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1997 Stories by Michael Sragow

Archives: 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996
  • Drivel, He Said

    published December 25, 1997

    The ad line for As Good As It Gets is "A comedy from the heart that goes for the throat." Isn't this simply another way of saying, "You'll laugh,... More >>

  • Bad Faith

    published November 20, 1997

    John Grisham's The Rainmaker lulls you into the mindset you get while reading a best seller at the beach. What a sad thing to say about a Francis... More >>

  • I Lost It at the Multiplex

    published October 9, 1997

    Americans are the western pilgrims, who are carrying along with them that great mass of arts, sciences, vigour, and industry which began long... More >>

  • Them There Bugs

    published August 21, 1997

    When the beautiful entomologist rips open the chest cavity of a huge bloodthirsty insect in the sci-fi nightmare Mimic, it turns into Thoracic... More >>

  • Dear Old Dad

    published August 14, 1997

    In the not-so-brave new world of independent filmmaking, low-budget movies premiere at Sundance or Cannes and win plaudits from over-psyched... More >>

  • Road Worrier

    published August 7, 1997

    Jerry Fletcher, the hero of Conspiracy Theory, is a comic, glamorous variation on Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Like Travis, he's a New York... More >>

  • Learning Disabled

    published July 31, 1997

    187, a number favored by adolescent thugs, is the California state penal code for homicide -- and a harsh sentence for all involved in this... More >>

  • A Royal Pain

    published July 24, 1997

    Mrs. Brown (a Cannes hit and Miramax release) is dignified to the dead max -- brownish-gray in mood and look and spirit. It's based on the true... More >>

  • The Usual Suspects

    published July 3, 1997

    One speech and one prop from Men in Black combine to sum up the movie. An alien in four-legged earthly form delivers the speech: "You humans,... More >>

  • The More You Pander, the Blander

    published June 26, 1997

    Slapstick decadence is the dominant style at the Disney studios this summer, reaching all the way from Touchstone Pictures' action hit Con Air to... More >>

  • A Waste of Honey

    published June 19, 1997

    To get into a good-lovin' mood before each date, a college housemate of mine croaked along to Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" while blasting it... More >>

  • A Grand Illusion

    published May 29, 1997

    In a season of lumbering big-screen circuses, Rough Magic provides a rowdy creative sideshow. It's the kind of haywire high-wire act that suspends... More >>

  • Coffin Nailed

    published May 1, 1997

    On the savvy festival-and-promo tour that helped the necrophiliac Kissed net advance praise everywhere from the Atlantic Monthly to Newsweek,... More >>

  • Lack of Concentration Camp

    published April 24, 1997

    No one has exploited the historical-epic form better than David Lean. At his peak he used its spaciousness and breadth to develop characters with... More >>

  • This Property Condomed

    published April 3, 1997

    Film actors are generally said to have good chemistry or no chemistry. But bad chemistry in movies does exist, and a sleep inducer called... More >>

  • An Accident Waiting to Happen

    published March 20, 1997

    Cult auteur David Cronenberg crashes and burns -- his talent, that is -- in Crash, a vain attempt at a techno-age Persona. It follows a demented... More >>

  • Luke Till You Puke

    published March 13, 1997

    In the last chapter of the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi Special Edition, an intergalactic window display of creepy and cuddly critters... More >>

  • Stings Like a Bee

    published February 20, 1997

    Like a black Jay Gatsby with a bulging build, Muhammad Ali possessed a special radiance in his championship years that came from his ability to... More >>

  • Force Filled

    published February 20, 1997

    Irvin Kershner's The Empire Strikes Back, the continuation of George Lucas's Star Wars, is a classic fantasy in its own right, and I vastly prefer... More >>

  • Shot Out of a Conan

    published February 13, 1997

    Robert E. Howard, the subject of Dan Ireland's wonderful debut film The Whole Wide World, created the sword-and-sorcery genre with his Conan... More >>

  • River Deep

    published February 6, 1997

    William Faulkner's novella Old Man has a biblical magnetism, a primal moral pull. During the horrifying Mississippi flood of 1927, convicts are... More >>

  • Excessive Use of Force

    published January 30, 1997

    At a twenty-year remove, Star Wars comes off as less the work of a wizard than the weird obsessive outgrowth of an eccentric American primitive.... More >>

  • Route 666

    published January 16, 1997

    Watching Reese Witherspoon incandesce in the role of a sixteen-year-old girl stumbling through the reform school of hard knocks in Freeway, I was... More >>

  • Disregarding Henry

    published January 16, 1997

    When an incredulous Jane Campion fan asked what I hated about her version of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, I immediately responded,... More >>

  • The Movie Audience with the Mind

    published January 2, 1997

    "Long live the consciousness of the pure who can see and hear!" That statement by pioneer Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov kept reverberating... More >>

Archives: 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996