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Review of the day for the week of March 29, 1999.

Monday:
Rain Man

Rain Man
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Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman make an unlikely combination as brothers in the Rain Man.

Cruise plays a hopeful heir who hasn't spoken to his recently deceased father in years. His father leaves him a nice car and a few rose bushes; the rest of the three million dollar estate goes to Raymond (Hoffman), the older brother Cruise never knew he had. Because he is autistic, Raymond is highly intelligent but cannot function in normal situations, so he has been institutionalized since he was four years old. (This was right after his mother died; Cruise was too young to remember Raymond as anything more than an imaginary friend.) Now Cruise decides to simply drive off with Raymond; he refuses to return Raymond to the institution until his doctor, who has been placed in charge of the estate, gives Cruise a share of the money. After a week with Raymond, however, Cruise's motives shift; he decides that he no longer wants the money, but just wants to know his brother.

Cruise and Hoffman are both terrific actors, and they are wonderful in their roles. It's absorbing to watch Cruise go from anger toward his father, to anger toward Raymond, and finally to caring about Raymond. Rain Man is a truly interesting drama with lots of comedy mixed in to keep the plot moving quickly.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
True Crime

True Crime
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True Crime is a fast-paced, enjoyable suspense film starring Clint Eastwood as a haggard, disgruntled, old newspaper reporter.

Not the model citizen himself - he smokes in "no smoking" buildings, cheats on his wife by sleeping with a coworker's wife, and does some incredibly wild, half-tipsy driving- Eastwood has a thing for attempting to get convicted criminals off the hook. (On his last crusade, he tried - and failed - to get a rapist released.) He feels that if he "follows his nose" on a story, he can't go wrong. Of course, his nose gets a little off track when he hits the bottle, but he has been sober of late.

Which is why he is so convinced that his nose is right when he decides a convicted murderer is innocent. Too bad Eastwood only gets "his nose" on the day that the "murderer" is scheduled to be executed. Still, Eastwood won't let anything - including traffic laws- stop him from ferreting out the truth and seeing that justice is served.

Eastwood's character is rather interesting; unlike some movie heroes, he has his flaws - quite a lot of them, as a matter of fact. A film hero who isn't the Superman is something of a novelty.

This film has a few flaws itself - I thought that one car chase scene, in which Eastwood is desperately trying to shake the cops, was terribly unrealistic. Eastwood, who has been drinking, does a top-speed U-turn on the appropriately named Dead Man's Curve - and, amazingly, he doesn't become the next dead man.

One scene this movie could have done without: Clint Eastwood with his shirt off. I'm sorry, but he's just a little too old for that. According to my mother, Eastwood was handsome in his younger days, but he's not much to look at now - keep that shirt on Clint!

His acting performance, however, was praiseworthy, and the other actors were almost as terrific. All in all, True Crime was a marvelously entertaining film.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Friday:
EDTV

EDTV
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EDTV is an hysterical movie about a poor working slob named Ed - who makes it big.

Ed (Matthew McConaughey) is chosen to be on TV all day, in a concept similar to The Truman Show (except Truman didn't know he was on camera, and Ed agrees to the setup). Soon, cameras are following him around day and night - and he becomes enormously popular and famous.

Unfortunately but not surprisingly, his newfound fame only serves to ruin his life. Every detail of Ed's life is now scrutinized by the American public. Shari, his new girlfriend can't stand being criticized by the press, so she ditches him and moves away. His father, who had left when Ed was twelve, now returns to meet his famous son. Ed's relationships with his mother and brother also fall apart (his brother even writes a book to badmouth Ed).

I laughed all the way through EDTV, and I immensely enjoyed this film. It was funny, Matthew McConaughey and all the other actors were excellent, and the plot was original.

My Rating = Four Stars

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