Paul Gleason

Paul Gleason

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Trading Places Review

Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd have made some bad movies in their day, but Trading Places is one of their respective bests.

Now legendary, the film has been referenced and homaged to an extent matched by few other recent films. It's a classic story: Greedy Phildadelphia commodity brokers Randolph and Mortimer Duke (the inimatable Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) bet the sum of $1 on a "scientific experiment," namely that they can depose their successful managing director Louis (Aykroyd) and replace him with a common street bum named Valentine (Murphy).

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Die Hard Review

If I were teaching a film class at a college (a shuddering prospect, I know), Die Hard would be studied the way Citizen Kane and Potemkin are. It's a perfect action movie in every detail, the kind of movie that makes your summer memorable.

Unfortunately, star Bruce Willis, director John McTiernan and company couldn't duplicate the heart-pulling thrill of the first one with two increasingly mediocre sequels. Die Hard 2 and Die Hard: With a Vengeance suffered because of stuffing thrills and spills in every crevice, to the point where I expected the Road Runner to make a cameo. Everyone involved seemed to forget that simplicity made the original so riveting. There's one flawed New York City detective trapped in a skyscraper with only his wits and some firearms to stop a band of talented international terrorists.

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The Breakfast Club Review

Like a group therapy session with no psychologist in sight (unless that scary principal counts), The Breakfast Club is often considered the Most Meaningful of all the John Hughes teen movies. And while that very well might be the case, that doesn't necessarily make it the best of those movies; that prize would most likely have to go to Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink. But one thing that must be said about The Breakfast Club is that it doesn't quite resemble any other teen movie done before or since, a more impressive feat than you might think.

The idea is impressively theatrical for a teen movie: Five teens show up at Shermer High School for Saturday detention, where they'll have to write an essay on who they think they are. All the kids represent different archetypes, of course, and by the end of the day, they'll all have exposed each other's fears and learned that, for all their supposed differences, there really isn't that much that separates them.

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Red Letters Review

Painfully awful mystery flick has Hawthorne-expert Coyote falling for a prison inmate (Kinski) via postal mail. About as slow as a fourth-class parcel, Red Letters is so convoluted and just plain stupid you'll stop wondering why it went straight to cable after about, oh, 35 minutes.

Not Another Teen Movie Review


If ever there were a genre long overdue for a vicious lampooning, it would have to be the cliché-plagued fantasy factory of the witless teen comedy/romance.

The popular jock, the cruel cheerleader, the arty-dreamy bespectacled girl, her shy geek best friend pining for her love -- these stock characters were glaringly unoriginal and badly acted back when John Hughes cauterized his "Pretty In Pink" formula into the heads of vacuous pubescents in the '80s.

Now the time for reckoning has arrived. A whole slew of central casting pop culture denizens -- and the literally dozens of throwaway flicks they inhabit -- get skewered something fierce in the ribald and relentlessly, no-jokes-barred satire "Not Another Teen Movie."

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Paul Gleason

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