POPULAR VIDEOS - Counting Down|
By Ned Corrigan
As we count down to the end of 1985, we take a look at
three popular videos from this past year: "The Breakfast
Club," "Mrs. Soffel" and "Perfect."
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (MCA/Universal, 1985)
A seemingly disparate group of high school students form a
bond of friendship while serving Saturday detention together.
Among the young cast are Emilio Estevez, Judd Hirsch and Ally
Sheedy, all from "St. Elmo's Fire." This is writer/director
John Hughes' encore to his previous teen film, "Sixteen
Candles." In this one Hughes doesn't manage to make his
characters especially interesting to someone outside
teen-age, which is somewhat disappointing considering how
deftly he did it with "Sixteen Candles," and two of the major
players (Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald) are
featured again here. Still, it's mildly diverting with more
than a few funny moments.
MRS. SOFFEL (MGM/UA, 1985)
The warden's wife helps two death row inmates escape from a
Pennsylvania prison in 1901. Ed Biddle (Mel Gibson) seduces
Mrs. Soffel (Diane Keaton), who runs off with him and his
brother Jack (Matthew Modine). Much of the film is
slow-moving, but director of photography Russell Boyd
effectively captures the constrasting images of a stark
prison and the beautiful surrounding Pennsylvania
countryside. Gibson shows again he's more than just a pretty
face; Keaton does her usual solid work, as does rising star
Modine ("Birdy"). Directed by Gillian Armstrong ("My
A magazine reporter becomes involved with an aerobics teacher
while researching a story on health clubs as the singles'
bars of the '80s. Aaron Latham's screenplay is based on
articles he did for Rolling Stone. John Travolta and Jamie
Lee Curtis headline the cast in a story virtually devoid of
sympathetic characters. If you don't care about any of the
characters, how can you care about the movie? And if John and
Jamie are going to fall in love, couldn't it be done with a
little more taste? A nude scene done with style would have
been far better than what we get: about 25 minutes of
Travolta in gym shorts and Curtis in a body suit making faces
at each other while they bump and grind in aerobics class.
Laraine Newman ("Saturday Night Live") and Marilu Henner
("Taxi") play their roles well, but again, it's difficult to
find anyone to like here, including Jann Wenner (the
real-life publisher of Rolling Stone), who plays himself. Far
from perfect, this one isn't even good.