High Spirits (1988) from Tuna

High Spirits is a PG-13 "Peter O'Toole as lovable suicidal drunk" comedy.


None. The good news is that Tilly, D'Angelo, Hannah and Booth all have pokies, see-throughs and cleavage, with Tilly being the least exposed of the four.
O'Toole is facing foreclosure on his ancestral Irish castle/hotel, and hits upon the scheme of claiming it is haunted to attract tourists. Among the guests are Jennifer Tilly, Steve Guttenberg and wife Beverly D'Angelo (daughter of the man wanting to foreclose on the castle), and Connie Booth, along with her husband and kids. Booth's husband is a parapsychologist. It doesn't take long for him to figure out that O'Toole is using cheap tricks with his staff to give ghost illusions. Then Guttenberg meets ghost Daryl Hannah, and falls in love with her. Seems the castle is chuck full of ghosts, including O'Toole's father, who has a very real relationship with O'Toole's living mother.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • The DVD is a beautiful transfer, a huge surprise after weak VHS releases.

  • Full-screen format, and a widescreen anamorphic version (1.85)

If all this sounds silly, the film just gets sillier as it goes along. Call me sick and twisted, by I have always liked this film a lot. Of course it can't be taken seriously, but I am a sucker for O'Toole's drunk act, and am a huge fan of the actresses.  

The Critics Vote

  • Hannah was nominated for a worst supporting actress Razzie.

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: it did $8.6 million in the USA
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, sentimental O'Toole comedies are nearly a genre to themselves, and this is a very good example of that genre, so C is the correct grade.

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