A couple of movies on this tape, starting with City Slickers. Billy Crystal is suffering a midlife crisis.
He’s been drifting at work, so boss Jeffrey Tambor takes away some of his authority, making him feel emasculated.
His friend is Bruno Kirby, who’s handling his by dating ever younger women.
Patricia Wettig plays the obligatory long-suffering wife.
Daniel Stern is another friend, and the comedy here is that he’s dominated by his overbearing wife, who’s also the daughter of his boss.
Plus, one of his staff (played by Yeardley Smith, Lisa Simpson’s voice) is pregnant by him and confronts him at Crystal’s birthday party.
So the three of them go on a Cowboy adventure, where a group of regular people have to drive cattle across the prarie. Among the group is Helen Slater, although she doesn’t really get anything interesting to do except act as motivation for various men in the group.
The trail boss is Jack Palance, who won an Oscar for this performance.
I was fully expecting to be sniffing at the movie’s embracing of toxic masculinity, given the premise, but in the end it really takes you along. It’s not really about masculinity as much as it’s about friendships, and accepting responsibility for your life. Plus, the script, by comedy legends Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, is filled with snappy lines, keeping the comedy going at all times, but being able to deliver honest moments of emotion. They’re really good.
I should also mention the appearance of an astonishingly young Jake Gyllenhaal as Crystal’s son. I didn’t recognise him and only spotted his name in the credits.
Also in his class is Danielle Harris, seen recently in both Roseanne and Eerie Indiana.
Mark this one down in the ‘still works’ column.
After this, recording continues briefly for a few adverts, then switches to Entertainment Tonight. There’s a piece on the extended Laserdisc version of James Cameron’s The Abyss.
Next, from a film which happily hasn’t suffered too much with our changes in what’s acceptable, to a film which frankly was pretty awful to begin with. It’s Rising Sun, based on Michael Crichton’s novel about how terrifying Japanese corporations are to America.
Twin Peaks’ Ray Wise plays a Senator whose vote is vital to allow a Japanese company acquire an American technology company.
Wesley Snipes is the police officer called to a murder at a Japanese company.
Sean Connery is the sort-of-retired cop who knows the Japanese community.
Harvey Keitel is another cop
A woman has been strangled in the boardroom while a big party is happening downstairs, so the investigation is sensitive. At first the prime suspect is Japanese playboy Eddie Sakamura (Cary-Hiroyuka Tagawa) whose family Connery knows from Japan.
Most of the plot revolves around a disc containing the surveillance footage of the murder. It initially goes missing, but is then returned, and it appears to show Sakamura as the murderer. But Connery is suspicious, so he takes the disc to an expert in image analysis, played by Tia Carrere, and we get some not entirely nonsensical scenes of finding the places where the footage has been doctored.
Steve Buscemi turns up as a weaselly reporter who’s literally called ‘The Weasel’.
Now, this is a fairly efficient thriller, directed by Philip Kaufman, who directed The Right Stuff and was also once attached to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s interesting to see how it’s been softened from the book (although it’s a long time since I read it). The ultimate perpetrator here is an American, rather than a Japanese character in the book, for example.
Snipes and Connery are on good form, though.
The tape ends after this movie.
- Johnson’s Baby Bath
- Bird’s Eye Menu Master
- Tetley Instant Tea
- Thomson Local Directory
- The X-Files on video
- Sounds Direct – Rock
- trail: Fire
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