One From the Heart (1982):
was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was
the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter
of despair ...
Charles Dickens ... A Tale of Two Cities
Ol' Chuck Dickens wasn't just whistlin' Dixie there,
was he? I think the lad was onto something. What is truly astounding
about that quote is that he was talking about the 1770s, and not the
1970s. In both of those springs of hope, the smell of revolution was
in the air. There were no guillotines in the 1970s, but that
epoch was a time of cultural revolution which changed the world
almost as dramatically as the American Revolution. During the
first counter-cultural stirrings in the Summer of Love in 1967, nobody could have
predicted that within a few short months the student protests would
drive the most powerful man in the world to announce he would not
seek a second term in office, nor could anyone in that early
euphoric hippie haze have foreseen the
movement's final, triumphal moment when a muttering, drunken,
half-crazed Richard Nixon was shooed from the White House as
unceremoniously as if he
had been a dog who pissed on the floor of the Oval Office.
The movie business underwent its own parallel revolution in the
sixties and seventies. The greedy studio system crumbled, the
restrictive Hays Code was
repealed, and the lone wolf auteur became the romantic hero of the
hour, with the freedom to do as he pleased. In the old studio system, directors had been virtually
anonymous. Did you ever hear of
Michael Curtiz? Well, in the old studio days, up until
1961, he directed sixty five films, including some of the best ever
made. You've probably heard of Casablanca, Robin Hood, Mildred
Pierce, The Sea Wolf, Captain Blood, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Elizabeth
and Essex, and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Curtiz directed them
all, and many others as familiar, all while working as a salaried
employee of Warner Brothers. If he had been born twenty years later,
he would have been a household name. Within a few years after Curtiz
ended his career, by the time the 1970s rolled around, directors had
become familiar even to the average Joe Six Pack, who could probably
identify at least Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese, and Woody
Allen. Those guys were stars, even though all their great movies
added together may not equal the career of the anonymous Michael
With the newly established stardom of directors came independence,
and with that freedom came a high level of risk for the major
studios. The studios, stripped of artistic control and reduced
basically to the banking function, were not especially pleased to
have an additional tier of stars. It was difficult enough to deal
with egomaniacal actors, but the combination of acting stars and
directing stars was enough to drive any studio head to retirement,
and enough to drive studios to bankruptcy. After all, a
perfectionist actor could only cause so many problems, but a
perfectionist director could blow costs sky-high and delay films by
months, or even years. Perfectionists, once they have been declared
geniuses by the general consensus of their peers or by the
overwhelming approval of audiences, stand above criticism. They are
infallible until proven otherwise.
The mystique of the infallible revolutionary seems to be an
inevitable part of the process of revolution. Dickens's subjects,
the French of the 1770s, had been inspired by, and had contributed
much to, an America which had declared itself independent in order
to establish rights which were "self-evident." There is something in
that hyphenated word which says a great deal about both of those
hopeful springs two centuries apart - there is a presumption of
infallibility, a cavalierly pre-emptive dismissal of any opposing
argument as being so obviously wrong that discussion cannot even be
entertained. Why? It's "self-evident." The need to do things his way
was as self-evident to Michael Cimino in the 1970s as it was to
Thomas Jefferson in the 1770s. And so were born deals for vaguely
defined projects, and directors with the right of "final cut." These
notions were conceived with the noble purpose of sheltering the
high-minded genius auteur from the meddling of artless studio
accountants and shysters. These same notions, conceived in the
spring of hope, would ultimately bring the studios to the winter of
Once a man has been lifted upon the pedestal of genius, given a
blank check and final cut, the only thing that can knock him off his
pedestal is a reversal of the successes and approvals that
originally anointed his genius. Steven Spielberg (1941, made in
1979), Frances Ford Coppola (One From the Heart, 1982), and Michael
Cimino (Heaven's Gate, 1980) were three of the superstar directors
who eventually used their complete freedom to prove just how
fallible they were. It all came tumbling down for the studios,
appropriately enough, just as the seventies ended. Clio, the Muse of
History, can not normally provide the convenience of ending epochs
on a timetable consistent with calendar decades, but in this case
everything worked itself out quite neatly to separate "a seventies
film" and "an eighties film" quite clearly in our minds.
One From the Heart, although dated 1982, was basically vestigial -
the last gasp of the seventies. The project actually debuted (and
closed) at the very beginning of 1982, and Coppola had been working
on it for two years. Coppola had created a new studio, and his
original idea was to launch it with a small picture - a sound stage
musical with no location shots - no exteriors at all, for that
matter. It would be a film in which he would manage every set, every
light, every frame to give off the special romantic aura he wanted
to create with a minimal investment. At least that was the original
intention. Of course, once a genius auteur starts punctilious
management of every frame of a film, you just know that things are
going to get out of hand. The "small picture" grew into a $26
million dollar Topsy.
There were plenty of warning signs along the way. Coppola started
referring to himself not as the director, but as the film's
"composer." He determined that he would not "compose" from the
physical set of the film, but from a high-tech control room where he
could view instant rushes through video technology, as if he were
Roone Arledge directing the Olympics. This was pretty much of a
symbolic declaration that the film was about the technology, and not
about the humanity of the story. On a less symbolic level, he
declared that the film was actually about "fantasy and reality," and
was far ahead of its time. All of that translates from
director-speak into English as "I don't have much of a story, and
Joe Moviegoer isn't going to get it because it looks kinda like a
Fellini thing." To cap off the pretentious presentation of the film,
Coppola premiered it at a reserved seat engagement in Radio City
The public reacted the way they always react to a film ahead of its
time - by rejecting it in favor of films that belong to their own
time. The total gross was $900,000, a mere drop in the budget's
bloated bucket, and Coppola voluntarily pulled the film from
theaters in short order. If the public was merely indifferent,
critics were bilious. They seemed to despise it and everything it
stood for. Roger Ebert was reasonably polite in assigning a weak two
stars, but Pauline Kael hauled out her heavy verbal artillery for a
scathing attack. Here are some of her choice barbs:
A man who can say, with the seriousness of a hypnotist, that the new
movie technology is "going to make the Industrial Revolution look
like a small, out-of-town tryout" seems to have lost the sense of
proportion that's needed for shaping a movie.
This movie isn't from the heart or from the head, either; it's from
Eventually the audience realizes that there is nothing - literally
nothing - happening except pretty images gliding into each other.
When people are frolicking in the street, people in the audience are
whispering that it's a Dr Pepper commercial.
It is a musical, in a way, but the characters don't sing the songs.
They stare out longingly into the middle distance while Tom Waits
and Crystal Gayle sing for them. That might have worked out fine,
except that the songs, written by Waits, are so ... unmemorable. I
like musicals, and often come out of them singing a couple of the
best songs, but I can't remember one damned phrase from any of
these. There was also a second problem with the songs. The duets
don't work. Waits is an interesting guy and has developed his own
signature growling, sliding style which is perfectly appropriate to
represent the singing of a blue collar worker, so his imprecise
sliding between the notes works out fine for the bluesy solo
numbers, but he sounds pretty damned sour when he misses the
harmonies in the duets. In addition, their voices are very
dissimilar and Gayle simply overpowers him. Even when Waits hits the
notes, their duets often sound like he's humming along from the
audience while she sings with a microphone. It sounds like Ethel
Merman singing a duet with Donovan.
What's the film about? Not much of anything. That's the real
The story centers around the relationship of two average, boring,
ordinary people. Frannie works in a travel agency. Hank drives a tow
truck. They live and work in Las Vegas, which Coppola re-created on
a sound stage because he wanted a fantasy feeling. No, really.
Apparently the real Las Vegas is just too real - too mundane and
fantasy-free, as gritty as the South Bronx.
Frannie and Hank have been together for five years and each of them
has bought a present to mark the occasion. Frannie has bought two
tickets to Bora-Bora. Hank has bought the house they've been living
in. The presents don't hit the mark. Frannie thinks Hank's present
is too earth-bound and unimaginative, and she doesn't even
like the house. Hank thinks Frannie's present is extravagant and
impractical. An argument follows the gift exchange, and they break
Within 24 hours, they are each getting laid with a sexy new partner,
after he is pursued by a beautiful Vegas showgirl, and she does a
tango through the streets of Vegas with a professional dancer.
Now that's some gritty South Bronx mean streets realism!
Anyway, here's the big spoiler: the lovers manage to get back
I'll give you a little time to recover from the shock and surprise.
Because it was shot entirely on a sound stage with many of the
techniques of live theater, One From the Heart seems to be a filmed
play, but that isn't really such a bad thing. The artiness might
have worked under different circumstances. As I see it, the film
didn't fail because of Coppola's grand excesses or clinical
aloofness. Deep down, the one thing really wrong with this movie is
the same thing that is usually wrong with failed movies - the
script. If Coppola had put the same time and effort and wizardry
into something witty and engaging, it could have and would have
resulted in a worthwhile film. As it stands, all of the pyrotechnics
really don't matter, because the script is trite, superficial,
insubstantial, pointless, whitebread bland, and sorely lacking in
humor. As a result, there is nothing to the film except the
technique. People do not pony up their hard-earned cash to watch
dazzling technique alone. As Pauline Kael pointed out, it's a long
Dr. Pepper commercial, and we don't always watch those, even though
they are free.
Teri Garr (1,
Nasty Kinski (1,
2). I am supposed to know about these things but I didn't
know that Kinski had a brief topless scene in this film.
- This is a real headline:
"Belgium to ban Boy Scouts from killing chickens" ...
Under the old rules, the scouts were not allowed to shoot or stab
the birds, but they could choke the chickens.
Jennifer Tilly wins the World Series of Poker (Women's
No Limit Hold 'Em)
Psychiatrists claim Cruise comments are 'irresponsible'
Rejected Crayola Crayons
Bob Dylan in exclusive CD deal with Starbucks. And this
is no bullshit: "Dylan: Live at the Gaslight 1962,' co-released
with Sony BMG Custom Marketing Group, will hit Starbucks coffee
shops Aug. 30. It features 10 previously unreleased tracks from
performances at New York's Gaslight Cafe over four decades ago,
including 'A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall' and 'Don't Think Twice It's
Pictures from Coney Island's Mermaid Parade on Sunday
SCOTUSblog: Reporters lose in leaks case ... "the
Constitution and federal common law do not recognize a reporter's
privilege of confidentiality."
General admits to secret air war
- "THE American general who commanded allied air forces during
the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American
and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air
war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the
- It seems that the Iraqis didn't even notice, because if they
had, they would undoubtedly have screamed bloody murder to the
U.N. and the international press. Now THAT'S a secret bombing!
11th richest man in the world dies piloting a chickenshit homemade
aircraft. (What can ya say? Flyin' that crazy shit was
what he loved to do, and he was just up there for fun.)
The trailer for Magnificent Desolution: Walking on the Moon 3D
- "The IMAX space legacy continues with 'Magnificent
Desolution: Walking on the Moon 3D,' which will take audiences
to the surface of the Moon to walk alongside the extraordinary
Apollo astronauts who have stepped upon its surface. With never
before seen photographs, CGI renditions of the lunar landscape
and previously unreleased NASA footage, audiences will be
immersed in the life-changing experiences of these astronauts by
showcasing what they saw, heard, felt, thought and did while on
the lunar surface."
Five clips from November
- November is a psychological thriller exploring a woman's
struggle to transcend trauma through a surreal blend of emotion
and memory. The narrative and visual style are comprised of
dreamlike moments and images stemming from Sophie's subjective
experience, blurring the line between reality and the
- Speaking of Peter Jackson:
The trailer for King Kong is finally online
'Lord of the Rings' director sues over revenues. The
basis of the suit is quite technical. Time Warner sold ancillary
rights to the film to other divisions of their company. Jackson is
entitled to a percentage of those revenues, and he got them all
right, but his suit alleges that the Warner Movie Division should
have placed all of those ancillary rights up for bid on the open
market instead of just handing them over to sister companies.
Sounds like a small deal? Well, sir, Jackson says it may have cost
him as much as $100 million!
CMT signs multi-year deal to air Miss America Pageant
This purports to be a 19 second excerpt from the sex tape of the
hip hop diva, Eve. (I don't know whether authentic.)
DUREX DICKORATIONS - the world's #1 source for penis outfits.
- One of our submitters went on a Cameron Diaz hunt. Kicking it
off, here is one of her notorious "pre-fame" exploits, an
uncensored bondage photo shoot (only the good parts!)
More Cameron Diaz paparazzi (see below). Check out the
wicked scar on her right ass cheek.
More of Cameron Diaz's scar - and a great wedgie.
Lots of paparazzi bikini shots of surfer girl Cameron Diaz.
This is supposed to be Aniston and her new flame, Vince Vaughn.
Whatever. I give ol' Vince a lot of credit. He must have a healthy
self-image. I'm not sure I'd like being compared to Brad Pitt.
The Food Timeline
- "Ever wonder what foods the Vikings ate when they set off to
explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream?
What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented
the potato chip...and why? Welcome to the Food Timeline."
Brad and Angelina play mommy and daddy.
White House Statement Formally Supporting Senior Advisor Karl
Rove's Recent Observations on the Scourge of Liberalism
Abandoned Railroads of the US
JoBlo.com's 2006 Movie Previews.
Seinfeld's Secret: It's Nothing, Really. Good article -
very entertaining. "Seinfeld said his favorite 'Seinfeld' episode
is probably the one in which George Costanza pretends to be a
marine biologist and rescues a whale by pulling from its blowhole
a golf ball hit into the ocean by Cosmo Kramer." That's probably
my favorite as well - "The sea was angry that day, my friends!"
- Tell me this isn't the greatest music story EVER!!
Billy Ray Cyrus joins William Hung on a new version of "Achy
Breaky Heart"!!! The Hung album also includes "Surfin
USA" and the Tony Bennett classic, "I Left My Heart in San
Francisco." All of you on my Christmas list can pretty much know
what to expect in your stocking.
- This is not a hoax, but a real news story. (I guess.)
Scientists have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines
after several hours of clinical death. ... Yes,
scientists at the prestigious George Romero University have
succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical
death, paving the way for trials on humans within years. OK, maybe
I made up the name of the school, but the rest is really in the
Conan on the Aisle - the late night host looks at the new Herbie
A new two minute clip and four character featurettes from
Here's a clip and the trailer from Murderball, an
offbeat documentary about some tough-ass quadriplegic rugby
IRAN SAYS IT IS BUILDING MOST PEACEFUL NUCLEAR WEAPON EVER
... Nuke Experts Skeptical of President-elect's Claim
- “The nuclear bomb we are currently building is for display
- "Elsewhere, in his most gloomy assessment to date, Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that the insurgency in Iraq
could last longer than Cher’s Farewell Tour."
Supreme Court rules that Grokster can be sued. (Ruling
in .pdf format)
- "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object
of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear
expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster
infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement
by third parties."
- "The record is replete with evidence that from the moment
Grokster and StreamCast began to distribute their free software,
each one clearly voiced the objective that recipients use it to
download copyrighted works, and each took active steps to
- A large chunk of the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling
consisted of some rather harsh words about the incorrect ruling
by the notorious 9th Circuit, an error-filled decision which
forced the case to the Supreme Court.
A summary of USC 2257 and its impact on adult internet sites.
(Sites with non-simulated sexual acts.)
Summer of Love organizer, Chet Helms, dead at 62
Watch Muppet cranks Statler & Waldorf as they review recent
trailers on Movies.com.
On-This-Day.com. A list of various things that have
happened on the current date. Check out any date to see what
happened in history and people with that birthday.
ADULT SIZE Big Wheels
- "FedEx Furniture is furniture put together by empty FedEx
Boxes, and held together by fedex packaging supplies. All of the
furniture seen here is 100% functional. The couch is
standing/sleeping approved, I sleep on the bed every night, I
eat at the dining table, and I work at the desk almost 20 hours
Directory of the Populist Murals of Northern Ireland
pennsylvaniastatesong.com. A tongue-in-cheek argument
to replace Pennsylvania's "repulsively saccharine clusterfuck that
is the current state song!" (It's actually a promo for a new
album, but it's a funny promo.) The Bloodhound Gang's Jimmy Pop
states, "Pennsylvania sucks. Pennsylvania's current state song
sucks. I can change the latter."
Le Building - a short, odd little 3-D cartoon
Topless Gymnastics in slow motion. Now THAT's
Piglet and Tigger reunited. John Fiedler, the voice of
Piglet, died Saturday at 80. To most of us baby boomers, Fiedler
is most recognizable as the wimpy Mr Peterson, a favorite patient
of Bob Newhart's classic psychologist.
PCWorld.com - The Best (and Worst) ISPs
- New Google Maps satellite images:
Baghdad Parade Grounds
Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the
since it's sorta in real time.
to submit a URL for Other Crap
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
Pat's comments in yellow...
CRUISE NOW A PSYCHIATRY EXPERT
Take Your Ritalin - Friday, Tom Cruise went into a rant on "The Today Show"
when Matt Lauer questioned his Scientology-derived denunciations of
psychiatry. Tom declared that most mental problems can be cured with
vitamins and exercise, there is no such thing as a "chemical imbalance,"
and "You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do." He made similar
claims in a recent Entertainment Weekly article, such as that Carl Jung
used to edit Nazi papers and morphine was originally called Adolophine
after Hitler, both of which the EW editors found to be urban legends.
I wish actors would stop talking about medicine and go back to talking
about what they really know: foreign policy.
Tom Cruise has a nutritionist and a personal trainer...That's why he's
so mentally stable.
Look at Tom Cruise and tell me there's no such thing as a chemical
REALLY EXPENSIVE SNEAKERS
Machine Washable! - The New York Post reports that this week at Neiman
Marcus, jeweler Jacob Arabo and SneakerLuxe Inc. unveil a new line of
sneakers that push bling to a ridiculous level. The basic models are
leather and start at $350. Exotic skins, such as ostrich or crocodile, run
$1,395 a pair; and you can get them with 2.5 carats worth of diamonds for
$4,000 a pair.
They're known as "Million-Air Jordans."
Paris Hilton bought two pairs...for her Chihuahua, Tinkerbell.
Gang members kill each other over $200 sneakers...They'll be taking out
entire neighborhoods for these.
WONDER-BRIEFS ENHANCE MALE BULGES
$200, With The Butt Pads - Newsweek reports that underwear makers are
borrowing designs from the Wonderbra to make briefs with enhancing front
pouches that give men a boost in "confidence." Volunteers tested them,
with mixed results. One pair was described as "like wearing your mother's
underwear" and prone to cause wedgies. One was so tight, the man couldn't
wear them for more than an hour. A third had a sling sewn into the pouch
for a bra-like "lift and separate" effect which the tester found "damn
sexy," but so complicated, he needed directions to put them on. The
top-rated, DSquared, were "fairly comfortable" and "filled me out more,"
but cost $79 at Sak's Fifth Avenue.
You know, you can get a cucumber for 49 cents at Kroger.
Rosie O'Donnell says they're worth every penny!
Just tell women you can afford to shop at Sak's, and it won't matter how
big your bulge is.
It's like wearing your mom's underwear, if mom was a transsexual.
These are like a Wonderbra, as in, "I wonder how you put this thing on?"
J-LO MARKETS JEWELRY FOR DOGS
Tinkerbell Prefers Cartier - Jennifer Lopez is expanding her fashion line
in a new direction: J-Lo designer jewelry for dogs. An insider said she's
always found it frustrating that there are limited accessories available
for dogs, so she "just got creative" and extended her range of jewelry to
You think SHE was frustrated?! Her dog was too embarrassed to leave the
Her target market is J-Lo fans and dogs...Basically, any creature who's
fixated on butts.
PREGNANT BRITNEY TO POSE NUDE
A Year And Seven Months Too Late - Life & Style magazine reports that
Britney Spears loves her new pregnant body so much, she's decided to pull a
Demi Moore and pose for her first nude photo shoot for Vanity Fair,
alongside Kevin Federline, when she's seven months pregnant.
Hey, Brit: good timing!
It's nothing new for Kevin: he's got naked pictures of all the chicks
he's knocked up.
By then, Kevin plans to have an enormous beer belly, so they'll match.