When it comes to entertainment, Americans like their choices multiple. There’s room for Pretty Woman Julia Roberts and Hungry Man Hannibal Lecter, for the jolting In Living Color and the gentle Northern Exposure, for Mariah Carey’s unplugged voice and Michael Bolton’s electrified hair. Okay. So much for fairness. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, right? Thus, our second annual survey of the nation’s tastes in entertainment. We asked 600 Americans what makes them swoon (Mel Gibson), snooze (TV golf), shriek (Rebecca De Mornay), and smile (nobody more than Tim Allen). For more about all of them, read on.
Who do you think was the murderer in the movie Basic Instinct?
Catherine (Sharon Stone) 44%
Beth (Jeanne Tripplehorn) 13%
Nick (Michael Douglas) 9%
Someone else 20%
The older you are, the less likely you are to peg Sharon Stone as an ice pick-wielding killer. Though Catherine, the bisexual novelist, aroused suspicions in 60 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds, only 12 percent of 45- to 60- year-olds think shedunit. Thirty percent of the 45-to-60 group choose Beth, the sexy shrink. Hardly anyone suspects Nick, the crabby cop, but what we want to know is who’s the ”someone else” that one in five people cited — Nick’s chubby partner (George Dzundza)?
Who is your favorite movie actor?
1. Mel Gibson
2. Kevin Costner
3. Tom Cruise
4. Michael Douglas
5. Harrison Ford
Our man Mel beats Costner by almost 2 to 1, drawing great strength from 25- to 34-year-olds. The Prince of Thieves is twice as popular with women as with men, while Cruise counts most of his fans among 15- to 24-year-olds. Douglas’ scores go up with respondents’ ages; he nearly ties Gibson and Costner for first among the 45-to-60 set. Aging action stars Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, and Burt Reynolds finish a close 5-6-7. Dropping far is 1991’s fourth-best actor, Steven Seagal, an unlucky 13th.
Which of the following two women movie characters is the scarier?
Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks… 43%
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 14%
The hands-down winner: De Mornay’s nasty nanny in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle scares many more people than Stone’s picky ice princess. De Mornay frightens women more than men, and people closer to the cradle (15- to 24-year-olds) much more than 45- to 60-year-olds.
Which of these two movies was better for children?
Beauty & The Beast 61%
Home Alone 35%
Belle and her hairy beau make better role models for kids than that little beast Macaulay Culkin, according to the people we polled. But remember, this is a grown-up’s survey — we didn’t talk to anyone under 15, and the 15-to-24 group calls it a draw.
Which of the following movies would you like to see turned into a theme park ride?
The Addams Family 40%
City Slickers 23%
Lethal Weapon 20%
The Silence Of The Lambs 11%
With a mansion full of trap doors and hairy cousins, the possibilities for an Addams Family ride are endless; there’s less interest in Slickers roundups, Lethal explosions, or Hannibal’s House of Haute Cuisine. Thing, pass the fava beans…
Who is your favorite movie actress?
1. Julia Roberts
2. Goldie Hawn
3. Michelle Pfeiffer
4. Meryl Streep
5. Whoopi Goldberg
Her last major screen role may have been tiny Tinkerbell in Hook, but Roberts stands tall. Women and young people are most attached to the reclusive actress, while men go for Hawn in greater numbers. Batman Returns‘ Catwoman (Pfeiffer) squeaks by Sister Act‘s ”penguin” (Goldberg) for first place among nonwhites, and — though her string of recent comedies has been a little less than highbrow — Streep is still the top choice for college graduates. Meanwhile, the male mind is somewhere else: A couple of killer blonds, Kim Basinger (No. 9 overall) and Sharon Stone (No. 11), come in fourth and fifth with men.
Which of these movies would you most like to see a sequel to?
Silence Of The Lambs 34%
Lethal Weapon 3 30%
Patriot Games 21%
Apparently moviegoers do vote with their wallets: Silence and Weapon both topped $100 million at the box office, and people are hungry for more. But even with Harrison Ford, Patriot Games isn’t expected to join its predecessor The Hunt for Red October in the $100 million club, and it trails. And there’s virtually no support for Alien3, which fell victim to bad word of mouth.
73% think violence in the movies contributes to violence in real life.
24% say JFK changed their minds about the Kennedy assassination.