Culture

Video Rentals

Culture

Issue: "Who'll be king of the Hill?," Oct. 7, 2000
1
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY $6.47 million
3 weeks in release
$25.45 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Al Pacino, Charlton Heston / Oliver Stone / Warner Bros.

PLOT
Long football movie about a team with a third-string rookie quarterback who becomes a superstar.

MESSAGE
Capitalistic society produces materialistic gladiators and a dazed populace desperate for stimulation of any kind.

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CAUTION
Rated R for bad language, nudity, and sexual situations.

2
MISSION TO MARS $6.28 million
1 week in release
$6.28 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins / Brian De Palma (Mission Impossible) / Touchstone Pictures

PLOT
Astronauts try to find out why the first manned landing on Mars ended in disaster after an encounter with a mysterious face on the planet's surface.

MESSAGE
We're not just descended from apes. We're descended from Martians.

CAUTION
Rated PG for sci-fi action and bad language.

3
ERIN BROCKOVICH $3.8 million
5 weeks in release
$41.52 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Julia Roberts, Albert Finney / Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight) / Universal Pictures

PLOT
Title heroine fights company that has leaked hexavalent chromium into groundwater.

MESSAGE
Big corporations care about nothing but money and don't care if they hurt innocent people.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language.

4
AMERICAN PSYCHO $2.62 million
2 weeks in release
$6.14 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe / Mary Harron / Universal Studios

PLOT
A young 1980s Wall Street commodities broker becomes a serial killer.

MESSAGE
The Reagan years were a horrible time full of materialism, greed, and quiet desperation.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong violence, sexuality, drug use, and bad language.

5
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS $2.04 million
9 weeks in release
$41.89 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry / Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) / Warner Bros.

PLOT
A suburban dentist discovers his neighbor is a hit man hiding from the Mob.

MESSAGE
Messing with the Mafia will make you sorry.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language, violence, and nudity.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
In Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller has the opportunity to marry the girl of his dreams, so he'll do anything (Universal; rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo, drug references, and language). That includes taking the third degree from his ex-CIA future father-in-law. Clearly, Robert De Niro is unimpressed with the suitor who comes to visit for a tormentuous weekend in this madcap, though often crude, comedy. This movie holds together because of two strong leads and a hyperactive pace in which one wild event piles on top of another. The prospective fiancé is endlessly humiliated and thrown into one uncomfortable scene after another. (Think ruined wedding dress, a fire, a filthy rich ex-boyfriend, lost luggage ...) Meanwhile, the father seems to love his pet cat more than the rest of the family. The father in this movie is more paranoid than the typical cinematic ogre-patriarch. Why the suitor is supposed to ask Dad for his daughter's hand is never really discussed. Most of the action comes off as strangely believable, especially since audiences are set up to sympathize with the Stiller character. As in a few of his earlier movies, a dozen romantic nightmares combine into one story.

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