Friday, June 22, 2012

(30) Stars of Summer - Day 22: Whoopi Goldberg

Not every day in (30) Stars of Summer can be easy.

You've got it by now, but once again here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.

Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton 
Day 7: Orson Welles 
Day 8: Catherine Keener 
Day 9: Kurt Russell
Day 10: Pam Grier
Day 11: Clint Eastwood
Day 12: Susan Sarandon 
Day 13: Cary Grant 
Day 14: Barbara Stanwyck 
Day 15: Keith David 
Day 16: Frances McDormand 
Day 17: Gary Oldman 
Day 18: Marilyn Monroe 
Day 19: Dick Miller 
Day 20: Jennifer Jason Leigh 
Day 21: Laurence Fishburne 


  1. Boys on the Side (1995)

    A trio of female friends played by Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker & Drew Barrymore each go out on the road after accidentally killing one of the woman's abusive boyfriend, where they must reach some understanding, respect and care for each other. But there are hardships - Jane (Goldberg) is a lesbian, Robin (Parker) is dying from AIDS, and Holly (Barrymore) is pregnant with the boyfriend's child.

    I actually find this movie to be endearing after watching it for the first time, where it was one of the female buddy films of the 90s to come out after "Thelma & Louise", followed by "Waiting to Exhale" and "The First Wives Club". The film was directed by Herbert Ross (better known for "The Goodbye Girl", "Footloose" & "Steel Magnolias") and was actually the last film he made before he died in 2001.

  2. Sarafina! (1992)

    Exhibit #437 for Stage Shows That Should Not Have Been Made Into Movies, this film was adapted from the 1988 Broadway musical, loosely inspired by the Soweta Riots in the mid-70s. On stage, Sarafina! was about the hope and resilience of schoolkids trapped in the oppression of apartheid, their spirit expressed by the exuberant music and choreography. On screen, the film is about the horrors of apartheid, with a few musical numbers thrown in to confuse the tone. The movie gets so dark in the third act, the final musical number seems terribly out of place. Leleti Khumalo is undeniably appealing, but not quite enough of an actor at this point to pull off the dramatic arc the film puts her through. As the Inspirational Teacher, Whoopi Goldberg seems a little mannered and awkward at first, but eventually creates a compelling character (there’s a quiet scene between her and Khumalo that is particularly good). The film is not awful, and it wants to tell an important story. In the end, though, it just doesn’t work.

  3. Eddie (1996)

    A high concept "comedy" without any jokes. A commercial for the New York Knicks. Another lame star vehicle for Whoopi Goldberg. She plays a Knicks superfan who winds up as the team's head coach, and -- wouldn't you know? -- gets them to start winning. The producers might have vastly overestimated America's need to see its two favorite things -- basketball and Whoopi Goldberg -- together in the same movie. Rough going.

    1. Knicks winning? Sounds like more like a "sci-fi" movie! rim shot (Easy joke. I'm sorry)

    2. I too, watched this movie and it wasn't so much bad as just run-of-the-mill. Even Frank Langella wasn't very good, his performance a typical example of a natural dramatic actor trying to do comedy.

  4. Fatal Beauty

    It's hard to believe now, but when she broke out in the 80s Whoopi Goldberg was brash, funny, even exciting. It's even harder to believe when you watch this lame star vehicle for her, a by-the-numbers action flick co-starring Sam Elliott at his absolute smarmiest. Bonus points for a Harold Faltermeyer score and the 80s-est opening credits font imaginable, but it's a plodding mess overall.

  5. RAT RACE (2001) on Amazon Prime.

    A screwball/slapstick mini tour-de-force (the equivalent of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" on a much smaller scale) in which John Cleese's eccentric casino owner recruits six groups of civilians (i.e. 'B' stars like Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg slumming, etc.) so his high-roller gamblers can bet on the outcome of a race-without-rules across several states for $2 million for the winner. It's "Cannonball Run" meets "The Amazing Race" meets "The Most Dangerous Game," only this one is actually funny. Director Jerry Zucker (re-teaming with Whoopi 11 years after "Ghost") uses his "Brain Donors" and "Ruthless People" skills to milk his game cast and Andy Breckman's script out of some decent PG-13 laughs. It's a pretty serviceable and entertaining flick that's guaranteed not to occupy much of any space in your memory or brain as soon as you're done watching it. You could (and will) find worse Whoopi Goldberg comedies than this one, but at least here she's not the center of attention.