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Encyclopedia > Meet Joe Black
Meet Joe Black

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Brest
Produced by Martin Brest
Written by Bo Goldman
Starring Brad Pitt
Anthony Hopkins
Claire Forlani
Jake Weber
Marcia Gay Harden
Jeffrey Tambor
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing by Michael Tronick
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) November 13, 1998
Running time 178 min.
Country Flag of the United States
Language English
Budget $90 million
Gross revenue $142,940,100 ($44,606,335 US revenue)
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Meet Joe Black is a 1998 remake of the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday, originally having been remade in 1971 under the same name as the original. Meet Joe Black stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Claire Forlani. It was directed by Martin Brest. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (507x755, 50 KB)movie poster of Meet Joe Black File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Martin Brest (August 8, 1951) is an American filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, film editor, and actor. ... Martin Brest (August 8, 1951) is an American filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, film editor, and actor. ... Bo Goldman is an Academy Award winning screenwriter. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an Academy award-nominated American actor, film producer, and social activist. ... For the composer, see Antony Hopkins. ... Claire Forlani (born July 1, 1972)[1] is an English film and television actress. ... Jake Weber (born March 19, 1964) is a British actor. ... Marcia Gay Harden Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Jeffrey Michael Tambor (born July 8, 1944) is a six-time Emmy-nominated American actor most recently noted for his on role as George Bluth Sr. ... Thomas Montgomery Newman (born October 20, 1955 in Los Angeles, California) is an American film score composer. ... Emmanuel Lubezki is a Mexican cinematographer born in 1964. ... Michael Tronick is an American film editor known for editing films like Mr. ... This article is about the American media conglomerate. ... is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The year 1998 in film involved some significant events. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The year 1998 in film involved some significant events. ... See also: 1933 in film 1934 1935 in film 1930s in film years in film film // Events January 26 - Samuel Goldwyn (of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) finally purchased the film rights to The Wizard of Oz from Frank J. Baum for $40,000. ... Video cover showing Fredric March and Evelyn Venable. ... See also: 1970 in film 1971 1972 in film 1970s in film years in film film // Events February 8 - Bob Dylans hour long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an Academy award-nominated American actor, film producer, and social activist. ... For the composer, see Antony Hopkins. ... Claire Forlani (born July 1, 1972)[1] is an English film and television actress. ... Martin Brest (August 8, 1951) is an American filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, film editor, and actor. ...

Contents

Plot

Meet Joe Black is the story of a young man taking a break from his usual duties and inhabiting the body of a recently deceased young man in order to learn what it is like to be human. It is a slow-paced movie that draws on subtle symmetries and aims to express the one man's thoughts on life and wishes for his family, brought on by a physical encounter with his own mortality - Death himself.


The film covers three main storylines; a naive Angel of Death's (Brad Pitt) first experiences with simple pleasures (such as peanut butter), Death's chosen guide (Hopkins) attempting to manage his business based on the principles on which he founded it while coming to terms with his own mortality, and a romance between "Joe Black" and a young woman, Susan, his guide's daughter. The movie opens with an introduction to Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins). Bill is facing his 65th birthday party and he sees fewer days in front than behind. Indeed, he is approached in his home and work by what he thinks are hallucinations - Death himself has come with the intention of escorting him to the afterlife as part of Death's duties. William Bradley Brad Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an Academy award-nominated American actor, film producer, and social activist. ... Peanut butter in a jar. ... For the composer, see Antony Hopkins. ...


Bill, touched by his dream-like brush with mortality, expresses his desire for his daughter, Susan, to live out a life with passion. She is considering marriage but Parrish is not that impressed by her relationship. When she asks for the "plain English" version of his impassioned speech, he simply says, "Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike!"


Shortly after hearing her dad's advice, Susan meets a vibrant young man who had just moved into the city in a coffee shop. They instantly click, in fact, he seems so perfect for her that it scares her; he also chooses to use the words "lightning may strike." Immediately after this encounter, turning the corner from Susan, the young man is struck in a dramatic car accident & taken to a local New York City hospital. Death returns to Bill's home in the form of the young man, explaining that his impassioned speech has piqued his interest after an eternity of boredom. Thanks to Bill's "competence, experience and wisdom", Death has chosen him and tells Bill that in return for extra time, Bill shall be his guide on Earth. In return Bill will "receive minutes, days, weeks, I'm not going to go into details... what matters is that I stay interested".


Death places himself at Bill's right hand, taking the persona of 'Joe', and establishing his place in Bill's home and work, instructing Bill to reveal his identity to nobody. This proves complicated as the Board of Directors of Bill's media empire are urging for a union with a larger company, under the instigation of Susan's fiancé, Drew. After a tense Board meeting where Bill advises the Board against the merger, Joe ventures out into the city to explore. He visits the hospital where Susan works as a doctor to see her and in doing so, observes the process of Death that he isn't usually involved with - the human aspect of mortality.


He returns to visit Bill, who describes his late wife and how he felt that he couldn't live on without her after her death. He says to Joe that he had probably heard this 'a trillion times before'; Joe responds '...and more'. Their conversation is interrupted by Drew who is bothered by the reversal of Bill's decision of the merger. Bill becomes angry at the prospect of the company that he built becoming less than he planned, believing that a man should leave something of integrity in his passing; Joe cautions "Easy, Bill. You'll give yourself a heart attack and ruin my vacation."


Realizing that Joe could end his delay at any time, Bill arranges for dinner with his family two nights in a row, raising concerns. Bill attempts a broken and awkward speech about family, after which he invites them all back for dinner again the next night. Touched by his feelings, they all agree, with one exception. Drew is angered by this mysterious stranger who appears to have taken the ear of Bill Parrish and disrupted his merger plans. He is even more rankled by the increasing closeness between Susan and Joe. After a number of snide comments aimed at Joe over dinner, Drew confronts Susan about her feelings for Joe, which ends in the questioning of their relationship.


After a flirtatious conversation with Joe, who has overheard the argument with Drew, Susan is warned by Bill not to get too close to this new handsome mysterious stranger. Meanwhile, the next day, Drew has gathered the board of the company, advising them that Parrish has been unconditionally influenced by "Mr. Joe Black. Joe who?" and tells them the offer from the rival company has been sweetened - and will be accepted with or without Parrish as Chairman.


After a scene where Parrish is reminded of the virtue of family when he distresses his other daughter, who is trying to organize Bill's sixty-fifth birthday party, he answers the door to Drew, who starkly threatens that the Board will see him removed over the acceptance of the merger. He leaves, with Susan following, but not before angrily announcing to her that this is "the end of my chapter with the Parrishes. And the end began with this guy." Joe has also followed, and after a tense and crude standoff, Drew breaks off their relationship, leaving Susan and Joe alone. The pair become very romantically close and after kissing her, Joe realizes that he has reached a pivotal moment with this mortal woman. They are interrupted by Bill, who shows understandable concern for his daughter.


The following morning, Parrish is confronted by Drew and the Board of Directors, who reiterate their intentions regarding the merger. After Bill's emphatic refusal to accept both the merger and the Board's request for the identity of Joe, they vote to make Bill "Chairman Emeritus", powerless and dethroned. After the meeting, it is revealed that Drew was in collaboration with the rival company from the start, with the intention of seizing power and then selling off Parrish Communications for a huge profit.


Bill and Joe return home, where Bill, disheartened, goes for a nap. Joe comes across Susan and after an awkward moment, they make love. In the heat of the moment, Joe experiences these tender feelings with fresh eyes, terrified, exhilarated, out of control and exploring new territory. Afterwards, he tells her of his intention to stay with her. He meets with Bill who defies this union and reminds Joe of who he really is and his purpose in this universe. Joe disregards Bill's violent words and turns on his heel.


Shortly after another encounter with Bill's daughter, Joe realizes that he must leave if he really cares about her, as she describes how she fell in love with him when they met at the cafe before Death took control of Joe's body. Joe returns to Bill, where he "reveals" he is actually an IRS agent investigating Drew's dealings, a play on the saying, "death and taxes". Bill is restored as chairman and the merger is canceled.


Joe and Susan have sex in the hotel swimming pool. Then Joe sends back over the hill the young man whose body he borrowed, allowing Susan that chance to finally pursue the relationship from the beginning of the movie: a final gift of love to her from Death. The story ends with both of them watching the fireworks celebrating her father's birthday, & they start a new life together.


Cast

William Bradley Brad Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an Academy award-nominated American actor, film producer, and social activist. ... For the composer, see Antony Hopkins. ... Claire Forlani (born July 1, 1972)[1] is an English film and television actress. ... Jake Weber (born March 19, 1964) is a British actor. ... Marcia Gay Harden Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Jeffrey Michael Tambor (born July 8, 1944) is a six-time Emmy-nominated American actor most recently noted for his on role as George Bluth Sr. ...

Reception

Opinions of the film vary greatly. Many critics find the film's three-hour running time excessive, while others feel that its slow pace allows the stories told to feel more personal and poignant. This division of opinion is highlighted by the awards it received: while the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films nominated it for a Saturn Award in three categories – Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Music – the film was also nominated in the Worst Remake or Sequel category at the Razzie Awards. Gary Richied of the Westchester Gazette has given this movie a 4 star rating, citing the Academy Award deserving performances by Pitt and Hopkins. It also received positive reviews from Siskel and Ebert, who gave it "Two Thumbs Up", with Ebert adding "there's so much that's fine in this movie."[1] The Saturn Award is an award presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films to honor the top works in science fiction, fantasy, and horror in film, television, and home video. ... The Golden Raspberries or Razzies were created by John Wilson in 1980, intended to complement the Academy Awards by dishonoring the worst acting, screenwriting, songwriting, directing, and films that the film industry had to offer. ...


While the film had a disappointing domestic box office return of $44,619,100, it fared much better overseas. Taking in an additional $98,321,000, the movie grossed a worldwide total of $142,940,100.[citation needed]


A two-hour version was made to show on television and airline flights, by cutting most of the plotline involving Hopkins' character's business. Brest disowned it, and the director's credit was changed to Alan Smithee. Alan Smithee, Allen Smithee, Alan Smythee, and Adam Smithee are pseudonyms used between 1968 and 1999 by Hollywood film directors who wanted to be dissociated from a film for which they no longer wanted credit. ...


Boost from Star Wars

The film's box office received a boost following its opening weekend when, on November 17, 1998, the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was attached to the majority of its film prints. Numerous patrons were reported to have paid full admission to see the trailer on the big screen, only to exit theaters immediately after. Patrons who remained to watch the film were treated to the trailer a second time after the film's conclusion.[citation needed] 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... Film poster for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 film by George Lucas starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd. ...


Trivia

  • Meet Joe Black gained an unexpected, somewhat anonymous claim to fame when a clip of the crash scene early on in the film became something of an internet phenomenon, leading many unsuspecting online viewers to believe it to be authentic footage.
  • The major part of the movie was filmed in New York City, on Fifth Avenue, in a hospital and in Brooklyn, New York. William Parrish's New York triplex was built inside a National Guard's warehouse in Brooklyn. The manor in the first and final parts is the Aldrich Mansion in Warwick Neck, Rhode Island, on Narragansett Bay.
  • The exterior shot of William Parrish's residence and the views of the New York City skyline from his home were actually filmed from the three-floor, private penthouse of the The Pierre Hotel - on Fifth Avenue at 2 East 61st Street in Manhattan overlooking Central Park.

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... For other meanings, see Brooklyn (disambiguation). ... A red brick apartment block in central London, England, on the north bank of the Thames An apartment building, block of flats or tenement is a multi-unit dwelling made up of several (generally four or more) apartments (US) or flats (UK). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Narragansett Bay, shown in pink. ... The Pierre Hotel is a 41-storey luxury hotel located on Fifth Avenue and 61st Street, bordering the east side of Central Park, New York City. ... Street sign at Fifth Avenue and East 57th street Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in New York City. ... This article is about the borough of New York City. ... Central Park is a large public, urban park (843 acres, 3. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

  Results from FactBites:
 
Meet Joe Black - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (334 words)
Meet Joe Black is a 1998 remake of the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday, starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Claire Forlani.
The movie gained an unexpected, somewhat anonymous claim to fame when a clip of the crash scene early on in the film became something of an internet phenomenon, leading many unsuspecting online viewers to believe it to be authentic footage.
Meet Joe Black tells the story of Death taking a break from his usual duties and inhabiting the body of a young man in order to learn what it is like to be human.
MEET JOE BLACK (2427 words)
Worried that Joe may have other plans for her, William must deal with that while also contending with Drew's plans to undermine him and his company and, of course, his own pending trip to the great hereafter.
Although a sick woman in a hospital immediately recognizes Joe for whom he really is, and begs him to ease her pain, the film misses its opportunity to play off this notion.
The initial encounter between Susan and Joe (before he's Death warmed over) is brimming with romantic sparks, and despite that man's death and Joe Black's subsequent aloofness, the chemistry slowly but surely rebuilds between the two.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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