On the 2nd of November, fourteen years ago, my fourth son was born. I can't believe it's been fourteen years since he was born. Friends and family can't believe my wife and I have gone fourteen years without having any more babies! Here then, is my view of the films that opened that wonderful year:
The place to start is at the top. The biggest movie of that year was a little movie about a boat that failed to make it across the Atlantic Ocean. Yeah, that's it. Titanic. Now, I could say that I was there, first in line, knowing it would become the biggest movie of all time (for ten years, anyway), but that wouldn't be true. In fact, I did not see it in 1997. I did go and see it in 1998, since it was still at the cheap theater then, and I thought I would finally go see what all the buzz was about. Still don't know what it was all about. It just wasn't my thing, which is strange. But I tend to dislike anything that is wildly popular. I'm sure that means there will come a day when I will not like this blog, either.
Anyway, one movie I remember seeing in the theater in 1997 was Air Force One, one of those great movies where we got to see Harrison Ford's wife in danger, and we then got to see him beat the crud out of everyone who was generating that danger. The great joy here was that the biggest bad guy was Gary Oldman, who also starred in another villain role in 1997, as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, in the nearly perfect The Fifth Element. Here again, I'll be honest. I did not see this in the theater, and I think a Mangalores would be within his rights to kick me for not doing so.
Tomorrow Never Dies was a great movie to see in the theater that year. Michelle Yeoh's kickin' performance (that's a literal description) is phenomenal. Watching her and Bond on that BMW motorbike was pure action poetry. Great stuff. Those two should have married and made little perfect spies. All of the buzz that year was about Terri Hatcher starring in this movie. Sorry, Ms. Hatcher, but Ms. Yeoh stole the show. Pierce Brosnan comes close to being the best Bond, but that is just a personal opinion. He was also good that year in the nearly forgotten Dante's Peak, which I also enjoyed seeing on the big screen earlier that year.
Star Wars (Special Edition) was released throughout the early months of 1997, and sure, I took my children to see it. That was fun, and I'm pretty sure at least three of my kids can still remember that. It was pretty cool to see it all again, since I had only seen the first movie in the theater as a kid, and the second and third movies only on TV. It was also super cool to see my youngsters get a kick out of it. My oldest son was the same age I was when I first saw Star Wars, so that was a nice connection.
The Saint was by far the best movie of that year. Jennifer and I had a rare night out without the kids and we fell in love with this movie. It is one of our favorite movies to pull out and watch. I doubt that a year has gone by since we've rewatched this wonderful film. It is full of adventure, and has fun villains, chase scenes, and a bagful of Val Kilmer's comedic disguises that never gets old. I was a big fan of Simon Templar, having watched it every afternoon when I was a kid down in Venice Florida. Roger Moore was perfect in that role, and Kilmer never dislodges him from that spot. He does, however, add a great new chapter to The Saint that is fun to watch. I recently read that Kilmer believes his version was a fiasco, which is a shame.
The rest of that year was made up of big budget movies that I missed for one reason or another. We were a bit busy raising four kids with a fifth one on the way. I did not get to the theater to see The Lost World: Jurassic Park, or Men in Black. I have since seen both and was not impressed either one.
Just as The Saint became a favorite for Jennifer and me, one of our favorite romantic comedies came out that year: Fools Rush In. This one we did not see until it came out on video. It was an immediate classic for us. Many of the rest of the average movies that showed up that year we eventually saw on video (gasp! How did we ever watch such blurry films?!) and there were a few that were pretty good, but I won't try to list them here. Suffice to say, we spent our share of money on video rentals (and late-fees, I'm sure). At the time, I was pretty convinced that a video store could make a fortune renting videos and selling pizzas, and delivering them at the same time. Turns out I was half right. I just didn't think the movies would be delivered by mail. And the video rental business was so big then I wouldn't have believed that in fourteen years, there would be only one store left in our area still renting movies.
Times they are a changin'.
But movies aren't. We are actually beginning to see remakes of movies that were made in the 90's. Whatever. The kinder, more gentler decade was not the best for Hollywood, but there were a few years that were above average. Come to think of it, any year that could produce The Saint and Fifth Element wasn't too shabby.
Come to think of it, any year that could produce a kid like my youngest has got to be one of the best years ever. Well, at least one out of the four best years ever...I mean five.