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Review of the day for the week of May 4, 1998.

Monday:
Tin Cup

Tin Cup
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Kevin Costner should have skipped the future-wasteland movies like The Postman and Waterworld and made more movies like Tin Cup.

Costner plays a golf-pro living in a small town. His nickname is Tin Cup. Molly (Rene Russo), a psychologist, takes golf lessons from him and, predictably, he falls for her big time. Because Molly already has a boyfriend, she ignores Costner's advances. Soon he decides to go on tour so he can make it to the U.S. Open (in case you don't know any more about golf than I do, that's the biggest golf tournament around). Molly decides to help him with the "mental" aspects of golf, never mind that her boyfriend is also touring with the idea of winning the U.S. Open.

I expected this to be a longish boring movie golf movie, but the reverse was true. The scenes at the U.S. Open became a little tedious toward the end of the movie, but the plot moved pretty quickly and I wasn't bored. Russo and Costner do a commendable acting job, and make Tin Cup a truly laughable comedy.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Tuesday:
The Big Hit

The Big Hit
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The Big Hit is a surprisingly engaging action/comedy film.

The plot is pretty basic: a group of mobster hit men who are complete imbeciles being, well, complete imbeciles. When one of them suggests they kidnap a rich man's daughter for ransom, he doesn't know that his mobster boss, Paris, is the girl's godfather. In a hysterically funny scene, Paris professes that he will get the guy who did it. "It's you!" he finally shouts at the idiot guy, who cowers. "You are the man I have chosen to help me!" continues Paris. Relieved, the idiot guy accepts the mission and decides to frame one of his buddies, who is torn between two equally controlling women. Getting to know the kidnapped girl better, he falls for her, and she seems to return the feelings - at least until she smacks him on the head with a frying pan to make an escape.

The Big Hit has a lot of thrilling, if unbelievable, action scenes, and the plot moves at a quick pace. Although this lacks much credibility - as do many comedies -, it definitely keeps you laughing.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
High Spirits

High Spirits
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Peter O'Toole stars in High Spirits a semi-amusing supernatural comedy.

O'Toole is a down-on-his-luck gentleman who is about to get kicked out of his English castle. His mother tells him that he's upset his father and grandmother, both long dead, and he gets the idea that he can attract guests by claiming the mansion is haunted. Soon, several guests arrive. There's the couple with the bratty kids. Then there's the couple who doesn't get along well at all; her father owns the castle and she wants to leave but he insists on staying and soon falls for a ghost, whose husband (also a ghost) has reenacted her murder every night for two hundred years.

There were some laughable scenes in High Spirits but I saw the end coming a mile away. Perhaps fans of O'Toole's might enjoy it more than I did.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
A Very Brady Sequel

A Very Brady Sequel
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It's soooo stupid and totally corny , that it's hilariously funny. It's A Very Brady Sequel movie, and it's the best thing to hit the video stores since microwave buttered popcorn!

Claiming to be Carol's first husband, Rob, an imposter, suddenly appears at the Bradys' home. (Actually, he killed her first husband, and has come to find a statue of a horse that Rob had shipped to Carol.) Not knowing any of this, Carol has promised to donate the very valuable horse to a ladies' club auction. When "Rob" hears this, he bids thousands of dollars to get the horse back, but still loses it to a rich, familiar-looking snob at the auction.

Meanwhile, a romance steams between Marcia and Greg, who share a bedroom in the attic. Cindy loses her doll, Kitty Cariol, and Bobby wants to be a detective and decides his first case should be finding Kitty Cariol. Jan makes up an imaginary boyfriend (sound familiar?); Peter idolizes "Rob," and "Rob" finally plots a way to steal the horse. The kids are way too retro to be realistic, and so is the maid, Alice, but I loved the movie anyway.

A Very Brady Sequel was even better than the 70's television show and the first movie (The Brady Bunch Movie) as well. There were several corny parts that almost made you want to barf, but that made it hysterically funny. If you want a stupid, but still highly entertaining, movie rent the Very Brady Sequel, and don't forget to wear your "funky new threads" and cross your fingers that Sam, the butcher, will ask Alice to marry him, like she wants!

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
Down and Out in Beverly Hills

Down and Out in Beverly Hills
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Richard Dreyfuss is dryly witty as a not so happy Beverly Hills affluent businessman in Down and Out in Beverly Hills.P His character, is the head of your typical dysfunctional family. His daughter never eats - she's apparently anorexic- and his son makes videos displaying his present emotional state - Anger. His wife (Bette Midler) is obviously bored in their marriage, and he's sleeping with their young housekeeper. One day, a stranger (Nick Nolte) wanders into his backyard and tries to kill himself by falling into the pool. Dreyfuss saves the man's life, and offers to let the homeless man, Jerry, stay at their mansion. Soon Jerry is causing tons of trouble - making up outlandish lies- which Dreyfuss and his family naively buy- and eating on the floor with the dog. EWWWWWW!!! When Dreyfuss's daughter returns from college, she falls for Jerry. She tells him this right after his son shows up at an important New Year's Party dressed like a woman. The look of comic despair on Dreyfuss's face is perfect.

And just when you think nothing else could go wrong for this poor guy - he attacks Jerry and they wind up in the pool together. His Japanese dinner guests think this is some sort of American tradition and hop in with them, soon followed by everyone else. Little Richard makes a small but loud cameo appearance throughout the film as a record producer neighbor.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Les MisÚrables

Les MisÚrables
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Les MisÚrables is a wonderful romance story set in the late 1700's.

Liam Neeson admirably portrays Jean Valjean, a French convict who was imprisoned nearly twenty years - all for stealing a loaf of bread. When he is set free he knocks at the door of a bishop who feeds and beds him, - and who he thanks by stealing his silverware. Caught promptly by the French police, it is only the Bishop's statement that he "gave" him the silver that saves him further imprisonment. So, Valjean totally reforms and later becomes the mayor of Vigo, a small town near Paris. He also owns a factory, and absentmindedly gives his consent to dismiss Fantine (portrayed convincingly by Uma Thurman), a factory worker struggling to support her illegitimate child Cosette. Later, Valjean learns of her terrible story and promises the now dying Fantine that he'll take care of Cosette. Meanwhile, Inspector Javert (Geoffrey Rush, much different here than in Shine) recognizes Valjean and knows that he is still wanted by the French police. Forced to flee Vigo, Valjean retrieves Cosette from the miserable family she lives with and leaves with a fortune in money that he previously hid.

For ten years he and Cosette live in a convent; then Cosette, now sixteen, convinces him to leave. She soon falls in love with a young man she meets, but Valjean doesn't approve and Inspector Javert is still after him.

This is probably more of a woman's movie - my dad walked out after half an hour, and I noticed a lot of other men in the audience going for popcorn or finding some other excuse to leave. Granted, this story is a little on the sappy and fluffy side - it is, however, still a lovely film and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Die Hard

Die Hard
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Talk about bad vacations. Bruce Willis has the worst imaginable in the action/thriller Die Hard.

Willis plays a cop whose wife moved to California to take a big job offer six months earlier. He goes to California to visit her and their two children for Christmas, and attends a party held in honor of one of her firm's big clients. It turns out that some hit men are after her big client and crash the party with guns. One of them leaves with the client, and another sticks around to hold everyone else hostage. Good thing super cop Willis is hiding out and intends to stop them. In fact, he is hiding under the table when the client is executed. Then he sneaks around the building and eliminates two of the hit men. Meanwhile, he manages to call the police - who think he's a crank caller! - for help. They do send one cop out to investigate (he has a story too, we later learn) but he may not notice anything wrong with the skyscraper unless Willis creates a diversion.

He does so splendidly by shoving a body through a window and crashing it onto the cop's car.

There are a lot of terrific action scenes in this movie, and although it gets a bit long at the end, the acting is fantastic and it's rather entertaining.

My Rating = Three Stars

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