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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Moment By Moment (1978)

A wealthy Beverly Hills wife (Lily Tomlin) hides out at her Malibu beach house to recover from her husband's (Bert Kramer) infidelity. When she reluctantly begins an affair with a much younger street hustler (John Travolta), she must come to terms with not only their age difference but their social class positions. A notorious flop when first released (it was universally panned and ridiculed), over thirty years later with an objective eye, is it that bad? Well, it's bad alright, a lopsided take on Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS but I've seen far worse. On the upside, Tomlin has never looked better on film than here and she isn't bad at all though there's nothing she can do with the hackneyed material. On the other hand, Travolta (whose character is given the unfortunate name of Strip) is terrible, it's easily his worst performance. It's a good thing he was coming off the massive successes of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and GREASE, otherwise this would derailed his career. For a romance, Tomlin and Travolta have no heat and it doesn't help that they look like brother and sister, if you've seen Travolta's sister, the actress Ellen Travolta, she looks just like Tomlin. The film looks great, lushly photographed by Philip Lathrop (THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?) and nice easy listening score by Lee Holdridge. Directed by Jane Wagner, who understandably never directed again. With Andra Akers.

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