The Movies

Culture | What America Likes

Issue: "More clay than Potter," Oct. 30, 1999
The Mummy $8.01 million
2 weeks in release
$17.6 million to date
Cast Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz
Director Stephen Sommers
Studio Universal Pictures
Content Rated PG-13 for violence, bad language, and nudity
Plot Baby-faced French Foreign Legionnaire stumbles across a lost Egyptian city and unleashes you-know-who
Gist This is a tongue-in-cheek update of the 1932 Boris Karloff movie
Worldview Being afraid is passé. We're too postmodern to take monsters seriously
The Matrix $6.13 million
3 week in release
$20.49 million to date
Cast Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
Director Andy and Larry Wachowski
Studio Warner Brothers
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 who 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 $2.1 million
4 weeks in release
$10.49 million to date
Cast Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck
Director Bronwen Hughes
Studio Dreamworks SKG
Content Rated R PG-13 for bad language and sexual situations
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?
Gist Characters repeatedly complain about how living with one person is like being imprisoned
Worldview Who cares whether the guy picks the right woman? Marriage is arbitrary
Analyze This $2.06 million
4 weeks in release
$31.9 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
GistMafia chic rides high again in this box-office hit
Message Gangsters are social idols, but psychiatrists reign supreme
My Favorite Martian $1.93 million
3 weeks in release
$6.61 million to date
Cast Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd
Director Donald Petrie
Studio Disney
Content Rated PG-13 for 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.

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