Switching Channels (1988) Poster

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9/10
Sooo much better than Broadcast News
badmanllp23 February 2004
This is really worth rediscovering - Turner and co really throw themselves into it and (shock) Reeve sends himself up excellently (particularly good in the 'vertigo in the lift' scene.

As revealed elsewhere, it's a remake of The Front Page - in fact right now can't think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than a double bill of these two in front of a nice fire :-)

So - not going to change your life - but I'll cheer you up.
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10/10
Great late 80's comedy
JohnLonce14 July 2006
This is my favorite comedy from the 1980's. I really wish this movie was out on DVD but for now I have to settle for my old VHS of it. It is a remake of the old Cary Grant "His Gal Friday" movie from the 1940's. Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds & Kathleen Turner play off one another and have great chemistry together. One funny scene has Christopher Reeve in a glass elevator having a panic attack because he has a fear of heights. This movie also stars Chris Reeve's "Superman I & II" co-star Ned Beaty as a crooked politician running for governor. All in all, this a highly fast passed, really funny comedy. I very much recommend renting this from your local video store.
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8/10
Very funny
preppy-316 January 2003
Updating of "The Front Page" to 1988. Star reporter Christy (Kathleen Turner) on the Satellite Network News is burnt out. She takes a vacation and meets big, hunky, rich Blaine (Christopher Reeve) and falls in love (only in movies...). She plans to leave work to marry Blaine, but her ex-husband and boss Sully (Burt Reynolds) is unwilling to let her go and tries to sabotage their plans any way he can.

Not as good as 1940s "His Girl Friday" but not as bad as the 1970s "The Front Page"--it really does work. It's quick, loud and never stops moving (especially at the end). It also helps that the entire cast is in full throttle--Turner, Reeve and Reynolds are relaxed, eager and full of energy--they really put across the movie. Turner and Reynolds especially are surprising--who knew they could do comedy? And Reeve kids his goody two-shoes image and his Superman character (he's afraid of heights in this one). Also Ned Beatty has quite a few funny moments as a slimy politician.

The updating from the newspaper world to cable TV occasionally doesn't work and there are some really contrived situations here and there but not enough to destroy the movie. Also quite dated--get a look at those HUGE cordless phones! Still I enjoyed this film a lot.

A bomb (sadly) in its day--this deserves rediscovery.
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9/10
Underrated and overlooked (**REVISED**)
tvscalvin10 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER This movie should be (but hardly ever is) judged on its own merits as opposed to as a remake of "His Girl Friday" an "The Front Page". It is a fast paced movie full of twists and turns and political satire that I still find hilarious and edgy. Part of what makes it work is that the story takes place at a Chicago-based cable news network. The newspaper, which was regarded as the most up-to-date medium in "The Front Page," is mocked by news anchors as primitive while they check their makeup.

Kathleen Turner is Christine Colleran, the tough news anchor with a conscience; Burt Reynolds hilariously plays Sully, her ex-husband/boss who unscrupulously scouts stories while being badgered by the Ted Turner-esque head of the network to put on more "smutless fires". Christopher Reeve plays Christine's one-dimensional yuppie fiance, Blaine Bingham. Henry Gibson makes a surprising turn as the timid Ike Roscoe, who is on death row for killing his son's drug dealer (who happened to be an undercover cop).

The story revolves around Roscoe's execution: the gung-ho Attorney General (Ned Beatty) wants Roscoe executed so he can win the upcoming Governor's election. The Governor (a Reagan-esque Charles Kimbrough) wants to pardon Roscoe so he can win the election. TV reporters are scrambling like rats around a carcass looking for a hot (and preferably exclusive) scoop. The only people who seem concerned for Roscoe himself are Christine and Roscoe's attorney girlfriend, Pamela, derisively referred to as "the conscience of America."

Meanwhile, Sully is trying to stop Christine from quitting the news business so she can live with Blaine in New York. First, Sully has his interns book all New York-bound flights leaving within the next 24 hours. Then he has Blaine subjected to strip searches and sends the acrophobic Blaine to a skyscraper with a glass elevator. Then Sully tries one last tactic to seduce Christine back into the news business, and subsequently back into his life: to have her do one last interview with Ike Roscoe. It would bring in monster ratings, and oh yeah, it might get the guy pardoned or whatever.

And if you're looking for a history lesson, watch Christine talking to Blaine on her "cell phone."
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9/10
Nice Updating of the Front Page
rollo_tomaso9 March 2001
I thought the updating of the Front Page to the electronic era was surprisingly relevant and poignant. Henry Gibson is a standout in an excellent cast. The laughs and stories are updated for modern audiences and lose surprisingly little in the translation. The chemistry between Reynolds and Turner is pretty hot. All in all quite entertaining.
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6/10
Acceptable version about known story in which an attractive TV anchorwoman want to marry tycoon but his mean ex-husband impedes it .
ma-cortes14 June 2012
Rip-roaring modernized fourth remake of the classic newspaper comedy ¨The Front Page¨ or ¨His girl friend ¨ makes some memorable exchanges and acceptable acting from everyone . Cynical TV editor named Sully (Burt Reynolds) wants to get a big scoop on an execution which involves convincing star reporter (Kathleen Turner) to come back to work and put off her marriage to handsome millionaire (Christopher Reeve) . As the television news chief courts his anchorwoman ex-wife with an eleventh-hour story . Sully's tries to keep her in town and break up her upcoming marriage takes place against the backdrop of a botched death row . Kathleen can't resist covering some good news , even when it mean helping a condemned man (Henry Gibson) getaway the law as she attempts to help an innocent man is about to be executed . And the escaped convicted murderer offers the journalist an exclusive interview . Other reporters also give hilarious acting in this breathless pursuit of an exclusive with the escaped death row inmate .

Great cast gives powerful performances as Burt Reynolds as a scheming TV managing producer and Kathleen Turner as a convincing star anchorwoman and Christopher Reeve as an incautious businessman . Agreeable remake of the Ben Hecht , Charles MacArthur's play about a cunning managing producer of a cable news network program and his ambitious reporter named Christy who is his ex-wife and best anchorwoman . Jonathan Reynolds's brilliantly tart screenplay overlaps dialogue and scenes to carry the black farce along the roller-coasted speed . Enjoyable performance from Kathleeen Turner as ace TV journalist who wants to quit the business and get married and likable Burt Reynolds as an editor who finds out his main reporter wants to leave him and gets in the way . Inventive and furious screen combats in which Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds are given equal footing with staccato dialog and sparkling interpretations . Phenomenal playing from everyone , including a top-notch secondary cast as Ned Beatty , George Newbern , Tony Rosato , Monica Parker , Al Waxman , Barry Flatman and many others . Colorful cinematography and atmospheric musical score by Michael Legrand . Functional direction by Ted Kotcheff (First Blood , North Dallas forty , Uncommon valor) render this frequent-told story less funny than usual , though achieved moderated success . Rating : 6,5 . Worthwhile watching .

Other versions about this classic story are the following : 1931 ¨The Front Page¨ by Lewis Milestone with Adolph Menjou , Edward Everett Horton , Mae Clark and Pat O'Brien in his film debut ; ¨His Girl Friday ¨ 1940 by Howard Hawks with Gary Grant , Ralph Bellamy and Rosalind Russell with the pivotal character assigned to a woman instead a man ; and do't miss this stunning adaptation ¨Front page¨ by the great Billy Wilder with Jack Lemmon as journalist , Walter Matthaw as manging editor and Carol Burnett .
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4/10
Saved from oblivion by a bright ending
gcd7031 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Ted Kotcheff's attempt to send up the mass media (especially television) is yet another disappointment from a director who has shown talent previously. "Switching Channels" is for the most part rather corny, and if it wasn't for the marked improvement at the end of the film, it would have been very dull indeed.

Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds make good sparring partners, and the supporting cast (which includes Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty and Henry Gibson) are fair, but none of them are good enough to really lift proceedings.

A movie that has its moments, but nowhere near enough of them.

Monday, February 8, 1993 - Video
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I loved it
Windwalkerz1 July 2002
I loved this movie. I thought Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds were great together. Christopher Reeves was perfect. I loved the inventiveness of hiding the criminal in the bottom space of the copier as opposed to the roll top desk used in His gal Friday. I am just sorry that this is not available anywhere. If you liked Burt in this try to find Rent a Cop with Liza Minelli. Forgive spelling error in actors names.
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Smutless fires...film at 7 & 9 p.m.
tgreene_msp25 March 2002
Anyone can make any sort of commentary on how this film didn't live up to its heritage as the "umpteenth" remake of the movie "His Girl Friday", or the original "The Front Page", but in this case, I prefer to take the film on its own merits, especially in light of how things have been since its release.

First of all, no one has to get on a soapbox and talk about how the chief supporting actor of this film (Chris Reeve) has been in the time since its release. The movie "Speechless", with Mike Keaton and Geena Davis in my opinion stands as a much better reference point, if one is looking for one, for Mr. Reeve's work before his accident. Instead, I like to look at his role in this as seeing how he was moving away from his Superman stereotype. The man has worked with some of Hollywood's A & B list leading men over the last twenty years, ranging from Michael Caine to Morgan Freeman. While he was no Ralph Bellamy in this film, I don't recall anyone saying he was supposed to be when the film was made. After all, he was only supposed to play the type of character Ralph played in the earlier remake, and if they had wanted Ralph's nod on the film, (Especially since he was the only surviving castmember) why didn't they get him to play the Network Owner's part?

Then there is Burt Reynolds' character. While I don't think they gave him the best lines they could have in some scenes, I felt, and still feel that he played the part of the Station Manager/ex-husband in a role that was not out of range for him. However, if you want to sit there and compare him to Cary Grant's role, I ask that you do one thing before you do so. Go out and rent "His Girl Friday", and then fast forward to the scene where Cary goes "Oh, Walter!", and then try to imagine how easy it would have been to get Burt to do that scene in the same way.

Finally, but in no means last, there is the heroine of the movie, played by Kathleen Turner. Ms. Turner has always played capable women who can be independent when they need to be, and continued to do so here. One scene of note in this movie is her reaction to the story about kazoo players and the President of the United States at the beginning of the film. When you consider the fact that Hollywood has repeatedly told us that modern broadcast journalism's motto is "if it bleeds, it leads", and they seem to be living up to that on the local news broadcasts, I as a viewer would want the person giving me the news to crack up on a story about Kazoo players, long before they ever did about someone going postal at a Luby's Cafeteria.

The point in the movie where one can draw a strong similarity between the original remake and this one begins in the the interview at the prison. The scene here does not play out as a remake of the same lines and dialogue as the original said by new people, and one does have to admit that you can't exactly go in too many different directions with that as part of your storyline.

Also, in my opinion, the story does demonstrate much more detail about one thing that the Grant-Russell movie only touched on. There is a changing of the guard going on in the business. The older seasoned journalists in the main story have or are changing positions. Sully has moved on to Producer, and is now fighting a constant battle over lead stories, rather than deadlines. An example of this is where he makes the comment to his boss, in jest, about having a team going all over Chicago looking for "Smutless fires". Christy is also following the "grass is greener" principle, as she is leaving SNN for a job as morning anchor in New York, a show with a Willard Scott-type weatherman and fake furniture.

In my opinion, the only ones who really weren't well-developed as well as they could have been were Ned Beatty and Charles Kimbrough's characters. While it was interesting to see a man who would later go on to play a television journalist in a long running TV series (Kimbrough was "Jim Dyle" on Murphy Brown), the portrayal of them as a simple-minded Governor, and a crooked-dealing DA both running for governor seemed to me to be a mixed message over which story should have been covered. Everyone likes a good political debate, but at what cost, or should that be whose cost?
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6/10
Umpteenth version of the Front Page
SMK-413 December 1998
This umpteenth version of the Front Page story made the quite appropriate adaptation from newspaper journalism to television.

Although the character names have been changed we have no problems identifying the main characters of the Front Page. As in His Girl Friday, Hildy is played by a woman and Kathleen Turner was the ideal choice for this role at the time. Burt Reynolds takes on the Walter Burns character, but he neither has the charm of Cary Grant [His Girl Friday] nor the comic timing of Walter Matthau [Front Page, The (1974)] - but then, who has? The only serious miscasting is Christopher Reeve who just can't match the whimpish Ralph Bellamy.

All in all it's not as good as the previous (excellent) versions, but it is still quite enjoyable. A story with that many remakes normally has a stinker amongst the lot, but this one has not (so far).
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8/10
CHEER! - (8 stars out of 10)
Front-Row-Reviews26 November 2019
The stage curtains open ...

In the tradition of comedic melodramas comes this hidden gem starring Kathleen Turner, Burt Reynolds and Christopher Reeve. "Switching Channels" is a re-make of 1931's "The Front Page" and 1940's "His Girl Friday". Madcap humor, witty and quick dialogue, and a few over-the-top moments make this a movie worth watching.

When news reporter, Christy Colleran (Turner), goes on a much needed vacation, she meets and becomes engaged to a sporting goods mogul (Reeve). After she returns to the news station and informs the news director (Reynolds), who also happens to be her ex-husband, that she is quitting to get married, he does everything in his power to break them up and keep her reporting the news. Because Christy IS the news and without her, their ratings would plummet. The story is set against the execution of an innocent man who they are trying to get the Governor to pardon. Things get hilariously crazy leading to the film's climactic finish.

This movie was reviewed badly, was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards, was considered to be a box office bomb, and Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds literally grew to hate each other because of this movie. So why did I like it so much? It made me laugh. This is definitely what I would call a guilty pleasure. It is so wrong that they got it right - for example the desperation of a news reporter and the lengths they would go to just to get the scoop on a hot story.

I loved "Switching Channels". All the bad stuff aside, what is left is a very funny movie. I recommend this one for anyone who doesn't take anything too seriously. 8 stars out of 10.
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6/10
Kathleen Turner makes me ask, "Murphy who?"
mark.waltz31 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I easily could have given this 8 out of 10 stars, but for this remake of "His Girl Friday" , an excellent variation of "The Front Page", the presence of Burt Reynolds giving a very smug performance prevents that from happening. What works are the performances of Kathleen Turner, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty and Henry Gibson in an otherwise excellent film with a terrific script. A different actor in the role that Cary Grant hysterically portrayed would have added the Romantic conflict. Just needed to make the triangle work.

Turner and Reynolds reporters are at odds over there professional differences. Turner is now engaged to Reeve and comes in to work for her last shift, ending up involving the potential executive of convicted murderer Henry Gibson. Executing the gentle Gibson (who shot a drug dealing cop responsible for the death of his son) is like purposely leaving Gilligan stranded on the island forever, and the audience routes for him to somehow get out of this crisis. Governor candidate Ned Beatty wants to score votes from the upper class and beat current Governor Charles Kimbrough who wants to give Gibson a pardon. Turner has an interview with Gibson that aligns support in Gibson's favor, but Beatty arranges an earlier execution that ultimately causes Gibson's escape.

It's ironic to see Kimbrough in this, just as he started "Murphy Brown", and Turner is the perfect choice to essay the Rosalind Russell role, character who was the Murphy Brown of the early 1940's. Her chemistry with Reynolds isn't bad, but he seems to have no heart, even on screen obviously condescending to her. Reeve is the perfect stooge, and his elevator breakdown scene is a classic. Gibson is touching, and Beatty is equally as nefarious as he was in "Network" which makes him a fascinating and truly memorable villain. The minor characters are cats so brilliantly that it seems almost to be a pastiche of the world of Television journalism and that rises this up even more. Had it not been for the disappointing performance of its leading man, I would have ranked this as a modern classic.
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8/10
In a great tradition
bkoganbing7 September 2018
The Front Page is one of those theater properties that apparently is not tiring with the public any time soon. Either remaking it as a period piece the way Billy Wilder did or updating it like this film and switching it to broadcast television journalism the laughs are there and the issues are the same. The Broadway play and first film adaption with also talked about bloviating politicians who campaign on law and order. If anything it's worse now.

Howard Hawks saw the possibilities in The Front Page as a boy/girl romance by making the original role of the reporter as a woman. What he got was one of my favorite Cary Grant films. Switching Channels is a remake of His Girl Friday and the roles Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Bellamy played are now done by Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner, and Christopher Reeve. And of course Reynolds is now a news producer, Turner his ace reporter, and Reeve the handsome rich doofus she wants to marry.

Again it's an outrageously corrupt Ned Beatty playing the Cook County District Attorney who primarying the ineffectual Governor of Illinois Charles Kimbrough. He got a conviction on Henry Gibson for murdering a cop and he's looking to see that as Gibson burns in the electric chair, he can become governor and more. Kimbrough is the kind who takes a poll before he goes to the bathroom. But Gibson escapes on the night he's to die and sets off a whole chain of events in which elected officials are toppled, romance gets redirected, and corruption exposed.

It is fascinating how on track Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur were when they wrote The Front Page. We could remake it again updating it with internet journalism without too much of a change in the plot.

Start thinking of who could be the stars in yet a 21st century remake of this classic.
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6/10
When it's hot, it sizzles
Mr-Fusion7 January 2015
It's obvious from the get-go that SWITCHING CHANNELS is a HIS GIRL Friday remake for the '80s (can't escape it, it's beat-for-beat), but the magic of this movie's opening, say, 30 minutes is that the performances of the three stars draw you right in and make you forget the other movie. Kathleen Turner throws herself right into comic absurdity as a cracking- yup news anchor, and Christopher Reeve is one he'll of a vain buffoon. He does it so well. But Burt Reynolds lights up as he stomps around the newsroom, and his back-and-forth patter with Turner is genuinely funny. He even plays the good ol' boy charm to the hilt with a mischievous twinkle on his eye. It's beautiful stuff, I've never seen something like that from him.

But the movie sadly does not maintain this terrific sense of humor, even s the cast is tripping over themselves in the name of screwball mayhem. It's not bad, just that the second half never rises above amusing.

6/10
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8/10
great screenplays win every time
debruyn-864-2361277 October 2010
Nobody expects greatness from actors like Burt Reynolds and Chris Reeves but they do have a certain charm and together with the wonderful Kathleen Turner, a competent director, some good character actors and a great script have produced an hilarious movie. As other reviewers have noted, the chemistry between Reynolds and Turner brings a lot to the movie and even though the dialogue has been completely re-written it works as well as it did in 1940 for Cary Grant in His Girl Friday (the second movie version of The Front Page and one of the funniest movies of all time). Interestingly, my DVD is called Scoop (rather than Switching Channels) - who knows why the name was changed but the choice of name is amusing. It seems likely that it is a reference to the eponymous Evelyn Waugh novel written in 1938 satirising the press.
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9/10
Love the movie. DVD ???
jmpruitt29 August 2005
I really enjoyed this movie.

It has been a few years since I saw it but we were watching Superman recently and it made me think about it.

All three of the leads are so good at playing this type of comedy. Sure it is no Oscar material but if that is all you are looking for in a movie then you will not watch many movies.

If you want a good clean fun movie - this is one.

It was nice to see these actors play something different.

Anybody know about this coming out on DVD anytime?

Thanks. John
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9/10
Overrated and overlooked movie
tvscalvin7 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler This movie should be (but hardly ever is) judged on its own merits as opposed to as a remake of "His Girl Friday" an "The Front Page". It is a fast paced movie full of twists and turns and political satire that I still find hilarious and edgy. Part of what makes it work is that the story takes place at a Chicago-based cable news network. The newspaper, which was regarded as the most up-to-date medium in "The Front Page," is mocked by news anchors as primitive while they check their makeup.

Kathleen Turner is Christine Colleran, the tough news anchor with a conscience; Burt Reynolds hilariously plays Sully, her ex-husband/boss who unscrupulously scouts stories while being badgered by the Ted Turner-esque head of the network to put on more "smutless fires". Christopher Reeve plays Christine's one-dimensional yuppie fiance, Blaine Bingham. Henry Gibson makes a surprising turn as the timid Ike Roscoe, who is on death row for killing his son's drug dealer (who happened to be an undercover cop).

The story revolves around Roscoe's execution: the gung-ho Attorney General (Ned Beatty) wants Roscoe executed so he can win the upcoming Governor's election. The Governor (a Reagan-esque Charles Kimbrough) wants to pardon Roscoe so he can win the election. TV reporters are scrambling like rats around a carcass looking for a hot (and preferably exclusive) scoop. The only people who seem concerned for Roscoe himself are Christine and Roscoe's attorney girlfriend, Pamela, derisively referred to as "the conscience of America."

Meanwhile, Sully is trying to stop Christine from quitting the news business so she can live with Blaine in New York. First, Sully has his interns book all New York-bound flights leaving within the next 24 hours. Then he has Blaine subjected to strip searches and sends the acrophobic Blaine to a skyscraper with a glass elevator. Then Sully tries one last tactic to seduce Christine back into the news business, and subsequently back into his life: to have her do one last interview with Ike Roscoe. It would bring in monster ratings, and oh yeah, it might get the guy pardoned or whatever.

And if you're looking for a history lesson, watch Christine talking to Blaine on her "cell phone."
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Mostly good, primarily toward the end
vchimpanzee23 December 2015
Christy is a news anchor on SNN, an all-news channel in Chicago. Her boss John "Sully" Sullivan is also her ex. Christy must go do lots of silly stories as part of her role as a journalist, and eventually she decides to take a vacation. That's where she meets Blaine, who is rich and perfect in every way, and Christy wants to move with him to New York City and host a morning show. Sully hates him and plots against him. Meanwhile, Christy has a chance to do something important before she moves on from real journalism. Ike Roscoe is on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Roy Ridnitz is running for governor but played a role in putting Ike away, and it would not benefit him politically if Ike got freed.

So how will Ike be rescued from his fate? The second half of this movie is nothing short of insanity, a wacky adventure that really makes this movie worth seeing.

Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds are good, if not necessarily great. Ned Beatty is over the top. Chris Kimbrough as the governor who could give Ike a reprieve is a moron. And Henry Gibson is great as the poor man who must be rescued because, after all, he didn't do it.

Christopher Reeve, on the other hand, is more Clark Kent than Superman. He just never quite achieves what he should. I didn't know who he was, but he didn't quite look like Richard Gere, or David Hasselhoff, or John Corbett. I just never could enjoy his character, except for the bizarre scene where Sully get his revenge.

The romantic comedy at the beginning is okay. It's the adventure toward the end that really makes this work.
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7/10
Lead actress Kathleen Turner got Burts Bad side, while Theresa Russel got his good Side...yet there nearly Identical..What gives?
GregP896 June 2019
So we agree that 'Physical Evidence' actress Theresa Russell turns in a sub-bar performance acting along side Legendary Burt Reynolds. However any hollywood fan would agree that actress Theresa Russell and actress Kathleen Turner could pass as sisters with Kathleen being the 'sinister one'. So, why is it that on 1988's 'Switching Channels' film with Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner, and Christopher Reeve, that Kathleen suffered Put-down and insult from Burt Reynolds to the Point that Superman had to intervene and tell Burt to 'stop it'. If Ms. Turner and Ms. Russell look like mirror images of each other, and Burt go along great with Ms. Russell, then why didnt he get along great with Ms. Turner. Obviously due to Ms. Turners' tough-woman anti-Man stance that she gloriously display in 1989 'War of Roses' film with Michael Douglas....unlike her 'Romancing the Stone' superb acting film appearance. Hence, we all agree that Ms. Turner was a better actress than Ms. Russell. Burts' acting buddy Ned Beatty was in this film as was he on 10 other Burt films.
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