For, Friday, July 14, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s trip down memory lane offers up the second half of a column that was published in the Deseret News on July 8, 1990. The headline was ‘Scarcity of 70mm-capable theaters denies local fans a “broad perspective” ’ and that part of the column was republished in this space on May 22, 2015. What we have today is a collection of short items, a comment on watching movies on TV (back in the pre-widescreen-TV days), a parody of national movie critics’ one-liners, etc., along with a letter from a reader calling for my head (although I remain unrepentant about ‘Joe Versus the Volcano’; see my Blu-ray review published last month). By the way, the ‘Ernest’ film mentioned below evolved into ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’ and wasn’t released until October 1991.

— QUICK, NOW THAT "Days of Thunder" has opened, what other race movies can you rent on video? How about "Grand Prix," a Cinerama film with James Garner (which means you can see about a third of the picture on your TV screen and a lot of closeups of Garner's nose); "Winning," with Paul Newman, the man we can blame for introducing Tom Cruise to racing; "Speedway" and "Spinout," two movies with Elvis Presley racing stock cars; "Cannonball Run" and "Cannonball Run II," with Burt Reynolds and dozens of guest stars racing cross-country; and "The Great Race," with nasty, dressed-in-black villain Jack Lemmon and all-in-white hero Tony Curtis racing from New York to Paris?


— WILL "DIE HARD 2" die harder at the box office? At the end of the year will it be known as "Die Hardly"?

Will "RoboCop" be "RoboFlop"?

Will "Dick" vanish without a trace?

Will "Days of Thunder" wash out?

Will "Ghost Dad" evaporate?

Will "Betsy's Wedding" divorce the audience?

Actually, all of these films are doing pretty well.

I just wanted to write like a national movie critic for a moment.




— WALT DISNEY STUDIOS is playing a cruel joke on the moviegoing public — and movie critics in particular.

Having already released an Ernest P. Worrell so-called "comedy" earlier this year — remember "Ernest Goes to Jail" in April? — the studio has announced yet another Jim Varney-as-Ernest picture scheduled for Oct. 19: "Ernest and the Haunted House."

Oh, sure. It's no big deal to you. You can send your kids and feel secure that you will never have to sit for 90 minutes through another "Ernest" movie. But not me! I have to go!

One "Ernest" movie a year was tolerable but two a year is more than I can bear.

Do you suppose I could go back to selling cutlery door to door?


— FROM PREMIERE MAGAZINE: With reference to one of the weirder trends related to last year's "Batmania": "Seen anyone with a Dick Tracy logo shaved into their hair?"



Dear Mr. Hicks,

Please answer one question: Did you see the same movie, or version of the movie, "Joe Versus the Volcano" that I did?

How on earth could you have given it 3 1/2 stars? The people I talked with at the theater didn't like it … not even the popcorn girl.

Let's get realistic, Hicks! You've missed too many lately. If you don't hit a few, I think I'll start a movement to get a new movie reviewer for the (Deseret) News. Don't think it couldn't happen. You see, I'm not alone.


Vic Morris, Salt Lake City


— QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose "Total Recall" has been attacked for its extreme violence, telling Richard Freedman (Newhouse News Service) how he feels about critics: "I personally pay not that much attention to such critics, because the whole idea of deciding what is good for others doesn't go over with me very much."



— QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: Bruce Willis, to Kenneth Turan (New York Times News Service) about his latest film, "Die Hard 2":"A sequel is a strange animal; it's another chapter in a movie you've already seen, a little taste of the repetitiveness of TV."


— QUOTE OF THE WEEK III: Joe Dante, director of "Gremlins 2: The New Batch," to Tom Jacobs (Los Angeles Daily News): "It's like watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon. It's very cathartic watching them hit each other over the head with hammers, especially since you know it isn't real. It's not a catharsis for me to see somebody slit somebody else's throat because I don't want to slit anybody's throat. But a lot of times, I've wanted to hit somebody over the head with a hammer."