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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1992


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Shinging Through with Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas was one of those films that must have been made with big intentions, but things ended up going awry.

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Back in the USSR was a scarcely seen film that was one of the last films involving the Soviet Bloc country which broke up before the film was released.

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This is My Life, which I just reviewed and watched last night, was a likable if a bit precarious comedy-drama with fine work from Julie Kavner, Samantha Mathis, and Gaby Hoffman

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My Cousin Vinny was a cheerful, old-fashioned courtroom comedy that was brightly played and crisply made, but Oscar-winning Marisa Tomei ran off with the film.

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Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrellson hit the basketball court in White Men Can't Jump, costarring Rosie Perez who received good notices for it.

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FernGully: The Last Rainforest was an animated film with an ecological theme.

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Alien³ found Sigourney Weaver shaving her head and playing her signiture role as Ellen Ripley again. An alternate cut of the film, revealed in 2003, received a warmer reception than the studio cut of 1992.

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Unhinged cop Ray Liotta terrorized Kurt Russell and Madeline Stowe in Unlawful Entry.

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Perhaps Prelude to a Kiss was supposed to be an allegory about the AIDS crisis, or maybe it was just a bizarre body swap film. In any case, it just didn't work. Alec Baldwin, Meg Ryan, Kathy Bates, Ned Beatty, Patty Duke, and Stanley Tucci were all stranded.

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Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin appeared in Man Trouble, an attempt at a screwball comedy. It didn't pan out with critics or audiences.

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Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Redgar Haurer, Paul Reubels, and Hilary Swank were in the cult film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The spin-off TV show became better known than the film in subsequent years.

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Brandon Lee appeared in the action film Rapid Fire.

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James Spader, Joanne Whaley, Jason Robards, and Piper Laurie were in Storyville, a cross of noir, politics, and deep south secrets.

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Tim Roth and Alexis Arquette starred in Jumpin' in the Boneyard, a downbeat story of the horrors of addiction.

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Danial Day-Lewis and Madeliene Stowe scored a big hit in The Last of the Mohicans, a loose version of the classic by James Fenimore Cooper. 

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Robert DeNiro, Jessica Lange, Alan King, and Jack Warden starred in a remake of the 1950 noir Night and the City.

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Love Potion #9 was a goofy comedy that gave Sandra Bullock her first major studio leading part. Anne Bancroft cameoed as a gypsy.

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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York ramped up the violence on a bigger scale in a different city. The story was almost identical to the first one, and again the quieter moments, especially one scene with Brenda Fricker, came off best.

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Used People was a wistful comedy-drama with a brilliant cast. The episodic tale of a middle-aged Jewish widow, her mother, and her two daughters whose unhappy lives are turned completely around when she is wooed again, it radiated humanity (well, except for one scene). Shirley MacLaine, Marcello Mastrionni, Marcia Gay Harden (especially good), Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, and Sylvia Sidney all played their parts beautifully.

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Toys was DOA. Aside from the set design, almost every other aspect of the costly Barry Levinson-directed film was trashed. Robin Williams, Joan Cusack, Michael Gambon, LL Cool J, Robin Wright, and Donald O'Connor were the unlucky cast members. I've only seen clips on TV, but it looked like an incredibly wrongheaded film.

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Hoffa closed the year, and it too was costly and unsuccessful at the box office. But this one truly was an excellent, gripping film, and Jack Nicholson shone, and Danny De Vito made a great co-star and directing job as well. It deserves a second chance.

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A diverse array of films this year.

Probably USED PEOPLE is my favorite, just because it's so character driven and a refreshing contrast to much of the formulaic high-concept stuff Fox and other studios were churning out in the early 90s.

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is also another favorite. I particularly enjoy the soundtrack. Daniel Day-Lewis came to the Norris Theater on the campus of USC for a screening. Mainly, to do a Q-and-A with some film students. This was before it had been released to the general public. I didn't get to attend, but a friend told me the actor was stoned and the interview he did with the students was hilarious.

MY COUSIN VINNY is charming. Tomei is particularly good but not sure if it was deserving of an Oscar. I still can't believe she beat out all those great British actresses in the same category.

THIS IS MY LIFE. I remember going to the multiplex at the Century City mall when this one was released. I went to see something else and I had just bought my ticket. But I was waiting in the lobby for a friend to join me. A bunch of people marched out of a nearby theater. They had been watching THIS IS MY LIFE and were demanding a full refund. They said it was the most boring pointless film they'd ever sat through and couldn't bare another minute of it. That's the kind of word-of-mouth a filmmaker does not want. The movie went on to make about seventy-two dollars and eight-five cents nationwide.

NIGHT AND THE CITY is a decent remake. But the remake of CAPE FEAR, which featured the same leads, is even better.

WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP is one that was screened at USC in a course I had on race relations in film. It's not something I ordinarily would have gone to see, but I enjoyed it. And I think Rosie Perez gives a fine performance in it. 

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

 

THIS IS MY LIFE. I remember going to the multiplex at the Century City mall when this one was released. I went to see something else and I had just bought my ticket. But I was waiting in the lobby for a friend to join me. A bunch of people marched out of a nearby theater. They had been watching THIS IS MY LIFE and were demanding a full refund. They said it was the most boring pointless film they'd ever sat through and couldn't bare another minute of it. That's the kind of word-of-mouth a filmmaker does not want. The movie went on to make about seventy-two dollars and eight-five cents nationwide.

It did outgross Storyville, Love Potion #9, and Jumpin' at the Boneyard. But with an inflated (2019 money) gross of $6 million, it certainly didn't do well. I didn't find it boring, actually its character driven and the performances are very good, but the film does suffer from a poorly conceived and overly explicit teen bedroom scene in the otherwise family-friendly film that throws everything off balance for a while.

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My top picks:

  1. The Last of the Mohicans (I like this one a lot, and would say it's one of my favorites of the decade)
  2. Jumpin' at the Boneyard
  3. Hoffa

 

I've also seen Shining ThroughMy Cousin VinnyWhite Men Can't JumpAlien 3Unlawful EntryPrelude to a KissMan TroubleBuffy the Vampire Slayer (love the show, but the movie...not so much), Rapid FireNight and the City, and Used People.

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