June 30, 2013

Wife's Choice: Never Watch ALWAYS


"Keep the sideburns."
Say what you want about 1941 or A.I., but for all their flaws at least they're not boring.

I can not say the same about Always.

I guess that fact on its own is actually somewhat impressive, considering it's a movie about Richard Dreyfuss as a ghost pilot who guides aerial firefighters.  That description is kind of astounding, but sadly the film never really delivers on the insanity of its premise.  I knew pretty much nothing about this movie going into it and the only part that really engaged me was when Dreyfuss's plane exploded 45 minutes into the movie (this thing seriously takes forever to get started) and I suddenly realized, "Holy shit, this is a movie ABOUT A GHOST!"  That revelation is quickly followed up by the arrival of a 60 year old Audrey Hepburn as Ghost Dreyfuss's adorable spirit guide/barber.  It's Hepburn's last film role and she's just as majestic and wonderful as always in her two brief scenes.

Unfortunately it's all downhill from there.  John Goodman is pretty good as Ghost Dreyfuss's best friend and Holly Hunter is cute as hell as his girlfriend, but they're mostly stranded acting against human plank of wood Brad Johnson as the pilot Ghost Dreyfuss is supposed to mentor/inspire.  It's easy to draw comparisons to the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore classic Ghost, (which was released the following year) but at least that movie had the good sense to include Whoopi Goldberg as "the lady who can see Patrick Swayze."  Ghost Dreyfuss talks to people and his words creep into their subconscious but he doesn't get to have an actual conversation once he's dead.  And since his goals are fairly nebulous and the consequences of his actions are ominously warned but never explored, the whole story feels like a giant hamster wheel spinning in place.

Always is overly long, it spends too much time on a half-baked relationship between actors with negative chemistry and it can't even manage to make raging forest fires exciting.

But I totally want elder Audrey Hepburn as my spirit guide.



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Title: Always
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson, Audrey Hepburn, Keith David, Marg Helgenberger, Dale Dye
Year Of Release: 1989
Viewing Method: DVD