A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.
When I finally did see "Romancing the Stone" nine solid years after its theatrical release on some premium cable channel, I was blown away by it. All those years spent raving about "Jewel" should have been spent raving about "Romancing the Stone". The original is leaps and bounds superior to the sequel (even though "Jewel of the Nile" does have its own charms--to a degree upon reflection) and contains what is arguably Kathleen Turner's best on-screen performance. Have we ever seen her better in anything else? Maybe in "Peggy Sue Got Married" or in "Prizzi's Honor" perhaps even in "Body Heat", but, it's safe to say that without her enormously captivating, thoroughly fabulous performance as Joan Wilder opposite Michael Douglas' career best comic performance as Jack Coltin, the movie wouldn't be such the modern-day classic it is and always will be.
As far as I'm concerned, Turner was robbed of the Oscar for Best Actress in 1984 for this film. So often the Academy favors dramatic performances over comedic performances when everyone worth their Screen Actors Guild card knows comedy is infinitely trickier to pull off convincingly than drama. How many actresses could have been as perfect as Turner is as Wilder? Only Susan Sarandon comes to immediate mind--she would have been magnificent come to think of it.
Also, there hasn't been a successful romantic adventure film made since that even comes close to comparing with "Romancing the Stone" I believe. And, I've looked long and hard to find one even compatible to this and have failed. There may be many knock-offs but no real diamonds in the rough.
Danny DeVito as always was a hoot to watch and Holland Taylor as Joan's book editor, Gloria, is simply sensational in a brief but memorable turn at the beginning and tail-end of the movie. It's a mystery why she's never really been a bigger star before now, with her groundbreaking, Emmy Award-winning work on "The Practice" at least giving us a taste on what we've been denying ourselves by not making a big noise in support of her landing bigger, juicier starring roles.
So 16 years later, "Romancing the Stone" is still unequivocally the best of its genre and makes you wish the Turner would get the chance to work far more than she's been in recent times. The woman is a comic genius and we need to let the powers that be in Hollywood know that we want more of her and quickly.
One suggestion: If Turner, Douglas and DeVito ever do reteam--let it not be in a second sequel. "Romancing" is just too perfect to capitalize on any further. They couldn't do a sequel to "The War of the Roses" for obvious reasons (if you've seen the movie you already know why). Just imagine how great they would have been in "Primary Colors" as Jack and Susan Stantin. John Travolta (on target for sure) and especially Emma Thompson (in a surprisingly weak performance) take note. It's a shame the film's writer, Diane Thomas didn't live long enough to have written any other films of this magnitude. This one produced gem of hers has given millions of people the world over countless hours of fun-filled escapist delight. A true classic in every sense.
- Jun 26, 2000