“Romantic novelist my ass!”
“The Joan Wilder?!?”
I love this movie, it’s just so much fun, and has so many wonderful lines that tend to fall from my lips on a regular basis.
In the early 80s, everyone was kind of keen to cash in on the big adventure stories ever since they saw what Spielberg and Lucas did with Raiders of the Lost Ark. There were a number of forgotten television shows, Bring Em Back Alive, and Tales of the Gold Monkey and some lesser known films like Chuck Norris’ Firewalker and yet another telling of Allan Quartermain with King Solomon’s Mines.
For me, none of them could ever measure up to Raiders, but Romancing The Stone, featuring the behind the camera combination of director Robert Zemeckis and composer Alan Silvestri, is probably one of my fave adventure films.
It follows romance novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner – who never looked better!), who still hasn’t met the Right Man, on the adventure of her lifetime. When her sister Elaine, is held for ransom, Joan must deliver a treasure map to her kidnappers in Cartagena, Colombia. She’s shadowed by a corrupt police official named Zolo (Manuel Ojeda) and one of the kidnappers, Ralph (Danny DeVito).
Ending up on the wrong bus, and held at gunpoint by the nefarious Zolo, Joan is rescued by adventurer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), who stumbles upon the scene to find his jeep wrecked and his prized birds escaped. (“what did you do, wake up this morning and say, ‘today, I’m gonna ruin a man’s life?'”).
Paying him off ($375 in travellers checks… “American Express?” “Yes” “You’ve got a deal.”) Jack agrees to escort her to the nearest phone before realizing they could follow the map, and get the stone for themselves before they bargain for Elaine’s life.
The film has great chase sequences (featuring Pepe, the little mule), a mud slide, crocodiles, shootouts, and as the title suggests, romance. An awesome adventure film!
Zemeckis has consistently proven himself as a director I can rely on, but this, Contact, and Back to the Future will always be my three faves. Yes, I like them more than Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Stone is just good fun, filled with humor, romance and adventure, an enjoyable romp.
It also saw the first of three times that Turner, Douglas and DeVito worked together on the less than stellar, but still mostly enjoyable sequel The Jewel of the Nile, and the dark comedy War of the Roses, which DeVito also directed.
I saw this when it first came out in 1984, in fact, I can still remember sitting in the theater with my mother, and my sister. There aren’t tons of movies that I can remember a lot of specific moments like that, but the ones I do have stayed with me for a reason… I knew I was experiencing something special, something entertaining, something that was magic.
What’s your favorite Zemeckis film? Or do you enjoy Romancing the Stone as much as I do?