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Wonder Boys

275 customer reviews

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(Mar 13, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

A college professor who's been divorced three times and hasn't been able to overcome writer's block, gets his boss's wife, the college chancellor, pregnant.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 8-AUG-2006
Media Type: DVD

Special Features

  • Cast and crew interviews featuring Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Tobey Maguire, and Curtis Hanson
  • Location map with explanations by Curtis Hanson
  • The singer/ songwriters of Wonder Boys with direct access commentaries by Curtis Hanson
  • Music video - Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed"

Product Details

  • Actors: Philip Bosco, Robert Downey Jr., Frances McDormand, Michael Douglas, Richard Thomas
  • Directors: Curtis Hanson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXDJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wonder Boys" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By David Grant on March 15, 2001
Format: DVD
Curtis Hanson's follow-up to his brilliant 'LA Confidential' is equally amazing but in a completely different way. 'Wonder Boys' is a wonderfully skewed comedy, with characters who zig and zag across the screen, weaving in through each others lives, and ultimately finding salvation in each other. Michael Douglas gives his second-great performance of 2000 (the other being in 'Traffic') as Professor Grady Tripp, a chronic pot-smoking, english teacher/author who has had great success in the past with his first novel. Problem is, he can't seem to finish his follow-up and he's been trying for years. He is having an affair with a married chancellor at his school (Frances McDormand in HER sceond great performance of the year, the other being in 'Almost Famous'). His barely-in-the-closet editor (the incredible Robert Downey Jr.) is breathing down his throat and a student of his (Katie Holmes) is trying to get in his pants. Not only that he has the chancellor's dead dog in his trunk, thanks to a mishap with a bewildered, mysterious student of his (Tobey Maguire at his usual excellence) and the car he's driving may or may not be stolen. Over the course of one hellish weekend, Grady Tripp will find out what it means to be in charge of one's own life and the way making a simple choice can change things for the better. The movie rides smoothly from start to finish thanks to great, assured direction by Hanson and smooth screenwriting by Steve Kloves (from the novel by Michael Chabon). It's a truly amazing film, whose character's are so well developed and layered that we never know what to expect of them at any given moment. In fact, anywhere you think this movie might be going at any given time, you will more then likely be wrong.Read more ›
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Erix on January 6, 2001
Format: DVD
You'd think that "L.A. Confidential" was a tough act to follow. But director Curtis Hanson takes it in stride with his follow-up, "Wonder Boys". An adaptation of Michael Chabon's novel that is pretty far removed from "Confidential", and yet, manages to be equally compelling and uniquely sedutive on its own.
Much of it is probably owed to Michael Douglas. In a refined, carefully controlled performance the actor packs on some 30 pounds and looks totally dishevelled as a burned out college professor with a fondness for marihuana.
Douglas' perfect portrayal completely carries the film. It is, in essence, a melancholic comedy. Hanson and the screenwriter use this mood to set-up some very interesting situations and present very unusual characters. The situations are aided by Dante Spinotti's captivating cinematography. And at some instances, things get so bizarre and madcap that you might think you're watching a Coen Brothers movie. Particularly in a very mean-spirited subplot involving the fate of a blind pit bull, and in a wildly amusing scene involving a car accident and Douglas' work in progress. I think of it as psychological slapstick comedy. The thinking man's pie-in-the-face. The story is riddled with stuff like this that borders on the absurd but is presented as matter-of-factly as possible.
The whole thing with Douglas' female student played by Katie Holmes, for instance. He rents her a room in his house. She clearly has a deep crush on him. And the irony here is that in a strange way this ends up being a parody of the cinematic sexual escapades that Douglas is known for... In another movie, he might have succumbed to her seductions, but he plays a very different low-key character here. Holmes plays the part perfectly too.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on March 31, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
It pretty much all takes over a long weekend of debauchery of one form or another. Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) is a laboring novelist and teacher at a college in Pittsburgh, author Chabon's favorite place to write about (witness: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh). He's working on this novel-in-progress, swearing to his agent (with a transvestite date in tow when he swoops into town for an award banquet) that it's nearly finished when, in reality, it's anything but. He's got a bazillion pages, but the book just isn't going anywhere, certainly not toward any planned or near-at-hand conclusion.
Tripp also has a wife who announces she's leaving him and a mistress (chancellor of the school, as well as the wife of Grady's boss) who tells him she's pregnant. Add to the mix a sexy student who shacks up at Grady's house and the wonderful, brilliant, and horribly confused student played by Tobey Maguire - whose best scene, according to my 19yo son is when, in a marijuana fog, he gets the munchies, lifts the lid of a candy jar, and utters an unforgettable warble of unmitigated joy when he discovers lemon drops.
Then there's a blind dog that ends up dead in the trunk of Grady's car and a gorgeous jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, and, and, and...
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stephen McLeod on April 19, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I liked this movie in the theater, although, as others here have noted, one has to forgive the cloyingly sentimental ending (the original novel handles this better, but not that much better). The performances by Douglas, McDormand, Downey and especially Toby Maguire are first rate. As a matter of fact, I pre-ordered it from Amazon the day after I saw it. Seeing it again on DVD produced mixed emotions.

First: I mean really "first." Before the movie starts, the screen is filled with the HORRIFYING message: "This film has been edited for content." WHAT???? This set up a sense of foreboding that never left me as I watched the movie. Not to worry: the content that was actually edited turns out to be in the list of celebrity suicides cited by Tobey in what I suppose is the movie's first act: Evidently, the theatrical version contained factual mistake[s].

Second: The sound is pretty dull. You'd think a picture that won its only Oscar for best song would have a digital track. It does not. Dolby 5.0 and 2.0 are your choices. Neither very attractive.

Third: Extra Features - REALLY lame. A running commentary by director Hanson would have been nice. The book's author, Michael Chabon, would have been even better. As it is, we get a whimsical tour through Pittsburg with the director. Blyuuck.

Fourth: There are annoying spots in the transfer where the image gets stuck and lines of dialog are lost. I know this has something to do with "layering" and, apparently, can't be avoided, but I've never seen it as bad as on this DVD.

Summing up: This movie never got the attention it deserved from audiences, and now it has gotten a sloppy DVD transfer. What a shame, because this was one of the better movies of 2000.
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