HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen
Porky’s II: The Next Day
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
211
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Traffik
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
Crowhurst
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Loophole
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Gringo
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
   
 
Newest Articles
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
   
 
  Diggstown Seconds Out, Round 25!Buy this film here.
Year: 1992
Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: James Woods, Louis Gossett Jr, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt, Heather Graham, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, Duane Davis, David Fresco, Willie Green, Orestes Matacena, Kim Robillard, John Short, Michael McGrady, Roger Hewlett, Jim Caviezel, Marshall Bell, Benny Urquidez
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gabriel Caine (James Woods) is getting out of prison soon; he's a conman who has not given up his schemes while inside, in fact while there he has helped five men to escape, and the warden (Marshall Bell) is all too aware that he has, only he cannot prove Caine's involvement. His associate, Fitz (Oliver Platt), meets him during visiting hours to discuss their latest scam to do with the nearby Diggstown, whose citizens are obsessed with boxing - the place is named after the boxer who they were most proud of until he suffered a terrible defeat which confined him to a wheelchair. So what does Caine have in mind?

Diggstown was known as Midnight Sting in the United Kingdom, a blatant allusion to a certain other conmen movie which earned itself semi-classic status down the years, but this little item conspicuously failed to carry off the same feat. What it did win was cult status, which was all very well but back in 1992 everyone involved clearly thought they had a crowdpleasing blockbuster on their hands so when it scraped back only about four million dollars it's safe to say there was a lot of disappointment for the filmmakers. What seems to have landed most of the blame was the advertising campaign which put people off seeing it instead of the other way around.

Whether that was true or not, or whether the public just weren't keen on watching a boxing movie in '92 no matter how it was advertised, isn't clear, but what was apparent is that it didn't deserve to flop, because it may have played out an implausible premise but it did so in an undeniably enjoyable fashion. What can you say to a movie which presents James Woods as a fast-talking conman, the sort of role he was born to play and awarded a wealth of funny lines here? Not only that, but Oliver Platt was ideal in much the same vein, and the boxer they choose, Honey Roy Palmer, was played by Louis Gossett Jr in a manner that meant he and Woods should really have been teamed up for other double acts.

It was not to be, because of the aforementioned failure at the box office, but if you appreciated stories where shady characters pulled a fast one on one another with considerable style in a plot filled with action, drama and laughs then you really couldn't turn this one down. Woods' Caine is a hero since he could have used his powers selfishly, but during the course of the narrative he applies them for good thanks to the man who corruptly ensured he owns the region having fixed the final Diggs fight so that he couldn't win, thereby guaranteeing he would make a fortune on the bets of the locals. And that man is? Boo-hiss baddie John Gillon, played with a splendid loathesomeness by Bruce Dern in a cast where director Michael Ritchie reminded us of the great character work of his seventies heyday.

The bet Caine makes with Gillon is that his man Palmer can beat ten bouts of ten different fighters - that's right, we're supposed to believe that Palmer is such a fantastic boxer, even in middle age, that he can survive something like twenty-five rounds and knock out each and every one of those rivals. It's a long shot even without the movie magic to gee it along, and the script, based on the Leonard Wise novel, was careful not to have us too convinced one way or the other about whether Palmer can truly achieve this goal. Meanwhile Gillon adds threats and even murder to the complexities of the wager, making it clear he's not going down without a fight either. Also appearing was Heather Graham as the daughter of one of Caine's prison buddies, helping reveal the extent of the villainy they are up against, and you could argue they made Gillon such an evil character that became implausible as well, but it was all part of an entertainment which supplied seasoned Hollywood qualities to a time where the cool movies were moving away from them. Music by James Newton Howard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 976 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Ritchie  (1938 - 2001)

American director, from television, whose films of the 1970s showed an interesting, sardonic take on America. After sour skiing drama Downhill Racer, he had an unhappy experience on the bizarre Prime Cut before a run of acclaimed movies: political satire The Candidate, the excellent Smile, coarse comedy The Bad News Bears, and another sporting comedy Semi-Tough.

Moving into the 1980s, Ritchie lost his edge with such lukewarm efforts as The Island, underwhelming comedy The Survivors, the not bad Fletch and its very bad sequel, Eddie Murphy vehicle The Golden Child and The Couch Trip, but he made a brief return to form in the early 1990s with boxing comedy Diggstown.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
George White
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
   

 

Last Updated: