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Twentieth Century Fox,

Part One

When the story of late-20th-Century Hollywood is written, Michael J. Fox will tower over most other figures. His accomplishments as a film and television actor have stood the test of time. It's also true, however, that his incompressible involvement with several amateurish productions profoundly affected Hollywood's history. No one can say with certainty when Fox's star-making sitcom Family Ties will come to DVD, but it is clear that today, he is an honored man.

- Teen Wolf (1985)--Fox plays Scott, a teenager who sucks at basketball, is awkward around girls, and can't get a beer to save his underage life. But one night, Scott's body sprouts hair, his voice deepens, he grows fangs and claws, and BAM! He's a werewolf! Scott uses his powers as all werewolves should: by breakdancing, slam dunking, getting laid, and surfing atop a van while the Beach Boys rock the soundtrack.

- The Frighteners (1996)--Peter Jackson--pre-Lord of the Rings--directed this horror comedy about a bogus paranormal investigator (Fox) who suddenly starts seeing real ghosts. Just in time, too, because the ghost of a vicious killer is on the loose, and it's in a killin' mood! While the film's entertaining, the horror's too dark and the humor's too light. This awkward combination had never been attempted by a major studio, and the film's piss-poor box office earnings are probably why it hasn't been tried since.

-The Hard Way (1991)--There's an easy way to kill two hours, and then there's The Hard Way. Fox plays a pretty boy movie star who wants to research a role as a badass cop by following around badass cop James Woods. Think the premise is excruciating? Wait until you see how they drag it out for two hours: After their inevitable bonding session, Fox and Woods track down a serial killer who calls himself "The Party Crasher" whose MO is--yep--crashing parties and shooting people. That is, when he's not programming videogames about himself or wearing skin-cleansing facial masks. ERIK HENRIKSEN

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