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Pacific Heights

A movie directed by John Schlesinger

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  • Mar 30, 2000
Pros: That fantastic Michael Keaton!

Cons: not a one

If you have ever doubted the complete accomplishments of any actor, Pacific Heights is the vehicle to see. Michael Keaton as I have said before is probably one of the most diversified actors in Hollywood. I am always amazed at his ability to adapt to any role and at the wide range of characters he is able to play. Each time you see him again you have trouble equating him to the previous movie you had seen him in.

In Pacific Heights Michael Keaton plays a ruthless rentor with a shady past. He finds an advertisement for an apartment in the newly remodelled home of Melanie Griffith and Mathew Modine. Melanie and Mathew are a young single couple, way over their heads in debt, deciding to make that great purchase of a home.

They spend many happy and stressful hours as well as all their money renovating the home. As they are basically dirt poor they do a good deal of the remodelling themselves. Hoping to offset the mortgage they offer two apartments for rent on the lower level, they live on the third floor.

First we have a sweet Asian couple - their move in involved half their family in San Francisco! The final apartment is viewed by many people, including an upstanding black man. Enter Michael Keaton. No references, but cash up front. He really wants this apartment! The black man returns with his completed application, slips it under the door. Keaton shows up and destroys the application. Griffith preferred the black man but never heard back from him, so she reluctantly decides to rent to Keaton, who promises to forward references and six months rent, in cash, immediately.

Mathew contacts his last reference, a little 'HO' that was involved with Keaton, played by Beverly D'Angelo. She of course supplies fantastic references as this is all part of some great scheme. They wait for the money transfer that never comes. The bank is getting anxious for the mortgage payment. The kids can't seem to track Keaton down when they need to but they can hear him in the apartment. They contact his financial reference and find he is an heir to some great family and that he is paid to STAY AWAY from the family.

Mathew and Melanie confront Keaton who refuses to pay up. Possession is 9/10th's of the law type thing. And still the noises from the apartment. Mathew and Keaton fight, Keaton files a restraining order against Modine. He is not even allowed back into his own house. Griffith is pregnant. And still the noises from the apartment. The Asians complain of the noises and now roaches! Roaches everywhere!

Modine and Griffith go to the police to find out what can be done. Surprise, surprise - the policeman in charge of their case - the same upstanding black man that tried to get the apartment! "Bet you wish you would have rented to me now, don't you?"

Frankly there is so much action and drama in this story it is worth watching more than once and I don't say that about many movies. Keaton is truly an evil and relentless person in this movie. Some of the scenes with him are chilling. Modine and Griffith give a plausible performance and you really want them to win. You are pulling for them during the entire movie and trying to figure out how to get rid of Keaton.

You have to watch it to get the story and background between Keaton and D'Angelo but trust me, it isn't pretty honey. I am not going to tell you anything more about this movie because the resulting problems and the ending are well worth the visit. A very good watch! Enjoy!


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


A modern young couple, unmarried but committed, pool all of their resources in order to purchase and renovate a Victorian home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights. By renting out the lower level, they can just get by. Their tenant turns out to be more than they bargained for, but trying to evict him sparks an ever escalating war they can't afford to lose.
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Director: John Schlesinger
Release Date: 1990
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (December 14, 1999)
Runtime: 1hr 43min
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