9 September 2008 9:01 PM, PDT | avclub.com | See recent The AV Club news »

Writer-director James Bridges had a distinctly sociological and journalistic bent. His films delved into hot-button political issues (the 1979 nuclear meltdown thriller The China Syndrome), brought articles about lifestyle trends to the big screen (1980's Urban Cowboy, 1985's Perfect) and adapted autobiographical novels about narrow cultural milieus, like the classic 1973 law-school drama The Paper Chase and 1988's yuppie-tastic Bright Lights, Big City, where he replaced original director Joyce Chopra. Bridges films sometimes captured the cultural zeitgeist—China Syndrome, Urban Cowboy—and sometimes the zeitgeist escaped them, as with Perfect and Bright Lights, Big City, which re-imagined Jay McInerney's literary doppelgänger as Alex P. Keaton gone to seed. In the role that failed to shake up his image, Michael J. Fox, America's favorite teenager (even as a late-20s Canadian) plays McInerney's fictional surrogate, a fact-checker at an upscale, New Yorker-like magazine who sublimates his grief over his mother's death and his. »

- Nathan Rabin

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