On this December 1985 edition of At the Movies, Siskel and Ebert pan all 4 new releases. Not all are Christmas releases, but lest you think they are Scrooges, they hate one of the non-Xmas movies most of all!
I have only seen one of these movies, though I know I saw bits of Santa Claus: The Movie. The lads here don't make me anxious to catch up. The stinker of the show is a gambling movie called Fever Pitch, with Ryan O'Neal and BOTNS-iverse players Catherine Hicks and Chad Everett in a story written and directed by Richard Brooks.
Hey, wait a minute!
Considering they talk at length about how the film is a low point of the distinguished career of Brooks (Elmer Gantry, In Cold Blood) and how flip the story treats the serious issue of gambling addiction, let's just move on to the next selection. All I will say is, hey, the studio was on my back the whole time.
One Magic Christmas is a 1985 Disney misfire that features Harry Dean Stanton as a craggy guardian angel. Well, the craggy part checks, but Siskel points out how miscast he is in this role. Apparently one bad thing after another happens to the family that Stanton is protecting, to the point of absurdity. The guys don't like this one, either, and I think I will skip it.
Remember the blockbuster that was to be Santa Claus: The Movie? I recall a big marketing campaign dedicated to the Tri-Star bomb. Lithgow's performance (not as Santa) looks like a riot.
The highlight of this segment on the show is the guys trading ideas of how to make this a decent movie. Gene's pitch sounds a lot like The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Finally, Roger and Gene take a look at the ambitious Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. Mike exposed me to this movie a while back. Maybe I should say he infected me with it. No, it's worth seeing, and it has many ideas from the mind of screenwriter and Robert Pine Genius winner Jeffrey Scott. Siskel and Ebert happen to think too many of those ideas come from Star Wars, so that's another pan from the pair.
So 4 up, 4 down on this December episode of the show. Maybe we will find some more Christmas joy tomorrow in our third day of watching! Come back and join me...if you can find it in your heart this holiday season to forgive me for Fever Pitch.
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