The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts from 12/31/99 to 1/2/2000

Issue: "The Morning After," Jan. 15, 2000
Stuart Little $16 million
3 weeks in release
$79.7 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Geena Davis, Michael J. Fox (voices) / Rob Minkoff / Columbia Pictures
Caution PG for bad language
Plot Movie version of E.B. White's book about a family that adopts a mouse as one of the family
Gist In this 20th-century fairy-tale world, animals are sympathetic characters who interact with humans
Worldview In any family, every member is important, even adopted ones
The Green Mile $13.2 million
4 weeks in release
$78.1 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan / Frank Darabont / Warner Bros.
Caution R for bad language, violence, and sexual situations
Plot Adaptation of a non-horror Stephen King story about a prison guard whose life is changed when he is sent to witness an execution
GistCapraesque tale from the director of The Shawshank Redemption with anti-death penalty overtones
Worldview Pop supernaturalism: Miracles happen in unexpected places
Any Given Sunday $13.1 million
2 weeks in release
$47.3 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Al Pacino, Charlton Heston / Oliver Stone/ Warner Bros.
Caution R for bad language, nudity, and sexual situations
Plot Long football movie about a team with a third-string rookie quarterback who becomes a superstar
Worldview Capitalistic society produces materialistic gladiators and a dazed populace desperate for stimulation of any kind
Toy Story 2 $12.2 million
8 weeks in release
$208.6 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Tom Hanks, Tim Allen (voices) / John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon / Disney and Pixar
Plot In this G-rated computer-animated film, Woody is kidnapped by an evil toy-store owner, who finds him a rare collector's item and wants to sell him to a museum in Japan
Worldview Friendship and loyalty are more important that fame and popularity
GistToys exist to be enjoyed by children, not to be locked away in collectors' vaults
The Talented Mr. Ripley $12 million
2 weeks in release
$39.4 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow / Anthony Minghella / Miramax Films
Caution R for bad language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations
Plot Sympathetic study of a homosexual man who kills, then impersonates, the wealthy object of his affections
Worldview Murder isn't so bad, as long as you have a soft side and think you have a good reason for doing it
GistSome people will do anything to be one of the upper crust
In the Spotlight
What if Sci-Fi were real? The movie Galaxy Quest (Dreamworks; rated PG for sci-fi violence) takes a comedic look at the idea by having a bunch of actors from a Star Trek-like TV show thrust into space by aliens who think the drama is real. Twenty years after their show's cancellation, the performers playing the mock Captain Kirk (Tim Allen), Spock (Alan Rickman), and crew (Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell) are all reduced to an endless tour of fan conventions. Their careers are stalled and they only perform before over-intense fans who savor every word of old dialogue. Then the aliens show up, thinking the reruns are "historical documents," and take them onto their spaceship. The alien culture had been destroyed by interstellar bad guys, so they rebuilt their entire civilization around what they saw on the reruns. So our heroes must pilot a real craft based on their old set. Galaxy Quest pokes gentle fun at Star Trek and proves itself more entertaining than several of the original's movie sequels. (Its content is also tamer than most sci-fi.) Toward the end of the movie, it becomes more action-intensive as the actors must play out their parts to save the aliens. Best of all, it takes an interesting look at people who take TV a little too seriously.

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