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June, 2000

     We're halfway through 2000, and the good studio films are presumably to come, hidden queens, kings, and aces for the fall and winter Oscar season. The best of Hollywood through June? It's probably High Fidelity, knowingly written and skillfully played, though, with its phony upbeat conclusion at the rock club, hardly a masterpiece.

     And Wonder Boy? Too many smart film critics persuaded themselves that the Michael Douglas starrer was something really special. Sensibly, audiences stayed away from this enervated, self-conscious, academic-set comedy of manners; but Paramount Pictures was so smitten with the reviews that they've announced plans to reissue Wonder Boy in the late fall, in time for Academy Award consideration.

     Yawn! You want a robust campus comedy? It's Francine Prose's page-turner recent novel, Blue Angel (Harper Collins), in which her schlemazel professor obsesses that he's following the path to oblivion of Emil Jannings's sad clown teacher, who destroyed himself tripping after Marlene Dietrich in the same-titled 1930 German movie. Still, our guy can't resist making a pass at a female student whose writing turns him on. Mistake! Even going down, hapless victim to the plague of political correctness, he's so much gutsier than Douglas saying a Boy Scout "No" to nubile Katie Holmes in Wonder Boy.

(June, 2000)


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