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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1998


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1998 began with an action thriller, Firestorm.

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A postmodern spin on Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, now moved from England to Florida and New York was supposed to be released at the end of 1997 but was pushed back to late January 1998.

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Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke (back again so soon), Skeet Ulrich, and Vincent D'onifrio were a gang of vintage criminals in Richard Linklater's The Newton Boys.

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The affection here that Jennifer Aniston is hoping for isn't going to happen as she and Paul Rudd were platonic friends (he was gay) in this film, which costarred Nigel Hawthorne.

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Two Girls and a Guy with Robert Downey Jr, Heather Graham, and Natasha Gregson Wagner (Natalie Wood's daughter) was one of those rare studio films that received the notorious NC-17 rating.

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Shooting Fish was a British crime comedy.

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Warren Beatty's Bulworth started out as a strong and scathing satire, but lost its way as it progressed. Big cast though.

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Slums of Beverly Hills was an earthy, 70s set tale of a teenage girl obsessed with her body and her very eccentric relations and acquaintances. Natasha Lyonne, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, Rita Moreno, Carl Reiner, and Jessica Walter were featured.

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Hope Floats was an episodic comedy drama that gave Sandra Bullock a good chance to play a woman left a mess after her husband's admission that he was having an affair with her best friend --- on nationwide TV. Gena Rowlands provided fine support as her eccentric mother.

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Jessica Lange starred in the decadent adaptation of Balzac's Cousin Bette, but as a fast-living actress, Elisabeth Shue stole the show.

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The popular sci-fi series The X-Files headed for the big screen for the first time.

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Dr. Doolittle was back again. Not a musical this time. And with a vein of many **** jokes. Eddie Murphy starred, and the film succeeded.

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And speaking of ****, There's Something about Mary was like a bomb going off in the comedy world due to how outrageously vulgar it was by 1998 standards. As such, people went to it in droves.

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Continuing the earthy theme, Polish Wedding (a film with a misleading title) was about  a flirty teenager who becomes pregnant and her attempts to lasso the reluctant father into marriage, while her force of nature mother was having an affair of her own. The film got better as it went along, and was helped tremendously by Lena Olin's flavorful performance as the mother.

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Drew Barrymore did a turn in a tale much like Cinderella in Ever After. Anjelica Huston was the stepmother, and even Jeanne Moreau appeared in it.

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Angela Basset starred in How Stella Gets Her Groove Back, the tale of a woman who fell into a relationship with a man half her age (Taye Diggs) Whoopi Goldberg played her dying friend.

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The Imposters was fun. Despite an R rating for some language, the film was a breezy farce and throwback to the screwball comedies of the 30s with mistaken identities and slamming doors. Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, Lili Taylor, Isabella Rossellini, Billy Connelly, Woody Allen, Alison Janney, Alfred Molina, Steve Buscemi, and Richard Jenkins were all featured.

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Denzel Washington, Annette bening, and Bruce Willis were in The Siege, a film that was wildly controversial for its portrayal of Muslims.

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Waking Ned Devine was a wily Irish comedy involving a small town's scheme to cash in on a big lotto jackpot after the only person with a winning ticket died from a heart attack from the shock. Ian Bannen starred, and the film had one of the more outrageous death scenes in any film I can recall.

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1998 closed with The Thin Red Line, a long war film that was very contemplative. Those contemplative passages were more interesting than the actual long battle scenes, where it seemed like many of the soldiers blended together.

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THE THIN RED LINE was a remake of a 1964 film that had starred Keir Dullea. Or at least both films used the same source material.

WAKING NED DEVINE was, in a word, divine. 

EVER AFTER was a good crowd pleaser. HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK was contrived. It should have been much better, given its cast and production values.

I liked COUSIN BETTE quite a lot. And SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS is must-see.

The raunchy comedies that were mentioned-- not my idea of good filmmaking-- but alas, I was not part of the intended audience for those.

I've never seen HOPE FLOATS or BULWORTH.  

The GREAT EXPECTATIONS movie shows what can go wrong when a studio tries too hard to modernize classic literature. It was dismal.

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On 6/19/2019 at 4:05 PM, CinemaInternational said:

And speaking of ****, There's Something about Mary was like a bomb going off in the comedy world due to how outrageously vulgar it was by 1998 standards. As such, people went to it in droves.

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I saw this with low expectations, but it turned out to be hilarious, one of the funniest movies ever. Matt Dillon was surprisingly skillful at comic timing as the sleazy private eye. A lot of politically incorrect humor and gross out gags, not for the easily offended. Unfortunately it lead to several imitations, none of which measure up. 

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My top picks:

  1. The Thin Red Line
  2. The Siege
  3. The X-Files
  4. Slums of Beverly Hills
  5. Waking Ned Devine

I've also seen FirestormGreat ExpectationsThe Newton BoysBulworthHope FloatsDr. DolittleThere's Something About MaryPolish WeddingEver AfterHow Stella Got Her Groove Back, and The Impostors.

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