Movie Diary 1996 previous • next

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Top Five: The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Toy Story, and The Birdcage. Enjoy my diary!

January 5, 1996 • Sabrina • Maine Mall Cinema
Why would you remake this movie? Harrison Ford really is not cut out for this kind of comedy. Julia Ormond, the "It Girl" of 1996, is given the thankless job of filling Audrey Hepburn's little black dress. Ford takes the crochety Humphrey Bogart part, and the underrated Greg Kinnear plays the William Holden role.
January 13, 1996 • Nixon
If you want to see the real Richard Nixon, rent Dick, starring Dan Hedaya as Nixon! For some reason, this is one of the movies my father likes to cite as a "good movie". I think this is a symptom of the true rarity of quality movies for adults. Too many films are geared towards 17-year-old boys, so when a quality drama is made for adults, my father takes notice.
January 1996 • Sense & Sensibility
This is not a chick flick- it is sharp and funny all the way through, and an all-star cast...well, an all-English-star cast: Emma Thompson (a little old for Elinor, but who cares), Pre-Titanic Kate Winslet as Marianne, Hugh Grant as Mr. Ferrars, Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon, and Tom Wilkinson as Mr. Dashwood. Once shooting was completed, Hugh Grant flew directly to Los Angeles and was arrested with Divine Brown. Emma would meet her future husband Greg Wise (Mr. Willoughby) on this set. I used to own the Academy Award-winning adapted screenplay (by Emma Thompson), and it included a hilarious Set Diary written by Emma.
  Some movies, TiVo's descriptions of them, and some lame commentary from me in italics • from Jason Kottke
  • Hellraiser: Bloodline
    Man in space battles Pinhead, as did ancestors. (Ancestors don't do anything in space.)
  • Cyborg Cop
    Drug agent's brother could be a cyborg. (Wasn't that an episode of Leave It To Beaver?)
  • Sense and Sensibility
    Men romance and abandon sisters in 1900 England. ("Romance and Abandon" was Austen's first title)
  • The Gunfighter
    Upstarts dare the fastest gun in the West. (And then what?!)
  • Showgirls
    Dancer stoops low to rise in Las Vegas. (Hey, that's kinda clever.)
  • Saturday Night Fever
    Brooklyn nobody becomes disco king to Bee Gees music. (Shoulda stuck with this same plot for Battlefield Earth.)
  • The Usual Suspects
    A detective questions a con man about associates. (Wake me up when that one's over.)
  • Wonder Boys
    A writer and his student collide with life. (What does that mean, collide with life?)

January 20, 1996 • Othello • Kendall Square Cinema
Nice work from Lawrence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.
January 26, 1996 • Twelve Monkeys • Maine Mall Cinema
I love time-travel stories; this one is excellent.
February 2, 1996 • Mr Holland's Opus • Maine Mall Cinema
Not what I expected, but good.
February 4, 1996 • Dead Man Walking
Your stance on capital punishment is beside the point. Ignore the politics and enjoy the performances.
February 11, 1996 • Beautiful Girls • Maine Mall Cinema
I hardly remember this one.
February 23, 1996 • Mary Reilly • Maine Mall Cinema
Awful. Truly execrable.
February 26, 1996 • Muppet Treasure Island • Maine Mall Cinema
Only OK by Muppet standards, but wonderful relative to most kid/parent comedies.
March 3, 1996 • Up Close And Personal
There are some nice parts, it's mostly salvaged by Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Stockard Channing.
March 10th and July 12th, 1996 • The Birdcage
Sharp performances, airtight script, and fast-paced.

Agador: Armand, why don't you let me be in the show? Are you afraid of my Guatemalan-ness?
Armand: Your what?
Agador: My Guatemalan-ness, my natural heat. You're afraid I'm too primitive to be on the stage with your little estrogen rockettes, right?
Armand: You're right. I'm afraid of your heat.
March 14, 1996 • Toy Story • Maine Mall Cinema
If Buzz Lightyear thinks he's a real spaceman, why does he play "dead" (ie, like a toy) when people come in the room?
March 17, 1996 • Babe
The best talking-pig movie I've ever seen.
March 22, 1996 • Fargo • Maine Mall Cinema
When Steve Buscemi chooses a spot to bury the loot along the fence, why was I the only one laughing in the theater?

I have no idea who Pete Bevin is, but he has found/compiled/laundered a list of The Many Deaths Of Steve Buscemi. Pete notes how often Steve's characters expire in the movies. Here's an incomplete listing of Steve Buscemi: Gone Kaput:
  • The Island ... McCord (shot, topples over railing, crashes through glass in slow motion)
  • Monsters, Inc ... Randall (bludgeoned by redneck in trailer, maybe not killed)
  • Domestic Disturbance ... Ray Coleman (stabbed)
  • The Grey Zone ... Abramowics (shot)
  • The Big Lebowski ... Donny (heart attack)
  • Fargo (see above) ... Carl (wood chipper)
  • Desperado ... "Buscemi" (stabbed)
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead ... Mister Shhh (shot)
  • The Last Outlaw ... Philo (shot)
  • Twenty Bucks ... Frank (shot)
  • Rising Sun ... Willy 'the Weasel' Wilhelm
  • Reservoir Dogs ... Mr Pink (probably shot by police offscreen at the very end of the movie)
  • Billy Bathgate ... Irving
  • Barton Fink ... Chet (Assuming he goes up in flames with the hotel)
  • Miller's Crossing ... Mink (shot in the face)
  • King of New York ... Test Tube
  • "Lonesome Dove" TV Series ... Luke (scalped)

April 21, 1996 • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie • Kendall Square Cinema
(and again June 26, 1996 at the Maine Mall Cinema)
A regular episode of the MST3K tv show is 2 hours long, minus commercials. Without the commercials, I suspect an episode is probably about 80-90 minutes long? The big-screen MST3K movie is only 74 minutes. According to the IMDb, "The TV show's usual density of gags was reduced for theatrical audiences, so that a larger number of people laughing wouldn't cause too much dialogue to be missed." To sum up, I found the whole experience disappointing.
April 28, 1996 • The Truth About Cats And Dogs
Starring my favorite brain and my favorite body. If only this were a 'body swap' movie like Freaky Friday instead of a 'Cyrano' remake...
May 11 and 19, 1996 • Twister • Maine Mall Cinema
Starring Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman- why?!
May 12, 1996 • Mulholland Falls
Feels like Chinatown, but it ain't.
May 26, 1996 • Mission: Impossible • Maine Mall Cinema
Incomprehensible. I have seen it a couple times now, and I still don't understand the plot.
May 29, 1996 • Heaven's Prisoners
Steamy swampy noir.
June 2, 1996 • Dragonheart • Maine Mall Cinema
Sean Connery cashing in as the voice of the CGI dragon, and ragged-looking Dennis Quaid, slumping as the dragon-killer.
June 8, 1996 • Flirting With Disaster • Loews Janus Cinema
Didn't like it as much as I'd hoped.

I guess I am a pretty typical moviegoer- I have seen (either in the theater or on home video) 98 of the 108 highest-grossing movies of all time (USA box office as of 3/14/05, according to The IMDb).

Rank Title USA Box Office
9The Passion of the Christ (2004)$370,270,943
25Meet the Fockers (2004)$275,936,745
29How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)$260,031,035
45Rush Hour 2 (2001)$226,138,454
96National Treasure (2004)$169,785,954
98Meet the Parents (2000)$166,225,040
102Big Daddy (1999)$163,479,795
106The Polar Express (2004)$162,753,127
107The Waterboy (1998)$161,487,252
108Shark Tale (2004)$160,762,022

June 22nd and July 7th, 1996 • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
Not terrible.
June 29, 1996 • The Rock • Maine Mall Cinema
The movie Pearl Harbor makes this turd look like a masterpiece.
July 3, 1996 • Independence Day
The summer of lousy action pics continues.
July 14, 1996 • Courage Under Fire • Maine Mall Cinema
Moving, heroic, and tragic.
July 24, 1996 • Multiplicity • Hoyt's Cinemas South Portland
High concept from Harold Ramis; Craig P. gets a screen credit.
July 27, 1996 • James & The Giant Peach
Delightful. I don't remember too much about it. I read the book when I was a kid.
August 1, 1996 • Supercop • Maine Mall Cinema
One of Jackie's best HK movies.
August 3, 1996 • A Time To Kill
Professionally staged with an all-star cast.
August 16, 1996 • The Frighteners
Bizarre little horror/comedy from the director of LOTR!
August 18, 1996 • Emma • Maine Mall Cinema
Gwyneth may not be English, but she does a wonderful English accent.
October 1996 • Vertigo • Exchange Street Theater, Portland, ME
I discover all sorts of new subtleties every time I see it.
Match the Blonde with the Hitchcock Movie

October 14, 1996 • That Thing You Do! • Maine Mall Cinema
I wonder what happened to The Oneders?
October 20, 1996 • Sleepers • Maine Mall Cinema
Don't remember much about it, except how depressing it was.
October 27, 1996 • Michael Collins
Don't remember much about it, except the lovely Sinead O'Connor song "She Walked Through The Fair". My total ignorance of Irish history didn't help!
November 3, 1996 • Tin Cup
Maybe golfers would appreciate it more.
November 10, 1996 • Ransom • Maine Mall Cinema
Sharp thriller from Ron Howard.
November 22, 1996 • Star Trek: First Contact • Maine Mall Cinema
My third favorite Star Trek movie, after numbers 2 and 6.
November 30, 1996 • Mars Attacks! • Maine Mall Cinema (special sneak preview)
World's most expensive in-joke.
December 13, 1996 • The English Patient • Maine Mall Cinema
Like a J.Peterman catalogue come to life. Seriously, I love this movie.
December 19, 1996 • Jerry Maguire
Fantastic. Cameron Crowe will never top it. It's hard to imagine anyone but Tom Cruise inhabiting this role as the driven soulless sports agent.
December 27, 1996 • Scream
The Original Post-Modern Horror Film. This movie seemed smart and original at the time, but the whole generation of crappy slasher copies which it spawned has spoilt the funny-scary genre.
December 28, 1996 • One Fine Day • Maine Mall Cinema
Before George Clooney dropped out of the Hollywood Dreamboat Factory.

Movie Diary 1996 previous • next

This Movie Diary has migrated to Blogspot. Visit Stub Hubby for current reviews!