January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

To be a Hollywood trend spotter, you need the calculating, crafty mind of someone who can count to three. (Just like blind mice, trends seem to come in threes.) So put down those crayons and pay attention to the concepts we expect to see over and over and over. We could have counted more, but we got distracted during snack time.

Computer Geek Chic (computer programmers on a pedestal)
See: TV’s Hyperion Bay; the Bill Gates-Steve Jobs biopic Pirates of Silicon Valley; and the romantic comedy Office Space, in which Jennifer Aniston falls for a cyber-jock (like that would ever happen).

Loafarama (multiple servings of plump drama rocker Meat Loaf)
See: His autobiography, Outsider (due in late spring from Regan Books); the quirky ensemble film Outside Ozona (with Sherilyn Fenn and David Paymer); Brad Pitt’s Fight Club; the Antonio Banderas-directed Crazy in Alabama; and the direct-to-cable comedy Gunshy. Not to be confused with budding Liamania: Liam Neeson gets crazy huge thanks to performances in Gun Shy (same title, different movie), The Haunting of Hill House, and most especially, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace.

Made in Southeast Asia (hot film setting, primarily Thailand)
See: Jodie Foster’s Anna; Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach; Claire Danes’ Brokedown Palace.

Mob Mocking (projects that findhumor in organized crime)
See: HBO’s Sopranos; Mickey Blue Eyes, starring Hugh Grant, who dates a Mafia-related gal; Six Ways to Sunday, a black comedy with Debbie Harry about Mob enforcers; and Analyze This, featuring Billy Crystal, who plays shrink to mobster Robert De Niro.

Paranormal Noir (psychological thrillers in which people may or may not have supernatural capacities)
See: Stir of Echoes (Kevin Bacon, precognitive); The Rage: Carrie 2 (killer thoughts); Flight 180 (students can see the future); The Sixth Sense (varied abilities); Stigmata (Patricia Arquette, supernatural visions); and The Green Mile (mice and men possess strange talents. Yes, mice).

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