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Doc Hollywood is a 1991 comedy film based on the book, What? Dead again?, by Dr. Neil Shulman. The film starred Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, Woody Harrelson and Bridget Fonda.


Dr. Benjamin Stone (Michael J. Fox) is a hotshot young doctor who longs to leave the drudgery of the emergency room and finally leaps at his chance at more money and less work on the West Coast. On his last day, Ben's relationship with his co-workers is presumed to be anything but a warm one, as none of his colleagues will join him for a drink afterwards, and a celebratory cake in his honor has an iced portion of the phrase "Good riddance, asshole" sliced out of it.

Ben's cross-country drive in his 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster to become a Beverly Hillsmarker cosmetic surgeon is interrupted when he crashes in the rural hamlet of Grady, South Carolinamarker. Unfortunately for Ben, he crashes through the fence of the local judge Evans (Roberts Blossom), who penalises him to community service at the local hospital. Though Ben offers to pay the judge for the fence in lieu of the community service, the stern judge increases his community service each time he talks back, eventually to a total of 32 hours. Defeated, he reports to the hospital, where the stern Nurse Packer (Eyde Byrde) humbles him by ordering him to clock in and out each time he enters and leaves the hospital, as would a factory worker.

Though upset at his situation, Ben finds that his work at the clinic is much more laid-back than his time in the E/R, working on simple cases such as spots before the eyes (from an elderly patient not cleaning her glasses), fishing hook impalings, and even reading mail for a young illiterate couple, whose baby he later delivers. The experience also humbles Ben for a moment, when he mistreats a case of patent ductus arteriosus leading to Eisenmenger's syndrome and late cyanosis in a child. The town's elderly and idiosyncratic doctor, Aurelius Hogue, orders Ben to give the boy a Coca-Cola. Dismissing Hogue's treatment as quackery, Ben calls to order a helicopter to transport the boy to another facility in Athens, Georgiamarker, to see a heart specialist. Hogue arrives in time to stop them, telling Stone that an indomethacin-like component of the soda would cause the PDA to close and cure him. The incident erupts into a confrontation between the younger, more recently educated Stone and the curmudgeonly yet more experienced Hogue. The two doctors finally bond after Ben saves Hogue after he suffers a near-fatal heart attack.

Since Hogue is retiring, Dr. Stone is urged by the folksy locals to stay - an offer (paying only $35,000 a year, but still a fair amount of money by the presumed low cost of living) made tempting by his budding romance with the tomboyish ambulance driver, Vialula "Lou" (Julie Warner), also a law student who ventured to New York but wishes to practice in Grady upon graduation. She is also the single mother of a four-year old girl, the product of a relationship she had with a former husband while in New York.

Ben first sees Lou as a possible bedroom conquest when he wakes up one morning and spies her swimming nude at the local lake, but is taken aback when she resists his advances. The two eventually become friends, and one day Lou asks why Ben is so eager to get out of Grady. Ben tells her that though he's a city doctor, he grew up in a small town in rural Indianamarker, where his parents lived and died, and doesn't ever want to see himself as never leaving the confines of a small town or the usual mentality that he believes go with it.

Lou is also the object of Hank Gordon's (Woody Harrelson) affections. Hank is a local insurance salesman, who sees the handsome young doctor as a possible romantic rival. Knowing that he can't compete with Ben in terms of station or prestige, Hank waits for Ben at the mayor's lakeside lodge, where Ben has been staying. Ben, expecting Hank to challenge him to a fight, picks up a broom, ready to do battle, but finds that all Hank wants to do is talk. Hank explains that though he can't give Lou what Ben can, he's still a better man for her. Ben comes to realize he's not selfless enough for a life with Lou and plans to not see her anymore, but Lou lets him go first.

Ben actually manages to buy enough time to finish his community service and go to California after his car is fixed, though he has shown signs of maturity from his experience in Grady and has found himself becoming emotionally attached to his patients. Putting career first, he decides against staying and leaves. The judge had dismissed the remainder of Ben's community service as a way to show gratitude to Ben for having saved Dr. Hogue's life.

At the interview for his job, Ben's new boss (George Hamilton) hires him at the interview, thanks to an unexpected letter of recommendation from Hogue. But Ben quickly tires of the superficiality of Beverly Hills. He's suddenly surprised by the appearance of Nancy Lee and Hank, who have fled Grady to come to California. Hank tells Ben he took his own advice to "do what a man's gotta do." Ben, seeing an opportunity at true happiness, returns to Grady, hoping to patch things up with Lou, who takes him back after a brief resistance.


Main cast

Actor Role
Michael J. Fox Dr. Benjamin Stone
Julie Warner Vialula/'Lou'
Woody Harrelson Hank Gordon
Barnard Hughes Dr. Aurelius Hogue
George Hamilton Dr. Halberstrom
David Ogden Stiers Mayor Nick Nicholson
Frances Sternhagen Lillian
Bridget Fonda Nancy Lee Nicholson

External links

  • Opening Titles with The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes [165422]

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