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The Hospital Review


Extraordinary
Paddy Chayefsky's portrait of urban hospitals in the early seventies is scathing, cruel, over-the-top -- and beautifully accurate. While Chayefsky took this theme of urban decay to its limit in the masterpiece Network, five years later, The Hospital is a worthy precursor of the greatness to come.

Best Friends Review


Grim
When Best Friends is less than halfway over, you'll long for a much better '80s rom-com like Seems Like Old Times, also starring Goldie Hawn in one of her endless roles from the era as (basically) herself.

Hawn is partnered rather tragically here with Burt Reynolds. They play the titular best friends -- screenwriters -- who decide to get married, only to realize that romance is far more difficult than friendship. I mean, there's in-laws! An old and groping father is about as funny as Friends ever gets, as the movie's one-liners fall down flat one after another. That's probably because the film is based on the real life of writers Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson, and frankly not much amusing seems to have happened during their brief marriage.

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Tron Review


OK
Back in 1982, special effects never seemed more assured. In 2000, they look downright hokey. Disneyfied. And in fact, for its 20th anniversary reissue on DVD, Tron still looks pretty darn goofy, though it's easy to appreciate it as a pioneering work of its era.

In the film, Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are largely forgettable in flourescent paint and blacklighting as they stumble their way inside the computer to foil the evil Master Control Program. You see, in Tron, computer programs actually take on sentience, fighting for supremacy in the belly of the machine, often as gladiators. That might explain why my system crashes so much. Bridges, though, plays a human, digitized with a laser and inserted into the machine where he does battle with his own creations -- which ultimately turns out to be the biggest letdown, as the MCP is a big red cylinder with a face reminiscent of the Kool-Aid Man.

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The Fantasticks Review


Unbearable
After 40 continuous years of off-Broadway performances, the musical sensation of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt comes inexplicably to the big screen. That's right, folks. All the dancing, singing, and mindbogglingly stupid antics of off-Broadway's longest-running embarrassment can now be experienced at a cinema near you.

Set deep in rural America, this is the story of two neighboring fathers who fake a feud in order to trick their children into courtship. Of course, the young man and woman (played by Joe McIntyre and Jean Louisa Kelly, respectively) are easily duped and everything is going as planned. That is, until the circus comes to town. And that's when the moronic singing starts.

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The Lost Boys Review


Grim
The Lost Boys is a movie I'm sure its participants want frozen in time. Back in 1987, Jason Patric had potential, Jami Gertz was an It Girl, and the Coreys were at the height of their powers. This is not the movie to remember that era. Aside from a good ending, you never want to reach for the covers or turn on all the lights.

Brothers Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Patric, with Scott Valentine's hair), along with their hippie divorcee mom (an oddly cast Dianne Wiest), move to Santa Carla, California, a small town home to a busy boardwalk featuring an amusement park, derelicts galore, and a slight vampire problem. Much to his regret, Michael befriends a group of vampires headed by Kiefer Sutherland, and slowly becomes one. Sam, full of good intentions and a logic fueled by comic books, comes to his aid, enlisting the help of two gung-ho amateur slayer siblings (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) to kill the unknown head vampire and turn Michael back to his normal teenage self.

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Midnight Cowboy Review


Extraordinary
Joe Buck (Jon Voight), in what may be the boldest and most naive move in movie history, heads from west Texas to New York City via bus, to strike it rich as a male prostitute. He encounters a diminutive con man named Ratso (Dustin Hoffman), who takes him under his wing as his "manager." Sadly, it soon becomes apparent that neither of these characters can take care of themselves, much less one another. Depressing and nearly hopeless, this classic and infamous film (originally X-rated in 1969, it still won Best Picture), Midnight Cowboy has analogues in countless films from later years, all the way through American Beauty. Highly recommended.
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