Daily Archives: October 4, 1994

Only You

Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. meet cute in Italy (1994), allowing the filmmakers (screenwriter Diane Drake, director Norman Jewison) to allude at length to Roman Holiday and letting Downey do an excellent Gregory Peck impersonation. Tomei, engaged to a podiatrist, runs off to Italy after a stranger; her sister-in-law (a likable performance by Bonnie Hunt) comes along for the ride, and Downey tries to cultivate Tomei’s impractical romanticism. Silly stuff, but it passes the time and the locations are nice; just don’t expect anything like Billy Wilder’s Avanti! With Joaquim De Almeida, Fisher Stevens, and Billy Zane. (JR) Read more

The Specialist

Another silly explosion movie (1994), this one hatching revenge plots under every bush in Miami. Sharon Stone (here in her va-va-voom mode) hires loner explosives expert Sylvester Stallone to blow up the killers of her parents. Stallone’s former CIA buddy James Woods (a villain out of The Perils of Pauline, now working for the mob and abusing Stone in his spare time) seeks revenge against Stallone for punching him out. Stallone has it in for Woods for allowing a little girl to get blown up in one of their former team efforts. And Rod Steiger, enjoyably overplaying a Cuban American crime boss, wants to catch the killer of his terminally obnoxious son (Eric Roberts). Oh yes, and Stallone wants to beat up an unrelated character because he steals a seat on a bus from a middle-aged woman, and Woods takes pleasure in insulting and humiliating everyone in sight. If campy sex and violence is your cup of tea, here’s a full thermos jug to take on a picnic. Written by Alexandra Seros (Point of No Return) and directed by Luis Llosa (Sniper). (JR) Read more

The Scout

Albert Brooks plays a baseball scout down on his luck who discovers a new baseball sensation in Mexico (Brendan Fraser), great at batting and pitching but more than a little dysfunctional at everything else. An uneasy father-son relationship develops between the two. A bewildering misfire unworthy of Brooks’s own films (though he contributed to the script with Andrew Bergman, as did his own usual script collaborator, Monica Johnson), but reasonably funny and quirky if expectations are lowered. Some continuity problems (e.g., a date for the baseball hero who appears out of nowhere) suggest a certain amount of studio interference. Michael Ritchie directed, and the story was suggested by an article by the New Yorker’s Roger Angell; with Dianne Wiest, Anne Twomey, Lane Smith, and a heap of cameos, including Bob Costas and Tony Bennett. (JR) Read more