'I just want to smash your face in'
TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: For reasons obvious to my friends and family, today's retro-review is 1989's "The War of the Roses," starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. The movie was directed by Danny DeVito, who also co-starred and played the narrator. The film landed three Golden Globe nominations.
THE PLOT: A true-love story between a law-school student "Oliver" (Douglas) and former gymnast-turned-caterer "Barbara" (Turner) leads to marriage, children, disappointment, hatred, revenge and the worst divorce ever recorded in modern Western civilization.
MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: This was the third movie to feature Douglas, Turner and DeVito (along with "Romancing the Stone" and "The Jewel of the Nile.")
SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: When Douglas and DeVito appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show to promote the movie, Arsenio accidentally gave away the film's dramatic ending, much to his guests' horror. And though the segment wasn't live (and could have been edited to remove the reference), it aired nevertheless in its entirety.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "The movie treads a dangerous line. There are times when its ferocity threatens to break through the boundaries of comedy - to become so unremitting we find we cannot laugh." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: It's the ultimate battle of the sexes during the '80s and appropriately, there are no winners. Some brilliant idea-guy in Hollywood deserves a king's ransom for turning the tired romantic coupling of Douglas and Turner into a dark comedy worthy of praise for decades to follow. DeVito is the icing on the cake, spinning a yarn so horrifying for his client, that we ourselves squirm along with him with the unveiling of every new tragic detail.
TOP 5 MEMORABLE LINES FROM WAR OF THE ROSES:
5. "My father used to say that a man can never outdo a woman when it comes to love and revenge."
4. "There is no winning! Only degrees of losing!"
3. "Come on, put your shoes on, Barbara. I haven't been into feet since '82."
2. "When I watch you eat. When I see you asleep. When I look at you lately, I just want to smash your face in."
1. "You really expect me to keep on reassuring you sexually even now when we disgust each other?"