Bemused

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http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1999/08/bemused/

Published on 27 Aug 1999 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Dick

Two teenage girls (Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams) touring the White House in the mid-70s stumble upon some secrets of Richard Nixon (Dan Hedaya) without realizing what they are, and when things snowball they wind up as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s “Deep Throat” informant. This is silly and shameless stuff that made me laugh quite a lot, in part because it provides the perfect antidote to the neo-Stalinist pomposity of Oliver Stone’s Nixon and the glib self-importance of Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men. Andrew Fleming (Threesome, The Craft), who directed from a script he wrote with Sheryl Longin, lacks the polish and pizzazz of Stone or Pakula, but arguably his notions about American politics are healthier and more earthbound than theirs; in his book, Nixon and Kissinger and Woodward and Bernstein are all deserving of ridicule. In some ways this is like Forrest Gump without the neocon trimmings, which for me makes it bracing and energizing, though younger viewers may not catch all the historical references. With Harry Shearer as G. Gordon Liddy, Saul Rubinek as Kissinger, and Teri Garr. Biograph, Evanston, Lake. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Published on 20 Aug 1999 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Trick

An aspiring composer of musicals (Christian Campbell) encounters protracted difficulties trying to have sex with a go-go boy he’s picked up (J.P. Pitoc) in this comedy directed by Jim Fall. I don’t want to oversell its merits, but what’s relatively refreshing about this is that it isn’t another movie about gay men–it’s a movie about these gay men. The other Greenwich Village characters who weave in and out of the action–the hero’s ditsy actress friend (Tori Spelling), his straight and horny roommate, the latter’s eccentric girlfriend, an estranged gay couple, and an outrageous drag queen named Miss Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp)–are comparably singular, and Fall gives certain bits of the story the feel of an old-fashioned musical. Jason Schafer wrote the clever script. Pipers Alley.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Published on 06 Aug 1999 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Free Enterprise

Though not much more than lightly charming, this romantic comedy about Star Trek fanatics trying to cope in the contemporary world is everything the recent documentary Trekkies failed to be. Written by coproducer Mark A. Altman and director Robert Meyer Burnett, it’s mainly a boys’ movie, and it’s helped as well as hampered by the participation of Star Trek icon William Shatner playing himself. For self-mockeryShatner is seen hawking a musical version of Julius Caesar in which he plays all the partshe’s at least as weird as Dean Martin in Kiss Me, Stupid but not nearly as funny. With Rafer Weigel, Erik McCormack, Audie England, Patrick Van Horn, Deborah Van Valkenberg, and Phil LaMarr. (JR)

Published on 02 Aug 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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