If your eighth-grade classroom was like most, your class clown was a guarded, smallish boy who was utterly terrified of being himself for even a moment, for fear of suffering the ridicule of others. So he made cracks all day long, and if your classmates laughed every one in a while, you may have eventually seen this kid in adulthood spitting jokes professionally in the vicinity of a brick wall.
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Brooks, as usual, plays a riff on himself, with Kathryn Harrold (perhaps best known as Jenny Loud on MacGruder and Loud) as the apple of his eye. Brooks is up to his usual shenanigans here -- wondering whether Harrold is cheating on him, obsessing over every little detail, slamming Quaaludes, and wondering whether he shouldn't have dumped the girl after all. Eventually they'll come back together, only to be torn apart before the end. The question is whether we'll reach an equilibrium here where both parties are happy,
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Based on the extremely controversial novel, Sleepers tells what is purported to be a true story of revenge in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Four early-teenaged friends (played as adults by Patric, Pitt, Ron Eldard, and Billy Crudup -- who I have to mention just because I like to say "Crudup") are sent to a juvenile center when a prank goes wrong and almost kills a bystander. The brutality that occurs in the center does not need to be expounded upon, but suffice it's very horrible, and that guard Sean Nokes (Bacon) is the baddest of the bad guys.
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How many more movies do we need about a rough neighborhood full of lifelong friends hopelessly turned to crime or worse? The enormous catalog of such movies might dissuade a filmmaker from making yet another, but here we have it. Again. Five Irish kids in NYC's Hell's Kitchen make an overemotional pact over some stolen rings on an anonymous rooftop. With teary music. And slow motion. In the film's first scene.
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When Harry Met Sally... closed out a decade fondly remembered by Grosse Pointe Blank and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and darkly satirized by Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. It's a romantic comedy that has spawned a plethora of knockoffs so terrifying that, like its counterparts in all other genres, it may have been better if the script were never penned, if only to save us from the aftermath. But still, we have to give When Harry Met Sally... credit for what it did: Make one of the few romance films that bears any kind of truth without also being a dark comedy.
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The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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