This early effort by director Alan Parker is lively but jagged as it follows four students through their years in the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. Rather predictably, the kids fall into four clearly defined stereotypes: brazen, gay and hypersensitive, prickly, shy. Fame makes up for a disjointed presentation with a lot of heart and a great soundtrack (for which it won two Academy Awards). The hopes and disappointments, failures and successes of these teens are fodder for emotional scenes and exuberant dancing in the streets. It also turned out to be the first of many imitators and spawned a popular television series. (It was the breakout film for the short-lived feature-film career of Irene Cara, who sang the title song.) --Rochelle O'Gorman
You might not get a thrill from the sight of Faye Dunaway and Marlon Brando throwing popcorn into each other's mouths, but that didn't stop this movie from gaining a new lease on life thanks to cable television and home video. It's a quirky romantic comedy about a mental patient (Johnny Depp) who claims to be Don Juan, the world's greatest lover, and he gets quite a few women to believe it's true. Brando plays the psychiatrist who tries to analyze his patient's apparent delusion, and Dunaway plays Brando's wife, who wants to inject some Don Juan-ish romance into their marital routine. Walking a fine line between precious comedy, wistful drama, and delicate fantasy, the movie gets a big dose of charm from its esteemed cast, with Depp delivering dialogue that would have sounded ludicrous from a lesser actor. Don Juan DeMarco may not be a great movie, but it is guaranteed to put you in an amorous mood. --Jeff Shannon
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