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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Ranking Ronald Bass's Movies

Born in Los Angeles, California on March 26 1942, Ronald Jay Bass is a film screenwriter and producer. His work is characterized as being highly in demand and sought after and he is thought to be one of the highest paid writers in Hollywood with over 20 movie credits. His last film as I type this was 2014's Before We Go starring and directed by Chris Evans of The Avengers fame. Bass won the 1988 Academy Award in Best Original Screenplay for Rain Man, which was directed by Barry Levinson and starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, both of whom also landed Best leading and supporting actor accolades. It still remains to this day as Bass's only screenwriting win, although his films have been previously nominated for multiple motion picture awards. 

His screenplays cover a wide range of topics and genres and sub-genres such as drama to romantic comedy. He coined the invention the ''90s woman's picture'' - a term that is applicable to his films with female led protagonist characters. Examples include Dangerous Minds, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Joy Luck Club and Waiting to Exhale

Sources: Wikipedia and USC Cinematic Arts

Below are Ronald Bass's 1980s and 1990s works personally ranked in order of preference and in Descending order with #12 as the lowest ranking and #1 as the top

12. What Dreams May Come (1998) - least favourite film of his by far and personally speaking Robin Williams's movie slump began with this torrid offering. Starring Robin Williams whose character dies, but comes back from the dead to save his wife/widow from hell. This came out at the same time when I was depressed, so yeah, this film didn't help matters. I just didn't enjoy it, whatsoever and it was virtually depressing & I found it too morbid for my tastes. 

11. Entrapment (1999) - boring flick actually that doubles up as a mystery film, but the mystery itself was utterly devoid with silly moments. Easily forgettable 

10. Sleeping With The Enemy (1991) - despite the headlining name of Julia Roberts, this isn't enough to salvage Sleeping With The Enemy's Lifetime/Hallmark channel's TV movie production qualities. I couldn't take this one as seriously as I wanted to

9. When A Man Loves A Woman (1994) - weepy starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan, didn't do much for me at all

8. My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) - directed by the same person who gave us Muriel's Wedding, this is slightly different to Julia Roberts's other rom-com offerings with its offbeat, quirky feel

7. Black Widow (1987) - femme fatale mid-'80s thriller with Debra Winger and Theresa Russell as the antagonist, this one wasn't too bad

6. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) - romantic drama about finding love with a younger man. The chemistry between Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs was convincing, need to rewatch this one again

5. Waiting To Exhale (1995) - another film with Angela Bassett, but she shares screen-time with Whitney Houston and a directorial first from Forrest Whitaker. Is similar in its feel to The Joy Luck Club. One could say this film says a lot for African-American women as the former does for Asian-American women.  

4. Stepmom (1998) - tearjerker drama where the film is elevated by the star turns of Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts, who make it watchable and give it that extra quality it needed

3. The Joy Luck Club (1993) - yet another tearjerker, this one is about 4 Chinese women and their Chinese American daughters. Based on the novel by Amy Tan, the film features great performances from the leads, although question marks remain about the sketchy male characters & how they are portrayed. 

2. Dangerous Minds (1995) - it may have not garnered sweeping critical appraisal across the board, but for me that is, Dangerous Minds is probably and arguably the most entertaining film of Ronald Bass's, thanks to the production by mega hit duo Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, hip hop soundtrack fronted by Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise and Michelle Pfieffer's great performance as the school teacher who wins over the hearts and minds of her students.

1. Rain Man (1988) - Oscar-winning drama that is a great film in its own right about two brothers, one who is autistic and rational, the other is brash and is at times insensitive and bitter, who come to ahead with regards to inheriting their late father's fortune. Yet they discover not only do they have a lot in common, but that they need each other for support, far more than they'd originally thought. Sentimental, poignant, light-hearted at times with terrific performances by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

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