Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 8 (June 20, 1997)

Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 8 (June 20, 1997)

This weekend sees the limited release of interesting, well-received movies like Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled and the Kumail Nanjiani-starring The Big Sick, but folks in Chicago and anywhere else that isn't NY or LA are out of luck on that front. We'll have to wait for those movies to expand next week. Until then, the sole wide release this weekend is Michael Bay's fifth stab at the Transformers franchise: The Last Knight. Reviews have been terrible, the domestic box office has been sluggish, and all eyes are on China to see how it fares there.

June 20, 1997

Big News Story: Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow had called off their engagement earlier in the week, but reports surfaced on June 20 that they may get back together. Cue the Ron Howard V.O.: "They did not."

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BATMAN & ROBIN

Stars:George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone

Director: Joel Schumacher

IMDB Synopsis: Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.

Budget: $125M

Domestic Box Office: $107M

Worldwide Box Office: $238M

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%

IMDB User Rating: 3.7/10

Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.

What I Said Then: What a giant disappointment. I was hyped for this movie, having really enjoyed Batman Forever, and was looking forward to another Bat flick. I convinced my movie-loving Uncle to see it with me, even though he thought it looked bad. Boy, was he right. I remember this movie going off the rails almost right away with that ridiculous ice skating action sequence. It only grew more preposterous from there. Clooney looks hopelessly lost. Schwarzenegger's constant puns are real groaners. And, Bane. Look what they did to Bane!

What I Say Now: We should have seen this coming. I re-watched Batman Forever recently, and it's nearly just as bad. Jim Carrey saves it, but all the problems of Batman & Robin are there. Garish, bizarrely designed, overly jokey - both Forever and Robin suffer from the same things. There's a certain guilty pleasure aspect to this movie, even though it's mostly a punchline at this point. I mean, it's just so bad and so dumb that it's kind of fun. I've seen it more times than I care to admit. But, those puns. Oh god, those puns. The horror. The horror.

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MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING

Stars: Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Dermot Mulroney

Director: P.J. Hogan

IMDB Synopsis: When a woman's long-time friend reveals he's engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.

Budget: $38M

Domestic Box Office: $127M

Worldwide Box Office: $299M

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%

IMDB User Rating: 6.3/10

Critics Consensus: Thanks to a charming performance from Julia Roberts and a subversive spin on the genre, My Best Friend's Wedding is a refreshingly entertaining romantic comedy.

What I Said Then: Great romantic comedy. It does enough to deviate from formula and really stands apart from other movies in the genre. Roberts is fantastic and immensely likeable, even though her character does some fairly despicable things. And, she ends up with her gay best friend at the end - what a novel concept. Loved the soundtrack too and listened to it quite a bit that summer. "Say a Little Prayer" was my jam.

What I Say Now: My Best Friend's Wedding is pretty influential. Because of it we got movies like The Object of My Affection, The Next Best Thing, and many more. The romantic comedy conventions it avoided would embolden other romcoms to take similar risks. Rupert Everett was so great in the movie, but he really never popped in anything else. Kind of a shame. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, would graduate from the supporting character to lead character like the one Roberts plays. This summer could really use a movie like this - a refreshing tonic amidst all the blockbuster bombast.

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