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Review of the day for the week of November 17, 1997.

Monday:
Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
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Friends is a great tv show, and its actors seem to do even better in movies. Jennifer Anniston was excellent in Picture Perfect; Lisa Kudrow is sensational in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.

This goofy friendship flick stars Kudrow as the aforementioned Michelle and Mira Sorvino as her roommate, Romy. Incidentally, Sorvino should have stuck to funny films such as these and left the cheesy sci-fi stuff (e.g., this summer's Mimic) up to the people who can't act. Her talent is much better displayed here.

Romy and Michelle, are a bit disgruntled about returning to their home town for their high school reunion. While most of their former classmates are very successful (Janeane Garofalo is hilariously amusing as an incredibly rude businesswoman), they have done little. Romy is a salesclerk; Michelle doesn't even have a job. Still, they are determined to impress everyone at the reunion (and possibly stir up romances with old boyfriends) so they take the trip, debating about the best lie to tell as they go.

Unfortunately, as always happens in buddy comedies, they get in an argument about halfway through the movie, and it looks as though they may not be friends anymore by the time they arrive. How can they impress anyone if their lies don't coincide?

Rent this comically dense film today for loads of laughs. Better yet, watch it with a friend.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Tuesday:
Wayne's World 2

Wayne's World 2
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Wayne's World 2 is a screwball comedy that is perfect for fans of stupid, ridiculous movies (like me) or anyone who is tired of being told to turn down the loud rock music (also like me).

Wayne (Mike Meyers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) have just gotten their own apartment (in a dilapidated abandoned factory, no less) where they host their own TV show, Wayne's World. Big rock fans, they decide to put on a rock concert with big names like Aerosmith when Wayne has a dream. In his dream, he meets Jim Morrison, the deceased lead singer for the group The Doors, and an Indian clad in only a very skimpy loincloth. Jim urges him to put on the concert, saying inspirationally (and comically) "If you book them, they will come." Meanwhile, Wayne's girlfriend, an aspiring singer, starts spending a LOT of time with her record producer, Bobby, and Wayne begins to wonder if they're having an affair. And poor, clueless Garth has an affair with an older married woman who expects him to kill her husband.

The bad acting makes this a great movie.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Wednesday:
The Rainmaker

The Rainmaker
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The Rainmaker is the best movie I've seen all year, possibly the best movie I've seen, period. Brilliantly acted, shrewdly plotted, it requires no special effects to make it fascinating.

Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) is a young lawyer whose had terrible luck finding a job after graduation (the book by John Grisham delves more on this point, but I wouldn't say it was better than the movie). Finally, his boss at a local bar, Prince Thomas, finagles Rudy a job with Prince's crooked lawyer, Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke). To his new job, Rudy brings his potential cases: a bad-faith insurance lawsuit, and a will-drafting for a rich old woman. The bad-faith insurance case quickly picks up speed, as it becomes more and more obvious the insurance company was wrong, and that Rudy could get a rather hefty amount of money from them.

Although he has the inept help of Deck Shiffle (Danny DeVito), he has stiff competition. The insurance company's lawyers are much richer and more experienced. But Rudy's faith in his case, and devotion to forcing justice to be served keep him from giving up. He also develops a familiar relationship with his clients: a middle-aged couple whose twenty-something son is dying of leukemia because the insurance company denied his claims and refused to pay for his treatments. Meanwhile, he scours for new cases in a hospital coffee shop - in other words, ambulance chasing-and falls for an abused wife he meets there.

If this movie doesn't win many accolades, it'll be a shame. Don't miss it.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Thursday:
Wayne's World

Wayne's World
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And I thought that Wayne's World 2 was a riot. It can't compare to the original Wayne's World. Now I see why they made the second movie!

Wayne (Mike Meyers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) are two college-age guys who aren't in college and still live with their parents. Overachievers, definitely. Anyway, Wayne has two loves: his aspiring rock singer girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carerre), and an electric guitar that he can't afford. But wait! There's hope after all: Wayne and Garth broadcast a public access TV show from their basement, and when a big producer offers them a spot on his impressively famous TV station, Wayne and Garth are temporarily rich. But will they stay that way? With idiots like these, it's hard to tell, so the movie keeps you guessing. Could go either way.

Stupidest/funniest line in the movie: "She's such a babe, if she was president she'd be Babraham Lincoln." Said by Garth of Cassandra. (Garth is even stupider than Wayne).

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
The Man Who Knew Too Little

The Man Who Knew Too Little
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The Man Who Knew Too Little is a somewhat diverting, but for the most part uninteresting, comedy with at least one good attribute: it beats Bill Murray on an elephant's back, as he was for most of his last film, Larger Than Life. In his latest attempt at a hit movie, Murray plays a clueless guy visiting his brother in England. In a clever endeavor to get rid of him for the night, his brother sends him to a sort of interactive, audience participation play. Somehow - the movie was confusing - he winds up being chased by actual gangsters, and actual police. It becomes very difficult to tell who's "real" and who's not, and it isn't worth the strain on your brain.

Murray's acting was, at best, serviceable, but with such corny lines, you have to give him credit for doing the best he could. Kids might enjoy this senseless comedy, and it does have some entertainment value, but it was just too stupid for me. I prefer something with real drama and plot, like The Rainmaker.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Saturday:
The Jackal

The Jackal
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The best part of this not-so-fast-paced action movie is the background music. That should tell you something right there.

In The Jackal Bruce Willis is the "Jackal", a Russian mercenary with many different identities (think Val Kilmer in The Saint), although his real name is unknown. Officials who are chasing him have reason to believe that he may be after the head of the American FBI, Donald Brown. In a desperate attempt to capture him, they try to draw important information out of a prison inmate who once knew the jackal. This inmate, Delkin Mulqueen, would, of course, be Richard Gere's character.

There were a few mildly amusing scenes. A tough female Russian KGB agent has a few good lines (think Janeane Garofalo with more muscles). Willis also does a gay kissing scene, which brought quite a few startled gasps from the audience. Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck kissing in the gay comedy In and Out is one thing, but macho man, action hero Bruce Willis kissing a man is somehow more shocking.

At any rate, this movie held my attention for a little while, but not the whole two hours, and provided only enough entertainment value for someone with a shorter attention span. Such people might include fans of shoot-em-up-everybody-dies type movies, although there really isn't even enough action for that.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Sunday:
Down Periscope

Down Periscope
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O.K. Down Periscope certainly didn't meet the high standards set by Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber. And then there was Dracula: Dead and Loving It, which was a much more side splitting comedy. However, Down Periscope did have some funny scenes, which I enjoyed.

In Down Periscope, Kelsey Grammer portrays a naval officer who has a tattoo in a strange place. Because of this, he is only laughed at when he requests his own ship. Finally, the Navy agrees to give him a rusty, old submarine with a mockery of a crew. Grammer takes it all in stride. Then, Lt. Emily Lake boards the ship. Some of the crew members steal her clothes, and shrink them. Lt. Lake appears on deck in these clothes, and Grammer jokes, "Why, Lt. Lake, you're practically out of uniform!"

There are other funny scenes as the crew tries to win a war game - so Grammer can get a real boat. Will they win? Although I thought this movie was funny, I wouldn't recommend it to kids under 10 - as there definitely is some bad language.

My Rating = Two Stars

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