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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts from 9/24/99 to 9/26/99

Issue: "Gunpoint evangelist," Oct. 9, 1999
Double Jeopardy $23.7 million
1 week in release
$23.7 million to date
Cast Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones
Director Bruce Beresford
Studio Paramount Pictures
Content Rated R for bad language, violence, and sexual situations
Plot Innocent woman convicted of murdering her jerk husband discovers hubby isn't dead
Worldview Revenge is mine! Since she already did jail time for "killing" her husband, she decides she can hunt him down with impunity
Blue Streak $13.2 million
2 weeks in release
$37.7 million to date
Cast Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson
Director Les Mayfield
Studio Columbia Pictures
Plot Dumbed-down action comedy about a burglar who discovers his stolen diamond is hidden inside a police station, so he pretends to be a policeman so he can get his goods
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language and violence
Worldview People who play by the rules are stiff and stupid, while cons and crooks know where the action is
The Sixth Sense $8.5 million
8 weeks in release
$225.1 million to date
Cast Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment
Directors M. Night Shyamalan
Studio Hollywood Pictures
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language, violent images, and gore, typically ghost-story ghouliness
Plot Child psychologist must rescue a little boy who sees ghosts
GistWillis is a spiritual leader from the secular priesthood (psychology) in this Exorcist-like suspense thriller
Worldview Exorcising the boy's demons with counseling doesn't work, showing that secularism doesn't have a clue about dealing with spiritual issues
For the love of the game $6.6 million
2 weeks in release
$23.2 million to date
Cast Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston
Director Sam Raimi
Studio Universal Studios
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language, sexual situations, and blood from accident
Plot Veteran star baseball pitcher playing his last game of the season ponders his life and whether to play another season
Gist Generational turning-point movie about a baby boomer trying to age with dignity; great baseball scenes
Worldview Man knows not his time: Yesterday's MVP may be tomorrow's forgotten legend
American Beauty $6 million
2 weeks in release
$7.6 million to date
Cast Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening
Director Sam Mendes
Studio Dreamworks SKG
Content Rated R for bad language, nudity, sexual situations, drug use, and violence
Plot Ensemble drama featuring a middle-class dad who chases after a high-school cheerleader
Gist A rootless, shallow family heads down the road to destruction then steps on the gas
Worldview Suburbia as existential nightmare; seemingly normal people live lives of quiet desperation

In the Spotlight
Robin Williams plays the title role in the Holocaust film Jakob The Liar (Columbia Pictures, rated PG-13 for violence, bad language, and Holocaust themes), which debuted at No. 8. Jakob is an obscure member of a Jewish ghetto in 1944 Poland until he reveals he has a radio hidden away and that he heard the war was about to end. This little white lie was supposed to be kept quiet but it spreads everywhere. Whether Jakob's lie was good or bad was left hazy. Other Jews in the ghetto, looking for hope, start asking him for news. Jakob's storytelling has an unforeseen result: People aren't killing themselves out of desperation anymore, leaving their bodies to be dragged away through the streets in wheelbarrows. So the ruse carries on. Meanwhile, Jakob has a bigger secret locked away; he's hiding a 10-year-old orphan in his basement. Jakob the Liar is a remake of a 1975 East German movie, which may explain why Stalin and the Soviets are portrayed as heroes. It shares some plot twists with last year's Life Is Beautiful. While the earlier movie tried to find hope amid the terror, this film reeks of existential doom. Jakob also reeks of lackluster direction and distracting gaffes: American swing music is heard in Nazi Poland, and our hero has an apartment all to himself while another is packed. There's an interesting morality tale lost in here somewhere.

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