Saturday, February 5, 2011


Barry Levinson, 1982 (8.5*)
One of the few all-dialogue films that actually works, thanks to a sparkling comedy script and an excellent ensemble cast. Many stars of this film made their breakthroughs here, such as Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke, and Steve Guttenberg. The cast also includes Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly and Daniel Stern (City Slickers, Breaking Away).

This is obviously an homage (and update) to George Cukor's famous 1939 comedy, The Women, in which women at a dude ranch out west discuss their marital and romantic problems for the entire film. Some claim, in a stretch, that it's a remake of American Graffiti. ["whatever.."] The guys here all meet in the same local diner every day to escape the rest of their shallow lives, and the viewer learns about them through their conversations.

In a very funny running gag, one of the dudes is training his fiance for a football test she must pass or the wedding is off, and we never see the woman's face, we only hear her voice as she answers some very esoteric football trivia, as this is an all male film that takes place in the male-dominant 50's.

Note: other all-talking films that work include The Big Chill (1983, Kasdan), Metropolitan (1990, Stillman), My Dinner With Andre (Malle), 12 Angry Men (Lumet's first), and The Breakfast Club (Hughes). Director Barry Levinson, of course, went on to make the popular and Oscar®-winning Forest Gump.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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