Vital Signs

Biggies

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Fuchs, and Charles Mulvehill
Written by James V. Hart
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Distributed by Columbia Pictures

A Few Good Men
Produced by David Brown, Rob Reiner, and Andrew Scheinman
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
Distributed by Columbia Pictures

There are advantages to doing these movie pieces at a leisurely (bi-monthly) pace, prime among which is that I don't have to go to too many movies. What got to me the last time around, when I was working for a weekly magazine, was that I was getting up, dressing, shaving, and going into New York . . . to see Beach Blanket Bingo or some such thing, and, worse than that, that I was rather liking it, seeing new and richer aspects of Annette Funicello's performance. I am older now, more self-protective, perhaps lazier, and I contrive to avoid such psychic stress.

But aside from that obvious benefit, there is the further lagniappe that the mere passage of time can sometimes offer. A film opens, and there is a critical consensus—as with Dracula for instance. Mostly the critics didn't like it, or didn't like Coppola because they felt intimidated by him. (How else to protect the calibration of the delicate critical instrument against...

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