The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Four grown siblings return to their home for Thanksgiving, some with their partners. Their family was and continues to be dysfunctional, and this has prevented any of them from having very rewarding relationships or families of their own.

Good cast featuring Julianne Moore and Blythe Danner.

Strangely enough, they never showed any incident really significant enough to create all the dysfunction and enmity they feel for each other. The implication was that there were much deeper issues bothering these people, but we could never reach any understanding of exactly what those issues are.


The closest the film comes to an explanation is this. The main character has gone without a relationship (and, it is hinted, without an erection) for several years because of an incident when his dad had too much to drink and made a pass at his sweetheart.

Huh? That's what screwed him up for life? C'mon, now. OK, that was an unpleasant thing, but it was over in 20 seconds, not something to base one's life on. Maybe he's overreacting just a tad. Here's my suggestion to improve the human race. Every dad should get drunk and make a pass at his son's girlfriends. Any sons not strong enough to laugh it off should be sterilized and removed from the gene pool, or euthanized if they prefer that alternative.

Needless to say, Ethan Hawke should be sterilized even if he pretends that dad's action doesn't bother him, because we know better.

DVD info from Amazon.

It has a good 1.85:1 transfer, and a full-length commentary by the director and the cinematographer.

Man, this script is bad. Every character is one-dimensional. Julianne Moore, so talented and so wasted here, is left with the thankless job of portraying the sister who is hostile and abusive all the time, for no discernible reason. Noah Wyle is a wounded and sensitive superwuss in his Ethan Hawke impersonation. Roy Scheider is glowering and aloof as the father who seems to have fingerprinted them all with his emotional adolescence. Some other characters were pretty much ignored completely. Only Blythe Danner, as the mom, manages to escape with a semblance of humanity, probably owing more to Danner's rounded interpretation than to the lines she was handed. The cast is actually pretty damned good, but what could they do?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Berardinelli 3/4, Maltin 2/4, Apollo 63.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1, Apollo users 67/100.
  • With their dollars ... a disastrous gross of $500,000, spread over several weeks.
My 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, this film is in the C-D range.

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