It was probably the biggest movie story of 1987 -- but for one second let's just forget all we've read about Elaine May's Ishtar. Yes, it went way over-budget; yes, it's a weird and inconsistent piece of comedy cinema; and yes, it's a flick that was almost certainly torpedoed on purpose by a newly-placed studio head ... but have you actually seen it?

I saw Ishtar the weekend it opened in May of '87. My sister hated it; my mom and I agreed it was "kinda cute," but since I was a bit too young to "know" Warren Beatty or Dustin Hoffman all that well, I remember wondering what all the negative press was about. Well, you can read a concise version of the film's tempestuous production and even more arduous post-production right here at Wikipedia ... or you can watch Ishtar for yourself (right here at SlashControl) and then let us know what you think.

Since I'm still working on my "Best Pictures" project, I think it'd be monumentally counter-productive to spend another two hours with Ishtar -- but you know what? I absolutely will some time this month. I do remember the flick offering a few very funny musical scenes (the two stars play baaaad performers, and lots of their tunes are ineptly hilarious), the lovely visage of Ms. Isabelle Adjani, some typically dry wit from the great Charles Grodin, and a few loud action scenes toward the end.

So give the flick a spin and see if it's truly deserving of all those years of snark and scorn. I mean, how often does Roger Ebert give a movie one half of a star? (Note: Ishtar has never been released on Region 1 DVD, which makes no sense to me. If it lost that much money 23 years ago, you'd think they'd still want to squeeze every last nickel out of it today.)

Bite the bullet and brave Ishtar now!
categories Cinematical