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Outrageous Fortune, Tin Men, & Ernest Goes to Camp

"Producer Postscript" is a feature where Charlene can talk about the Touchstone movies that Mike, and his co-host, Chad, cover in their podcast "Out of Touchstone".  Charlene is more of the silent partner in the venture (she helps produce the episodes), so she's blogging her thoughts on these films for the website.

Out of Touchstone Podcast: Episode 5 "Adults Behaving Like Children"

Outrageous Fortune (1987)

This female buddy movie builds a great friendship between two opposites in Lauren and Sandy - one uptight, over-achieving and prim, and the other brash, colorful and street-smart (I'm sure you can guess which actress plays who). And for that, I am grateful - as it's sadly rare to see a film starring and featuring two women at this time. However, the female POV is often trivialized - most notably in their reaction to finding out that the man they are both dating fakes his death and appears to be on the run. The premise itself is exciting, but Sandy and Lauren continually bicker on who he loves more instead of trying to figure out why the heck he would date both of them, and then run out on them.

There are many clever aspects to the story though - the ways in which Sandy and Lauren track down their once-upon-a-time beau (Michael) is ingenious, the silly, farcical situations are fun (if sometimes predictable), and there are some interesting twists and turns in the story. With the mystery of Michael's actions being the driving force. The movie is full of plot cliches and broad character tropes, but it is a fun watch, and worth it to see Shelley Long and Bette Midler together.

Tin Men (1987)

The plot of this film revolves around two men who happen to sell aluminum siding.  They first meet when they get into a car accident, and then they carry on a feud of epically pointless proportions.  I didn't understand why they needed to become so nasty and childish and that just made them unlikable and unsympathetic for the majority of the film.  The plot is also hard to follow because there doesn't seem to be much happening. 

The only redeeming aspect of the movie for me was in the romance between Bob (played by Richard Dreyfuss and Norah (Bob having slept with Norah only because she is married to Danny DeVito's character, then falls in love with her.). It's not the best romance, but it is the only sign that maybe the two main characters have a heart, underneath their sly, deceiving ways.  Unfortunately, the resolution is not satisfying either and feels incomplete, and I was just happy that the film was over.

Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

If you are familiar with Ernest from a myriad of commercials he starred in, in the eighties and nineties, I'm sure you will also wonder to yourself - why did he get a film series?  Well, after watching this film, I'm still not sure why as the plot is thin, the comedy is lacking, and the characters are made of cardboard.  Ernest is supposed to carry the story and I didn't find him likable enough, or interesting enough to do so.  His brand of farcical, crude comedy didn't appeal to me I guess.  I can see where it was surprising and fun in a short commercial, but I think it became too labored and ridiculous in a 90-minute movie.  The comedic moments padded out the very simple plotline.

The story was also all over the place - it didn't follow any rules of storytelling or consequence and seemed just a vehicle to showcase the gags.  It's silly, irreverent, and mindless.  I know Touchstone made a few more Ernest movies, and I hope they will feature more of a storyline in the future.

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