Bright Lights, Big City (1988)


“There’s a certain shabby nobility in failing all by myself. ” – Jamie Cornell

Number of Times Seen – 1 (8 Oct 2020)

Brief Synopsis – An aspiring writer working as a proofreader for a magazine tries to deal with all of his problem by drinking and taking hard drugs.

My Take on it – This is a film that I knew about when it came out yet never really heard anything interesting about it and chose to avoid it for over thirty years.

This is unfortunately another failed attempt by Michael J. Fox to break away from his boy scout image and try and take on more controversial and serious roles.

The story is one that dives deep into the main characters psyche, but with Fox in the role, it’s so much harder to take seriously.

This is a story based on a novel that probably is able to deal with this character and his issues much better due to the narrative that is more present on paper than on the screen.

This is especially true with the ideas dealing with substance and alcohol abuse that is rampant in this movie.

The choice to only minimally deal with the losses that the main character has suffered over the past few months is also a mistake because things would be much more enjoying if these two issues were explored more deeply.

The supporting cast is quite good here even if they aren’t really given enough to do.

Bottom Line – Another failed attempt by Fox to try and get into more serious roles. The story is hard to take seriously with Fox in the lead role. The story itself is based on a novel that probably deals with the issues of drug and alcohol dependence much better. The way that the story only minimally deals with the losses that the main character has suffered is problematic because they are they aren’t explored more thoroughly. The supporting cast is quite talented yet they aren’t given enough to do to help make this film more interesting.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In a 2011 interview with “The A. V. Club,” David Hyde Pierce said that it cost him more to join the Screen Actors Guild (so that he could appear in this movie) than he was paid for his role, so he had to borrow the dues money from his agent. His character’s name was “Bartender at Fashion Show”, and his one line was, “Sorry, the bar is closed.” (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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