Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins, Keith Jochim, Carel Struycken, Helen Lloyd Breed, Caroline Struzik
Written by: Michael Cristofer, based on a novel by John Updike
Directed by: George Miller
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 118
Date: 06/12/1987
IMDB

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cherry Bombs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Borrowed loosely from a John Updike novel, George Miller's The Witches of Eastwick is a very strange but highly enjoyable mix of naughtiness and desire, somehow wrapped up in a slick Hollywood package and released during summer blockbuster season. It's not quite clear if we can call it a "feminist" movie, but it does at least adore and respect women (and motherhood). The mysterious, carefree Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) suddenly arrives in a small, idyllic town and the inhabitants find themselves awash in curiosity. Three lovely friends, blonde Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), brunette Alexandra (Cher), and redhead Jane (Susan Sarandon), all become attracted to him and involved with him. Meanwhile, there are supernatural hints that Daryl may not be the dashing charmer he seems to be. Miller drops the ball toward the ending with too many visual effects that detract from the talented performers, and the cherry pit scene threatens to gross out everyone before the picture ends, but for the most part, the playful, canny character interactions are incredibly delicious. Eventually we root for all three women together, which couldn't have been an easy feat of storytelling. Daryl's speeches are refreshingly liberal, but then his final denouncement -- while funny -- is quite nasty. All in all, it's a fine example of how Miller is always able to combine darkness and exhilaration in his films. It was one of the year's ten highest grossers, and received two Oscar nominations, for Best Sound and for John Williams' score. That same year, Nicholson was nominated for the less interesting Ironweed, and Cher won for Moonstruck.

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