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Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE AMY FISHER STORY

the amy fisher story review
Drew Barrymore is the Long Island Lolita!

Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Tony Denison, Laurie Paton, Ken Pogue, Tom Mason, Garry Davey

the amy fisher story dvd

In the early to mid-1990s there were a few notorious crimes that rocked the US and fed a newly formed 24-hour news cycle that was hungry for more sex and violence. Nothing exemplifies this "if it bleeds it leads" journalism more than the story of Amy Fisher.

the amy fisher story review

For those of you too young to know this story, Amy Fisher was a Long Island 16-year-old who fell madly in love and developed an affair with a much older married man named Joey Buttafuoco. Buttafuoco not only slept with the underaged girl but prostituted her. Fisher wanted to marry Joey but he was unable and unwilling to divorce his wife. Knowing this, Amy knocked on his door and when his wife Mary Jo answered she coldly shot her in the face. Mary survived, though it left her disfigured for life. Amy served a light sentence and is now 45 with three kids of her own.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - A Stranger Among Us ]

When the story broke, two television movies were rushed into production, one of which is this, 1993's The Amy Fisher Story. Told through flashbacks and flash forwards, the film tells the torrid affair of Fisher (Drew Barrymore) and Buttafuoco (Tony Denison), the shooting and the aftermath. For the most part the film is purely surface level but credit where credit's due, it does raise some interesting questions about sex, gender roles and slut shaming, as well as the all-consuming media.

the amy fisher story review

While this was a pleasant surprise it never really examines any of it in great depth. Worst of all, the film paints Fisher as a victim but never fully showcases the true victim in this entire tragedy, Mary Jo, whose life and happiness were ripped away when she was brutally shot in the face, leaving her to recover from the physical and mental trauma all while coming to terms with her scum bag husband, not to mention doing all this while in the public eye. While yes, Mary Jo is featured in the film, I don’t think it does her justice and her lack of screen time is pitiful.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Charlie's Angels ]

The casting of Barrymore is…interesting to say the least. Barrymore, who only slightly looks like the real Fisher, does her best to shed her cutesy trademark voice for a gritty New Jersey accent which varies wildly from scene to scene. Her range is pretty limited but it does add to the film’s wonderful cheesiness. And that’s where this film shines - it’s a temple to '90s melodrama in an over-saturated media landscape. It's bad but it's hard to outright hate.

the amy fisher story review

On Kino's DVD the film looks pretty good for an early '90s made-for-television movie. Digital artifacts have been cleaned up and though it looks dated, the film looks clean. The disc features my favourite kind of feature, a running audio commentary. Sally Christie is a lot of fun to listen as she discusses this film, its subtext and making of. I hope Kino gives her more commentary jobs in the future!

Overall: A so bad it's enjoyable film that is perfect for cold day viewing.

The Amy Fisher Story is on DVD December 17th from Kino Lorber.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.