Friday Flix: June 1997

The hot Summer months are a good time to find a cool movie theater and escape the heat while watching a good movie. June 1997 has a few good movies to choose.

A good romantic comedy, a couple sequels and a couple of great action movies. And we get a double dose of Nicholas Cage. Who doesn’t love Nicholas Cage!

Grab your popcorn, turn the lights down and let’s see what hit the theaters in June 1997.

Movies from June 1997

Speed 2: Cruise Control

June 1997 Speed 2

Speed is back! Keanu Reeves isn’t. He was offered the movie but remained non-committal and the producers cast Jason Patric instead. Good move on Reeves’ part.

Sandra Bullock returns as Annie, now dating Police Officer Alex Shaw (Patric). The couple go on a cruise and try to stop a madman from hijacking the ship. Willem Dafoe plays the madman, John Geiger, who is a disgruntled cruise line employee who wants to crash the ship into an oil tanker.

The original Speed was a great movie with a good plot and good acting. Speed 2 is the opposite. The plot is bad and doesn’t live up to it’s name. How can you have a movie titled Speed and the ship’s top speed is 22 mph! In the first movie the bus was only going 55+ mph but the tight confines of the Los Angeles streets made it feel faster.

In Speed 2 the cruise ship is on the open ocean which gives no indication of speed or any urgency to the situation. And why evacuate all the passengers? If Gieger is truly the psychopath he seems to be wouldn’t he want to inflict as much damage as possible? Nothing about this movie really makes sense.

This is a sequel that shouldn’t exist and no one should watch.

If you don’t believe me, you can watch Speed 2 on HBO Max.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

June 1997 My Best Friends Wedding

The 1990’s produced more Romantic Comedies than any other decade in history. Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts starred in all of them.*

There’s nothing new or groundbreaking in this one. It’s the same formula as most Rom-Coms. Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and Jules (Julia Roberts are life long friends. Micheal meets Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) and is getting married. He invites Jules to the wedding. Jules realizes Michael is the love of her life and must stop the wedding.

Jules spends the movie trying to sabotage Kimmy and the wedding so she can finally be with Michael. As with most (all) Rom-Coms you know how it ends. Or do you? My Best Friend’s Wedding has a nice twist at the end where the couple you think will end up together, doesn’t.

My Best Friend’s Wedding earned over $299 million at the box office putting it at the #8 spot for highest grossing movies in 1997.

As Rom-Coms go, this one is good. All three main characters are well played and fun to watch. If you haven’t seen it give it a watch.

*This may not be true, but sure seems like it

Hercules

June 1997 Hercules

Disney was cranking out great movies in the 90s in a period known as the Disney Renaissance. In 1985 Disney released The Black Cauldron, which was a box office failure. (Despite what most people say The Black Cauldron is good movie). It’s failure however put the Disney animation studio in question.

Disney released The Great Mouse Detective in 1986 and it was crushed by An American Tail, a Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg movie. Disney was in trouble and went back to the drawing board.

In 1989 Disney released The Little Mermaid which was a massive success. The Little Mermaid kicked off the Disney Renaissance and over the next ten years Disney would create movies loved by a whole new generation of kids. Movies like The Lion King, Mulan, Tarzan, Aladdin and this little gem.

Hercules is based on the story of Greek hero and son of Zeus. One of the best things about the animated Disney movies is the cast of voice actors. Disney usually hired the big name actors to ‘star’ in their animated movies. Hercules is no exception.

Hercules is voiced by Tate Donovan, his mentor Phil the satyr is voiced by Danny Devito. James Woods plays Hades and Susan Egan is the voice of Meg. Other voices you’ll recognize are Rip Torn, Bobcat Goldthwait, Keith David, Wayne Knight and the great Frank Welker. It’s a star studded cast of voices.
Hades plots to overthrow Zeus and rule Mount Olympus and he needs Hercules out of the way for his plan to work. Hades sends his minions Pain and panic to kill Hercules, but they are inept and can’t get the job done.

Hercules grows into a man and must stop Hades from releasing the Titans and ruling Mount Olympus.

Every movie released during the Disney Renaissance was a huge success. Hercules made over $252 million at the box office. Of the ten movies released during the Disney Renaissance Hercules ranks #8 in total earnings.

The Little Mermaid, the movie that started it all was the lowest earner at $235 million. It’s safe to say the Disney animated movies in the 90s made Disney the powerhouse they are today.

You can watch Hercules on Disney+.

Batman & Robin

June 1997 Batman and Robin

Can you believe it was five years ago this month (1997 time frame) when Batman Returns hit the screen. It was the second Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and directed by Tim Burton.

In between Batman Returns and Batman & Robin was 1995’s Batman Forever. Tim Burton stepped out of the director role but stayed on as a producer. Michael Keaton didn’t return for the third installment in the Bat-films. Director Joel Schumacher took over as director and Val ‘Iceman’ Kilmer played Batman.

Joel Schumacher returned to direct Batman & Robin. Also returning from Batman Forever was Dick Grayson/Robin played by Chris O’Donnell. Val Kilmer didn’t return as Batman. There were scheudling conflicts with his other movie, The Saint. Kilmer was replaced with George Clooney. What? The dude from ER is going to play Batman?

Batman & Robin featured other big names in the movie industry, Uma Thurman played Poison Ivy, Alicia Sliverstone played Batgirl, Elle ‘The Body’ MacPherson as Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend. At this point MacPherson was better known as a supermodel rather than an actress. She was just breaking into movies. Perhaps the biggest name, certainly the longest is Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Freeze.

Batman and Robin try to stop diamond thief Dr. Freeze and discover a new super villain in Gotham, Poison Ivy. Alfred’s neice Barbara stays at Wayne Manor for the summer and transforms into Batgirl. IN the comics Batgirl is actually Barbar Gordon, daughter of commissioner Gordon. I guess they made her Alfred’s niece so it wouldn’t seem weird she was living at Wayne Manor.

Batman, Robin and Batgirl work together to stop Freeze and Poison Ivy from taking over Gotham City.

The Schumacher Batman movies took a hard turn from the Tim Burton movies. Instead of the dark and gritty portrayals, they were more campy like the Batman TV series. In the Shadows of the Bat documentary Shcumacher complained the studios wanted the movies to be toy friendly. Toy companies were even included in pre-production meetings to ensure the characters and vehicles were easily made into toys.

Batman & Robin is the final Batman movie for a reason, it wasn’t good. In the same documentary Joel Schumacher apologized saying

If there’s anybody watching this, that… let’s say, loved Batman Forever, and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I’ve disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize. Because it wasn’t my intention. My intention was just to entertain them.

As the director he gets most of the blame, but it’s not entirely his fault. The studio pushing toy companies into the production should bare most of the blame.

Batman & Robin was the lowest earning Batman movie of the four, earning a paltry $240 million. It was also the last Batman movie until Christopher Nolan rebooted the property in 2005’s Batman Begins with Christian Bale starring as Batman.

You can watch Batman & Robin on HBO Max.

Face/Off

June 1997 Face Off

Let’s end the month with not one, but two Nick Cage movies! Did you know Nick Cage’s real name is Nicolas Kim Coppala and he is the nephew of Francis Ford Coppala? Now you know…and knowing is half the battle.

Face/Off stars Nick Cage and John Travolta in a good movie with a crazy premise. FBI Agent Sean Archer (Travolta) is hunting criminal mastermind Castor Troy (Cage). Early in the movie Troy tries to assassinate Archer and kills Archer’s young son instead. Archer launches a personal crusade against Troy to bring him to justice.

Years later Archer catches up with Troy, but to avoid arrest Troy tells Archer there is a bomb in Los Angeles set to explode in a few days. In the ensuing fight Troy’s brother is arrested and Troy is knocked into a coma. This is where is gets nuts.

Archer decides to have an experimental medical procedure, a face transplant, in order to get Troy’s brother to reveal the location of the bomb. Archer undergoes the procedure and spends the rest of the movie looking (and talking) like Troy. But wait, there’s more. Troy wakes from his come, discovers his face is missing and forces the doctor to transplant Archer’s face on him.

Are you with me? At this point Archer is Troy and Troy is Archer. They live each other’s life while trying to kill the other. As crazy as it sounds Face/Off is an excellent movie.

It is directed by John Woo a legendary Hong Kong film director and producer. Woo worked with Travolta in 1996’s Broken Arrow and also directed 2000’s Mission Impossible 2 among other Hollywood films. One of Woo’s best films is 1992’s Hard Boiled starring Chow Yun-fat.

The gun fight scene with the little boy listening to Somewhere Over the Rainbow is classic John Woo film making.

Roger Ebert gave Face/Off three out of four stars saying “Here, using big movie stars and asking them to play each other, Woo and his writers find a terrific counterpoint to the action scenes: All through the movie, you find yourself reinterpreting every scene as you realize the ‘other’ character is ‘really’ playing it.”

If you haven’t seen Face/Off do yourself a favor and watch it this summer.

You can watch Face/Off on Pluto TV

Con Air

June 1997 Con Air

Nowadays Nick Cage is more of a punch line than a respected actor and that’s a shame. He’s had a prolific career starring in over 100 movies and has won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Say what you will about Nicholas Cage but the man stays busy.

In June 1997 he was in two movies, the aforementioned Face/Off and Con Air.

In Con Air Cage plays Cameron Poe, a man who is imprisoned for killing a man while defending his wife during an attack. Poe is paroled eight years later and hops a flight home. All the other prisoners on the flight are going to a super-max prison.

They all have great names too. Cyrus ‘The Virus’ (John Malkovich), ‘The Marietta Mangler’ (Steve Buscemi), ‘Diamond Dog’ Jones (Ving Rhames), ‘Pinball’ Parker (Dave Chappelle), ‘Swamp Thing’ Williams (M. C. Gainey) and ‘Sally Can’t Dance’ Martinez (Renoly). John Cusack plays U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin.

Once the plane, dubbed Con Air, takes off the prisoners gain control and demand the plane fly to a non-extradition country where they can walk away free. It’s up to Poe to stop the prisoners and get the plane to safety. It ends in a high octane scene on the Las Vegas strip.

Con Air is a fantastic summer blockbuster movie. Lots of action, fights and explosions. Con Air is the directorial debut of Simon West who would go on to direct other movies like The General’s Daughter, The Mechanic and The Expendables 2.

Con Air was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer know for his bombastic, over the top style. His movies include Top Gun, The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys and National Treasure.

Roger Ebert gave this one three out of four stars as well, commenting it “moves smoothly and with visual style and verbal wit.”

You can watch Con Air on Amazon Prime.

Other movies released in May 1997

Here are the other movies release in June 1997. I don’t plan on watching any of them.

If you watched any of the movies below let me know in the comments, maybe I’ll add them to my list.

That ends our look at June 1997. A decent month for movies and lots of action and even a good romantic comedy. My two favorite movies of the month are the Nick Cage double feature. I can watch both of them again and again.

Next month is an action packed extravaganza you don’t want to miss!

What are your favorites from June 1997?

Let us know in the comments below. Or tag us on Twitter. The main channel is @TRNSocial and I’m @MileHighSamurai

Next week we’ll look at July 1982.

Until then the balcony is closed.

Check out the previous installments of

Friday Flix

1982 Friday Flix | 1987 Friday Flix | 1992 Friday Flix | 1997 Friday Flix

About Pitfall Gary 105 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

1 Comment

  1. Loved Face Off and Con Air at the time. Both are still entertaining to me (actually kind of campy funny now), but not as high on my list as they were at the time. I didn’t hate Batman & Robin like so many others did/do, but it definitely is not one of the best from the Batman series.

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