Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fatal Attraction (1987)

...aka: Affairs of the Heart
...aka: Diversion
...aka: Lethal Attraction

Directed by:
Adrian Lyne

Michael Douglas stars as a happily (?) married businessman with a young daughter, who has a weekend fling with mysterious blonde Alex (Glenn Close). They have sex in her apartment and in an elevator, then when he tries to call things off he realizes she's a little needier than he'd first anticipated. Well actually, she's batshit crazy, won't take no for an answer and begins to terrorize both him and his family. She breaks into their house, boils the pet rabbit (which led to the frequently used "bunny boiler" phrase to describe an obsessive woman), makes him a really nasty tape, pretends like she's pregnant and abducts the daughter and takes her to an amusement park to scare her. It's well-acted (especially by Close) and, along with BASIC INSTINCT (1992), the most likely inspiration for a slew of erotic thrillers that started coming out like mad in the early 90s.
The original, subtler ending (which featured Close's character killing herself and then trying to frame Douglas for the "murder") was hated by preview audiences, so a much more violent conclusion was filmed for theaters. That helped turn the film into a huge hit. In fact, it was the second highest grossing film of its year. If you're interested in seeing the original ending, it's an extra feature on the Director's Cut release, which includes both endings as well an interview with the director and cast screen tests. Close joins a very small group of women nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for being in a horror movie. Anne Archer was also Oscar-nominated for her performance as the wife, as was the film, director Lyne and screen-writer James Dearden (who based this on a short he'd already filmed in 1980 called DIVERSION). Douglas more of less reprised his role here (a man tormented by a sexy younger woman) in BASIC INSTINCT, DISCLOSURE and several other films. Stuart Pankin, Fred Gwynne and Lois Smith co-star.


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