Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 6 (June 6, 1997)

Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 6 (June 6, 1997)

This weekend sees the release of what is being largely hailed as "The Worst Tom Cruise Movie Ever". Yes, I'm talking about Universal's kick-off to its new Dark Universe franchise, another reboot of The Mummy. Expect bigger overseas grosses than here domestically, where it will probably lose the weekend box office crown to Wonder Woman. On a smaller level, Trey Edward Shultz' sophomore follow-up to the critically beloved Krisha, a horror film called It Comes At Night, also hits theaters.

June 6, 1997

Big News Story: Sylvester Stallone and director Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger) are close to signing on to Frequency, which ultimately involved neither of them. As you might recall, that movie came out in 2000 and starred Jim Caveizel and Dennis Quaid.



Stars:Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Dave Chappelle

Director: Simon West

IMDB Synopsis: Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control.

Budget: $75M

Domestic Box Office: $101M

Worldwide Box Office: $224M

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%

IMDB User Rating: 6.8/10

Critics Consensus: A mixed bag. Some praised its visual style and verbal wit, while others found it hip and pandering.

What I Said Then: Con Air rules!  After The Rock and Bad Boys, the Jerry Bruckheimer production logo now carries it with a badge of quality. Take quality actors and put them in a fairly ridiculous action set-up with relentless pacing, and the result is magic. Yeah, it's dumb, but it's also fairly self-aware and has a good sense of humor. I mean, c'mon, how can you resist lines like Cage's "Put. The. Bunny. Down." Or, better yet, how can you resist Cage's wig? This is a really fun movie that high-minded critics may bemoan, but most audiences will easily enjoy.

What I Say Now: I miss the days when Bruckheimer was giving us R-rated, grown-up action movies that weren't tied to some pre-existing IP. This was truly his heyday. He'd come out with Armageddon and Enemy of the State a year later, both of which fit this same mold. I've seen Con Air a number of times on video, and bought it in all the various formats over the years - VHS, DVD, Blu-ray. It's always worth a revisit. Cage makes some weird acting choices. Cool to see Dave Chappelle on screen - this was years before his breakthrough Comedy Central series.



Stars: Rene Russo, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Cumming

Director: Caroline Thompson

IMDB Synopsis: An eccentric socialite raises a gorilla as her son.

Budget: $19M

Domestic Box Office: $10.1M

Worldwide Box Office: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%

IMDB User Rating: 4.8/10

Critics Consensus: It received largely negative reviews and was criticized for its unrealistic animatronics, especially when compared to the real ape performers.

What I Said Then: The animatronic gorilla, created by the usually reliable Jim Henson Studios, is a real problem. The movie is a fairly solemn family drama, but is constantly hampered by the break in reality caused by the gorilla. You never buy into this premise, even though it's based on a true story. Not sure who the intended audience for this was, so not surprised that it flopped.

What I Say Now: I don't think I've ever met one other person who has seen it, let alone likes it. This is just a blip on everyone's resumes. I did find it interesting to learn that the director, Caroline Thompson, enjoyed more success as a screenwriter. She wrote Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Addams Family. This movie, which she also wrote, doesn't reflect those talents.


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