Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Caton-Jones|
|Produced by||Deborah D. Johnson
|Written by||Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman
|Based on||What? Dead...Again?
by Neil B. Shulman
|Starring||Michael J. Fox
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Priscilla Nedd-Friendly|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|August 2, 1991|
Doc Hollywood is a 1991 romantic comedy film directed by Michael Caton-Jones, and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, based on Neil B. Shulman's book, What? Dead...Again?. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, and Woody Harrelson, with Bridget Fonda, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Sternhagen, Roberts Blossom, and Barnard Hughes appearing in supporting roles.
Dr. Benjamin Stone is a hotshot young surgeon who longs to leave the drudgery of a Washington, D.C., emergency room and finally leaps at his chance at more money (for repaying his medical school debts) and less death as a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. On his last day, none of Ben's colleagues will join him for a drink and a cake in his honor has an iced portion of the phrase "Good riddance, asshole" sliced out.
Ben's cross-country drive in a 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster is interrupted when he crashes in the rural hamlet of Grady, South Carolina. The crash damages the fence of local Judge Evans, who sentences him to community service at a nearby hospital. Ben offers to pay for the fence with cash, but the stern judge says the lesson to be learned is his disregard for something the judge worked so hard on by hand, and sentences Ben to community service, which redoubles every time Ben backtalks Judge Evans. Defeated, Ben reports to the local clinic, where Nurse Packer humbles him by recording his community service hours by clocking him in and out, like a factory worker.
Though upset, Ben quickly makes friends with Mayor Nick Nicholson, who is also the owner of the town's cafe, and Melvin, the local mechanic tasked with repairing his car. Ben soon finds his clinic work to be much more laid-back than the emergency room. He has simple cases such as spots before the eyes (from an elderly patient not cleaning her glasses), fishing hook impalings, and even reading mail for a young illiterate couple, Kyle and Mary Owens, whose baby he later delivers.
The experience also humbles Ben when he mistreats a case of mitral valve regurgitation leading to late cyanosis in the child. The town's curmudgeonly doctor, Aurelius Hogue, orders Ben to give the boy a Coca-Cola. Dismissing Hogue's recommendation as rural quackery, Ben calls for a helicopter to transport the boy to a facility in Athens, Georgia, to see a heart specialist: Hogue explains that the boy had chewed his father's tobacco and the carbonic acid component of the soda would relieve his stomach ache.
The two doctors finally bond when Ben saves Hogue after he suffers a near-fatal heart attack. Since Hogue is champing at the bit to retire, Ben is urged by the locals to stay, and is tempted by his budding romance with a tomboyish ambulance driver, Vialula, better known as "Lou." She is a single mother to four-year-old Emma, the product of a brief marriage to Wayne, an exotic dancer, while attending college in New York City. In the process, Ben confides that he grew up in a small town in rural Indiana, where his parents lived and died, and can't see himself confined to a small town. Ben is pardoned from community service after saving Hogue, and is free to go to California after his car is fixed. His departure is delayed, yet again, by a semi-truck plowing into his Porche while he is delivering "Benjamina," Kyle's and Mary's daughter, whom they decided to name for Dr. Stone.
Lou is also pursued by Hank Gordon, a local insurance salesman. One day, Hank waits for Ben at the mayor's lakeside lodge, where Ben has been staying. Ben expects a fight, but Hank explains that though he can't give Lou what Ben can, he's still a better man for her. After the two men talk, Ben comes to realize he's not selfless enough for a life with Lou and plans to not see her anymore. Putting career first, he leaves.
On the west coast, Ben's new boss Dr. Halberstrom (George Hamilton) hires him at the interview, thanks to an unexpected recommendation from Hogue which said that Halberstrom "'...would be a bovine, clodpated, citified moron' if I didn't hire you on the spot." Ben quickly and unexpectedly tires of the superficiality of Beverly Hills, even going so far as to call the "Time & Temperature" number to hear a recording of the weather in Grady. He's surprised to receive a message at work from a woman with a "heavy Southern accent" and rushes to a restaurant, noticing his repaired Porsche in the parking lot, only to find the Mayor's daughter Nancy Lee and Hank, who have come to California. Nancy Lee notices his reticence and realizes where she stands with Ben; while Hank tells Ben he took his own advice to "do what a man's gotta do." Ben returns to Grady, hoping to patch things up with Lou, who takes him back.
- Michael J. Fox as Dr. Benjamin Stone
- Julie Warner as Vialula/"Lou"
- Woody Harrelson as Hank Gordon
- Bridget Fonda as Nancy Lee Nicholson
- Roberts Blossom as Judge Evans
- Barnard Hughes as Dr. Aurelius Hogue
- David Ogden Stiers as Mayor Nick Nicholson
- Frances Sternhagen as Lillian
- George Hamilton as Dr. Halberstrom
Box office and reception
The makers of the Disney/Pixar film Cars have been accused of plagiarizing its plot from this film. "Many reviewers also felt that Cars' plot was too indebted to the 1991 Michael J Fox comedy Doc Hollywood, in which a hotshot Los Angeles doctor learns a new set of values when he is stranded in an average American town. 'It just rips off Doc Hollywood, almost note for note,' said Christy Lemire of the San Francisco Chronicle." Critic Simon Kinnear of Total Film concurred, stating "Actually, this one pretty much is just 'Doc Hollywood with cars.'"
- Lora E. Ide (January 6, 2009). "Residents recall the fun of filming 'Doc Hollywood'". Ocala.com. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- "Chesney Hawkes". iTunes. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- Cerone, Daniel (1991-08-06). "Weekend Box Office : 'Terminator 2' Surrenders Top Spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Fox, David J. (1991-08-20). "Weekend Box Office : The Summer Doldrums Continue". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Fox, David J. (1991-08-27). "Weekend Box Office : List-Toppers Are Listless". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- "Review/Film; A Hollywood Doctor In American Squashland". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Doc Hollywood': Southern Exposure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Doc Hollywood". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Doc Hollywood". Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- "Pixar's Cars stalls with reviewers". The Guardian. June 7, 2006. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Simon Kinnear (July 30, 2012). "50 Great Movies Accused of Being Rip-Offs". Total Film. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Doc Hollywood|
- Doc Hollywood at the Internet Movie Database
- Doc Hollywood at Box Office Mojo
- Doc Hollywood at Rotten Tomatoes