One from the Heart

1981 drama

Rating: 13/20

Plot: Tired of each other, a pair of lovebirds in Las Vegas venture out in search of new companions.

Here's another one that I've owned the soundtrack to for years without ever seeing the movie. That's because it's all songs composed by Tom Waits and performed by him and Crystal Gayle. There are some great Waitsian lines here and there, and they both sing pretty, but the piano-based tunes about heartbreak and nocturnal ennui all kind of sound like each other. It's not something I've listened to much.

Coppola claims that this finished product does not reflect his artistic vision which explains the results. I'm not so sure I believe him. The main problems with this movie are very weak character and story development. The characters are a pair of lovable losers played by Teri Garr, whom Coppola seems most interested in showing in various stages of undress, and Frederick Forrest. In some ways, they're just fine as a typical late-70s/early-80s couple, drawn to the artificiality and neon of that particular time period. They're nondescript and antsy. At the same time, they're a little bland, and I don't think the script does them many favors. It definitely doesn't help transform them into anything fleshier than a soap opera character. And although there's a conflict, it doesn't really develop into anything that anybody is going to care about.

That might be because the visuals in this are such a distraction. It's a pleasant distraction, but the appeal, early on, becomes less about the story and these characters--even when Teri Garr is a little naked--and more on the gorgeous colors, the artificial Sin City that Coppola constructed on a soundstage, and the fascinating transitions from one character or setting to another. Visually, this is good enough to be worth a watch.

Also, if you're a Nastassja Kinksi or Harry Dean Stanton completist, you probably need to see this. Or Tom Waits since he's got a cameo as a trumpet player. I don't think he plays the trumpet.

No comments: