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Steve Miner

Steve Miner

While his involvement with "Friday the 13th" ended there, his next feature directing job, 1986's "House" kept him in the horror genre. This time the director's tone was more mocking and self-aware, resulting in a horror film with a sense of humor. (The film also spawned a series of sequels with which Miner was not involved.) "Soul Man," the director's first venture into romantic comedy, was also released the same year. While the concept itself was in questionable taste, the story of a white student (C Thomas Howell) who pretends to be black in order to secure a minority scholarship to Harvard Law School, the execution was skillful, with Miner creating an engaging, well-paced and somewhat slick film, proving his capabilities beyond the horror genre. In 1988, Miner turned to TV, directing the award-winning pilot of the acclaimed series "The Wonder Years," which premiered on ABC directly following the Super Bowl. Miner stayed with the series through that initial half season and the 1988-1989 season following, serving as a supervising producer and recurring director and netting an Emmy nomination for the 1989 episode "Birthday Boy." Also for ABC, he helmed episodes of the short-lived series "Elvis" (1990), a dramatization of the rock star's pre-fame climb. Back on the big screen, Miner's 1989 effort "Warlock," an interesting but overly gory century-spanning good versus evil tale starring Julian Sands and Richard E Grant was finally released in the United States in 1991.Miner's next projects would prove him as capable of eliciting sentimental tears from the audience as the screams of terror that met his previous projects. His 1991 effort "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" was an engrossing true story of a Depression-era young girl who dreams of being a stunt rider and diving on horseback into a tank of water. Miner's experience delivering films at a low budget served him well with this movie, a smaller Disney production that evinced a very convincing 1930s air. He followed up with the cryogenic love story "Forever Young," an engaging romance, starring big names Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood. Well-acted, beautifully shot and nicely arranged, this sleeper film, with Gibson as a man frozen in 1939 and accidentally thawed over fifty years later and Curtis and Wood as the family he gets involved with was surprisingly moving.Next up was the cute comedy "My Father, the Hero" (1994) with Miner directing the charismatic Gerard Depardieu to utterly charming effect in a story of an absentee father (Depardieu) who takes his 14-year old daughter on a luxurious beach vacation during which, in a bid to impress a boy she is infatuated with, she pretends that her father is actually her lover. He followed with the flat 1996 comedy feature "Big Bully," starring Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold as childhood adversaries who find themselves teaching at the same school. 1997 saw the director take on episodes of the TV dramas "Diagnosis: Murder" (CBS), "Relativity" and "The Practice" (both ABC) while the following year he Miner joined with Kevin Williamson as a producer of "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), for which he also served as director of the series' first four episodes. Miner reteamed with Williamson the following year as a director of the drama series "Wasteland" (ABC, 1999-2001), an ensemble piece following six Manhattan twentysomethings.Miner returned to the big screen with "Halloween: H20" (1998), the seventh installment of the horror series, and most true to the 1978 original that reinvented the genre and jump-started the popular appeal of independent film. With original star, scream-queen-turned-legit actress Jamie Lee Curtis on board and horror resurgence expert Kevin Williamson as executive producer, the film had a high credibility quotient, something sorely lacking from previous sequel efforts. Miner brought the blood-soaked thriller in at a terse 85 minutes, with a shocking opening scene followed by some suspenseful downtime with little Myers action, with the pace hitting an unrelenting frenzy following the face to face meeting of serial killer brother and heroine sister. The film, bearing the mark of Williamson had humorous and self-referential spots, but featured much more old-fashioned terror than the "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" series. Miner followed his this big screen success with "Lake Placid" (1999), an action adventure film pitting an expedition group including Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda against a 35 foot alligator in the waters of Maine that was scripted by yet another TV titan, David E Kelley. Miner then hired "Dawson's Creek" star James Van Der Beek for the lead in his revisionist Western "Texas Rangers" (2001).
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