Self-involved corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) has recently split up with his girlfriend. Seeking directions to the Beverly Hills Hotel, he makes the acquaintance of free-spirited hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) and decides to put her on a 3,000-dollar retainer as his "date." He Cinderellarizes her by bankrolling a full wardrobe and cosmetic makeover. Of course, the setup will be strictly platonic. A disarming modern-day fairy tale, Pretty Woman was the picture that made Julia Roberts a superstar. As charming as she is in her "giggling" sequences, Roberts' best scene is her triumphant return to a posh Rodeo Drive shop where she'd been previously snubbed. Keeping Pretty Woman afloat throughout is the buoyant direction of Garry Marshall and the always welcome presence of Marshall's stock company of actors, including Hector Elizondo as a stuffy but golden-hearted concierge. Pretty Woman began its life as a much darker story of prostitutes and homicidal drug dealers, but more box-office-savvy heads ultimately prevailed.
Pretty Woman is noted for its musical selections and hugely successful soundtrack. The film features the song "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison, which inspired the movie's title. Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1990. The soundtrack also features "King of Wishful Thinking" by Go West, "Show Me Your Soul" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "No Explanation" by Peter Cetera, "Wild Women Do" by Natalie Cole and "Fallen" by Lauren Wood. The soundtrack went on to be certified three times platinum by the RIAA.
While too many pop and R&B divas rely on Mariah Carey-like vocal histrionics, Sunshine Anderson wins over fans with her understated maturity. The first single, "Heard It All Before," breathes new life into a typical R&B diva scenario of a jilted woman confronting her cheating lover. The guitar-based mid-tempo track "Lunch and Dinner" features smooth guitar and straightforward, earnest lyrics. Your Woman features some solid production by Mike City and Mark Spark, and rather than trying to overpower the music with her voice, Anderson has enough confidence to just go along for the ride.
This four-disc box from London's JSP Records collects an astounding 100 songs recorded by John Lee Hooker in Detroit from the years 1948 to 1952, including his first two sides ever, the signature tunes "Boogie Chillen" and "Sally Mae." Most of the tracks here are done solo, with Hooker's ever-present foot-stomping, although a few feature other musicians on loose-limbed blues boogies. Since Hooker never significantly altered his style during his long career, these first recordings set the stage for all that came after, and he arguably never sounded fresher or better. Four discs worth of this throwback Mississippi bluesman will be severe overkill for casual listeners, but diehard Hooker fans will find this box set absolutely essential.