MERMAIDS (1990)

 Directed By: Richard Benjamin 
Written By: June Roberts
Based on the book by: Patty Dann
Cinematography: Howard Atherton 
Editor: Jacqueline Cambas 

Cast: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, Michael Schoeffling, Caroline McWilliams, Jan Miner 

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.


Cher is the Star of the film even though the film is more centered around Winona Ryder’s character and is at heart a coming-of-age film. Her character ark is a kind of sneak attack where all of a sudden the supporting performance is actually the main one. By the end, we realize she is the film’s heart and soul. 

Here the main spectacle was supposed to be Cher as after all she is the star of the film and is center stage in all the advertisements but while she is healthy in the film she comes on strong at the beginning then becomes more of a supporting background performer. The nemesis to a certain degree of the protagonist is her daughter played by Winona Ryder.

This is a film that is dependent on each element. As only Cher had the star power and the cool to be the spectacle. She ends up doing good character work, but also she is the only person at the time who could play a fabulous independent female character. who is strong and knows what she wants and is not ostracized for it. Where it fits her personality to a t. It also allows for her to shine as a character and show more shades and a bit of vulnerability.

If anything I applaud this movie for its cast. Young Christina Ricci’s debut film and Bob Hoskins as Cher’s love interest and father figure to her daughters. A shoe salesman who is an artist at heart and open-minded, who tries to domesticate the family but not forcefully. He is understanding and a nice guy. Not to mention Michael Schoeffling is older, but kind of playing an older version of the same type of character he played in SIXTEEN CANDLES more of a mystery but genuinely a nice guy

Though Winona Ryder at large walks away with the whole film. Playing a teenage neurotic girl who also is the narrator and makes this almost a woody Allen Esque adventure in pursuing a crush. Only while the film seems that way it is about more than that. As she is driven by teenage angst and catholic religious obsession. Not to mention the changing and challenging times of the 1960s

Directed by Richard Benjamin who was a replacement for original director Lasse Hallstrom. and then Frank Oz. Before he finally came along. Whereas you could see Hallstrom’s version in your thoughts. Richard Benjamin’s direction is sensitive and strong.  Even more impressive that he was more of a last-minute replacement. One of his best-directed pictures. While some others came close this was truly his most heartwarming and dramatic that hit all the buttons. His best next to this movie MY FAVORITE YEAR.

By the end, the film shows how when young something can be an obsession you think about day and night but also how once something new comes along it can easily be dropped and forgotten entirely. It’s a quality of youth but might also be an inherited quality. 

Though this film at times might seem more formulaic, one quality the film possesses. Is that it feels lived in. It’s comfortable and feels more natural. The habitat of the characters is refreshing and gives the scenes so much more strength and allows them to be subtle when they need to be. 

The film even has a memorable soundtrack. Including the theme song which is a remake but sung by the star Cher. 

I will admit this is more of an underrated film that I have enjoyed ever since it came out. 

Grade: B

ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993)

Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld 
Written By: Paul Rudnick 
Characters Created By: Charles Addams 
Cinematography By: Donald Peterman 
Editor: Jim Miller & Arthur Schmidt 
Music By: Marc Shaiman 

Cast: Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, David Krumholtz, Carol Kane, Jimmy Workman, Christine Baranski, Peter MacNicol, Mercedes McNab, Sam McMurray, Dana Ivey, Nathan Lane, Harriet Sansom Harris, Charles Busch, Peter Graves, Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce, Monet Mazur

On any day of the week, you could expect a newborn baby to be nurtured and loved by his older sister. Except, of course, if it’s Wednesday. Pubert is the latest addition to the Addams family and, to prevent sibling rivalry escalating to fratricide, Wednesday and Pugsley are shipped off to summer camp and a nanny is hired. Debby Jellinsky is great with wrinkling baldies, which makes her the perfect nanny for Pubert and the unlikely wife of Uncle Fester. The question is…”Is she grave-digging or gold-digging?”


This is an underrated film. One of the rare sequels that excel over it’s original. Though here they seem to have more room to explore the world that the characters live in, but also the culture clashes.

The first film seemed to try to be more loyal to the fans of the television show. While trying to set a tone. Here the film is allowed to have its own personality, the actors also seemed more relaxed, laid back, and energetic. making the characters their own and not so much an imitation. Everyone seems to have found their groove.

Directed with flair and an intricate style that is assured.

The cast is superb. This I believe was the great Raul Julia’s final good role definitely better than M. Bison in the film STREET FIGHTER.

Christina Ricci deserved a best-supporting actress nomination for her work here. She steals the film. She makes Wednesday three dimensional, sadistic and quite witty.

This is also the first time I remember a Peter MacNicol performance and the prey time I remember seeing Christine Baranski as an actress.

The Addams family always struck me as strange of course the ultimate goths, by what were they? At least with THE MUNSTERS, you knew who or what they were supposed to be even though they came off as normal just happen to be monsters in appearance. With the Addams other than a cousin, it and thing and maybe lurch the butler, who appeared to be a zombie. The others appeared normal just macabre. I mean if you had I guess Fester was a mad scientist, Grandma was a witch Morticia dressed like a vampire, but could also be seen as a witch who just never cast spells. But Gomez was always a question mark. All you knew about him was that he was wealthy and energetic. More like a game show host mixed with a use car salesman and mortician.

because of films like these being so successful, it had the trend of films being made of old television shows and cartoons. This worked as it garnered a new generation of fans. While not being so far removed in years from the shows Initial popularity that there was still a sizable audience for it. Mistakes films like SPEED RACER made (while that film also had more of a cult following)

This film is a clever mixture of dark comedy, surrealism, slapstick, and satire. This is one of the films that made me realize why I truly embraced dark humor.

The only problem I have ever had with the first two Addams Family films is that the theme song for the updates was always tied into whatever pop star was popular at the time tieing in their hit songs style to fit the theme. Hence for this film whoop the Addams family there it is by tag team. Who’s hot the previous year was whoop there it is. This seemed to be common for tent pole franchise movies at the time. I still have frightening memories of the music video from hammer and the original movie theme the Addams family. Done in a more upbeat dancing style of music.

Michael Jackson was signed on to write and perform a song for the film’s soundtrack and to promote it with a video. Although he was able to finish the song, contractual difficulties coupled with the child molestation allegations made against Jackson resulted in the song being dropped from the soundtrack, and the video was never filmed. The song, “Is It Scary,” was later included on Jackson’s 1997 ‘Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix’ album and was also used in his short film Ghosts.

This film does everything right by bringing the Addams out more and exposing them to the public in daily life. Mixing with regular everyday citizens. Making it more of a culture clash comedy. That reaches it’s highlights at the Wednesday and Pugsley being forced to summer camp. (A genius idea) That ends with a classic comic set-piece celebrating thanksgiving.

Adding more than just makeup to the character, Morticia Addams is always lit separately from everyone else in a scene. Her lighting always consists of one beam of light across her eyes that gradually fades outward to add to her grim look.

The film reaches more comedy apex with the scenes involving Joan Cusack as a nanny out to seduce Fester. She is her regular brilliant comedic self as the homicidal gold digger.

When Fester announces his engagement, Morticia makes an overt reference to the ring worn by Debbie being the same one in which Fester’s grandmother was buried. Debbie slyly whips out a shovel, adding a literal component to her character’s “golddigger” status.

Carol Kane, who plays Grandmama, is almost a year younger than Anjelica Huston, who plays her daughter, Morticia Addams.

The reborn baby Pubert doesn’t work but needs to be there for Cusack’s character to enter the picture.

Some of the jokes are more of the moment and seem to make a stab more pop culture at the time. That brings a nostalgic feeling for those who remember the times. Though might be lost on others.

I can’t help but love this film and I really think it is a dark comedy the family can enjoy and have fun with. I remember seeing this film twice I. Theaters and even knowing all that would happen. This film still made me enjoy it as much as the first time.

Grade: B+