I don’t know where to begin, this movie is so laughable that you could choose any scene and find things to mock. Mia Farrow appearing for about thirty seconds, Peter O’Toole hamming it up and not doing a very good job of it, Faye Dunaway, doing most of her performance under the belief that opening your eyes wider is a the only acting tool one needs for this material, any of these could qualify with a dozen other examples. I suppose I will start with the one thing they got right, casting Helen Slater as “Supergirl”. She is adorable, looks great in the costume and has an innocent quality to her that fits the idea of purity that comes in these films.
The movie comes from the original producers of the “Superman” series, and it is at this point that they wash their hands of the franchise. This is a movie that is as they used to say in the rap world “got the vapors”. It is cruising on the good will of the earlier Christopher Reeve movies. Kara only mentions that she is Clark/Supermans cousin a half dozen times. Marc McClure shows up for basically no reason other than to tie the films together. At one point they even have Kara admiring a “Superman” poster on the wall, that’s as close as they could get Christopher Reeve in this movie.
Imagine the most banal dialogue available in a movie, then plan out a very straight forward dry plot, now cast the two most talented actors of their generation as the stars, and you have this movie. It is not offensive or poorly made, it is just wandering around looking for a reason to exist, and it can’t find one. I did not remember anything about this film thirty years after seeing it except that it featured a “cute meet” based on a mix up of Christmas gift books. That was the most interesting thing that happened in this film.
Just looking at the poster tells you how dull the movie is. There is no tag line, no artwork, nothing creative. They slap a cute picture of the two stars on a black background and add the title. You would not even need photoshop to come up with something this dull. The only reasons anyone has to see the film are the two stars. (Two Stars would be a generous rating if this was a ratings based blog).
The film that eclipsed “Ghostbusters” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” at the box office in 1984, opened in December and starred the man who would be guaranteed box office security for almost twenty years. Eddie Murphy was on the cusp of being the biggest star in the world and this is the film that established that as a fact not a prediction. “48 Hours” and “Trading Places” were just the warm up acts for this bravura comedic gem of improvisation and script.
Taking an action script that was originally meant for Sylvester Stallone and turning it into comedy dynamite was an amazing accomplishment. The success of the movie has to be laid at the feet of the star. Murphy was not yet bored with his roles and clowning through childish premises. Murphy was still fresh, brash and ready to poke some traditions in the eye.
Are you a fan of Merchant/Ivory films? Do you like the idea of naive travelers in exotic lands? Has the existential meaning of life escaped you? If you answered yes to any of these questions this film might be up your alley. You may notice however, that I did not ask if you were a fan of Bill Murray. The reason I skipped that is simple, fans of Bill Murray’s will be disappointed in this movie and wondering where the snark is. Although he co-wrote the screenplay and does add a bit of his sensibility to the character, this is ultimately a misfire because his character is passive, introverted and disillusioned with life, which are all things that Bill Murray characters usually are not.
This is a remake of the same novel that was done by Tyrone Power in 1946. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that film but I suspect it would be a little more meaningful if the “Lost Generation” was part of your audience. A contemporary version of the story might have featured soldiers with PTSD, and their alienation from the country that they served in combat. The good times of the roaring twenties and the fall that accompanied the Great Depression set up a context that most audiences were not able to identify with in 1984.
More than Thirty years later, we are still getting films based on the characters created by James Cameron in this essential 1984 classic. This film is so influential on modern cinema and culture that it is the equivalent of an earthquake. The ground moved and the world took notice. This was a mostly unheralded film at the time. It was done on a relatively low budget, it’s star was not yet the household name that he would become, and it was the first real film directed by future “King of the World” James Cameron. This movie laid the groundwork for Cameron’s later career and creative freedom, but here he had to fight to keep control of the project and to try and get it the promotion that it deserved. It came in behind “Red Dawn” on the box office totals for 1984 and barely edged out “City Heat” to be the number 21 film that year with just over $38 million domestically. Modest financial beginnings but big creative ones.
Beatles fans like me looked forward to a movie featuring two of the fab four in 1984. That is until it actually arrived. This film, written by Paul McCartney himself, showed up D.O.A. on it’s opening weekend, with some of the worst reviews and buzz of the year. It turns out that the film was not as bad as I remembered, but I also recall why I have not seen it again in the thirty years since it came out. Basically, it is a mess. Sometimes there are interesting ideas, like you often found in a music video from the 80s, but an interesting visual cue is not enough to sustain interest in a ninety minute film.
Essentially, “Give My Regards to Broad Street” is a thin justification for stringing together partially realized music videos featuring old Beatles hits, Wings songs from the 70s and some current (1984) ballads. I suspect if you dropped in for a musical sequence or two, and then skipped the rest of the movie, you might enjoy some of what you saw. Sticking it out for the whole run at one sitting will try your patience and it might kill any interest you have in watching a long form music video presentation ever again.