The Movies

Culture | The top 5 videos in popularity as measured by rental receipts for the week ended Sept. 26

Issue: "Can the boom last?," Oct. 16, 1999
The Matrix $7.4 million
1 week in release
$7.4 million to date
Cast Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
Director Andy and Larry Wachowski
Studio Warner Bros.
Content Rated R for virtual-reality violence and bad language
Plot Computer hacker discovers that life is just a computer-generated simulation imposed on us by machines that breed, enslave, and consume us
Worldview "Reality" is a construction designed to imprison us. Once "the system" is overthrown, people can live free of rules and power games
Forces of nature $2.7 million
2 weeks in release
$6.2 million to date
Cast Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck
Director Bronwen Hughes
Studio Dreamworks SKG
Plot En route to his wedding, Affleck has a fling with the trashy married go-go dancer he meets on the plane; which woman will he choose?
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language and sexual situations
Gist A cavalcade of characters complains about how living with one person is like being imprisoned
Worldview Who cares whether the guy picks the right woman? Marriage is arbitrary
My Favorite Martian $2.5 million
1 week in release
$2.5 million to date
Cast Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd
Director Donald Petrie
Studio Disney
Content Rated PG for bad language, violence, and nudity
Plot Martian crashes on earth and lives with a TV reporter as his Uncle Martin
Gist Stupid slapstick rehash of that half-remembered Bill Bixby sitcom. The original Uncle Martin, Ray Walston, has a supporting role
Worldview It's a cuddly universe: Aliens are affable, misunderstood, and eager to make friends with humans
Analyze this $2.4 million
6 weeks in release
$27.8 million to date
Cast Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal
Director Harold Ramis
Studio Warner Bros.
Content Rated R for bad language (lots of it), violence, sexual situations
Plot Mobster can't kill like he used to, so he decides to hire a shrink, which terrorizes him
Gist Mafia chic rides high again in this box-office hit
Message Gangsters are social idols, but psychiatrists reign supreme
The Out-of-Towners $2.1 million
1 week in release
$2.1 million to date
Cast Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn
Director Sam Weisman
Studio Paramount Pictures
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language and sexual situations
Plot Neil Simon comedy about a man and wife who fly to New York for a job interview and everything goes nuts
Worldview Dads are wimps: Martin plays a weak-willed empty-nester who can be counted on to show no backbone through a crisis

In the Spotlight
Are you ready for the big dance? According to Hollywood, the only moment that matters for teenagers is the prom or a similar fete that represents the Day of Reckoning in a young life. The line of movies including She's All That, American Pie, Never Been Kissed, and even the recent Carrie sequel are joined by Drive Me Crazy (Twentieth Century Fox; rated PG-13 for bad language, teen alcohol, and drug use), which debuted at the box office at No. 6. This time, an aspiring high-school socialite named Nicole (former child star Melissa Joan Hart) loses her shot with a basketball star, so she dresses up Chase, her bohemian next-door neighbor, for the part. In Pygmalion fashion, Chase starts the movie looking like a young Bob Dylan and ends up looking like a heartthrob. Drive Me Crazy assumes that all that matters to teenagers is social standing and whether so-and-so likes them. That such movies keep coming shows the sheer banality of life in Public School, USA. The one redeeming feature in this movie is that Nicole has a politically incorrect streak. At one point, Chase's ex-girlfriend rants at her about medical testing on animals. Nicole stops her cold, informing her that their beau's mother died of cancer years before. In another scene, Nicole's estranged father takes her up in a hot air balloon and tries to reconcile. He hands her a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, saying the tome would explain his behavior. She sniffs at it and tosses it over the side. Give this film a similar sneering toss over the side.

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