Biloxi Blues (film)
|Directed by||Mike Nichols|
|Produced by||Ray Stark|
|Written by||Neil Simon|
|Music by||Georges Delerue|
|Edited by||Sam O'Steen|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||106 min.|
|Box office||$51,684,798 (worldwide)|
Biloxi Blues is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Mike Nichols, written by Neil Simon, and starring Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken. Simon adapted his semi-autobiographical 1985 play of the same title, the second chapter in what is known as the Eugene trilogy, the first being Brighton Beach Memoirs and the third being Broadway Bound.
The story centers on Eugene Morris Jerome, a 20-year-old Jewish Brooklynite who is drafted into the United States Army during the last year of World War II and is sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training. While there he learns to cope with fellow soldiers from all walks of life, falls in love, and loses his virginity in less than ideal circumstances, all while having to cope with an eccentric drill instructor.
- Matthew Broderick as Eugene Morris Jerome
- Christopher Walken as Sergeant First Class Merwin J. Toomey
- Michael Dolan as James J. Hennesey
- Matt Mulhern as Joseph Wykowski
- Corey Parker as Arnold B. Epstein
- Casey Siemaszko as Don Carney
- Markus Flanagan as Roy Selridge
- Penelope Ann Miller as Daisy
- Park Overall as Rowena
- Christopher Phelps as Private Phelps
Period songs heard on the soundtrack include "How High the Moon" by Morgan Lewis and Nancy Hamilton, "Blue Moon" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, "Marie" by Irving Berlin, "Solitude" by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, and Edgar DeLange, "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)" by Sam H. Stept, Charles Tobias and Lew Brown.
Biloxi Blues received generally positive reviews from critics. It currently holds an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "a very classy movie, directed and toned up by Mike Nichols so there's not an ounce of fat in it." He added, "Mr. Nichols keeps the comedy small, precise and spare. Further, the humor is never flattened by the complex logistics of movie making, nor inflated to justify them." Rita Kempley of the Washington Post thought the film was "an endearing adaptation" and "overall Nichols, Simon and especially Broderick find fresh threads in the old fatigues" despite some "fallow spells and sugary interludes."
Variety called it "an agreeable but hardly inspired film" and added, "Even with high-powered talents Mike Nichols and Matthew Broderick aboard, [the] World War II barracks comedy provokes just mild laughs and smiles rather than the guffaws Simon's work often elicits in the theater."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "pale, shallow, unconvincing and predictable" and added, "nothing in this movie seems fresh, well-observed, deeply felt or even much thought about ... It's just a series of setups and camera moves and limp dialogue and stock characters who are dragged on to do their business."
The film opened on 1,239 screens in the US and earned $7,093,325 on its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office. It eventually grossed $43,184,798 in the US and $8,500,000 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $51,684,798.