made that it attracted a lot of repeat business. That scene where she shoots Bergin may probably be her best moment ever on screen. I remember people standing up and cheering. That's how emotionally powerful she was in this movie. And Bergin was excellent as the villain.

GRAND CANYON is a fine film, though I think parts of it are too belabored. 

I didn't care for THE COMMITMENTS. And I went into it wanting to like it.

I had just started film school in the fall, and I went with another student to an advance screening of FOR THE BOYS in Century City. I remember him complaining all the way back to campus, about how bad the foley was. To this day I can't watch the film without focusing on what's wrong with the foley. If I hadn't seen it with him, I never would have noticed!

CLASS ACTION is good. POINT BREAK is a guilty pleasure. The lead stars are certainly at their most attractive.

I like ONLY THE LONELY. It's a good swan song for O'Hara. She said that Candy reminded her a lot of working with Laughton.

 

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