Twentieth Century Fox,

Part II

Fact! As established last week with "Twentieth Century Fox, Part I," Michael J. Fox is the greatest actor of this--or any--generation, and can kick your ass in 20 million different ways! Not convinced? Try these!

- Doc Hollywood (1991)--In a film that my girlfriend characterizes as "lighthearted escapism" and I characterize as "like grinding razor blades into my eyes," Fox plays a plastic surgeon who's stranded in a tiny hick town. (Think Everwood, but without the hot teenagers.) It's a two-hour-long riff on the "fish out of water, hilarity ensues" formulaÉ except without that "hilarity ensues" part. Then--just when you think it can't get any worse--fucking Woody Harrelson shows up. Though it boggles the mind, it appears that this film is so bad that--dare I say it?--even Michael J. Fox can't save it.

- Casualties of War (1989) Fox plays a soldier in Brian De Palma's heavy-handed war picture, which also boasts a score from Ennio Morricone and pre-stardom appearances from Ving Rhames, John C. Reilly, and John Leguizamo. Fox plays against his scrubbed-clean wiseass kid image by playing a scrubbed-clean wiseass kidÉ in Vietnam. When Fox's squad--led by an intense Sean Penn--kidnaps and brutally rapes a Vietnamese woman, Fox is forced to question everything he thought he knew about himself, war, and right and wrong. Yeah! Ain't nobody that can contemplate serious moral dilemmas like Michael J. Fox!

- Bright Lights, Big City (1988) It's like an '80s migraine--from the neon-soaked opening credits, to bathroom cocaine hits, to Kiefer Sutherland and Phoebe Cates! Fox plays a hip, self-loathing young writer who snorts coke, writes, and occasionally has earnest dialogues with animatronic fetuses. But here's what I don't getÉ I'm a hip, self-loathing young writer, I listen to the Talking Heads, and don't even get me started about my bathroom cocaine hitsÉ yet my life isn't nearly as awesome as this! Huh--maybe I just need to start kicking it with Kiefer. Yeah--that'd work. Anyone know him? ERIK HENRIKSEN