Tag Archives: Michael Douglas

The Set of 400: #375 – My Favorite Romance Novelist Heroine

Today! Because I have been through every one-horse shithole for a 200 mile radius –

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas (x2), Danny DeVito, Holland Taylor, Zack Norman, Mary Ellen Trainor, Manuel Ojeda, Alfonso Arau

Two months before the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Fox made a sexy, whimsical attempt to eat Paramount’s lunch with this modern day jungle adventure. Set very much in the vein of the action archaeologist, Douglas’ Jack helps Turner’s romance novelist Joan track down her kidnapped sister in South America, and in the course of it they find treasure, get shot at a bunch, get kinky, get high, and repeatedly get the better of an in-pursuit, opportunist Danny DeVito. It’s a rip roaring yarn that I probably should not have been allowed to watch as often as I did as a child. But like the rest of America, we couldn’t wait for new Indiana Jones adventures, so this had to fit the bill! And it did!

The cast is so solid together that they’d reunite for the direct sequel Jewel of the Nile (also pretty good) and spiritual sequel War of the Roses (come to think of it, also good). And with this, his third film, a great run of Robert Zemeckis movies kicked off, as for the next fifteen years he’d win Oscars and direct gigantic box office hits every two or three years. Hell, even with his uneven sojourn into strictly motion-capture animation in the ’00s, he didn’t really have a disappointing film at the box office until The Walk in 2015. Nice track record! You’re welcome for me not looking too close at Death Becomes Her‘s numbers, or mentioning Allied at all! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #397 – My Favorite Endless Novel

Today! Because he probably calls everybody Vernon –

Wonder Boys (2000)

Directed by Curtis Hanson

Starring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, Alan Tudyk, Philip Bosco, Richard Thomas

I loved this movie when I first saw it nineteen years ago – That screenplay! Those characters! – but I’ll admit it may not be holding up quite so well anymore. I’m not sure I ever would’ve had this in the top 100, but 200 seems totally reasonable, had I been ranking down that far in the early ’00s. Something resonated with me in Douglas’s writer cranking out a seemingly never-ending book, amidst the spiraling chaos of his academic environs. I especially remember the ending (not to spoil it, but you have had nearly two decades to watch it by now) being one of the most devastating things I’d seen at the time. I really fancied myself a writer back then, so I think that makes sense. Continue reading

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