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Plague season

The first cold day of the year has arrived, which means it's cold, flu, and communicable disease season. This year, we have the pleasure of welcoming SARS back as the disease du jour. Remember Ebola? Maybe the Black Plague? Well, SARS is as bad as all those baddies AND made it to North America. So let's get the hysteria going with help from the following filmsÉ

- Outbreak (1995)--Following in the recent Hollywood tradition of recycling '70s disaster films, Outbreak is a disaster in and of itself. Dustin Hoffman plays an Army scientist chasing after a diseased, spitting monkey. While the plot is entertaining enough, it's even better when you turn it into a drinking game. Every time someone coughs blood, you take a shot!

- The Plague (1993)--This movie answers the burning question, "What happens when Hollywood interprets a French existentialist's (Albert Camus) ponderings about death and society"? The answer: not much. William Hurt is a South African doc trying to save a city from of bubonic plague. Actually, this movie isn't terrible. It would be perfect if, say, you were an illiterate high school student who had a book report on The Plague due the next day.

- The Cassandra Crossing (1976)--A poorly made thriller about an entire train of highly contagious plague victims crossing Europe. However, it's worth seeing for the entire B-list cast including (the always uncharming and deadpan) Burt Lancaster, Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, and O.J. Simpson as--get this--AN INNOCENT- LOOKING PRIEST WITH A SINISTER SECRET. Isn't it funny how life imitates art? Except, this isn't art. MANU BERELLI

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