the Movie Club Annals ...
Reviewed by Elizabeth W.
Hard Rain was written by Graham Yost. I mention this only because he has 2 other award winning movies to his credit. Speed and Broken Arrow. Nuf said.
A small town in Ilindianiosana is being rained on. They have no weather forecasts so everyone is taken by surprise, but they manage to evacuate the town except for the cops and a bunch of money. The most surprised guy is the lazy, shiftless dam operator who falls asleep at the switch and manages to flood half of Indiaillinoisana when he fails to push the right button and keep the dam from breaking. Fortunately, the state has fine financial institutions that know conclusively when the dam is going to break and when it is going to rain hard, so they arrange to evacuate the money in low-lying banks (pun intended). The crooks in this little hamlet also have psychic powers and know that the armored car carrying the evacuated money will get stuck trying to drive through water that is 40 feet deep because the dam broke and it's raining.
The armored car drivers are Tom (Christian Slater) and his Uncle Charlie (Ed Asner). Uncle Charlie tries to convince Tom that armored car driving is an honorable profession, but Uncle Charlie gets shot and killed by the main bad guy Jim (Morgan Freeman) in the first 30 seconds of the movie, which neatly ends that debate.
When the bad guys try to get the money out of the armored car they discover that Tom has ditched his dead Uncle and absconded with the loot. Tom swims over to the unflooded sheriff's office to get help and finds the good-guy sheriff (Randy Quaid). When the sheriff hears Tom's story, he becomes the bad-guy-greedy sheriff and locks Tom up in a soon-to-be-flooded-on-cue-cell. Tom is saved by Karen (Minnie Driver) who is so inconsequential to the plot of this movie that she shouldn't be in the credits.
The rest of the movie is the four original bad guys and the now-bad-guy-sheriff all chasing each other around the flooded town trying to get Tom's money, on the conveniently-fully-fueled jet skis that they "found" in a store. One of the most notable scenes is when Tom baits one of the rocket-scientists-riding-a-jet-ski-inside-a-school-hallway, into driving his jet ski up a flight of stairs. The bad guy has a massive and fire infused crash in the water filled hallway and is if course, not injured at all.
Tom and Karen arrange to have all the street lights and school hallway lights remain on for the duration of the movie. Otherwise the viewer would miss the important cameo appearance of Betty White playing a crotchety person who has refused to evacuate her house. Don't worry, she had a lot of working flashlights and her power never went out even when the water was up to the second story of her house.
The movie ends just when the jet ski riding bad guys ride through the stained glass window of a church and just after Jim converts to good guyism. It almost equates to socially redeeming moral value, but not quite. Another reviewer said very aptly, "This movie, based on the merits of proper story-telling techniques, unique style and believable characters, fails on all counts." Another great Movie Club success.....