HTF REVIEW: America's Sweethearts

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS

    I'd like to begin by thanking Columbia/Tristar
    Home Video as another studio coming aboard and
    giving us early screener product to review. This
    is my very first Columbia review and I am very
    excited about reviewing their releases.
    With a boxful of DVDs arriving at my door this
    afternoon, I chose America's Sweethearts as
    the first one to watch. While I had not seen this
    movie theatrically, I do remember that it received
    pretty decent word-of-mouth. I was also looking
    forward to seeing John Cusack, who I am a
    great fan of, but lost track of his career after
    Better off Dead and Say Anything.
    I think we have a winner here!
    Gwen (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Eddie (John Cusack)
    are America's Sweethearts. They are the
    world's most favorite couple on-screen and off.
    The world can't get enough of them -- but they have
    had enough of each other! You see, Gwen and Eddie
    have broken up. Gwen's career is going down the
    toilet and Eddie is shacked up at a hokey spiritual
    camp (headed up by the very funny Alan Arkin)where
    he is trying to pull his life back together.
    Back in Hollywood, the studio wants to promote
    their final film together, and it is up to
    a Press Agent (Billy Crystal) and Gwen's sister
    (Julia Roberts) to do the IMPOSSIBLE --- bring
    Gwen and Eddie back together for a Press Junket
    weekend and hope nobody gets hurt!
    The movie turns out to be quite a terrific romantic
    comedy thanks to the superb cast that inhabits it.
    Whether it be the Hispanic boyfriend that talks
    with a lisp, or the dog that can't keep his nose
    out of Billy Crystal's crotch, this movie is a lot
    of fun to watch.
    It's so cool to see John Cusak hasn't lost any of
    his comedic charm. I haven't seen a movie of his
    in years, and I was pleasantly surprised that he
    remains such a natural comic with that boyish charm
    that can get him out of any predicament. Thank
    goodness he had a funny script to work with that
    gave him a good share of one-liners.
    But you know what? I haven't told you the best
    part of this movie! Two words! Christopher Walken.
    Not knowing that one of my favorite actors had
    a part in this film, I was just bawling out with
    laughter at Walken playing this Director who could
    be mistaken for Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski. From
    the moment he appears on screen (with Jefferson
    Airplane playing on thesoundtrack), you can't help
    but laugh. If any one man can add that special
    touch to a movie, it is Christopher Walken. I do
    promise you that the man does not disappoint. In
    fact, his best scenes were left on the cutting room
    floor. I'll explain that in a moment.
    The reason why I am so excited about reviewing
    Columbia/Tri-Star DVDs is because everyone knows
    that they have consistently the best transfers in
    the business. This transfer is no exception. It
    is drop-dead gorgeous. Most of the movie takes place
    in well lit scenes and the picture is extremely
    vibrant and colorful.
    The DVD also sports a booming 5.1 dolby mix. Most
    of the time comedy movies aren't known to have very
    active sound mixes. This comedy has a very punchy
    sound mix with lots of rear effects, low-bass sub
    action, and clean, vibrant sound across the front
    speakers. I was quite impressed with how well this
    film sounded.
    The bottom line is that America's Sweethearts
    may not be the funniest comedy of recent memory, but
    it's one of those "let's stay home and watch something
    fun" kind of movies that you and your spouse can
    snuggle up together and have a good time with. It's
    worth watching just to see John Cusak in rare form, and
    Christopher Walken in even rarer form. I tell you --
    Walken steals this movie!
    When you are done watching the film, be sure to
    check out the Deleted Scenes. Every single
    one of them are just as funny as anything in the
    movie. I was surprised just how good these short
    scenes were -- especially with two of them devoted
    to Mr. Walken's character.
    Definately worth a rent, and who knows...you may
    want to buy this one after it's over!
    Release Date: November 13
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
    Circa 2000
    Home Theater Forum Administrator
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  2. Mark McLeod

    Mark McLeod Second Unit

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    Ron,
    Thanks for the review. This is one I've been looking forward to. I really liked it at the theaters and it seems to hold up on multiple viewings because I saw it a couple times and it held up fine.
    As for Christopher Walken, I agree his character was great.
    Mark
    MadmanMark.com
     
  3. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    Ron,
    If you like John Cusack, you owe it to yourself to watch High Fidelity! A very funny film, especially the scenes with Jack Black are great. But I digress... [​IMG].
    Thanks for the review.
    -Christian
     
  4. Luis A

    Luis A Second Unit

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    Ron,
    Thanks for the review. I had no intention of seeing this movie, but I'll definitely check it out now. I'm also a fan of Cusak and have enjoyed his performance in every movie I've seen him in.Thanks again.
    L
     
  5. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Whilst I do have a soft spot fo a good rom com (more so if Cusack is involved) I will admit I had some reservations prior to seeing the movie. To my delight I enjoyed it a lot and have had it on pre-order for a while.
    It's certainly a thrill to know it keeps up with Sony's quality standards for DVD. I will agree Walken's participation in the movie is pure genius, but I have to say Hank Azaria steals the show.
    Dan (UK)
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Oh man, Walken's in this? I may have to purchase this.
    I resisted seeing it at the time because it was another JRob (Julia Roberts) movie, and my girlfriend can't get enough of her. We had just seen (re-watched, actually) My Best Friend's Wedding, Runaway Bride and Pretty Woman, so I was going to be damned if I saw another JRob flick within 4 months of those three. I don't even expose her to that many Hitchcock films in a row.
    But after reading your review, Ron, I'll probably pick this up at loss-leader prices at either Fry's or BB.
    Thanks for the heads-up!
     
  7. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Ron, do you ever NOT like anything? [​IMG]
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  10. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Even tho- I mildly liked this film, Cusak and Walkin was the best of the movie. I'm STILL getting it, as I LOVE Columbia/Tri-Star DVD's.
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  11. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    Have to disagree with you, Ron. I have only heard bad word of mouth upon its Theatrical Release and read poor reviews. But, I don't place all of my trust in reviews and word of mouth and went to see it on its second weekend in theaters. In fact, I try to see what a film is ATTEMPTING to do and cut it some slack before I deem it a "poor film". (I actually though "Driven', while a poor movie in most respects, a decent thrills movie that suceeds in what it was trying to do). For "America's Sweethears", based on reviews and poor word of mouth. my expectations were lowered but I was counting on the stars to carry the movie. I think its respectable performance in the Theaters kept it from being labeled a bomb, but it has been a general concensus that the film as a whole was definitely less than the sum of its stars.
    On most counts, I agreed with critics and think it was a poorly thought out film. Many of the plot points were ludicrous and even the 3-4 central characters couldn't do much with the material. I found that it attempted to create big comedic situations out of trivial plot segues and the set ups just took too long. I don't mind when comedian film makers borrow similar comedic sequences from other films (the eavesdropping sequence), but "America's Sweethearts" does nothing beyond convention and NOT ONE PERSON laughed during the sequence at all. Azaria's character had a lot of potential, but I found that the set up of his character was so shallow that I despised him more than wanting to laugh at his antics. There are MOMENTS in the film that are pretty entertaining, but never PRICELESS.
    I would recomend purchasing this dvd for die hard Crystal, Cusack, and Zeta Jone's fans. Robert's was somewhat wasted in this movie and I felt it curious of her to share the spotlight with so many other stars and, with the exception of getting to jump into a fat suit, I was curious as to why she played the most boring character in the film.
     
  12. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    Ron-
    you HAVE to see High Fidelity if you're a Cusack fan, and Grosse Pointe Blank and Serendipity are definitely worthwhile too.
    I think Julia R wanted to play "against type" in this. She was originally cast for the Catherine Z Jones part, but after reading the script, requested the sister-gofer part, instead, IIRC.
    I really enjoyed the "double dealing" that Billy Crystal's character did in order to manipulate his stars. I'm sure some of it was outrageous farce, and some of it hit close to home.
     
  13. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Re: "Roberts was somewhat wasted in this movie and I felt it curious of her to share the spotlight with so many other stars and, with the exception of getting to jump into a fat suit, I was curious as to why she played the most boring character in the movie".
    Julia Roberts was offered the Catherine Zeta Jone role but turned it down and opted to play the put upon sister instead. She felt the character was too "bitchy" and after playing the bitchy manipulative food critic in My Best Friend's Wedding and the brassy often bitchy Erin Brockovich, she wanted to play a softer less pushy character.
    As for sharing the spotlight with so many other stars, she'll be doing that again in the ensemble cast of Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven remake: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould among others.
     
  14. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    Point Taken. I know of her upcoming role in Ocean's Eleven. Let me clarify what I was getting at. In a comedy, with such vivid "character" roles, I found it surprising that Roberts would play the only "straight" character with the other, more vivid characters being played by the other BIG stars.
    Elbert
     
  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    With so many good actors in one film, one would think that this should be an automatic hit. But surprisingly, this film fails overall. It is one of the weakest comedies I have seen in a while with virtually nothing original to offer.
    The Hispanic boyfriend is one that is stereotyped. The situations are all predictable with Cusack delivering one of the worst written lines of his career. There was too much talent wasted on a very poor script.
    But, the transfer is nice. [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
    Edit: Might as well put a rating to the film = [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four)
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    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html
    [Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on November 16, 2001 at 08:15 AM]
     
  16. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    Oh man! Oh man. Just saw this movie for the first time on DVD and it’s horrible. One of the weakest comedies I’ve ever seen. It’s very unfortunate because I love Billy Crystal. Very much enjoyed “Analyze This”. I have absolutely no idea how he could write this and be involved in it. It was so cliché, unfunny and predictable. It was exactly the same as the stupid big budget movies that the movie tries to criticize and make fun of. I’m not going to lie. I did laugh few times but the amount of laugh I had in this two hours movie was 1/5 amount of laugh I have with a 22 minutes episode of Friends. I give it [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of 4!
     
  17. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    I put this movie on a par with Ishtar
     

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