CINEMA: TRAVOLTA FEVER

THE ONETIME TEEN IDOL HAS HAD HIS SHARE OF CAREER UPS AND DOWNS. GET SET FOR A BIG UP IN GET SHORTY

THERE'S NOTHING MORE DEPRESSING than finding a guy as tough as nails and as mean as dirt," Norman Mailer once remarked. We have, Mailer thought, a deep, profoundly sentimental need to believe that a hard exterior invariably hides a sweet, yearning, essentially decent nature. The alternate idea--that toughness disguises nothing but more toughness--may be the more accurate take on reality. But it's also an intolerable one, especially in the movies, the basic business of which is to redeem us, for a couple of hours now and then, from our darker suspicions about human nature.

It has been John Travolta's peculiar fate...

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