The Movies

Culture | The top 5 videos in popularity as measured by rental receipts for the week ended Oct. 31

Issue: "Forbes," Nov. 20, 1999
The Blair Witch Project $8.17 million
2 weeks in release
$14.4 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Heather Donahue, Michael Williams / Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick / Artisan Entertainment
Content Rated R for bad language (lots of it) and brief shots of gore
Plot Three student filmmakers vanish in the woods and leave behind video of themselves bickering and whining
Gist Improvised no-budget movie turned a clever idea into a box-office smash
Worldview Fatalism: "We're never going to get out of here, are we?" (But it's Maryland, not Siberia)
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
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
2 weeks in release
$6.93 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence / Ted Demme / Universal Pictures
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language and crude humor
Plot Buddy movie follows 65 years in the life of two Harlem guys framed for murder in Mississippi
Message Friendship and happiness can be found even in prison
Never been kissed $2.98 million
1 week in release
$3.02 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Drew Barrymore, David Arquette / Raja Gosnell / 20th Century Fox
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language, sexual situations, and drug use
Plot A reporter goes back to high school posing as a student trying to infiltrate the in-crowd
Worldview Accept others. This feel-good film for teenyboppers tries to show there's life after high school
In the Spotlight
Who wants to get married? Not The Bachelor (New Line; rated PG-13 for bad language), who sees wedlock as a big lasso around his neck. But our hero (Chris O'Donnell) sees his friends popping the question all around him and figures his turn has come. So he proposes to his true love (Renee Zellweger) and fails miserably; she thinks he's insincere, turns him down, and decides to head off to Athens. Here comes the plot twist: His rich grandfather (Peter Ustinov) has died, leaving the bachelor a $100 million fortune-on the condition that he is happily married by his 30th birthday, which happens to be the next day. The rest is a comedy about a desperate man trying to collect his inheritance. First he can't find a wife, as all his ex-girlfriends (including an icy one played by Brooke Shields) won't marry him. Then a buddy puts an ad in the paper announcing his plight, which results in hordes of women in wedding dresses chasing him down the street. Ed Asner and Hal Holbrook play grumpy old men who cheer our hero on. James Cromwell of Babe fame plays a priest (of the sort once played by Bing Crosby) who is stuck riding around with the prospective groom. This silly comedy is the sort of film that once was a high art in the 1930s and '40s. And, yes, it's pro-marriage; our hero realizes that matrimony brings happiness just in time for the reunion with his sweetheart.

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