Wednesday, 11 September 2013

ABC’s 'A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR' (1993)

 



The TV adaptation of A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by prolific author (even beyond the grave) Sidney Sheldon is produced by Aaron Spelling and stars two of the finest looking specimens to ever grace our small screen: Perry King and Lori Loughlin. Loughlin had been a permanent fixture on both THE EDGE OF NIGHT and FULL HOUSE on ABC for years. King had been strutting his stuff in TV movies and miniseries before settling in on NBC RIPTIDE. As for Spelling, well, his backlist speaks for himself: CHARLIE’S ANGELS, DYNASTY, MELROSE PLACE… Now, if you’re addicted to delicious trash like I am, you’d know from the get go that you are in for a treat with A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR. How can you not be with these long-standing folks at the helm?



It all begins with ladies man King bombing big time as a stand up comic  working the circuits. With what he’s got for material you would too. But when he sees opportunity knocking on his door in the form of a crippled Juliet Mills—a right-hand woman to a big agent—he does not just take it, he rams it for all it’s worth. And it pays off. Soon he moves up the ladder of success and ends up having his own television show. That’s where he meets good girl gone bad Loughlin (you know this because she now chews gum and wears heavy makeup), a bit-player, who plays the ingenue just so she can land him, and does she. This does not bode well with King’s super agent Christopher Plummer, an aging bachelor who secretly has the hots for King (who wouldn’t?). But when he gets his walking papers when Loughlin becomes King’s wife, he swears revenge on the girl. 



Now that everything is as it should be, the couple is on cloud nine—until King has a heart attack from doing drugs, rendering him incapacitated permanently. Loughlin does her best taking care of him, but barely manages, especially when she sees an old beau whom she had been set to marry until his socialite mom came in the way. Things get even nuttier when King, now totally mute, starts talking to Loughlin in her mind, and it’s not to utter sweet nothings, believe me. Unable to deal with him any longer, she plans to finish him off, but he’s one step ahead as he throws his wheelchair-bound self right into the family pool. Now a widow, she sets out to sail off into the sunset with the man that got away. That’s when closeted Plummer resurfaces. He lures her rich fiancĂ© into the ship’s theater to gleefully show him an old porno flick starring Loughlin. Plummer gets bashed up, Loughlin looses her man again, and it all ends up with her plunging fatally into the ocean after getting a siren’s call from her dead hubby. 



 
Filmed in British Columbia, A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR is directed by Charles Jarrot, who’s also  responsible for the craziness that is THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT, another Sheldon’s adaptation. Clearly the man works well with the author since THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT is one of the best over-the-top films ever. Is A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR in the same league? You bet. But you may not dig it as much (as I do) since it is overall shoddier. Still, see this little gem when you get the chance as it has yet to reach the DVD market.
 




 

 
Until next post—Martin


 



Tuesday, 3 September 2013

ENDLESS LOVE (1981)




Like any red-blooded high-camp moviegoer, I’ve seen my share of deliciously awful flicks. From THE LONELY LADY to the more recent SHOWGIRLS, nothing compares to the high I get every time I watch one of these films. The latest being the ever-popular ENDLESS LOVE directed by ROMEO AND JULIET Franco Zeffirelli and based on the hit novel by Scott Spencer. It stars a slew of talented seasoned performers (Shirley Knight, Don Murray…) prowling around gorgeous but minimally talented 15 year old Brooke Shields. Newcomer Martin Hewitt is the film’s pretty boy teen who’s obsessed with her. And just like the movie title says, his love for her is endless, so you can expect some wackiness to take center stage, and does it ever.
 

It all starts out with a neighborhood party Shields’ unconventional parents are throwing. Murray smokes weed and does a shotgun with a chick who may or may not be his wife. Then comes the after-party where Mama Knight catches her baby-girl getting deflowered by Hewitt to the syrupy sound of Jonathan Tunick’ score. Awe, even desire, registers on her face. But later on when the young couple starts doing it like rabbits, dad puts a stop to it by tearing them apart. Hoping to be back on Murray’s good grace, Hewitt acts on a cockamamie plan—suggested by none other than first-time on-screen Tom Cruise in short shorts(!)—to start a fire and rescue Shields and her family, thus making him look like a hero.



Of course, the plan goes awry and Hewitt gets institutionalized, never again to cross path with Shields. Cut  to a few years later and wouldn’t you know, a released Hewitt visits divorced Knight who still has the hots for him. When he rejects her, she does what any sensible woman would do: she offers him the couch. While she’s in another room, Hewitt manages to steal Shields’ new address and rushes out to meet her. Since the film is called ENDLESS LOVE, you can expect their union to but nothing but grand. However, when papa Murray catches him in the streets of New York, he goes after the kid but gets killed by a speeding car. When Shields finds out, she swears off Hewitt once and for all.

 

But again, being that this is an ENDLESS LOVE, it all comes down to Shields listening to her heart instead (more to her mom actually) and going back to Hewitt for good this time around (we think), while the syrupy score is at it again but with Lionel Richie and Diana Ross at the vocals. Credits roll as we run screaming from the room. But we wouldn’t change the film if you paid us. Well, perhaps for a few tens or Hewitt’s private phone number—whichever comes first. And to Knight’s reported plea that Zeffirelli replace Shields with an ever more accomplished actress? Shame on you, woman. Brooke—as ENDLESS LOVE—is perfect. You hear me?!! Per—fect!




UPDATE:  It looks like there's a remake coming our way.  It stars Alex Pettyfer from MAGIC MIKE.  I'll probably check it out eventually.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  Finally saw the remake and enjoyed it but not as much as the original.  The lead actress is good, as is Joely Richardson as the mom.  Although Alex Pettyfer is soft on the eyes and gives a fine performance he looks too old for the part. The basis of the film is the same but the plot does tend to veer off course from time to time which isn't always a good thing.  So there you have it, my mini review.




 



Until next post—Martin