Wonder Boys ★★★ 2000 (R)
Curis Hanson's excellent follow up to “L.A. Confidential” pits professor and former literary star Grady (Douglas in his finest performance in years) against a strange case of writer's block, his flamboyant New York editor (Downey), an approaching literary festival, and several converging mid-life crises. His wife's just left, he's having an affair with the school chancellor (McDormand), who's the wife of his boss and has just informed him that she's pregnant, and his prize pupil is a death-obsessed compulsive liar (Maguire) who shoots his boss's dog and steals a valuable piece of memorabilia. On paper it seems chaotic, but the screwball comedy manages to be subtle and understated. Based on Michael Chambon's novel. 112m/C VHS, DVD . Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, Robert Downey Jr., Richard Thomas, Rip Torn, Philip Bosco, Jane Adams; D: Curtis Hanson; W: Steven Kloves; C: Dante Spinotti; M: Christopher Young. Oscars ‘00: Song (“Things Have Changed”); Golden Globes ‘01: Song (“Things Have Changed”).