Often vilified as one of the worst films ever made, Are We Done Yet? is far better than its pedigree would suggest. Mining the home improvement milieu has been done before, and if you've seen The Money Pit you know exactly what's going to happen here. Nick and co. will move into what looks like a dream house, but it will fall apart before their very eyes. A group of incompetant repairmen and contractors will attempt to save it. Nick will have a lot of drywall fall on his head. And the stress will cause much marital strife. The "original" spin here vs. The Money Pit: Suzanne is pregnant.
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The story, however, still feels ahead of its time, with Sarandon's femme fatale narrating a tale of how she adopts one player at her local Durham Bulls minor league baseball franchise every year -- providing him with countless years of expertise about the game and essentially screwing him silly along the way. This season, it's "Nuke" LaLoosh (Robbins), a wild pitcher who could use same taming. Also on the case is catcher "Crash" Davis (Costner), whose life lessons also help him out on the field.
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Paulina (Weaver) begins to inexplicably break down after his arrival, going so far as to sneak out of the house and destroy Miranda's car. Only when she returns do we discover the shocking reason for this insanity. Paulina suspects Miranda was the doctor who tortured and raped her 15 years earlier: the doctor, she says, who played the Schubert composition "Death and the Maiden" while he applied his evil ministrations. Paulina then turns the tables, tying Miranda up, beating him, and holding an impromptu trial to get his confession to the deeds.
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Lumet has taken a very bare-bones approach with the plot of Night Falls on Manhattan. One minute Andy Garcia's Sean Casey is an assistant DA trainee, the next minute he is the District Attorney of New York. Likewise, the first twenty minutes of the film set up a courtroom drama which Lumet flies through in a series of quick scenes. Unconventional editing techniques, including periodic jump cuts and abrupt truncations of scenes that barely seem to have begun, help push the narrative forward, all of which serves to confuse the audience as to the film's true focus.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.