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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look: 12%
Average: 16%
Pretty Bad36%
Total Crap: 24%

1 review, 19 user ratings

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Bonfire of the Vanities, The
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by Hawkboy

"Tom Hanks is the greatest American on a sec..."
2 stars

If it only took us 2 hours to read an 800 page novel, this movie wouldn't be too bad. DePalma tries WAY too hard to condense the entire opus into a reasonable length, and it eventually explodes under the strain.

It's typical of Brian DePalma to attempt the impossible - the dude's got an ego the size of Texas. But there's a reason they call things "impossible" - they can't be done. If they could be done, they would be called "possible". Following me here?

Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis were BIG when this movie came out, and it caused them to fall HARD. Didn't Bruce follow this up with "Hudson Hawk"? Didn't Hanks follow this up with "Joe Vs. The Volcano"?

The plot: Hanks plays this uptight stockbroker who accidentally hits a black kid with his car when he gets lost in a bad neighbourhood with his mistress (Melanie Griffith, who deserves a beating with a sack full of doorknobs). His life unravels, while Bruce Willis, playing a drunken reporter rides the story to fame and fortune. Having read the book, I understood everything, but if somebody walked into the movie knowing nothing about it ("Hey, I liked Hudson Hawk and Joe Vs. the Volcano - this MUST be good!") I'd be amazed if they could follow the plot.

Interesting note: A lot of characters changed nationalities, religions, and in one case, entire races in the transition from book to movie. Morgan Freeman's character was originally a white jew, Bruce Willis was originally British, etc.

This was a noble experiment, but "Bonfire" was just TOO big a book to condense into a 2-hour movie. "Gone With the Wind" took 4 hours to tell, and they still left out a lot.

And Tom Hanks stunk in this movie. Bruce Willis did too, but that's not really surprising.

Not really worth seeing unless you've read the book.

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originally posted: 05/19/99 04:56:42
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell decent best i remember 2 stars
4/09/14 Heidi Embrey Love this movie. 5 stars
9/06/06 k j clark I loved this movie, funny , witty , very un "PC" ! I do'nt know why it got such a bad rap 5 stars
5/31/05 Jeff Anderson Brian De Palma actually directed THIS! What in the hell was he thinking? Racist & worthless 1 stars
2/24/05 raindog so awful in so many ways 1 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj One of the worst adaptations ever 1 stars
3/30/04 maxschnell one of the most under-rated films of all time. no one has DePalma's wit. 5 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Good performances try to solve the film's direction & script problems. 4 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby An ambitious but undeniable botch. 2 stars
10/24/02 Paul Holtzman Is it just me, or do the judge and Killian remain nameless in this film? 3 stars
10/17/02 Charles Tatum I've seen worse 4 stars
6/15/02 R.W. Welch Nothing really works here; they just botched it up from the getgo. 2 stars
5/13/02 Dark Baron I don't know what to say... 3 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) The makers fucked the book so bad, Tom Wolfe should be scremaing "Rape!" 1 stars
8/23/99 Donat Champagne An outrageously underrated film. 4 stars
8/18/99 Kathryn I was somewhat entertained... 3 stars
12/13/98 Binky T'was pretty bad, but a true enough attempt to redo the book. A tough task not accomplished 3 stars
11/24/98 Ray Russ The secret shame of Tom Hanks - and Tom Wolfe 1 stars
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  21-Dec-1990 (R)



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