March 31, 1995 in Seven

Spokane Girl Julia Sweeney Makes Good In Bad Movie ‘It’s Pat’

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Yes, folks, finally we get to see “It’s Pat,” which was released Tuesday on video. That’s good because its theatrical play seemed about as short as star Julia Sweeney’s appearance in “Pulp Fiction.”

Remember? An ex-Spokane schoolgirl made good, Sweeney showed up in Quentin Tarantino’s movie as the woman who goes to breakfast with Harvey Keitel, the man who “fixes” things.

The bad news, of course, involves the reasons behind the limited release afforded “It’s Pat”: Reviews were uniformly poor. Savage even.

But what were we to expect? “Saturday Night Life,” which is where Sweeney’s sex-neutral character came to life, hasn’t been the source of too many great movies (irony alert). Even the more successful ones, such as the “Wayne’s World” pair, only occasionally rise to the better levels they reached on television.

And given such concepts as Pat, which quickly grows tiresome in anything beyond a short sketch, that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Served on Rice

A few years ago, ex-Catholic schoolgirl Anne Rice interrupted her semi-regular looks into the vampire life to pen an attempt at erotica titled “Exit to Eden.” The story involved an island where sexual fantasies came alive.

Dana Delany, cast in the lead role as the island’s whip-wielding dominatrix, immediately hit the interview trail. This was her chance to build on the reputation that she had earned as the sexy star of the Vietnam-themed television series “China Beach.”

But then something happened: The producers hired a comedy director, Garry Marshall, to bring the novel to the big screen. And then roles for Dan Aykroyd (speaking of ex-“Saturday Night Live” stars) and Rosie O’Donnell suddenly appeared.

So what in print was a lurid little study in sexual fantasy, and in cinematic concept promised to be Dana Delany in bondage, ended up being a wacky comedy featuring Rosie O’Donnell in black leather.

Only in Hollywood.

Recommended rental

If you can locate a copy of Nicholas Ray’s 1949 debut feature “They Live By Night,” take a chance and rent it. Starring Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell, it is Ray’s look at the furtive existence of two young lovers.

Based on Edward Anderson’s novel “Thieves Like Us,” the film was remade in 1974 under that title by Robert Altman.

Imaginary Crimes

** 1/2

Harvey Keitel stars as the kind of father designed to give you nightmares. Not that he’s a bad guy, just that he’s a professional liar and conman. So when he puts the elder of his two daughters (Fairuza Balk) in a private school, you know that nothing good is going to happen. All in all, this is an intriguing little coming-of-age film, that boasts pretty Portland settings and a pair of good performances - especially Keitel who, for once, acts without a gun in his hand. Overall, though, the film only occasionally escapes its low-budget roots. Rated PG.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

*

Craven, the creator of Freddy Krueger, attempts to wring a few last dollars out of his most successful meal ticket. But an interesting theme - after he is killed off on film, Freddy takes on a real life of his own - quickly degenerates into just another slice ‘em-dice ‘em horrorama. And the years have done nothing to improve Heather Langenkamp’s acting ability. Rated R.

Short takes

Silent Hunter - Richard Dreyfuss, a psychiatrist investigating a murder, tries to penetrate an autistic boy’s emotional defenses. Rated R.

Nostradamus - Tcheky Karyo portrays the noted prophet, who foresaw such misfortunes as Hitler and the two world wars.

Camp Nowhere - Kids take over a summer camp, and Christopher Lloyd is the only adult - so to speak - on the premises. Rated PG.

MEMO: This sidebar ran with story: WHAT’S NEW TO VIEW Available this weekend - “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (New Line), “Silent Hunter” (New Line), “Nostradamus” (Orion), “Imaginary Crimes” (Warner), “Exit to Eden” (HBO), “It’s Pat” (Touchstone), “Camp Nowhere” (Hollywood). Available Tuesday - “Love Affair” (Warner), “The Pagemaster” (Fox), “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Polygram), “Silent Fall” (Warner).

This sidebar ran with story: WHAT’S NEW TO VIEW Available this weekend - “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (New Line), “Silent Hunter” (New Line), “Nostradamus” (Orion), “Imaginary Crimes” (Warner), “Exit to Eden” (HBO), “It’s Pat” (Touchstone), “Camp Nowhere” (Hollywood). Available Tuesday - “Love Affair” (Warner), “The Pagemaster” (Fox), “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Polygram), “Silent Fall” (Warner).


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