Melinda Miller - The Buffalo News

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Melinda Miller


ABOUT 30 years ago, the Thought Police got hold of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and things were never the same for the amateur detectives.In their original books, written in the 1920s and '30s, Nancy, Frank and Joe inhabited an oxymoronic world of middle-class intrigue, where 16-year-olds dashed around the countryside in roadsters to rendezvous in haunted bungalows, and …

The title "The Couple Who Collect the Rent" must not have had the same cachet as "The People Under the Stairs," but in Wes Craven's latest shocker it's the landlords who are the real monsters.Everitt McGill and Wendy Robie -- Ed and Nadine Hurley from television's "Twin Peaks" -- reinforce their commitment to the creepy as two reclusive freaks (Man and Woman) who bring p…

REVIEW Cool as IceRating:*** Rap star Vanilla Ice plays a not-too-wild one in his first feature film.Rated PG; playing in area theaters.Rocket-propelled rap star Vanilla Ice saw his first album go quadruple-platinum in less than two months, and his record sales are heading toward the jillion-dollar mark. Little boys copy his hairstyle, little girls hang up his post…

Halfway through "Ernest Scared Stupid" my 7-year-old daughter turned to me and said, "Mommy, can I wait for you in the lobby?"This picture was taking a slow train to Lobotomy Central, and that was nowhere she wanted to go. Plastic-faced pitchman Jim Varney had used up every expression known to the epidermis -- know what I mean? -- and everyone was just itching for a chanc…

Freddy Krueger, family man? Yeah, right.The ghoul with the Cuisinart hand comes back for his final curtain call, or so they claim, as a misunderstood father who never got over losing his little girl. Way back in 1966, we learn, Freddy was just an average suburban Joe in a cozy Colonial with flowers in the back yard and bodies in the basement. If only his wife hadn't been s…

THE WOMAN Stands With a Fist stands with a rifle, and when a murderous enemy Pawnee attacks, she stops him dead.The battle is a turning point for the Lakota Indian tribe in the film "Dances With Wolves," and the movie will be a turning point in the careers of several of its players. It was nominated last week for 12 Academy Awards.Mary McDonnell, nominated for Best Suppor…

HE WAS the man behind the man behind the curtain. It was L. Frank Baum who turned the lost Kansas carnival showman into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. And it was "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" that transformed Baum."The Dreamer of Oz," airing at 9 p.m. Monday on Channel 2, is the story of how a most unremarkable man whose life was noteworthy mainly for its lack of su…

"DOC HAYWARD says I can expect to live a full, normal life, which should be a new experience in and of itself."And so FBI Agent Dale Cooper survives, and we have the tapes to prove it. The shots fired into his impeccable shirt front in the final episode of ABC's "Twin Peaks" did indeed hit a bulletproof vest, as everyone guessed. Whew.But why wait until Sunday night's sea…

IT'S LIKE, like an all-day beer commercial, without the beer. Or, you know, like those non-stop cross-country torture drives in a car with no tape deck, where you hear those same sensational chart-topping songs on the radio again and again and ahghh!Yeah, man. MTV is like that. Only different -- the actors in the beer ads smile more.Oh, sorry, Martha Quinn. Yes, in the 1…

UNDERWEAR, BURNING or otherwise, is no longer an issue. No one talks about unisex public toilets anymore. The dialogue, though still determined, is less shrill, and "Ms." has replaced Miss and even Mrs. in everything from church bulletins to the New York Times.It has been two decades since feminism's second coming began -- time to stop and reflect on the state of the…

BIG SUGAR: Seasons in the Cane Fields of Florida By Alec Wilkinson Knopf 231 pages, $18.95News Book ReviewerTHERE IS A corner of southern Florida that is off-limits to Americans. "Big Sugar" takes you to it. It is a place of endless acres of sugar cane, where laborers imported from the West Indies stoop and slash their way through the harvest months in conditions …