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Special to The News

Tabulations are based on a weekly exit poll of more than 6,000 film-goers. Viewers rate the movie between 1 and 4 stars. TOP MARKS is the percent who gave the film either 3 1/2 or 4 stars. It indicates the potential of your liking the film.


Today's news presents to movie mavens a cinematic can of worms. The predicament is that theaters are running a finer bunch of movies, as judged by the public, than have been available at any other time during the year.

The average film on our poll climbed to 71 percent, tops for the year. Never before has the poll included three films rated 90 percent Top Marks or better, and with the addition of "Misery," the Rob Reiner-directed horror smash, selections include a movie type sure to please every inclination.

Show me the worms, you say. The problem is, who has time for movies when shopping preoccupies every spare holiday minute?

Here's a public service announcement which should be strongly considered: Don't bother shopping.

That's right. Simply spend the allocated time with a box of popcorn in your lap, leisurely enjoying one of the flicks you have been too busy nosing around department stores to enjoy.

After this refreshing interlude (during which the less fortunate shoppers will be grinding their teeth with the holiday spirit), stride directly to the box office and purchase the necessary supply of movie gift certificates.

You can't go wrong; there's a motion picture out there for every taste. Happy recipients will squirm with delight.

One-stop shopping, that's the idea. And ecologically sound, when you consider all the gas you'll save by not driving from mall to mall trying to find just the right thing for little Biff or finicky Aunt Sylvia.


Christopher Walken stars in this violent story of a mobster attempting to take over New York's billion-dollar drug business. Audiences exhibited little enthusiasm for this flick, commenting: "Stupid plot" . . . "Too much violence" (many) . . . and "No redeeming value."

THE ROOKIE: Clint Eastwood plays the grisly veteran cop; Charlie Sheen is his uninitiated yuppie partner. Clearly targeted for commercial success, "The Rookie" hits this mark, but offers nothing more. The most frequent viewer comment was "Pretty good." Other comments indicated that Sheen's performance and plenty of action highlighted an otherwise ordinary film. (Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon wrote: "If this isn't the worst movie Clint Eastwood has made in two decades, it's certainly well up there in the running with 'Heartbreak Ridge,' " and gave it two out of five stars.)

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