Two just-opened movies feature two of Hollywood's biggest names looking far from glamorous: G.I. Jane stars a shorn, bruised Demi Moore, and Cop Land a dramatically bloated Sylvester Stallone. In both cases, the role is a desperate attempt by a low-credibility A-list star to be taken seriously. And Moore's bid should prove the more successful, as G.I. Jane, directed by Ridley Scott, is easily the superior film. With Alien and Thelma & Louise to his credit, Scott has a reputation as Hollywood's foremost feminist male director. And in G.I. Jane, Moore plays an intelligence officer trying to become the first female Navy Seal. She muscles her way through brutal boot-camp training, outlasting many of the men (mirroring Moore's own dogged advancement through the sexist Hollywood ranks). The sheer physicality of this star turn is truly impressive. And who could resist Demi's snarled response to a male tormentor - a wondrously emphatic "Suck my dick!" Judging from the audience reaction at a recent preview screening, it could well become the movie catchphrase of the year. Cop Land, meanwhile, is a hamfisted tale of rogue NYPD cops living in a New Jersey suburb ("Peckinpah for retards," sniped one critic), directed by the over-rated James Mangold (Heavy). In going indie, Stallone, who put on about 40 pounds, was presumably hoping for a Travolta-style mid-career surge; the sad truth is, his lumbering performance here as a cloddish sheriff is the kind that can break careers.
1 The most puzzling movie release this year must be the 10th-anniversary reissue of Dirty Dancing. The New York Times trumpets: "Ten years ago, Dirty Dancing created a clamor that never really died down." I must not have been paying attention, but apparently, there exists something of a DD cult: rabid fans claim to have seen it more than a hundred times. Patrick Swayze, who plays the dance instructor, was recently given his own star on Hollywood Boulevard; members of his fan club, Perfectly Patrick, have vowed to polish it monthly.
People are certainly talking about ABC television's new campaign (a self-proclaimed "pop-cultural event"). But does that mean the ads are working? On posters and billboards across the country, the troubled network is attempting to hook viewers with post-cynical taglines like "You've got billions of braincells" and "It's a beautiful day. What are you doing outside?" This certainly represents a welcome break from the ads of other networks (NBC's frantic "Must See TV!" and CBS's insipid "Welcome Home"). But the consensus is that ABC's programmes are shabby, and look even worse in the light of a sophisticated ad campaign.