Sunday, July 29, 2012

Double Feature: Heaven Can Wait (1978) and The Accidental Tourist (1988)

Note: Out of the 496 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, I'm down to 148 left to see.

Heaven Can Wait:

When he is prematurely sent to Heaven, quarterback Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) is forced to inhabit the body of a recently-deceased millionaire. He meets idealist Betty Logan (Julie Christie), falls in love with her, and buys a football team in an attempt to play in the Super Bowl. But he must leave the body, as per the deal he made, and inhabit another - a football player's. As a quarterback once again at the end of the film, he must play until the game is over and try to get Betty back in the guise of a complete stranger. This film is so likable that it's easy to see why the Academy honored it.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (Jack Warden), Best Supporting Actress (Dyan Cannon), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. It took home one statuette for Best Art Direction.

The Accidental Tourist:

Lawrence Kasdan's adaptation of a noted bestseller features William Hurt as Macon Leary, a travel guide author. After his wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner) divorces him, he meets Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis), a dog carer/trainer, as he leaves his dog at a kennel so that he can go away for work. Of course, he is reluctantly taken in by the woman and her son when he returns, and he grows to love them. Then his wife shows up to reconcile their marriage upon the finality of their divorce. Will he choose to go back to his wife or start a new one with Muriel? You probably know the answer, but it doesn't change the enjoyable aspects of the film. A.M.P.A.S. likes movies that go down easy, and this one certainly does.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Davis), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Davis won a deserved Oscar for her scene-stealing performance.


  1. I tried showing The Accidental Tourist to my family a while ago, they didn't like it and found it shallow. I think it's in that group of movies that work better watched by yourself, I don't know...Decent, but I wouldn't call it Best Picture of the year.
    I like Lawrence Kasdan movies, The Big Chill is my favorite he directed, Body Heat (1981) is excellent too. The Accidental Tourist I would put just below those. How about you, how would you rank Kasdan? (I'm presuming you know his work)

    1. I've only seen 3 of his 11 features, but I'd rank them as follows: The Big Chill first, then The Accidental Tourist, then Grand Canyon. Body Heat is on my watchlist though, and I'm hoping to get to it soon.

      I agree that The Accidental Tourist is decent, but the Oscars have always loved light movies like it. It's just one of those things.