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Review of the day for the week of September 15, 1997.

Monday:
Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance
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Shall We Dance is a different kind of movie. It's imported from Japan, which means that you have to read the words at the bottom of the screen to know what the actors are babbling about. (I find this rather annoying, wish they'd have just read the translation aloud so I wouldn't have to get eyestrain.) Yet, it's still an original movie, with a catchy plot.

Slightly depressed, Mr. Saginara starts taking ballroom dancing lessons without telling his wife because it is considered quite embarrassing to enjoy dancing in Japan, particularly if you're a man. He also has a crush on a beautiful, but cold and distant, young teacher at his school. His wife smells an affair but instead of confronting him, - I guess Japanese wives don't "have-it-out" - she hires a private detective to find out what her husband is up to.

This movie has very little swearing - apparently Japanese people are much more polite than Americans are on screen - but enough of a plot, and enough facetious scenes keep you interested.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
In and Out

In and Out
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While watching the new movie, In and Out you won't grin, and giggle, you'll guffaw and howl with laughter. (I simply cracked-up with laughter the entire movie.) Howard Brackett(Kevin Kline), an English teacher in the small town of Greenleaf, Indiana, is the former teacher of famous young actor Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) . When Drake wins an Oscar, he thanks Howard during acceptance speech, saying, "I owe it all to Howard Brackett of Greenleaf, Indiana. And he's gay." Then they switch back to Howard and his fiance (not to mention his whole family) staring blankly at their television set. (At this point, the whole audience, myself included, erupted into hysterical laughter.)

One ridiculous scene follows another.

The phone rings; Howard picks it up, listens for a second, says "No, I'm not," and hangs up. He walks into the boys' locker room and all his students cover up with towels and ask him to leave. Of course, now he's national news, and is constantly annoyed by reporters who ask questions like "Do you know Ellen?" One reporter, Peter Malloy (Tom Selleck), confesses that he is gay and gives Howard a big, sloppy kiss on the mouth (not in front of a camera, of course).

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Mother

Mother
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This laughable comedy is about - what else - a guy and his mother.

Okay, I'll give you more details. After his second divorce, science fiction writer John decides his problems with women are related to - pardon the pun - his relationship with his mother, Beatrice (Debbie Reynolds). So what does he do? He moves back in with dear old Mom, again!

This leads to side - splitting scenes. At one point Beatrice suggests that John's writing skill diminished when he stopped eating meat. In another amusingly dense scene, Beatrice names the cruddy pieces of ice on top of the sherbert the "protective ice" and serves John a previously frozen salad (who ever heard of freezing a salad?) She's the 'save-everything' Mom who goes to extremes.

If your mother gets on your nerves, rent Mother. In no time you'll be grateful you don't have Beatrice for a mom, even if yours is almost as annoying.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
The Game

The Game
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This is one of the most ridiculous movie I've ever seen. No, it's not stupid, like George of the Jungle or Good Burger, but it's just too far-fetched. It has the craziest, most unbelievable and confusing plot I've ever seen in a movie. There were so many twists and turns in the plot that I felt dizzy.

Douglas portrays stuffy, billionaire businessman, Nicholas Van Orton, whose brother Conrad thinks he needs a little more fun in his life. So, Conrad gives his brother a gift certificate to Consumer Resources Services - a company that supposedly provides you with an enthralling game to play. Within three days Douglas has been beaten up, trapped in an elevator, had every one of his many hefty bank accounts drained, and - the ultimate insult - been left for dead in Mexico. Some fun game.

Aside from the plot - which has a surprising, if screwball, ending after many startling developments - I don't like this movie, mainly because of Michael Douglas. (If you want to know the truth, my mom dragged me to The Game because she loves him, but I'm not his biggest fan.) The Game didn't change my opinion. Douglas basically sleepwalks through this part, not even showing emotion in scenes where he should be smoldering with rage.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman
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Pretty Woman is a "pretty" cute movie.

The main character is a prostitute named Vivian (Julia Roberts) who gets picked up on the street corner by a rich, tycoon businessman (Richard Gere). And they fall in love. Sure.

Despite the fact that this would never happen in real life, I have to give Roberts and Gere kudos for great performances. Also, I was particularly fond of a dinner table scene where Vivian doesn't exactly know how to eat a snail and it winds up flying through the air. V--room!

In spite of their vast differences, their impossible prostitute-tycoon romance blossoms.

The ending was totally unrealistic, and a little too Disney for me, with a-tying-up-the loose-ends-everything-is-all-right flavor, yet this movie was incredibly entertaining, with lots of humorous scenes.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Cocktail

Cocktail
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Cocktail is your typical Tom Cruise movie: Awesome. His acting never fails to be one hundred percent convincing, and the plot is exceptionally well-written.

Cruise plays a bartender who winds up in the Bahamas after his buddy, whom he had planned on going into business with, stabs him in the back (and threatens him with a broken beer bottle). Soon he meets a young woman who he has a fling with, then quickly dumps her for an older, richer woman. Back in New York a few months later he breaks up with girlfriend #2, and finds girlfriend #1 again. Not exactly ecstatic to see him, she dumps food on him in an hilarious restaurant scene. Later, Cruise finds out why she's so mad at him (other than the fact that he dumped her for someone else): she's pregnant. To complicate matters, he makes up with his backstabbing friend who promptly commits suicide.

Cocktail is ludicrous in some parts dramatic in others. See it for dynamite dramatic acting and a few riotous laughs.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Now and Then

Now and Then
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Now and Then is one of the best movies I've ever seen.

Four twelve year old girls - Roberta, Tina, Chrissy, and Samantha - are living in the "Gaslight Addition" neighborhood, close to each other, in the early 70's. Although they are the best of friends, they are very different. Roberta is a tomboy - and at one point during the movie - she even bloodies a boy's nose; Tina is an attractive, only child with dreams of becoming a Hollywood movie star; Chrissy is very confused, thanks mostly to her idotic mother's definition of the "facts of life"; and then there is Samantha, the writer, whose parents separation upset both her and her sister very much.

But the girls are always there for each other -in good times as well as bad. They even save money to buy they very own pink treehouse where many secrets are exchanged.

Their exploits include chasing some nude boys, as well as fighting with boys; Roberta's first kiss'; Samantha's near drowning in a sewer; seances in a nearby cemetery where a gravestone actually moves; plus many others. It's a fast-paced lively movie.

The movie begins with the "girls" all grown up, and quickly riverts back to their childhood, where most of the movie is spent. But, as the movie ends they are adults - and one of them - I won't say which one - has her first baby delivered, of course, by one of her best friends.

My Rating = Three Stars

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