In her 1991 book “The Devil’s Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco,” author and critic Julie Salamon lay out in painstaking detail everything that appears to have gone wrong during the production of Brian De Palma’s very giant 1990 turkey “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (updated in 2002).
Based on Tom Wolfe’s book “Vanities” was about Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks), a married Wall Street bond trader, having an affair with a younger woman (Melanie Griffith). Everyone on our globe is wealthy, white, and morally depraved.
America’s Dad Tom Hanks Affimed That This Movie Exposed His ‘Worst Aspects’!
It’s Sherman’s job to cover up the murder and take no responsibility for the death of his lover’s small son, who by Sherman’s car in a rage of racial frenzy; he takes no guilt for anything in his life.
Actor Bruce Willis portrays this thriller’s hotshot, the intoxicated reporter assigned to the case. Actors Morgan Freeman, Saul Rubinek, and John Hancock appear in the film. Tom Hanks’ daughter, played by Kirsten Dunst, was seven years old when the movie.
- “The Bonfire of the Vanities” seeks to make significant pronouncements about injustice, racism, and America’s cloudy morality. Still, it too often falls into bland melodrama, leaving us unsure whether to sympathize with Sherman or consider him a symbol of the era’s ubiquitous turpitude.
- As of this writing, “Vanities” has grossed barely $15 million from its expensive, star-studded budget of $47 million. Just 16 percent of critics gave the film a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes. As Oprah Winfrey interviewed Tom Hanks, he called it the “worst movie” he had ever made.
Established An Essential Connection
“Bonfire” was a household name in 1990, and anybody around would remember that. “Dragnet,” “Big,” and “Turner & Hooch,” Hanks had a string of comedy hits under his belt. “Moonlighting” had just wrapped up, and Bruce Willis had recently topped the box office with Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Look Who’s Talking. For his 20th feature film, “The Untouchables,” and “Casualties of War,” he broke into Hollywood prestige fare. There had been a buzz about Wolfe’s book (first released in 1987) and focused everyone’s attention on this project.
The casting of “Bonfire” has been heavily criticized, with many critics thinking that Tom Hanks was the wrong choice for the character of Sherman McCoy in the film. That is precisely what Gene Siskel said about the book in his review for the Chicago Tribune. Hanks told Oprah that many Wolfe fans would approach Hanks on the street and exclaim that he is unsuited for the role. Perhaps Hanks is too likable by nature to play like this character. When confronted by Winfrey, Hanks recalls the thorn in his side that compelled him to go deeper and keep looking into something he couldn’t quite fathom.
How did he come to take the role, wonders Winfrey? “Because I was asked to,” he said. That was a big deal back then, too.
If I’m still interested in what I’m doing
“Bonfire” went down in flames and became one of the most infamous tragedies. Currently, Hanks only accepts roles that he is enthusiastic about. When Winfrey inquired how he measures success, Hanks said, “By whether I still have a passion for my profession.”
When Hanks finished his role in Bonfire, he went on to feature in some of his most famous films, including “A League of Their Own,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Philadelphia,” and “Forrest Gump.”
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