DVD Patrol: Salute to Michael Douglas

There has been a lot of press lately within the show business community doing what they can in the fight against cancer. One actor who is doing his part is Michael Douglas. It was recently revealed that Douglas was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. That hasn’t stopped him because he has kept on working and his latest film, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” has just come into theaters. The Toddster has brought the patrol crew back and asked them to tell us about their favorite Douglas movies and what they mean to them. Michael has been a terrific actor and has a range few have been able to cover throughout their careers. We have a few favorites and we hope you like them, too.



MELISSA STAGNARO

War of the Roses (1989)

I’ll never forget the first time I saw this 1989 film starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as Oliver and Barbara Rose, and Danny DeVito as the narrator/divorce attorney. Based on the novel of the same name by Warren Adler, the movie is a cautionary tale about divorce. But in my naiveté, I didn’t realize that.

Prior to watching “War of the Roses,” my only experience with divorce was the feel good movie version a la “The Parent Trap” - the Hayley Mills version. As I watched Barbara and Oliver meet, fall in love and get married, I was convinced this too would have a happy ending. Sure, I saw the facade of their happiness start to splinter, as friction grew and their incompatibility became evident. But I was convinced - wrongly, as it turned out - that underneath it all, they still loved one another to overcome their difference. Even when they were at each other’s throats, fighting tooth and nail over their house and possessions, I was sure that at some point they would recognize the error of their ways.

In fact, I kept hoping for that happy ending all the way to the bitter, bitter end. Even as Oliver used his last bit of strength to put his hand lovingly on Barbara’s shoulder, as they lay broken and battered, I still had hope.

Until, of course, Barbara used the last bit of her strength to knock his hand away. At which point those hopes were shattered just like the chandelier that was the end of them both.

Because there is no happy ending. This is a cautionary tale, depicting the worst-case scenario tale of how two people, who once professed to love one another, can melt down into two, snarling wildebeests out to rip one another apart just for spite. But it’s masterfully done. Which is why it’s hands down one of my favorite Michael Douglas films.


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