Director: Brian De Palma
In 1990, you couldn't ask for a starrier Hollywood threesome: Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and then-three-time Golden Globe nominee, and one-time winner, Melanie Griffith. And who was behind the camera while that trio flexed their comedic muscles? Brian De Palma, he of Carrie (1976), Blow Out (1981), Scarface (1983), and The Untouchables (1987) notoriety. It seemed like a match made in cellulose heaven, especially because De Palma and Griffith had previously worked together for one of her Golden Globe-nominated performances, 1984's Body Double.
Costing around $45 million, a huge budget at the time, The Bonfire of the Vanities was a serious bomb, only grossing $15 million domestically on its way to proving that ticket-buyers aren't that dumb. Hoping to properly adapt author Tom Wolfe's best-selling novel of the same, De Palma showed his inadequacies in translating the book's acute social satire against Wall Street sharks. The dark humor isn't funny and the novel's richly defined characters are downgraded into poorly acted caricatures. So much for that starry cast.