Monday, February 20, 2012

Shoot the Moon



Shoot the Moon is a mess of a movie, but it's one that managed to stick with me for many years after seeing it.

And see it I did, that Saturday the 20th in 1982. I went with my parents, and it was playing at the Northpoint, which, looking back, seems an odd venue since it wasn't a movie that demanded a huge screen and Dolby stereo.

By 1982, director Alan Parker had made three movies, one of which--Bugsy Malone--I was a huge fan. (The other two, Midnight Express and Fame, were movies I'd eventually see, but I don't think I saw them at this point in 1982.) I think it was because of my fondness for Bugsy Malone, and because Shoot the Moon was a family drama that had some younger characters, that we decided it was an appropriate movie for a family outing. (Not that appropriate was really of much concern--I mean, just check all the previous posts to see that. But you get my point.)

The story is about the end of a marriage, with the disintegrating couple played by Diane Keaton and Albert Finney, and the affect their split has on the family, which includes four young daughters. The daughters are played by a pre-"Family Ties" Tina Yothers; a pre-"Growing Pains" Tracey Gold; Viveka Davis, who eventually appeared on "V"; and Dana Hill, who had been in some TV movies, and would eventually appear as the daughter in European Vacation. And she's the one who completely steals the movie. I wish I could offer a better clip of her in action, but you can see a bit of her in this scene from the movie's beginning; she's the one eavesdropping on the phone.



I say the movie is a mess because while it attempts to be a completely realistic portrait of divorce, the main characters do a lot of things that are completely unbelievable, culminating in one of the stupidest endings I've ever seen. (I'm not going to spoil it, but if you have seen it, I'd love to discuss it!)

But the performances make it worth watching, in particularly from Diane Keaton, who was at the peak of her fame, and, as previously mentioned, from Dana Hill who is completely heartbreaking as the daughter who just can't bring herself to forgive her dad's leaving. Karen Allen and Peter Weller round out the cast, as the mistress and the new boyfriend, respectively.

(Turns out, Karen Allen was in a lot of movies of my youth. The aforementioned The Wanderers; as well as Animal House; the ultimate, Raiders of the Lost Ark; and the oft-forgotten Starman. And you don't really see faces like hers anymore. I miss her!)

Also of note is the film's setting, which is the Bay Area, with a few scenes taking place at the Fairmont in San Francisco, and the rest set up around Point Reyes and Nicasio.

I'll end this with one more scene, which is an example of the movie at its best, and at its worst. And I'll say no more than that...



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