The Mean Season (1985)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Nothing in The Mean Season is quite as powerful as its opening: a languid shot of a young girl, wandering with a seeming carefree air down the beach, suddenly turning to stare in tearful terror at the man she knows is about to kill her. The plot concerns the search for the serial murderer who was "introduced" in the opening. Miami journalist Malcolm Anderson (Kurt Russell) writes a newspaper series on the killings and as a result is the recipient of phone calls from the killer Alan Delour (Richard Jordan). Delour likes Anderson's work and promises to call in with exclusive accounts of his upcoming murders -- though he doesn't go so far as to tell Anderson where he'll strike next. The story becomes bigger than both Anderson and Delour, with the latter growing jealous of Anderson's sudden celebrity and with both men using one another to advance themselves. The inevitable showdown takes place during a convincingly staged hurricane, with Anderson's lady friend (Mariel Hemingway) an unwilling pawn between the two ego-driven men. The Mean Season was adapted by Leon Piedmont from John Katzenbach's novel In the Heat of the Summer.
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Kurt Russell
as Malcolm Anderson
Mariel Hemingway
as Christine Connelly
Richard Jordan
as Alan Delour
Richard Masur
as Bill Nolan
Joe Pantoliano
as Andy Porter
Richard Bradford
as Phil Wilson
Andy Garcia
as Ray Martinez
Marshall B. Gage
as SWAT Commander
Rose Portillo
as Kathy Vasquez
William Smith
as Albert O'Shaughnessy
John Palmer
as Himself
Lee Sandman
as Harold Jacoby, Miami Journal Publisher
Dan Fitzgerald
as Carl Mason, Editor-in-Chief
Cynthia Caquelin
as Ruth Lowenstein, Attorney
Fred Ornstein
as Warren Phillips, Attorney
Fritz Bronner
as Peter Peterson, Reporter
Mike DeRienzo
as Everett Durfee, Reporter
Mike de Rienzo
as Everett Durfee, Reporter
Michael Clay
as Ray Sloane, Reporter
Fred Buch
as John Burrows, Detective Chief
Bruce McLaughlin
as Leonard Pridmore, Medical Examiner
Robert Apte
as Swat Commander
Rodney Barretto
as Swat Commander
Jill Beach
as TV Anchorman
Bill Rutherford
as TV Reporter
Peter Lundquist
as TV Reporter
Connie Hicks
as TV Reporter
George Rudolph
as WGBS Radio Newsman
Robert Small
as Bill Crawford
Nancy Duerr
as TV Newswoman
Mark Fields
as Reporter
Tim Minton
as Reporter
Mary Lou Simo
as Reporter
Tamara Jones
as Sarah Hooks
Joan Murphy
as Mrs. Hooks
Richard Liberty
as Mr. Hooks
Paul Nagel
as Jogger
Morris Zuckerman
as Mr. Stein
Lillian Zuckerman
as Mrs. Stein
Ann Browning
as Victim in Matheson Hammock Park
Jennifer Browning
as Victim's Infant
Robert Gwalty
as Psychiatrist
Bob Gwalty
as Psychiatrist
Christine Page
as Elementary School Teacher
Joshua Segal
as Schoolboy
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Critic Reviews for The Mean Season

All Critics (7)

A gripping thriller that also challenges us to contemplate the ethical responsibilities of journalists.

Full Review… | August 22, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Unsatisfying mix of "Red Dragon" and "Absence of Malice"

September 11, 2003
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Quote not available.

August 8, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Quote not available.

July 16, 2005

Quote not available.

July 29, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Quote not available.

June 29, 2004
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Audience Reviews for The Mean Season


Starts off really good and then really makes me lose interest about an hour in. The killer keeps building up to essentially nothing. I kept waiting for this insane plot twist, but nothing happens really, other than the predictable ending sequence (I won't even bother calling that a twist). So it's good for the first half of the film, but then just dies. Thankfully Kurt Russell's awesomeness helps to make this movie watchable at least. He helps to partially nullify the terrible supporting cast, especially the useless love interest, who's only purpose is to get kidnapped. Could have been a lot better.

Stephen Skudlarek
Stephen Skudlarek

Pedestrian, and lacked chemistry between Russell and Hemingway. I always like Russell, but this is not very exciting. Hemingway was flat (not referring to her bust in her shower scene) and emotionless.

Mike Bierman
Mike Bierman

There are cliched stories and hackneyed dialogue to be found in every genre and sub-genre of film, but it seems to me that the serial killer movies are more prone to such pitfalls than other types. "The Mean Season" definitely stumbles into quite a few of those such pitfalls along the way, and that's made even worse here by the sad fact that this wasn't very original to begin with. It was made at a time before this type of filmmaking was chic but it still doesn't have a very interesting story to tell. There's nothing fresh about this, the killer isn't particularly innovative or special and the finale is typical of its type. The usually reliable Kurt Russell is just fine in the lead role, but pretty much everyone else in the cast is wasted in supporting roles that are curiously underwritten. Mariel Hemingway is supposed to flesh out the film by contributing to the backstory of her relationship with Russell, but in the end in predictable fashion, she's reduced to being just another screaming victim. Worse yet is Richard Jordan as the routine killer, mostly because you don't even see his face until the final two-thirds of the film. In reality, anyone could have played the part. The film also throws in several cheesy plot devices that range from terribly stale to ridiculously outdated, like the hilarious spinning newspapers to the "is it the killer or someone they know" scare tactics. Much like the rest of "The Mean Season", they all seem shockingly outdated, even for a film that's nearly thirty years old. You won't see anything in this that you haven't seen done better a dozen times before in other better movies.

Timothy Sanders
Timothy Sanders

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