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“Gloria,” starring Sharon Stone as an aging gun moll with the fakest Noo Yawk accent in movie memory, is one of those flicks they don’t show to critics. When studios plant these stink bombs in theaters, do they really think that audiences won’t notice the stench? Hardly. Gloria tanked at the box office and drew fire from reviewers who could not believe (1) that a director as reputable as Sidney Lumet would remake a film that the late, great John Cassavetes did to a turn in 1980; (2) that Stone would try to fill the spike heels of Cassavetes’ wife, Gena Rowlands, who won a richly deserved Oscar nomination for playing the title role so forcefully; (3) that both Lumet and Stone would do their jobs with such rank ineptitude. Of course, Gloria isn’t alone in trying to hide its shame from critics in order to sell a few tickets before the bad word gets out. Audiences have already been sneak-attacked by the likes of Virus, In Dreams and She’s All That. It’s early in the year, but I’ll bet that Gloria grabs a top spot on any list of the worst movies of 1999.

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