True Colors

Overview

John Cusack and James Spader play against type in Kevin Wade's morality play, directed by Herbert Ross. Spader plays Tim Gerrity, a well-heeled WASP blueblood, who has dedicated his life to justice and public service. Engaged to Diana Stiles Imogene Stubbs, the daughter of a powerful senator Richard Widmark, Tim seems to have a rosy future ahead of him. Enter Peter Burton John Cusack, Peter's working-class roommate at the University of Virginia. Peter, a ravenous and devouring go-getter, is out to climb the ...
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Overview

John Cusack and James Spader play against type in Kevin Wade's morality play, directed by Herbert Ross. Spader plays Tim Gerrity, a well-heeled WASP blueblood, who has dedicated his life to justice and public service. Engaged to Diana Stiles Imogene Stubbs, the daughter of a powerful senator Richard Widmark, Tim seems to have a rosy future ahead of him. Enter Peter Burton John Cusack, Peter's working-class roommate at the University of Virginia. Peter, a ravenous and devouring go-getter, is out to climb the political ladder at any cost. He sees Tim and latches onto him. Their friendship blooms at the university and continues afterwards, with the weak-willed Tim constantly deferring to the antagonistic and aggressive Peter. But they finally come to blows on skis when Tim finds out that Peter has bedded Diana, who has decided to drop Tim for his lack of ambition. When Peter blackmails Senator Stiles to secure a House seat, Tim rouses himself from his lethargy to fight Peter politically.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
True Colors is an extremely well-intentioned film that is severely weakened by its predictability. Kevin Wade's screenplay packs some punch at first, when it seems that it's painting its characters and set-ups in broad strokes to provide some interesting reversals or surprises. When it becomes apparent, however, that John Cusack's character really is as abhorrent as he seems and that James Spader's really is as virtuous as he seems, the film loses steam -- and credibility. The characters behave in such a trite manner that it's impossible to believe that no one can see through Cusack's machinations for the first two-thirds of the film -- or through Spader's for the final third. As a result, despite the often fast pacing, the film lags and the viewer's attention wanders. Were it not for two first class performances from the leads, the audience would likely become irritated at the turns of the script. Fortunately, both the stars jump into their roles with total commitment, and seem to relish getting to play more-or-less against type. They even manage to make the ludicrous skiing fight work, which is no mean feat. Of the two, Cusack makes the stronger impression upon initial viewing, but this is largely due to the no-holds-barred ambition of the character itself. Spader's carefully nuanced performance lingers and grows more impressive upon reflection. Herbert Ross has directed with expediency but seems to have accepted the flaws in the script rather too easily.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1998
  • UPC: 097363212737
  • Original Release: 1991
  • Source: Paramount
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Cusack Peter Burton
James Spader Tim Garrity
Imogen Stubbs Diana Stiles
Mandy Patinkin John Palmeri
Richard Widmark Senator James B. Stiles
Dina Merrill Joan Stiles
Philip Bosco Senator Steubens
Paul Guilfoyle John Lawry
Richard G. Adee Palmeri's First Mate
Bev Appleton Professor Houseman
Steve Aronson Miami Reporter
Russell Dennis Baker Todd
John Battle Burton Campaign Aide
Sally Beckner Miami Reporter
Julian Bell Anchorman
Joshua Billings Justice Department Aide
Sue Boyd Senior Supporter
Donald Campen Jr. Campaign Aide
Tony Carlin Tony
Philip Coccioletti Carl
Lisa Cooley Stile's Secretary
Kim Criswell Campus Radical
O. Dewayne "Bart" Davis Campaign Reporter
Ernie Dunn Campaign Aide
Tom Ellis FBI Agent
Ronnie Farer Justice Department Agent
Rhonda Fitzgerald Justice Secretary
Tom Sean Foley Ken
Mike Fowler Burton Campaign Aide
Anthony Fusco Sam Minot
Peter Hackes Dr. Burt Tuck
R.M. Haley FBI Agent
Thomas Hauff Detective
Anne H. Hill Campaign Aide
Sam Hoffman B.J.
Chester Holt Senior Supporter
Karen Jablons-Alexander Store Clerk
Larry Joshua David
Michael Kennedy Miami Reporter
Mary Mara Sophia Palmeri
Joe Mattys Tux Shop Owner
Hank McCann
Bruce McCarty Mark
Don McManus Stubblefield
Mary McMillan Campaign Reporter
Steve Morley Justice Department Aide
Rende Rae Norman Fanne
Wendee Pratt Janine
Antonia Rey Soledad
Ed Sala Lackerby Aide
Brad Sullivan Abernathy
Frank Hoyt Taylor Senator Lackerby
Timothy Chambers FBI Agent
Sam Wells Miami Reporter
Scott Wickware Detective
Technical Credits
Herbert Ross Director, Producer
Joseph G. Aulisi Costumes/Costume Designer
William Barclay Art Director
Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr. Producer
Robert Franco Set Decoration/Design
Michael Haynes Stunts
Trevor Jones Score Composer
Laurence Mark Producer
Edward Pisoni Production Designer
Robert Reitano Editor
Stephen A. Rotter Editor
Timothy R. Sexton Musical Direction/Supervision
Jerry Spicer Stunts
Dante Spinotti Cinematographer
Kevin Wade Screenwriter
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