Wednesday, December 5, 2018



Charlotte Very in Eric Rohmer's A Taste of Winter

A woman named Felicie has an affair with what she thinks may be the man of her dreams whom she meets on holiday. She gives him an address to find her later. She accidentally gives him the wrong address and they never connect again.

Cut to five years later: She got pregnant during that initial encounter and now has a five year old child. She is involved with two other men, one with business aspirations and the other an intellectual. She is fond of both, but they just aren't that guy at the beach who she still hasn't gotten over. As the film draws to a close, she finally runs into the guy from the beach on the bus! I expected them to discover that the thrill is gone and go their separate ways, but instead they reconnect again in a positive way. She tells him about the child and we leave the film thinking that the two of them are going to wind up together!

One thing that separates A Tale of Winter from many films with a similar plotline is the dialogue. I've never heard characters in a film like this talk so much about philosophy! I like this and I like the characters. Both of Felicie's current men friends are subtle and well drawn characters. Felicie is also interesting. She is drawn to her romanticism of that past weekend, but not quite consumed by it. She also is drawn to other things like religious rituals and the need for security and it's interesting how the movie explores that.

Russell Crowe is the head skinhead in Romper Stomper

A group of Aussie skinheads don't like Asians coming into their town and do whatever they can and however they can to keep them out. Xenophobia seems to be running rampant down under. Russell Crowe leads this gang and they are an unpleasant group to watch. Their obsession with Hitler and most of their behavior in general is most disturbing. Problems arise for the gang when they get involved with a girl who comes between the leader Hando (Crowe) and his second Davey (Daniel Pollock). 

In the final scene, Davey stabs Hando with an authentic Nazi knife on a beach as a group of Asian tourists take pictures of the whole thing. What goes around comes around.

Here are some other films released in 1992 that didn't quite have the right stuff to make the 1001 Movie cut-

I was curious where the movies I've seen ranked in popularity (at least from the original domestic box office) so I took a look at the rankings from Box Office Mojo.

A rundown of the top twenty box office champs of 1992.

Aladdin (The #1 box office champ of 1992)
The Disney renaissance was in full swing with this fun animated update of the Arabian Nights, highlighted by catchy songs, a great villain, a fun storyline about capturing the girl of your dreams and, of course, Robin Williams as the genie.

The Genie gives the street rat some advice
in Aladdin

Home Alone 2, #2 at the box office for 1992
The water bandits somehow end up in New York City and are trying to have their revenge on that poor little Home Alone boy. There's a scene in this movie where what is going on on the television screen is mistaken for an actual crime (scene with Tim Curry) that my son liked so much, he made me watch it over and over and over...
Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern have got their
eyes on Macualey Culkin in Home Alone 2

Batman Returns, #3 at the box office for 1992
I liked this one more than Batman (1989) at the time. My opinion is now reversed.
Danny De Vito as The Penguin
and Michelle Pfiffer as Catwoman
take over Gotham City in
Batman Returns

Lethal Weapon 3 was number 4 at box office for 1992. I saw the first Lethal Weapon at the theater. Liked it, but had no desire to see any of the sequels.

A Few Good Men was number 5 at the box office for 1992. Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and an all star-cast, featuring one of the better roles for Tom Cruise and a powerhouse courtroom confrontation with Jack Nicholson that make this one a winner. "You fuckin' have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. You put people's lives in danger. Sweet dreams son!"
A Few Good Men
Maybe he's right, maybe we can't handle the truth.
And maybe that's why more people don't read 
Howard Zinn. But I digress...

Sister Act was number 6 at the box office for 1992
This film seemed tailor made for the comedic talents of Whoopi Goldberg, which makes it funny to think that this part was originally supposed to go to Bette Midler. Well, Sylvester Stallone was originally supposed to be Beverly Hills Cop, too.
Whoopi Goldberg inspiring the sisters
in Sister Act

The Bodyguard came in at number 7 at the box office 1992. I still haven't seen it all the way through, much to my wife's amazement. I have heard Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You more than a few times over the years.

Wayne's World was number 8 at the box office for 1992
One of the wiser movie length adaptations of a Saturday Night Live sketch. Yes, I laugh with Wayne and Garth, as well. Party on! Schwing! Excellent!
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey introduce
the next generation to Queen
in Wayne's World

Basic Instinct was number 9 at the box office for the year
Definitely was a movie everyone seemed to be talking about in 1992. Even if you aren't a fan of his movies, you may find the book by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God a provocative read.
I tried to use a picture from Basic Instinct 
other than the obvious one here,
but this is the one that defines the movie.

A League of Their  Own was number 10 at the box office for the year.
I'm not really sure if there is any crying in baseball, but this comedy about the women's baseball league I found to be enjoyable.
Geena Davis as the league star and
Tom Hanks as the washed-up Jimmie Foxx-like
manager lead A League of Their Own

The Oscar winning Unforgiven came in at number 11 for the year at the box office. It is the top box office hit from this year that made the 1001 list.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle was number 12 at the box office for the year.
This thriller about the need to really do a thorough check for all potential babysitter hires really caught on in 1992.
Don't trust...The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

I never did see the number 13 box office film for this year, the Steven Segal action thriller, Under Siege. I have been on the U. S. S. Alabama where much of it was filmed, so that will have to suffice. I had Patriot Games, the number 14 box office movie of the year rented on VHS, but I never did watch it.The number 15 box office movie of the year was Bram Stoker's Dracula, which made the 1001 list.

White Men Can't Jump was number 16 at the box office for the year.
I think Pete Maravich could. Jump, that is.

Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes make
a good team in White Men Can't Jump

Pete Maravich taking a jump shot

The Last of the Mohicans was number 17 at the box office for the year. I keep meaning to see it and keep meaning to read the book, too! Eddie Murphy's Boomerang came in at number 18 and I never got around to seeing that one either.

Scent of a Woman was number 19 at the box office for the year.
Al Pacino finally won the Academy Award for his portrayal of a disagreeable blind man. I might have given the Oscar to him this year for Glengarry Glen Ross (Number 94 at the box office) but I was not consulted.
Hoo hah! Pacino in Scent of a Woman

The Crying Game rounded out the top 20 box office films for 1992. It is a 1001 movie entry.

Some more movies I've seen from 1992

Death Becomes Her was number 24 at the box office for the year.
Despite an all-star cast, this movie is really made by the Oscar-winning visual effects.
Most of Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her

Beethoven was number 26 at the box office for the year.
I make it a policy to not criticize cute dog movies. So I won't start now.
The Beethoven family

Alien 3 was number 26 at the box office for the year.
The first two Alien movies made the 1001 book. Alien cubed broke that streak, but I think it might be worth another look.
Sigourney and the Alien reunited again

My Cousin Vinny was number 29 at the box office for the year.
Funny fish out of water comedy with Yankee Joe Pesci lawyerin' down south.
Yoots? Fred Gwynne in his last film role in
My Cousin Vinny

Sneakers was number 30 at the box office for the year.
All-star cast headed by Robert Redford and Sydney Poitier in this comedic/heist film. If memory serves, the lesser know David Strathairn steals the movie.
The Sneakers

Malcolm X was number 32 at the box office for the year.
Before I watched this, I thought that I just didn't see Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. After watching it, I thought that Denzel Washington was definitely Malcolm X. 
Denzel Washington is Malcolm X

Single White Female was number 33 at the box office for this year.
One of those films that I watched the trailer before I saw it and realized there wasn't much point in me watching it because I already knew what was going to happen. I watched it anyway. When there is a movie I'm planning to see, I try real hard to avoid the trailer.
Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh
in Single White Female

Medicine Man was number 35 at the box office for this year.
I think Sean Connery is always worth watching, especially in something a little out of the norm like this. I did find Lorraine Bracco pretty irritating, though.
Bracco and Connery in Medicine Man

Honeymoon in Vegas was number 41 at the box office for this year.
When I was going over this list, my first thought was this is the one where Nic Cage is the alcoholic, right? No, this is the one that has the Elvis skydivers.
Nic Cage in Vegas

Leap of Faith was number 53 at the box office for this year.
I believe this movie is an amalgam of several Evangelical hucksters you can read about in James Randi's book, The Faith Healers.
Steve Martin as the flim-flam preacher in Leap of Faith

Straight Talk was number 61 at the box office for this year.
I honestly can't think of an onscreen romantic duo with less chemistry than James Woods and Dolly Parton in Straight Talk.
James Woods and Dolly generate one spark at most
in Straight Talk

Prelude to a Kiss was number 65 at the box office for this year.
Old man kisses Meg Ryan and takes over her body. Her husband Alec Baldwin has to deal with the fact that his wife is now an old guy. But will he kiss him? Sydney Walker as the old guy does have some good scenes playing Meg Ryan.
One of the strange kisses in Prelude to a Kiss

The Babe was number 70 at the box office for this year.
Not as good as Pride of the Yankees, but better than The Babe Ruth Story.
John Goodman as Babe Ruth
hits his last homer as a Boston Brave
in the Babe

 William Bendix as Babe
in The Babe Ruth Story

The real Babe Ruth with Gary Cooper
in Pride of the Yankees

Mr. Saturday Night was number 82 at the box office for this year.
One of the unwiser movie length adaptations of a Saturday Night Live sketch. Nevertheless, I did enjoy Billy Crystal as the second-rate comedian here. So thanks for making it anyway, Billy.
Billy Crystal as Mr. Saturday Night

Husbands and Wives was number 95 at the box office for this year.
The final screen collaboration of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.
Mia and Woody in Husbands and Wives
before the shit hits the fan in their personal lives

Chaplin was number 96 at the box office for this year.
As a fan of silent comedies, I really did enjoy this biography of Charlie Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as The Little Tramp. 
Downey gets the Little Tramp
in Chaplin

Article 99 was number 108 at the box office for this year.
A modern comedy drama set in a hospital that really seems to get the anti-establishment vibe of MASH. It even has another Sutherland in it.
Forrest Whitaker, Kiefer Sutherland and Ray Liotta
in Article 99

Of Mice and Men was number 113 at the box office for this year.
I watched this version of the Steinbeck classic with my son after he read the book for school. I'd recommend it, though I can't say I'd take it over the 1939 version.
John Malkovich and Gary Sinise in
Of Mice and Men

Noises Off was number 145 at the box office for this year.
I honestly think the wacky behind the scenes of a stage production is more suited for the stage than in this film, but it does have its moments in celluloid.
Elliot, Burnett, Henner and Caine
in Noises Off

The Bad Lieutenant was number 150 at the box office for this year.
I found this cop movie with Harvey Keitel pretty off-putting...and not just for Keitel's nude scene.
The film does have its fans and may be worth another look.
Harvey Keitel is an ornery cop
in The Bad Lieutenant

The Waterdance was number 153 at the box office for this year.
Drama about folks in wheelchairs that really should have been ranked somewhere higher on this box office list than last. Couldn't even make more money than The Bad Lieutenant?

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