From the Archive: City Slickers


In picking old reviews that feel appropriate for unearthing in the warmer months, I’ve pulled twice previously from the edition of The Reel Thing, our bygone radio program, that looked back on the top-grossing films of summer 1991. So why not go ahead and complete the excavation of my portion of that particular show. City Slickers finished in the third position on the particular chart. It is with renewed amazement that I look at the numbers noted here, specifically that there were only three movies to cross the $100 million threshold that summer. Now if we have a summer in which only three films open to that amount, panic buttons are struck all over Hollywood. In keeping with some recent reminiscing over days as a movie theater employee that has cropped in my social media feeds, I should report that I can’t think of this movie without hearing my old coworker Tracy gush, “Norman!” in my head.

In at number three for the summer of 1991 is the story of three middle-aged men who hit the trail and find themselves. CITY SLICKERS opened to modest expectations and exceeded them all, becoming one of only three summer films to pull in over 100-million dollars at the box office. Though Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and Bruno Kirby all had their names above the title, the real stars of this hilarious comedy are the two men who wrote the script: Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. The men who wrote the 1988 hit PARENTHOOD made this story about three men facing mid-life crisis into the funniest film since, well, PARENTHOOD. And like PARENTHOOD, CITY SLICKERS doesn’t just settle for laughs. The film creates a believable and enviable relationship between the three me. Their meaningful friendship makes the jokes funnier and the sentimental moments more special. With a total take of 112.7 million dollars, CITY SLICKERS is the summer’s most well-deserved hit.

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