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romancing the stone

ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)

When romance novelist Joan Wilder travels to South American in search of her recently kidnapped sister, she finds herself in need of some help. Taking to the wild forests with the help of the precariously mercenary Jack Colton, Joan goes in search of her sister, dodging bullets, near-death scenarios, and interesting plot twists alone the way.

The cast includes: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito, Zack Norman, Alfonso Arau, and Manuel Ojeda.

Director Robert Zemeckis with "Romancing the Stone" made a nearly perfect romantic, action, comedy vehicle.

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"She's a girl from the big city. He's a reckless soldier of fortune. For a
fabulous treasure, they share an adventure no one could imagine... or survive."

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A drab, but very successful romantic novelist, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), begins to experience the adventure she writes about, when she travels to Colombia in search of her kidnapped sister, Elaine (Mary Ellen Trainer). She finds herself encountering jungle danger, in the form of the murderous Zolo (Manuel Ojeda I), rebels, and a dashing mercenary, Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), who reluctantly comes to her aid. There's also a valuable map that leads to a gem that everyone involved is pursuing, which is the "stone" referred to in the movie's title.

Robert Zemeckis does his usual fine job in directing this exciting film, which shows in the pacing, and the performances of this terrific cast.

Kathleen Turner really shines as the shy, unworldly romance novelist. She has great chemistry with Douglas, and really helps carry the storyline.

In the supporting cast, Danny DeVito, who plays one of the kidnappers, Ralph, is a hoot as a greedy, whiny treasure hunter.

Zack Norman (Ira), the cousin of Ralph, is great as the slimy, head kidnapper, a real sweetheart of a guy, who has pet alligators, and is willing to use kidnapping and coercion as a way to make a living.

Manuel Ojeda plays a great, evil black heart, Zoro, who is a merciless, corrupt bad guy who will kill anyone who gets in his way, in his efforts to get what he wants. His black soul is shown to the audience, earlier in the story, back in New York.

This entertaining screenplay was written by Dianne Thomas, who was a waitress in Malibu, which was her only produced screenplay, prior to her untimely death in an auto accident.

This screenplay is riveting, exciting, as well as fun and witty. It feels like a good old fashioned adventure movie, but has all the visual beauty of today's lush, visual photography and on location magic. Romance grows in between the exciting sequences.

Favorite scenes:

1) Jack rescues Joan from the clutches of Zolo, in the middle of a jungle road, after the bus Joan mistakenly got on, thanks to Zolo, crashes into Jack's Jeep, which is full of wild birds. The bus's occupants inadvertently leave her alone with the murderous Zolo, when they start walking toward the nearest town.

2) The sequence of scenes with Juan, the drug kingpin, are very entertaining. This time, it's who Joan is that saves Joan and Jack from Juan and his gang, turns Juan's attitude around toward Jack and Joan, and inspires Juan to help them later in their wild escape by using Juan's Jeep, "Little Mule."

3) Danny DeVito's hilarious scene in the police station is a great comedic bit.

4) The showdown between the good guys, the kidnappers and Zolo, with alligators, knives and such. This sequence of scenes is an example of life imitating art.

5) The last scene in the film is a real crowd pleaser. Without giving away the ending, if you like romantic novels, or romantic movies, the end will please you, AND your date.

This is a great date movie because it's all about romance, adventure, and about finding love in the most unlikely places. Hey, you might find love on your couch (or change under the cushions). Who knows?

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If you enjoyed ROMANCING THE STONE, you may like JEWEL OF THE NILE, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, BACK TO THE FUTURE 3, THE MUMMY, THE MUMMY RETURNS, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, and/or EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.