Daily Archives: June 29, 1998

Armageddon

From the Chicago Reader (June 29, 1998). — J.R.

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It’s strictly a side issue whether mankind will survive colliding with an asteroid the size of Texas; the real question is whether Liv Tyler, who plays Bruce Willis’s daughter, gets to keep her boyfriend (Ben Affleck). Not wishing to spoil the fun — pretty hard to come by anyway in this 1998 blockbuster’s 150 minutes — I won’t tell you the outcome, but I’ll wager you can guess. Basically this is The Dirty Dozen meets When Worlds Collide: a grubby team of oil drillers headed by Willis is dispatched to save the planet by nuking the asteroid from within. Michael Bay, who was more comfortable with the subtleties of The Rock, is director and coproducer, and among the credited and uncredited writers — all of them clearly encouraged to work in their sleep — are Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy, Shane Salerno, Robert Roy Pool, Robert Towne, Paul Attanasio, Ann Biderman, and Scott Rosenberg. Others in the cast who embarrass themselves and us for their salaries include Billy Bob Thornton, Keith David, Steve Buscemi, Chris Ellis, Will Patton, and Jason Isaacs. (JR)

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It’s In The Water

Lightly comic agitprop about homophobic bigotry in a small southern townsincere, hokey, and artlessby first-time writer-director Kelli Herd. Various complications ensue when the rumor spreads that something in the drinking water turns people gay. In spite of a couple of able actors (Keri Jo Chapman and Teresa Garrett) as the two leadsestranged wives and best friends who become loversmost of the performances and direction call to mind little theater productions, and the storytelling and sense of character remind me of porn films. I can sympathize with this movie’s reactive essentialism, which seems to imply that straights are as one-dimensional as they seem to think gays are, but I find it hard to stay interested in the reductive sense of human personality that levels everyone in the movie regardless of his or her sexual preference. With Derrick Sanders, Timothy Vahle, and Barbara Lasater. (JR)… Read more »