In February 1997 there were over 20 movies released. It was a big month for movies. I saw about a dozen of the movies.
Some were good, some were great and some were bad. There are a couple of James Bond actors in movies and TV stars trying to break into the movies.
Friends was a massive hit on television and February 1997 marks the first month a Friends cast member is on the big screen. Over the next ten months five of the six main characters will star in a movie. Matthew LeBlanc’s movie was released in 1998.
Let’s take a look at the movies from February 1997.
Movies from February 1997
The Beautician and the Beast
This is your typical romantic comedy starring Fran Drescher and post-James Bond Timothy Dalton.
I saw this movie for the same reason any guy went to see it, date night.
Drescher is a beautician teaching at a beauty school and Dalton is an Eastern European diplomat. In a case of mistaken identity Dalton hires Drescher to tutor his four children and hilarity ensues.
Drescher was riding high from her hit sitcom The Nanny. Dalton apparently needed some money.
As Rom-Coms go it’s below average. There are better ones out there. Including one this month.
The first volcano movie of 1997. Dante’s Peak stars (current James Bond) Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton. Brosnan plays a volcanologist in the town of Dante’s Peak, WA. Hamilton plays the mayor of Dante’s Peak.
The earth rumbles, the volcano explodes and Brosnan and Hamilton flee for their lives along with the rest of the town.
I saw this once in the theater and rented it a few times. It is always compared to the other volcano movie of 1997, simply titled Volcano.
Of the two, I like Dante’s Peak better. We’ll talk more about Volcano in April. This one seemed a bit more believable as volcano eruption movies go. The special effects are better in Dante’s Peak and it’s overall a better movie.
If you watch one volcano movie from 1997 make it Dante’s Peak.
I didn’t see this in the theater, I rented it one weekend.
Ice Cube goes to South Africa to find his younger brother. Elizabeth Hurley plays a stripper who helps him. Drugs and gangs are involved.
The plot is a little fuzzy. Nothing about this movie sticks out and if Rotten Tomato is any indicator no one likes this movie. It gets an 8% on Rotten Tomato and a 4 on IMDb.
It must be bad. Watch the trailer and move on.
I’m a Clint Eastwood fan. I’ll watch any movie he’s in or directs. He’s an American treasure.
Absolute Power is based on a novel by David Baldacci and directed and starring Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a master thief who witnesses the President sexually assault a woman. The woman ends up dead and Eastwood is the key witness.
Absolute Power reunites Eastwood and Gene Hackman, last seen together in 1991’s Unforgiven. Absolute Power is a good, suspenseful thriller.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching.
Fools Rush In
This is the romantic comedy to watch for the month. It even hit theaters on Valentine’s Day. Which is the day I saw it. Yep, another date night.
Salma Hayek plays Isabel and Matthew Perry plays
Chandler Alex. Hayek was coming off her break out role in Desperado and the cult classic From Dusk Til Dawn. Perry was a huge TV star playing Chandler Bing on Friends.
In Fools Rush In, Alex meets Isabel in Las Vegas, they have a one night stand and Isabel is pregnant. The rest of the movie is Alex, a straight laced New Yorker trying to fit into Isabel’s Mexican family. It’s the fish-out-of-water trope but it works in this movie.
They fall in love, they break up, they fall back in love, it’s the same formula in every Rom-Com. Some movies it works, some it doesn’t. This one works. Hayek carries the movie, her upbeat bubbly personality, mixed with her fiery attitude is perfect. Perry plays a good character and compliments Hayek.
Fools Rush In is a cute movie worth watching.
That Darn Cat
I took my young son to this movie. We should have went to see The Empire Strikes Back again.
I’m allergic to cats and this movie. It’s awful, I get all itchy just thinking about it.
You can watch That Darn Cat on Disney+. I don’t advise it.
This movie was the worst movie in the Vacation franchise until Christmas Vacation 2 came out. Then it was the second worst.
There really isn’t much more to say about it. It’s bad, a money grab ten years after Christmas Vacation.
Clark Griswold gets a bonus or something and takes his family to Las Vegas. Clark gambles the family money away. Wayne Newton tries to steal Ellen away, which is only fair considering Clark’s transgressions in the other movies.
Rusty gets a fake ID and turns into a high roller and Audrey gets a job as a stripper with Cousin Eddie’s daughter.
The movie isn’t good. The jokes are tired, the premise is old and the stars seemed to be going through the motions.
There’s no reason to watch this movie, none.
The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition)
The best Star Wars movie every made!
I was in line and ready to go when this hit theaters. Nothing could keep me away.
Digitally remastered and better than ever. Like Star Wars, the Special Edition of The Empire Strikes Back had some altered scenes. It is however, the least atrocious of the three movies. The worst will come next month with Return of the Jedi.
In The Empire Strikes Back there are new close ups of the Wampa creature on Hoth, some added CGI shots and some dialog changes.
Mainly this movie had CGI effects added to it. Nothing that really adds to or takes away from the original.
It’s still the best Star Wars movie every made.
You can watch The Empire Strikes Back on Disney+.
David Lynch makes some intense movies. He directed Dune in 1984, then Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart before creating Twin Peaks for the small screen. He then went on to direct The Straight Story, which is a complete 180 from his other films.
If you haven’t seen The Straight Story, go watch it now on Disney+. It’s a fantastic movie.
Lost Highway is a neo-noir movie which is what Lynch is know for. That’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a dark movie and it is.
The movie stars Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake, Gary Busey and Robert Loggia. The plot is hard to summarize. It twist and turns on itself more than Pulp Fiction.
Fred Madison (Pullman) and his wife, Renee (Arquette) find video tapes on their porch. When they watch them it’s clear someone is filming their home and inside their home.
Then Madison ends up in prison for murdering his wife. But it’s not certain he did it, or if she is even dead. There’s a creepy Mystery Man, played by Robert Blake who ties everything together…or does he.
Blake has an illustrious career. He is perhaps best known for playing Detective Barreta in the 70’s with his side kick Fred, a cockatoo. Blake started acting as a child in 1939. Lost Highway was his last movie.
The soundtrack was produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and features works by David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and Rammstein.
If you like Twin Peaks, or any of Lynch’s movies you’ll enjoy Lost Highway. It’s not your average Hollywood thriller, but worth watching if you can find it.
Leprechaun 4: In Space
There was a weird trend in the 90’s where horror movies went to space. Hellraiser, Critters, Jason and this gem, Leprechaun 4.
The entire Leprechaun franchise is good, I liked the first two the best but they are all decent. Warwick Davis played the Leprechaun in the first six movies. He’s proably best known for playing Wicket in Return of the Jedi and the title character in Willow. The first Leprechaun movie also introduced us to Jennifer Aniston.
Leprechaun 4: In Space is a good knock-off of Aliens. The Space Marines arrive to kill the Leprechuan and succeed. One of them pees on his dead body in victory. The Leprechaun’s spirit travels up the urine into the Marines penis.
Yep. You read that right. And somehow it was still made into a movie.
Knowing that little bit about the movie you can probably guess what happens next.
The space trend in horror movies didn’t work for me. Hellraiser: Bloodlines and Critters 4 weren’t that great. I didn’t even watch Jason X.
While not the best Leprechaun movie, it’s worth watching if you like the franchise.
Booty Call is a typical comedy about two guys trying to find, uh, love.
It stars Jamie Foxx in one of his early roles and Vivica A. Fox coming off her role in Independence Day.
It’s full of vulgar humor with lots of sex jokes. It’s not the best comedy but it’s not bad either.
There are enough laughs to keep you going for the 80 minutes.
You can watch Booty Call on Starz.
I love a good mob movie and this one fits the bill.
Johnny Depp plays the title character and Al Pacino plays Lefty, a mobster in the Bonanno crime family. Lefty befriends Brasco and brings him into the family. What Lefty doesn’t know is Brasco is actually an undercover FBI agent.
The movie is based on a true story of FBI agent Joseph Pistone who went undercover in the Bonanno crime family from 1976 until 1981.
The story is fantastic. The fact it’s based on a true story makes it even more remarkable. One slip up and Brasco would be dead.
Pacino and Depp are at their finest in this movie. Maybe the best movie for both of them. Pacino won an Oscar for Scent of a Woman but he was much better in this movie. He’s been nominated five times for Best Actor, he should have won more than once.
Depp has never won an Oscar, which is a shame. Neither man was nominated for Donnie Brasco.
Looking at the nominations for 1997 it’s a travesty that neither Depp or Pacino were at least nominated.
Donnie Brasco is a terrific movie right up there with Serpico and Goodfellas. If you get a chance you should watch it.
You can watch Donnie Brasco on Netflix or Fubo TV.
Other movies released in February 1997
There were a few more movies released in February 1997. If you saw them let me know if any are worth my time.
There were some good movies this month. Old favorites like The Empire Strikes Back and new favorites like Donnie Brasco. Good action movies and since it’s February a couple of romantic comedies. Watch Fools Rush In, not the other one.
What are your favorites from February 1997?
Next week we’ll look at March 1982.