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Accidental Rewatches: Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus has been on the telly a lot lately. I guess that means it's October? I started to watch but Bette Midler forced me away with her insane voicework. I swear every other word in every line of her dialogue she treats like it's the climax of the sentence AND the movie. It's just impossible to listen to. Good grief that movie is noisy.

And so much mugging! I'm surprised I still had a wallet by the time the credits rolled.

Remember when Sarah Jessica Parker was a silver screen sex symbol? That girl has had so many acts in her career. The comic but non-ironic sex symbol years were inbetween the memorable TV personas from the early Square Pegs geekery and the Sex and the City Mega-Icon status. Let's call it the "SanDeE*" years. What a strong stretch that was for her. So many enjoyable performances in mostly good films: L.A. Story, Ed Wood, Honeymoon in Vegas, Til There Was You, Miami Rhapsody, Mars Attacks!, The First Wives Club

Do you think her career has a fourth act in it?

But back to Hocus Pocus... when was the last time you watched it? And do you think the remake/sequel idea that was floated last year is ever going to happen?

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Reader Comments (26)

Did you know that DiCaprio was going to play the lead role, but ultimately backed out in favor of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"?

Anyway, I looooove "Hocus Pocus," and ALL 90s kids do, too. It is a Halloween classic as far as we're concerned!

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

I'm with Tyler on this one. It's soaked, caked in nostalgia for me, so I can't be objective with it. Always loved it, always will. Same thing with Hook and the Goonies.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Thinking about a fourth act for Parker is sort of depressing. All the women from the series deserve visibility and quality material in service of their gifts. But the nature of the American industry is soul crushingly cruel.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Those were the SJP golden years for me.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I've only seen it once, despite my love for SanDeE and The Divine Miss M. I'm not really looking forward to a second viewing, although maybe I should because Bette always recalls it as one her finest moments in film.

A 4th act? Sure, why not? I know the Internet hates her, but she could have a comeback on TV with another show. She should also try Broadway. Matthew please, convice her.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It's probably been at least seven years since I last saw it. I'm a fan but maybe only because I haven't seen it recently. I don't have a problem with it being remade (maybe I said otherwise when it was revealed? don't remember).

I want to remind everyone about the Baby Jane remake which should happen more than the East of Eden one. I saw Eden a few days ago and liked it a lot. The thing is, Eden is more about the ideas than the performances whereas Baby Jane can give two great actresses room to do interesting stuff without us feeling that the movie didn't say anything the original didn't.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Aww, I've always loved this movie. I'm always happy to re-visit it whenever it's on.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrittani

Hocus Pocus is a masterclass in playing to the back row that all young actors should watch. Young theater actors. Film actors should avoid it.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

robert g -- good point. you can read those facial expressions even if your eyes are shot and you're squinting and in the next room. THEATER

October 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yeah, I'm not sure if SJP made all of her career decisions, but whoever did is a genius. They knew just when to move in a new direction at exactly the right time. And I agree with Tyler, 90s kids all have a special place in their hearts for this movie.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I actually re-watched a few months ago. Childhood favorite.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I'm a 90s kid but didn't see this until the early 2000s. I've never been a fan. I find it grating.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

I'm a 50's kid, but a huge Bette Midler fan and I really like this film if only because it's kinda stupid.

Just saw it last week, DVR'd it for future play.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen

And just to say, I watch this every year and still love it. It's good marathon material with Curse of the Cat People (the Sleepy Hollow recitation is to die for), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Bad Seed, and any of the Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe films. You can sub in The Birds for any of those and the marathon still works.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Are you kidding? I just watched this the other night on DVD. 'Hocus Pocus' is a CLASSIC. Bette hams it up, sure, but no one discounts her namesake, Bette Davis, for doing the same thing in a number of her films (namely, 'Baby Jane'). And let's not forget Kathy Najimy. My goodness is she hilarious.

I've gone back and watched a number of films that I loved in my childhood and thought, "Really?" It's hard not to judge the crappy dialogue, shortcuts, and bad acting that you never noticed when you were just a kid. But a few of those films survive the test of time. 'Hocus' is one of them. As does 'Heavyweights,' 'The Witches,' 'Huck Finn,' 'Richie Rich,' and 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.'

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKBJr.

She'll be back in a few years witha tv show.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Nathaniel, I'm kinda shocked by your disapproval of the movie's over-the-top-ness. It is so glorious! I learned everything about what it took to be a queen from this and "Death Becomes Her" (My parents really should have been more pro-active about what movies I was renting from the store). This is my favorite Bette, with the exception of "The Rose" (Viva the Rose).

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Never liked this film.

SJP will have a fourth and probably a fifth act. She is wisely (or someone is doing it for her) waiting out the Sex and the City hoop-la so she can emerge with less expectation. Kim has done well moving on with her European film/tv work and allowing herself to move into more mature roles. Cynthia limited herself with work and the other one had the least chance of a career anyway.

I'm with Steve about "The Rose." Midler has never been better. I did like her in First Wives.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

i agree with Beau,It's almost impossible for 90's kids to be objective when it comes to Hocus Pocus - and Death Becomes Her, and The Craft and that one where Kathleen Turner plays a psycho-mom who kills everybody. The over-the-top-ness is part of the fun. I just love, love, crazy love these movies and no review could ever destroy this love (no-one will tear us apart!!). It's those films with which you have this intimate and ancient relationship. No matter how much Tarkovsky and Truffaut you've been occupying yourself in later years, when these October classics are on TV, you're a kid all over again. And you get scared/excited when the witches sing "I put a spell on you", you hate stupid teenagers for not controlling their curiosity and opening that creepy one-eyed book again and you cry because Thackery Binx needs to leave. There's no escaping it.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClara

I could see SJP anchoring a series again, but I think movies are over for her (apart from the very forgettable kinds of films that she and Jennifer Anniston favor). Bette Midler went from very interesting and fresh to one of the most difficult and unlikable people in the industry. You can see it in her work. I would pay $50 to watch her face earlier this year when she was told she was not going to be nominated for a Tony.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda Carlisle

Also a 90's kid, and also I love this in a nostalgic way. Have they done a musical for this yet? Because it seems perfect for a musical adaptation.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

For real Midler disgruntledness check out her 1992 g/globes speech on Youtube after she WON Best Actress in For The Boys,totally ungracious.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Ok, I'm also a 90s kid (93) so I LOVE Hocus Pocus. It's a must watch every year in October. And I love Bette Midler in it! Lol. I feel like it wouldnt be the same if she wasn't so balls to the walls. I think the trio of witches is just great, funny moments from all. I'm a huge Bette Midler fan and she actually said on her Inside the Actors Studio interview that she thought Hocus Pocus was her best acting moment because she was so consistent. I wouldn't agree of course, if anything, too consistent because she could've downplayed it at times, but again I feel like the movie wouldn't be the same. And of course The Rose will always be her best in my opinion.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

John T, the movie studio has a lot of musicals on the docket. Hocus Pocus is one of the ones they're considering. It's a matter of time and pre-production hell.

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

i love this movie! bette is the movie for me, she was great!

October 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpoppy

i worked at a movie theatre (first job!) when this movie came out and it is the only movie where a moviegoer came out of the theatre, demanded to talk to the manager, and asked for her money back, calllng it the worst movie she had ever seen. When the manager told her it's a risk every time you go see a movie ("you may not like it"), the woman argued that the theatre shouldn't have even booked the film due to its poor quality and said the theatre was doing a disservice to its customers by advertising the film as something worth seeing when everyone who worked at the theatre knew it wasn't. The manager ended up giving her a voucher just to get her out of theatre without causing a scene.

October 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjtagliere

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