Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 4 (May 23, 1997)

Summer Movies 1997 Revisited: Week 4 (May 23, 1997)

This weekend sees the wide release of two movies – both set on or near water and each competing for different audiences: the fifth installment in the long-past-its-prime Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and a big screen adaptation of the seminal ’90s TV show, Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. Here’s hoping the latter catches the same comedic wave that made 21 Jump Street so great. Reviews do not look good for either though.

May 23, 1997

Big News Story: A 32-cent Bugs Bunny special edition stamp goes on sale. Bugs is the first cartoon character to be used on a U.S. stamp.



Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Arliss Howard, Richard Schiff, Pete Postlethwaite

Director: Steven Spielberg

IMDB Synopsis: A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

Budget: $73M

Domestic Box Office: $229M

Worldwide Box Office: $618.6M

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 53%

IMDB User Rating: 6.5/10

Critics Consensus: The Lost World demonstrates how far CG effects have come in the four years since Jurassic Park; unfortunately, it also proves how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.

What I Said Then: Who wasn’t looking forward to this? Spielberg had been away for 4 years, ever since delivering the 1-2 punch of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List back in 1993. I was super excited for this sequel, and while I walked away disappointed, I certainly enjoyed enough moments to give it a pass. The standout sequence is the dual T-Rex attack on the trailer. Even when the script is less than stellar and takes some corny detours, the movie still looks good. Heck, it’s Spielberg.

What I Say Now: Its flaws quickly grew on repeat viewings. People love to hate on this movie these days, but I still prefer it to Jurassic Park III, if that counts for anything. Yeah, there are some dumb elements that really don’t work. Goldblum’s reasons for going back to the island. The inclusion of his daughter, just so there can be a child-in-peril.  The daughter’s gymnastics routine against velociraptors. The detour into King Kong territory in the last act. I don’t think Spielberg’s heart was in this one. This is a paycheck movie and an inferior sequel. Stick with the original. But, hey, look at how young (and miscast) Vince Vaughn is here!



Stars: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston

Director: Griffin Dunne

IMDB Synopsis: Maggie’s and Sam’s former partners are in love; she wants revenge and he wants his lost love back, so they work together to break up the happy couple.

Budget: N/A

Domestic Box Office: $34.6M

Worldwide Box Office: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%

IMDB User Rating: 6.1/10

Critics Consensus: The film received mixed reviews with some calling it “creepy” and “immature.”

What I Said Then: I don’t think the bad reviews were warranted. This is just an R-rated romantic comedy, and although Meg Ryan may be playing slightly against type, she’s still the same old sweet Meg Ryan that people love. It has some funny moments, but as far as romantic comedies go, it’s no One Fine Day or Sleepless in Seattle.

What I Say Now: I don’t think I’ve seen it since college. It had almost zero pop cultural impact. Nobody talks about it. You could do a lot worse though. I didn’t realize that actor Griffin Dunne (After Hours) was making his directorial debut here. I miss the days when studios made romantic comedies on a regular basis. There were so many back then, you needed to tweak the formula a bit, which is exactly what Addicted to Love tried to do by making two emotionally damaged stalkers its lead characters.


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