One from the Heart

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This movie came out in 1982; I remember saying to myself "Francis Ford Coppola, Teri Garr, how bad could it be?" But I never got around to finding out. It was a box office disaster, gone from theaters in an eyeblink. It was still a few years before VCRs were common, so it slipped through the cracks.

But I noticed that it was streamable via Amazon Prime. And so I decided to give it a try. And I can see why some people hated it back then. It wasn't like anything else: a simple story buried in quirkiness and garishness. (Since then, Baz Luhrmann has taken over this creative space, I think.) More to the point, it wasn't like the four previous movies Coppola directed, which were: (1) The Godfather; (2) The Conversation; (3) The Godfather: Part II; and (4) Apocalypse Now. Whoa.

Anyway, it's about Hank (Frederic Forrest) and Frannie (Teri Garr), who have been living together in Las Vegas for years, but can't seem to reconcile their differences: she's looking to be carried off on romantic getaways, while he's looking to put down domestic roots. On their Fourth of July anniversary, an argument escalates into Frannie walking out on Hank. ("You stupid bastard, Hank. She looks just like Teri Garr!")

Frannie and Hank find consolation and advice from close friends (Lainie Kazan and Harry Dean Stanton, respectively). And they wind up canoodling with interesting new people (Raul Julia and Nastassja Kinski, respectively). Will they return to each other, or will one or both wind up with another?

The whole movie was shot inside a studio, including a replica of Las Vegas' McCarran Airport - complete with a jetway and jet airliner. Impressive! But maybe also ill-advised, as it led to Coppolla's eventual bankruptcy.

One review I read trashed Teri Garr's dancing. I thought she did fine.

Much of the movie is accompanied by songs sung by Tom Waits and … again, whoa … Crystal Gayle. There's an odd couple for ya, but Ms. Gayle did a fine job singin' with Mr. Waits.