BootLeg Betty

BetteBack January 5, 1997: Paris Review’s 10 Best & Worst Movies Of 1996

Paris News
January 5, 1997

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Ten Best

— “Jerry Maguire,” Tom Cruise will probably get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a guy backpedaling in the fast lane, looking for what he lost on his way to the top.

— “Romeo and Juliet,” Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top contemporary look at the Bard’s most famous play had teenagers lined up for Shakespeare (not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) — whether or not they were getting extra credit in English.

— “Courage Under Fire,” Meg Ryan and Denzel Washington make this screenplay about an incident in the Persian Gulf War a must-see.

— “Last Man Standing,” director Walter Hill’s homage to Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was spare but accurate, a metaphor for Bruce Willis’ character.

— “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” Barbra Streisand’s latest took a hit for being too autobiographical, but it was still well-developed and Jeff Bridges and Lauren Bacall were terrific.

— “The First Wives Club,” may have been set in New York, but it was pure Hollywood … and Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton had as much fun making it as their audiences did watching it.

— “101 Dalmations,” family dynamics were incidental in this, but Glenn Close was pure genius.

— “A Time to Kill,” arguably John Grisham’s best novel was brought to the big screen by director Joel Schumacher with an impressive cast and its explosive narrative intact.

— “Independence Day” kicked off July Fourth with an expected bang. Director Roland Emmerich Jwho coauthored) opted for something between “Alien” serious and “Dr. Strangelove” funny and zapped us back into sci-fi heaven.

— “Up Close and Personal,” Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford provided the sparks for this well written story about an aspiring television anchor and the mentor she loved.

The Worst

— “Striptease,” was universally panned, but it wasn’t Demi Moore who sank it; it was an embarrassing performance by Burt Reynolds.

— “Jack,” Robin Williams’ physical jokes in this story of a rapidly-aging lo-year old grew tiresome at the operatic pace set by director Francis Ford Coppola.

— In the should-have-been better category were “Mary Reilly,” all sizzle and no steak with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich; Eraser,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s summer actioner had him back in his old stone-face mode (where was “True Lies” when we needed it?); and
“Mission Impossible” turned out to be “Impossible Plot.” The much-awaited summer blockbuster had a convoluted and no redeemable, but obviously still thrills many

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