5 stars for the film, 1 star for the dvd
justme | justhere | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having drooled over the Goodtimes dvd for years now, I did a flip and a half when I saw Universal was releasing a widescreen dvd of this superhot love story. I refrained from doing two flips when I remembered it was Universal and then saw no mention of special features. What? Look at the potential for bonuses! There was an alternate ending, there were deleted scenes, how about a featurette?! Argh! I just wept and wept. And then months later the release date comes, I tear the dvd open and the movie starts automatically - I hit menu and get the nagging old "operation prohibited by disc" usually reserved for fast forwarding through those tired old FBI warnings. There's not even a menu! No scene selection. Geez. Do these corporate monoliths now require movies to be no older than 5 days old to have simple menus? I'd like to sit down and analyze the brilliance of Sarandon and Spader, note how Spader's hair changes near the end because of reshoots, but I'm just too raving mad at Universal right now."
Sex, Lies and a Hamburger Joint
S. Schell | Mason, OH United States | 01/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Luis Mandoki seems to be akin to dour and depressing pieces (Message In A Bottle, When A Man Loves A Woman) but works his somber mystique to greater effect in this undervalued ditty of opposites attracting. This improbable tale of true love begins with 27-year-old Max Baron (Spader) wallowing in self-pity over the recent death of his wife and suffering the annoyance of bad service from a scanty burger joint called White Palace (think White Castle and you have a good idea of how scanty they are). Retreating from a friend's bachelor party to haggle over six missing burgers, he harries a tired gal named Nora Baker and receives a gruff riposte from the steely waitress. Later that night after the party favors and burgers have run out, Max solemnly retreats to a local bar for a drink and finds Nora hunched over the counter swigging vodka tonics and eyeing him like a scrumptious prize. He rebuffs her every blatant sexual advance, but all the same she follows him outside begging him for a ride home. They arrive at her cluttered domicile and Max is immediately sickened by the filth that surrounds him, insisting that he is okay to drive himself home. Nora is adamant about him staying the night and the minute he is asleep, her lusty impulses take over and she seduces her inebriated guest right on her couch. Thus begins the unlikely and somewhat clichéd rapport between a wealthy Jewish widower and a 40-something gal from the wrong side of the tracks with a closet full of skeletons. The two main characters don't really have any compatibility other than their sympathies for the others' personal tragedy (of Nora's, you will find the truth about later on in the movie). Little else draws them to one another besides their ravenous sexual appetites. Sarandon and Spader certainly have the chemistry needed to make their debatable affair authentic, but when I discovered the original conclusion of the novel the film was based upon, it made more sense to me. The finale chosen for this adaptation is the more favored because it is the typical happy ending that most people crave; it's just not realistic. It evokes the warm fuzzy feelings we all like to get from our entertainment, but it mocks the truth and the author's hard work. I admired it for its playfulness but when I think of how it could've ended, I would've valued it more as a work of art.Sarandon, though far past the age most film czars would consider the closing stages of an actress' wondrous opportunities, still has the ability to carry a movie all by herself, no matter whether she is the story's victor or casualty. It is here that she proves it the most, no matter how celebrated other roles may be (Bull Durham, Dead Man Walking, etc.). As an over-the-hill, working-class sexpot, Sarandon displays more of an understanding and connection to her character than any she has portrayed previously, due greatly to the fact that she IS a seasoned actress. Because of this, she is the strongest, worthiest and most memorable performance in this film, rising above Spader's almost unbearable morbidity and angst-ridden deportment. Eileen Brennan is of mild interest as Nora's roving clairvoyant sibling Judy. Jason Alexander barely shows any sign of the spunk he would create for his character on "Seinfeld" as Neil, Max's betrothed buddy. Kathy Bates has a small but enjoyable cameo as Max's friendly colleague and Rachel Chagall is so ebullient it hurts us to watch.Overall, "White Palace" is an enjoyable film despite its faults and has a great rewatchability factor because of Spader's and Sarandon's overt and plausible lustiness towards each other and the smart interpretation of their characters. Fans looking to get a glimpse of either Spader or Sarandon in the buff, this is the film to watch. There's a valiant but dignified show of skin in selected scenes and you will see why Sarandon is considered such an admirable role model for women her age."
Romance Can Come When You Least Expect It.
Hillary | Brooklyn, New York | 02/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Spader, a personal favorite of mine, stars with Susan Sarandon in this entertaining adaption of the Glenn Savan novel. I own and read that too, and although a book is ALWAYS deeper in detail, I was not disappointed with this film. ................ Max Baron, a twenty seven year old Jewish widower coming from his buddy Neil's (Jason Alexander, pre Costanza) bachelor party, meets poor white anglo trash waitress Nora (Susan Sarandon) at "White Palace" restaurant. He has come to claim six empty boxes that should have had burgers in them. Instead he gets no burgers, just a refund and lots of attitude from a beligerent Nora behind the register. ............... After being thoroughly depressed and feeling sorry for his loss more than ever, Max gets drunk. On his way home, he stops in a country music bar for a nightcap. A few gulps later, he is spotted by a cigarette puffing drunken Nora, attracted to Max, she is therefore, swilling AND willing. I don't think ANYONE would actually need drinks to find Spader attractive though. ................ After Max relents and lets Nora stay and have a drink, despite being surlier earlier...they end up back at her place. It is then, that two consenting, inebriated adults begin their December/May romance. ................ What Max had intended as one night stand, somehow ends up being true love, despite the ethnic differences, social status disparity, and disapproving friends and family. Max and Nora make-up, and break-up, and come to a crossroads in their relationship, but true love conquers all. ............... All the performances from the leads are well executed, you feel for Max. His analogy at a party, where his friends are trying to find him a more suitable mate is terrific. When asked if he likes the girl, Max's says, "There's No dust in her dustbuster!" This sums up his feelings perfectly. He doesn't WANT a perfect young girl, he wants imperfect older Nora. ................ I found this to be a warm, enjoyable romantic comedy/drama. Luis Mandoki did a fine directing job, and the script adaption was fine in telling the story. Jason Alexander was good as Neil, Max's best friend. There were also many good minor roles of various friends in Max's circle of snobs that really made you root for Nora all the more. A fun cameo was Kathy Bates in a small role as Spaders boss............. All in all, a winner that is definitely worth seeing, and adding to the romance selections in your film collection."