The siblings Patty and Joe Rasnick live in an industrial suburb in Cleveland, Ohio. While Patty is focused on their rock band, The Barbusters, Joe also cares for the family and the ... See full summary »
Doug is a young man who works all day as a concierge at a luxurious hotel, saving money to make his own business. Unfortunately, when he finds the financial supporter he needs, he discovers... See full summary »
Michael J. Fox,
Uncle Joe is ageing. He's also a millionaire. That's why his family is trying so very hard to get into his good books. They all want a piece of his empire. Unfortunately Uncle Joe isn't as ... See full summary »
Christine (Phoebe Cates), a student at an exclusive all-girls private school, is in love with Jim, who attends an academy for boys nearby. Christine's arch rival Jordan also has her eye on ... See full summary »
Nick is a feckless television salesman who gets fired and impulsively decides that he and his girlfriend, Beth, will move to Butte, MT, which he's read is "the city of the future." "I read ... See full summary »
Jamie Conway (Michael J. Fox) is an aspiring writer and yuppie living in New York City who seeks oblivion in cocaine and the glittery nightclub scene as his life falls apart (his wife leaves him, his mother dies, etc.). With his hard-partying friend Tad Allagash (Kiefer Sutherland) tagging along with him during their nights out, Jamie finds it increasingly difficult to show up every day at his unfulfilling job as a fast checker for a literary Manhattan magazine. Written by
It must have struck cinematographer Gordon Willis as highly ironic that he would shoot a film with the title "Bright Lights, Big City". Willis, known for his fabulous work with dark, muted colors and characters in shadows or silhouettes, seems absolutely lost within this night-life milieu, which isn't bright and hardly seems big. Jay McInerney adapted his own 1984 novel about a would-be writer in New York City whose job in the research department of a prominent magazine (Gotham!) is constantly threatened by his drug use, which may stem from a broken marriage and memories of his deceased mother. It's not difficult to pinpoint what went wrong here: although Michael J. Fox may seem well-cast from the outset, it clearly becomes apparent he's in over his head. Fox (whose plastic voice-over narration was probably supposed to sound hard-boiled) is too well-scrubbed and corn-fed to be convincing as a party maniac; acting disoriented by blinking his eyes heavily and tightening his thin mouth, Fox is strictly a morose good-time guy, mourning the separation from fashion model spouse Phoebe Cates. But there's nothing at stake for this kid when he stays up all night (except for his job at the magazine, which hardly matters to us since the sequences set there are wholly unconvincing). Director James Bridges takes an episodic approach to the narrative, but his continuity (or perhaps the editing) is sloppy and gummy, and the people in Fox's small circle aren't terribly interesting. And did the movie go through a budgetary crisis? The weak nightclubbing scenes look barren and cheap (aside from some city vistas and subway rides, the picture could easily take place in Passaic, New Jersey for all we know). When Fox goes out on a blind date with Tracy Pollan, we know instantly these two clean-cut kids will click on their appearance alone: they look like an upscale young couple coming home from a Republican fundraiser. There's nothing dangerous about Michael J. Fox or his approach to this part. He drinks, he snorts, he swears, but he doesn't live the highs and lows of an addict on the edge. Or, is this guy an addict? There's no visual punch in Bridges' staging to suggest he's anything more than a spoiled kid looking for a girl to adore him. *1/2 from ****
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