14 user 5 critic

The Real Howard Spitz (1998)

PG | | Comedy | 28 August 1998 (UK)
Howard Spitz is a cranky, has-been detective novelist out of money and out of luck - until he meets eight-year-old Samantha, who convinces him he has what it takes to write children's books.




Watch Now

With Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

One More Kiss (1999)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When Sarah Hopson realizes her successful high-rise New York lifestyle is devoid of meaning, she packs her bags and heads for her home town in the Scottish Borders to look for Sam, her ... See full summary »

Director: Vadim Jean
Stars: Valerie Edmond, Gerard Butler, Valerie Gogan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A special needs education teacher is having a special relation with one of his pupils by their common hobby: running. Until fate strikes.

Director: Vadim Jean
Stars: Ian Hart, Catherine Russell, Rúaidhrí Conroy
Beyond Bedlam (1994)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

Dr.Stephanie Lyell works for Neurological Research, and is testing a seemingly safe personality-altering drug on Marc Gilmour a notorious Serial Killer. But when a pair of bizarre suicides ... See full summary »

Director: Vadim Jean
Stars: Craig Fairbrass, Elizabeth Hurley, Keith Allen
The Innocent (TV Movie 1994)
Drama | Thriller | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The owner of a drugstore is killed in a hold-up. The only witness who saw one of the murderers without his mask is Gregory, a nine year old autistic boy. Cop Barlow is sure they'll try to ... See full summary »

Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Polly Draper, Jeff Kober
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Culture critic Jiminy Glick gets tied up in a murder case at the Toronto Film Festival.

Director: Vadim Jean
Stars: Martin Short, Jan Hooks, Linda Cardellini
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An irreverent comedy is set in motion when Leon Geller, a sensitive Jewish man from London, accidentally learns that his is the product of artificial insemination.

Directors: Vadim Jean, Gary Sinyor
Stars: Mark Frankel, Janet Suzman, Brian Glover
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A comedy named after a poem, that shows (besides a lot of nudity) how various people see art much differently than others.

Directors: Meredith Scott Lynn, Bradford Tatum
Stars: Bradford Tatum, Meredith Scott Lynn, Jason Priestley
The Rainbow (1989)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young woman deals in her own personal way with the trials of adolescence and young adulthood in early 1900s England.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Sammi Davis, Amanda Donohoe, Paul McGann
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Nearing his 60th birthday, a movie producer discovers that he may have less than a year to live as a result of inoperable cancer. The effects of his disease take the toll on him and his ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Wagner
Stars: Frank Langella, Daniel von Bargen, Rosanna Arquette
Romance | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A sleazy chef is forced to face the truth about the man he has become and realizes that he has the chance to begin again.

Director: Declan Lowney
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Amanda Donohoe, James Nesbitt
Foreign Body (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An unemployed Indian engineer emigrates to England to find work and through a series of circumstances, ends up impersonating a doctor to win the attention of an attractive young woman.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Victor Banerjee, Warren Mitchell, Denis Quilley
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: Richard Zakka
Stars: Karen Duffy, Taylor Dayne, Munair Zacca


Cast overview, first billed only:
Genevieve Tessier ...
Samantha Kershaw
Joseph Rutten ...
Laura Kershaw
Kay Tremblay ...
Theodora Winkle
Lex Gigeroff ...
Ronnie Relish
Red Allen
Lawrence - Primrose Rep (as Jeff Hirschfield)
Denny Doherty ...
Balthazar Mishkin
Joanne Hagen ...
Edward Gregson ...
Ciel Crosby ...
Librarian (as Cathy Lee Crosby)
John Loverin ...
Bartender - Cop Bar
John Fulton ...
Ted the Cop


Howard Spitz is a cranky, has-been detective novelist out of money and out of luck - until he meets eight-year-old Samantha, who convinces him he has what it takes to write children's books.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

character name in title | See All (1) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements | See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 August 1998 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Writer's Block  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Howard Spitz, played by Kelsey Grammer, says, "Writing a sitcom's not hard. You just have a married couple, a bar in Boston or a psychiatrist on the radio." This is a reference to both Cheers (1982) and Frasier (1993), both of which starred Grammer as Dr Frasier Crane, a psychiatrist who hung out at a Boston bar on "Cheers" before moving to Seattle to start a radio call in show in "Frasier". See more »


References Cheers (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Really Strange Direction
20 May 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

This is a family movie that was broadcast on my local ITV station at 1.00 am a couple of nights ago . This might be a strange decision on the part of the schedulers but THE REAL HOWARD SPITZ is a rather strange film , strange in the way it doesn't want to upset its audience . Come on there's nothing kids like more than sadism and that's why Roald Dahl was such a popular author for children . It also explains why DOCTOR WHO was such a successful show across the world . In this screenplay you're just dying for pulp fiction author to do something nasty to the kids but this doesn't happen . I'm not advocating child abuse but to see Howard Spitz lose his rag at the little ones would have made the movie rather better . Can you imagine how much worse KINDERGARTEN COP would have been if the producers had gone all PC ? I mean if you're making a movie centered around a children's author who hates children shouldn't the story show and not tell ?

Much of the problem lies with director Vadim Jean and you do get the feeling he doesn't know how to handle the material which is bad news for the movie . As someone previously noted the soundtrack is haphazard and Kelsey Grammar is very wooden . I guess he was trying to play it dead pan just like in that show he's famous for but it fails to work here and there's many scenes with quiet ridiculous camera angles which seem unintentional but which are very distracting . But at the end of the day the main problem remains that the potential is ruined because no one wanted to offend the audiences sensibilities

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Real Howard Spitz (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: