September 27, 2002 10:25am EST
Ben and JoJo Floss' daughter Diana is gunned down only days before her wedding when she accidentally gets in the way of a violent husband-and-wife dispute at a Cape Anne Mass. restaurant. Her fiancé Joe soon becomes a surrogate member of the Floss family and the three cope with their grief in various ways. JoJo attempts to avoid all the attention that is being paid the family and Ben throws himself--and Joe--into a commercial real estate venture that needs big-time developer Mike's support to succeed. Joe meanwhile combs through big bins of undelivered mail with postmaster Bertie in an effort to retrieve the 75 wedding invitations that had been sent. Bertie who in addition to her postal work also helps out in the local bar owned by her missing-in-'Nam-action beau is also grieving and soon she and Ben are a couple. As writer-director Brad Silberling's gentle drama unfolds it becomes clear that the film is a "hundred-whys" effort. For a start why is the film titled Moonlight Mile a lesser-known Rolling Stones song? It's never explained. And why does the film take place in 1973 when only the film's rollicking soundtrack and a passing reference to the Vietnam War evoke the era? These questions--and the many many other whys in Moonlight Mile--remain unanswered resulting in a film that falls as flat as a bad souffle.
The actors in Moonlight Mile for example are among the choicest of ingredients--three Oscar winners a promising newcomer and an almost legendary comic talent. So why is young Jake Gyllenhaal so bland as the sweet hero-fiancé Joe so opaque and passive suggesting nothing of a background education or professional aspirations? Why did talented Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon agree to star as the parents except for the fact that each actor is given the chance to sink his or her teeth into an 11th hour set piece? Why do Oscar winner Holly Hunter (as the tough prosecuting attorney Mona who warns Joe Ben and JoJo that there's a good chance the perpetrator will get off lightly) and comic virtuoso Dabney Coleman (as gruff real estate developer Mike) squander their talents?
Part of the answer to all the whys Moonlight Mile raises can be found in Silberling's direction. He clearly knows the ingredients Hollywood seems to want these days: nice recognizable characters in emotionally wrenching situations; some resonance of a bygone period; a soundtrack that will help with the marketing; big-name leads and a compelling young star; a dash of unpredictability and feel-good ending. But as Silberling mixes up this all-too-familiar recipe his strokes create a thin watery batter that just refuses to rise above cliché. As a writer he knows the rules but he skirts wit irony humor and convincing raw emotion in favor of the formula raising more questions than he answers.
1. Clapton a papa
2. Green pulls another prank
3. Rosie reversal
3. McGregor accused
5. "Skippy" sentenced
6. WWF gets nostalgic
7. SAG saga
9. Report: SAG strike will hurt economy
10. FCC deregulates tv more
11. Music off the charts
Eric Clapton to be a father once again
Rock 'n' roll legend Eric Clapton, 56, and galpal Melia McEnery, 25, are expecting a child in just a couple months, according to Britain's The Sun newspaper. The couple met in 1999, and despite splitting up for brief while, are reportedly "really happy" to be back together and pregnant. Clapton's new addition is due to arrive 10 years after the death of Clapton's first son, Conor, who died falling from an open window.
Tom's latest stunt: un-impregnating Drew
Newly debuted director Tom Green (Freddie Got Fingered) told Jay Leno Wednesday night that soul mate Drew Barrymore is pregnant. Now's he's saying that Drew's not really expecting.
Green - no stranger to pulling stunts, both funny and unfunny - told Leno that Barrymore (The Wedding Singer, Charlie's Angels) whispered the news to Green right before his appearance on The Tonight Show.
But in a statement released by his publicist, Green said: "People always think I'm kidding about stuff. Jay and I were joking around and I thought the audience was in on it. We are not pregnant now, but do hope to be blessed with children in the future."
Rosie will return
Out since April 4 with an infected hand, Rosie O'Donnell will return Monday to her eponymous TV talk show, according to The Associated Press.
O'Donnell cut her hand in August while removing a price tag off of a fishing pole. The cut severed a tendon, and O'Donnell's had three surgeries since then, spokeswoman Laura Mandel told AP.
A series of celebrity guest hosts have filled in for O'Donnell in her absence. Carolina Rhea (TV's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), Jane Krakowski (TV's Ally McBeal) and Barbara Walters have all pitched in to help the ailing host. , O'Donnell made a guest appearance Friday on the show.
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McGregor denies involvement in Tom and Nicole's breakup
Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace and Trainspotting) told reporters that he had nothing to do with Moulin Rouge costar Nicole Kidman's separation from husband Tom Cruise.
"I didn't have an affair with Nicole Kidman," he said.
Cruise (Mission Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut) shocked the public - and apparently wife Nicole - by filing for divorce after 10 years of marriage. A source cited in People magazine quoted Cruise as saying, "Nic knows exactly why we are getting the divorce. But she's the mother of our children, and I wish her well."
David Spade's former assistant sentenced
David Spade's former assistant was sentenced Thursday in Beverly Hills.
Perhaps taking the Just Shoot Me star's show title a little too literally, the assistant, David "Skippy" Malloy, shot Spade with a stun gun. Malloy plead guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation and 480 hours of community service, Reuters reports.
The Joe Dirt star suffered minor injuries in the November altercation that let to the shooting. Spade called police to report that his employee had attacked him. A plea agreement prevented Malloy from serving jail time.
WWF to recreate New York marquee
The famed five-story marquee and arch of Times Sqaure's Paramount Theater will be rebuilt by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. as part of renovations by the WWF.
The WWF will spend $7.5 million to recreate the marquee on the building at Broadway and 43rd Street, says the New York Times. The passageway will lead into the WWF's store and restaurant. The restoration is being done from photographs, as the marquee and arch disappeared with the theater's closing in 1964. It was then converted into office space.
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Bitter infighting plagues SAG
The Screen Actors Guild is hearing a call for members to replace current union president William Daniels.
The call comes at a critical juncture for the guild, which is awaiting the start of negotiations with the movie and TV alliance, and may find its members in a work stoppage if the writers' guild goes on strike at the beginning of May. SAG's negotiations are scheduled to begin on May 10.
Variety reports that Daniels faces stiff competition from loyalists to former union president Richard Masur, whom Daniels defeated two years ago. Masur has said he will not run for the post again. Daniels has alienated the Masur faction with his push for last year's SAG strike, aggressive position with this year's movie-TV negotiations, his threats to split SAG into East and West divisions, and plans to reduce both the union's oversight of talent agents and the size of the national board.
Nomination petitions will be accepted starting June 4.
L.A. mayor's study predicts recession
Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan does not expect there to be a writers' strike, but a study commissioned by the mayor says that the local economy would take a deep downturn if a strike did happen.
The study, performed by the Milken Institute think tank and Sebago Associates consultants, said that prolonged strikes could cost the city 81,900 jobs, as unemployment would skyrocket from 4.8% to 6.9%. The Hollywood Reporter cited the figure of money lost as $4.4 billion, while Variety said it could be as much as $6.9 billion, if the strike lasted five months or so.
The entertainment industry accounts for 185,000 direct-employment jobs and $24 billion spent per year in Los Angeles County.
Riordan's tenure as mayor ends the same day as the SAG-AMPTP agreement, June 30.
FCC deregulates TV further
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to end its prohibition on a major network - ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox - from owning an emerging network, such as the WB or UPN.
This ruling paves the way for UPN and CBS to both remain the property of parent company Viacom, according to Variety. It also opens the door for a potential AOL Time Warner, Inc. merger with General Electric that would pair both the WB and NBC under the same corporate umbrella.
Although the four major networks are still not allowed to couple with each other, Thursday's vote makes it clear that the FCC, under the guidance of new Chairman Michael Powell, is headed in the direction of even further deregulation.
Music sales dip worldwide
Sales of music worldwide dipped to $36.9 billion, a drop of 1.3 percent. Reuters cites International Federation of the Phonographic Industry chairman Jay Berman as blaming Napster and other free music sites for taking a bite out of the industry.
"This is the first evidence of the impact of free online music on sales, and it's not very pretty, especially for singles," said Berman in the Reuters report. But Napster's activities have been sharply curtailed by U.S. courts, and Berman remains optimistic that music companies will step in to fill the void and recoup lost sales.
The slowing U.S. economy also could be a determining factor in the sales slump. The industry also has faced slower growth since individuals have finished replacing cassettes with CDs, says the report.