5.6/10
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37 user 28 critic

Bright Lights, Big City (1988)

R | | Drama | 1 April 1988 (USA)
A disillusioned young writer living in New York City turns to drugs and drinking to block out the memories of his dead mother and estranged wife.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Tad
...
Amanda
...
Megan
...
Clara
...
...
Mr. Vogel
...
Michael
David Warrilow ...
Rittenhouse
...
Mother
...
Yasu Wade
...
Ferret Man
Gina Belafonte ...
Kathy
...
Rich Vanier
Bernard Zette ...
Stevie (as Zette)
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Storyline

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 Larry B.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's a long way from Kansas. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die grellen Lichter der Großstadt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$16,118,077 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Jay McInerney, Tom Cole wrote all the drugs out of the script while Cole claims that he did this on instructions from Sydney Pollack, who was worried that the film would hurt Michael J. Fox's wholesome image with audiences. See more »

Goofs

When Jamie (Michael J. Fox) runs from his brother who's been waiting for him on Jamie's stoop, he enters the Christopher Street station of NYC's 1 train. But when the camera shows him on the subway platform he's actually at the 42nd Street/Times Square station. See more »

Quotes

Drunken Writer: [rambling on aimlessly to himself] ... Siamese fighting fish in the water cooler... the old crew in the golden days of this magazine would have thought of it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee
Performed by Michael Feinstein
Courtesy of Elektra/Asylum Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Words & Music by Irving Berlin
From the album "Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Secret Of My Succe$s's evil twin
1 November 2009 | by (Yurp) – See all my reviews

You have to leave it to Michael J.: no-one looks better harried in a casual suit than he. That artfully ruffled hair is just the shizzle. Even when he's been boozing and snorting lines all night, he looks like the picture of life. Here he's teamed up with Kiefer Sutherland, the second best-looking guy in a ruffled suit, and all seems to be set for a zany, New-York-in-the-Eighties comedy along the lines of Fox's previous The Secret Of My Succe$s. Only that they decided to make a dire "serious" movie instead, probably to allow Fox to work beyond the comedy genre for a change.

So Fox plays the young would-be writer of the Great American Novel who struggles with:

*the death of his mother a year ago

*being left by his model wife (meaning they're married and she works as a model -- everyone did in the Eighties) for a swanky French fashion photographer

*having to work as a fact checker for a The New Yorker-type magazine instead of being recognised as a literary maven

*New York City

*partying too hard, taking too much coke and hanging around models with earrings the size of dinner plates too much

Here's how the story went down with me: the main character and his entourage live the affluent life of New Yorker young urban professionals that everybody dreamed about in the Eighties. Our hero Jamie Conway has a well-paying job in the media, but he whines because he'd rather be an author. It's sad that his wife left him, but he handles it so immaturely that you begin to feel that she made the right choice. The dead mother in Kansas seems to be thrown in gratuitously to add ballast. The other women in this movie are so stereotypical (the motherly type, lots of club-going fashion skanks and finally the homely girl who goes to bed at ten under a large frilly duvet) that I garnered even more sympathies for the cheating wife. I couldn't buy into the whole coke fiend schtick because Michael J. Fox just looks so damn perky and apple-cheeked all the time.

Finally the ending: Jamie meets his estranged wife at a party, starts laughing hysterically, then his nose starts to bleed from doing all those lines. He then decides to call that homely girl, whines to her about his mother, and sorta decides that he's through with all those modern women and that she's what he needs. He then goes out into the New York morning and trades a loaf of bread for his sunglasses. Credits.

The story reminded me in many ways of The Catcher In The Rye -- only that TCITR a good, captivating book, while BRBC is a boring film. Maybe the book it was based on was much better, but it just didn't translate well to film, or maybe it was crap too.


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