Tag Archives: Patricia Arquette

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

nightmare on elm street 3

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Can’t get enough Freddy.

The last of the Elm Street children find themselves plagued by the same terrible nightmares and are now put into an institution where a grown-up Nancy (Heather Langen kamp) works as a dream therapist. It is found that Kristen (Patricia Arquette) has the ability to invite other people into her dreams, so the entire group goes into her nightmare and takes on Freddy (Robert Englund) as a team.

This third entry into the series proves to be one of the best. It makes the most creative use of the dream idea and shows a nice mix between horror and comedy. I enjoyed the camaraderie between the characters and how they seem to genuinely care and look out for each other. Freddy gets more screen time and has some  great lines. I wasn’t so sure how someone can invite others into her dreams, but for the most part it’s fun.

The special effects are imaginative. I liked the scene where Freddy lifts his shirt and exposes the crying faces of all the spirits of the dead children pushing out of his stomach. I also liked the shot showing the needle marks on the arm of a former heroin addict suddenly coming to life and going through the sucking motion like they are little mouths.

The best moment though is when Dick Cavett is seen on TV interviewing Zsa Zsa Gabor only to suddenly turn into Krueger while making the statement “Who gives a fuck what you think”.  The only negative is that the camera cuts away before we see Freddy slash her with his glove, which would have been icing on the cake.

I stated in my review of the first film in this series that Langenkamp is the best victim in a horror movie, which I think is still true, but Arquette, who makes her film debut here, has to come in as a close second. She has an appealing face and seems very much like a real teenager and you really got to admire her feistiness.  Jennifer Rubin as Taryn also makes her film debut and has one of the prettiest pair of blue eyes you will ever see.

Langenkamp for whatever reason seems a little stiff and awkward in her role although she improves as the film progresses and gets more into the dream sequences. I also didn’t like the streak of white hair that seems to hang down on the right side of her face. I wasn’t sure if this was added in to make her appear ‘more mature’, but it seemed out-of-place, unnecessary and even a bit distracting.

Craig Wasson who is a terrible actor and whose presence seriously hurt Body Double is cast as Neil one of the doctors in the clinic. Here I found him to be a little more tolerable simply for his perpetual looks of either confusion or concern that I think are the only two expressions that he is able to show.

I remember back in 1987 this was THE movie to see and be seen at amongst the teen crowd and how on opening night there was a line of teenagers going around the block to get in and me being the self-proclaimed film connoisseur was right at the front of it. I enjoyed the film very much at the time, but found upon second viewing that it didn’t grab me quite as much.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: February 27, 1987

Runtime: 1Hour 36Minutes

Rated R

Director: Chuck Russell

Studio: New Line Cinema

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

flirting with disaster

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Biological versus adoptive parents.

Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) is a middle-aged man on a mission. He wants to find out who his biological parents are and is willing to travel the country to find them. His wife Nancy (Patricia Arquette) isn’t too happy about being dragged along and his adoptive parents Ed and Pearl (George Segal, Mary Tyler Moore) find his journey to be an insult to them. He uses the aid of part-time adoption agent Tina (Tea Leoni) to try and locate them, but her help only proves to lead him to a lot dead ends.

With the exception of Leoni the three female leads are good. Lily Tomlin has a funny moment as she tries to talk down the Richard Jenkins character from a LSD trip. Moore is fantastic playing a takeoff of her rigid mother role from Ordinary People. Every scene that she is in is hilarious and had she been in a few more she could have easily stolen the film. She wears a short reddish haircut and at times looks amazingly like Carol Burnett. Although she is not all that amusing Arquette is also quite good simply because she is the most believable of all the characters. Jenkins and James Brolin also have their moments as a bickering gay couple and Brolin’s arm pit fetish is great. It is also nice to see Stiller actually doing some acting instead of just playing a dull, average guy that simply reacts to all the zaniness around him, which is what he seems to pretty much do in most of his other films.

However, the movie seems more focused on being offbeat than it does in actually being funny. There is a great deal more misses than hits and the ones that do hit aren’t exactly uproarious. Leoni’s character adds little to the proceedings and her propensity at constantly leading Mel to the wrong people gets old pretty fast. There is also a glaring goof where Segal and Moore end up driving off with Tomlin and Alan Alda’s car since both couples drive the same make and model vehicle. Yet somehow they are able to use their OWN keys to start up the other car and even get into the other car’s trunk, which would not be possible.

This film could best be summed up as being the ‘sophomore jinx’ for writer/director David O. Russell since his first feature Spanking the Monkey was quite original as was his third one I (Heart) Huckabees. This film though tends to be over-the-top absurd without having any message or point to it.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: March 22, 1996

Runtime: 1Hour 32Minutes

Rated R

Director: David O. Russell

Studio: Miramax

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video