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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for weekend of Aug. 13

Issue: "Life after Clinton?," Aug. 26, 2000
1
Hollow Man $13.04 million
2 weeks in release
$50.3 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue / Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop) / Columbia Pictures

PLOT
A megalomaniac scientist goes mad after discovering the secret of invisibility.

MESSAGE
Genius and opportunity can make bad people exponentially worse.

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CAUTION
Rated R for strong violence, language, and sexual situations.

2
Space Cowboys $13.01 million
2 weeks in release
$39.02 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones / Clint Eastwood / Warner Bros.

PLOT
A former Air Force pilot reunites his old team for a shot on the Space Shuttle.

MESSAGE
People can do heroic things despite advanced age.

CAUTION
PG-13 for profanity and brief nudity.

3
The Replacements $11.04 million
1 week in release
$11.04 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman / Howard Deutch (Grumpier Old Men) / Warner Bros.

PLOT
A team of scab football players gets a shot at victory when the pros go on strike.

MESSAGE
Greatness can still be earned even when recognition and glory are absent.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for crude humor and language.

4
Autumn in New York $10.99 million
1 week in release
$10.99 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Richard Gere, Winona Ryder / Joan Chen / MGM

PLOT
A womanizing restaurateur chases a 22-year-old despite the fact that he's pushing 50 (see below).

MESSAGE
Good-looking men can get away with anything.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for language and some sensuality.

5
Nutty Professor II $10.22 million
3 weeks in release
$93.99 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson / Peter Segal (Tommy Boy) / Universal Pictures

PLOT
Tasteless sequel with Eddie Murphy playing the professor, his alter ego, and his entire family.

MESSAGE
Sometimes elders can be worse than their children.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for crude humor and sex-related material.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Death and romance usually don't have much in common, except in movies. In Autumn in New York (MGM; rated PG-13 for language and some sensuality), an older man (Richard Gere) is smitten with a much younger woman (Winona Ryder). It's everything audiences have come to expect from a tearjerker, except with an intergenerational twist. The lead is a womanizing restaurateur who chases a 22-year-old despite the fact that he's pushing 50. Not even this new true love can keep him from sleeping around. This guy even dated her mother years ago, and cheated on her-producing a daughter whom he abandoned even as he was becoming the toast of Manhattan. In Autumn, Richard Gere gets to be the sort of nihilist who usually appears in action or suspense movies: a complete jerk whose behavior is excused by his good looks and charm. None of this is explored as the movie moves on toward the heroine's denouement. Director Joan Chen tries to train sweetness out of a banal world of shallow people in predictable situations. The characters are as airbrushed as the Big Apple backgrounds that set nearly every scene. They spend their time smirking and quoting poetry at one another until the final exit.

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