Rolled up in the carpet in the back of the semi, Patrick is disoriented. Normally in such a situation either he or Jamie would wriggle free of their binding and then free the other. But alas, Jamie is gone and the ropes containing Patrick’s raw athletic ability seem tight… almost too tight. Getting an idea he slowly dribbles sweat over his rippling abs into the rope. As it swells the tension becomes too great and the rope breaks! Ha! Who needs stupid Jamie anyway. Unrolling himself he comes face to face with a beautiful lady. “Hey!” says Patrick, “If you were back here the whole time why didn’t you help me?” But as a sultry smile graces her lips he realizes exactly why, “oh, you’re the enemy aren’t you?” She simply nods, but her eyes are telling him that maybe she’s thinking about him in a more friendly way. He looks at his wedding ring and thinks of his children. Jamie would sure come in handy for this part. Putting on a stylish hat to complement his shirtless bod and wrangler jeans, he winks at her and asks, “but maybe we can be more like frienemies.” That’s right! We’re watching Sleeping with the Enemy, the Julia Roberts thriller about the husband from hell. This is one of those films that has a bit of a cult following presumably because it played on cable TV back when people either watched cable TV or stared at a wall (legends say). Always nice to get a star vehicle. Let’s go!
Teamed with the dark figure, Jamie is able to dispatch the mailmen with ease. It’s like there’s some telepathic link with the man, but Jamie shakes off his unease. “Hiya, bro. I’m just trying to find my way back to New Angeles and could use a ride. You got another pair of those sweet RBlades?” The man grimaces but quickly turns it into a friendly smirk. “I’ll do you one better… bro,” he hisses as he reveals a totally pimped out hang glider. “Cool,” Jamie breathes as he buckles up for the ride of his life, “This is going to be T.N.T.” That’s right! We’re pairing the Julia Roberts entree with an Eric Roberts dessert in T.N.T. That of course stands for Tactical Neutralization Team. And lest you think that some lame backronym… there actually was a Tactical Neutralization Team in the Air Force. So… jokes on you (and probably us because we’re watching this film). Let’s go!
Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) – BMeTric: 25.7
(Wow this really actually genuinely made a comeback. That is more than regression to the mean, because that usually regresses to around 6.0 or a little higher. It is a little higher, but the trajectory is suggesting people actually like this film more now I think.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Practically suspense-less thriller about a young woman who flees from her brutal husband and tries to start life anew in Iowa. Unabashed star vehicle for Roberts (complete with “cute” montage set to the oldie “Brown-Eyed Girl”) is relentlessly predictable.
(Suspense-less would be bad. That’s all I’m here for. The rest of it I don’t really see as criticism … so what if it is a star vehicle for Roberts. She was one of the big up and coming stars of the time. Just a strange idea, although maybe that came across more cynically back when this review was written.)
(WOW, they start the trailer like it is a romantic comedy! That is a crazy way to advertise what is legitimately a thriller, and then by the end it looks like a horror film complete with creepy John Carpenter synth music. Nope, don’t like it.)
Directors – Joseph Ruben – (Known For: Dreamscape; Return to Paradise; True Believer; The Stepfather; Future BMT: Money Train; The Forgotten; The Good Son; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: He’s amazingly still working having directed The Ottoman Lieutenant in 2017, a rare WWI movie.)
Writers – Nancy Price (novel) – (BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: This appears to basically be her only novel. She has a few others, but nothing significant. Amazingly this film was made within four years of publication.)
Ronald Bass (screenplay) – (Known For: My Best Friend’s Wedding; What Dreams May Come; Rain Man; Stepmom; Waiting to Exhale; The Joy Luck Club; When a Man Loves a Woman; Black Widow; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Gardens of Stone; Future BMT: Amelia; Entrapment; Passion of Mind; Dangerous Minds; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Before We Go; Snow Falling on Cedars; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: Apparently very prolific employing his own team of research assistants to help him out.)
Actors – Julia Roberts – (Known For: Wonder; Steel Magnolias; Notting Hill; Charlie Wilson’s War; Ocean’s Eleven; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Pretty Woman; Mystic Pizza; Closer; Ocean’s Twelve; Erin Brockovich; Stepmom; August: Osage County; Flatliners; Ben Is Back; The Pelican Brief; Michael Collins; Runaway Bride; The Player; Conspiracy Theory; Future BMT: Full Frontal; Ready to Wear; Love, Wedding, Marriage; I Love Trouble; America’s Sweethearts; Eat Pray Love; Something to Talk About; Mary Reilly; Larry Crowne; Smurfs: The Lost Village; Dying Young; Secret in Their Eyes; Mona Lisa Smile; Fireflies in the Garden; Grand Champion; Hook; BMT: Valentine’s Day; Mother’s Day; Sleeping with the Enemy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1997 for Mary Reilly; and in 2017 for Mother’s Day; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Hook in 1992; Notes: Somewhat notorious early in her career for leaving Kiefer Sutherland at the altar and running away with his friend Jason Patric. Her niece Emma Roberts has herself become rather famous.)
Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Patriot Games; Mountains of the Moon; Map of the Human Heart; The Boys & Girl from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; The Invisible Circus; Strength and Honour; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: I kind of used up all my fun facts on Lawnmower Man 2 … he was apparently at a Dog Festival in Dublin with his dog Kayla the other day, that’s fun.)
Kevin Anderson – (Known For: Risky Business; Charlotte’s Web; Hoffa; Heaven Is for Real; Salomé; The Night We Never Met; Firelight; In Country; Liebestraum; Miles from Home; Orphans; Eye of God; Future BMT: Rising Sun; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; A Thousand Acres; Notes: Has portrayed both JFK and RFK which is apparently quite rare.)
Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $101,599,005 (Worldwide: $174,999,005)
(That is a massive success. Obviously they kind of stopped releasing these to theaters over the years, possibly because it is so difficult to capitalize on the success … like it isn’t like you’re going to make a sequel or anything.)
#2 for the Thriller – Psycho / Stalker / Blank from Hell genre
(Easily the highest grossing bad film. And amazingly the only other one that grossed over $100 million besides Fatal Attraction. Amazing. The wave-like pattern is nice. Like they just regurgitate the same thriller ideas over and over every ten years.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (7/33): A game Julia Roberts gives it her all, but Sleeping with the Enemy is one stalker thriller that’s unlikely to inspire many obsessions of its own.
(Obsession feels like an odd way of putting it … like, this is a domestic abuse situation, and one more about control and paranoia at that. Not really an obsession right? Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: There are good performances all through the movie, but the filmmakers don’t keep faith with their actors. – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times)
Poster – Sleeping with the Frienemy (C+)
(Very odd. Looks more like a book cover (spoiler alert on the tagline). Font is weird and bland and even the spacing is a little jarring. I’m not sure what to think… I think I appreciate it?… Like how I appreciate modern art.)
Tagline(s) – She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she’s ever met. Her husband. (D)
(If I wanted to read a book I would have went to my local public library.)
Keyword(s) – psychopath; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.9 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 82.7 Prom Night (I) (2008); 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 82.2 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.7 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 79.3 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 75.0 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 74.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015);
(Noice. All basically horror films as you would expect. Highlander II and Speed 2 out of nowhere. Speed 2 is a weird one as well. Dafoe was a psycho? He was a man who was made sick by his job seeking revenge on the corporation who screwed him over … is that a psycho? That is just a weird take on that character.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Julia Roberts is No. 1 billed in Sleeping with the Enemy and No. 2 billed in Mother’s Day, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – Julia Roberts caused a controversy after she left Abbeville, South Carolina, where the film shot some location work. She said the place was “a living hell” and a “horribly racist” town and she would never return there. (Holy shit!)
Julia Roberts’ lead female role in Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) was originally written for Jane Fonda. (Really? Huh, it works really well for Roberts)
The name Laura chooses for herself is connected to her past life. The first name of Sarah means Princess, which is what Martin used to call her, and the last name of Waters symbolizes Laura’s supposed drowning. (Cool)
Julia Roberts, aged 22 when the film was shot in spring 1990, became the youngest actress to earn a seven-figure fee for a single performance. (She deserved it, this movie made bank wholly supported by her main performance and not much else)
It was Patrick Bergin’s idea to use composer Hector Berlioz’s song, one of his favorite pieces of music, as Martin Burney’s song of choice. (I liked it … although it seemed a bit over wrought in the end)
At the time director Joseph Ruben was hired, Kim Basinger was attached to the project as Laura Burney. She ultimately turned down the part, though, feeling she wasn’t right for the role. The character in the end was cast with Julia Roberts. (Kimmy B could have been good there, just a bit after her Batman role)
When this movie was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)for a rating it was given a rating of NC-17. An NC-17 rated film can only have limited advertisement in the US and many theaters will not show an NC-17 rated film. So to make a profit, the movie had to have a rating of R. In order for the MPAA to give this film an R rating, several seconds of the first sex scene between Martin and Laura had to be cut. The version of this film with the entire sex scene is known as the International version which was seen in the UK and other parts of Europe. (Huh, none of the sex scenes were crazy, and that is pretty crazy in retrospect)
[There was a long note here about Bergin’s potential sociopathy which just seemed a bit too speculative for my liking]
Upon its release, the movie ended an eleven week and almost three-month reign of Home Alone (1990) at the top of the North American box office. Both pictures were from the same 20th Century Fox.
The stars that were originally attached to the film’s lead roles were Kim Basinger, Sean Connery and Aidan Quinn. (Sean Connery would have been amazing).
The use of Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” is appropriate since the piece is a programmatic symphony depicting a young man, under the influence of opium, dreaming that he kills his girlfriend, is executed and ends up in hell. (Cool)
The film was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name written by Nancy Price had first been published in 1987. (That is quick!)
The scene that Ben’s students are rehearsing when Martin spies on the class is from the play ‘The Seagull’ by Anton Chekhov.