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reel.com - Hollywood Confidential -November 2000

Perspective: The Wonder Boys

I caught Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys again last Friday on the Paramount lot. When it was first released last February 25, it was well-reviewed but it tanked commercially.

Paramount began its limited re-release of the film on November 8, partly in hopes of making more money, obviously, but also to possibly garner some Oscar nominations. Michael Douglas for Best Actor, say, or co-star Tobey Maguire in the Best Supporting category.

What a difference eight months can make.

When it opened last Feburary, Wonder Boys seemed strong and worthwhile, but the year was just beginning and the general assumption was that the year would eventually offer several much better films, or ones just as good but not as peculiar or idiosyncratic or quietly subtle. (Not that these qualities are anything to snort at.)

Then the year unfolded and everything that came along felt insufficient, not good enough, marginally satisfying, or whatever. Now you see it and you realize it's easily one of the best films of the year. And you ask yourself, "Why didn't I realize this before?"

Well, I know it now.