An EW film critic on bad casting and weak scripts. Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum answers your questions

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated October 24, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, ...
Credit: Titanic: Merie W. Wallace

An EW film critic on bad casting and weak scripts

Every week, one of Entertainment Weekly’s movie critics answers questions from readers. Read this week’s answers here.

What movie with a weak script was improved by good direction? –Sean Pflueger
Okay, Richard LaGravenese’s script for ”The Bridges of Madison County” is one giant leap for mankind over the mud puddles of Robert James Waller’s novel. But it’s the direction (by Clint Eastwood) and performances (by Eastwood and Meryl Streep) that turn Waller’s banjo pickings into an opera. By the way, some criticize the script of that triumphant directorial epic ”Titanic.” (You mean there’s a script?)

What’s a so-so movie that might have been improved by better casting? –Mike Mancini
You’ve got me thinking about how stardom can get in its own way. The lure of ”Vanilla Sky,” for instance, is that handsome, very famous Tom Cruise plays a man whose face becomes disfigured. Yet Cameron Crowe’s ambitious American remake of the singular Spanish psychothriller ”Abre los Ojos” is undone, really, by the distraction of handsome, very famous Tom Cruise pretending to be ugly.

Got a question you’d like the critics to consider in future weeks? Send it by email. Or, if you want to talk about this week’s questions, post your thoughts below.

The Bridges of Madison County

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 135 minutes
  • Clint Eastwood