Cast: Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Eileen Davidson
The Paul family seems to have a (confused) mission.
might be considered a cross between those of Frank Capra, Tom Laughlin,
and Ed Wood.
- The Psychotronic Video Guide
Frank Capra, yes. Tom Laughlin, yes. But I would not
reminiscent of Ed Wood. Yes, this isn't a good movie. Yes, it's
But Ed Wood had that special touch that turned sincerity into
and hilarity. And he showed a total lack of directing ability. Eternity
instead is only unintentionally funny a few times, and the direction is
amateurish but not completely inept. And its sincerity does come off.
so, it is unlikely most viewers will accept or respect it.
The oddest thing about the project is why, after a
absence from the silver screen, Oscar-winner Jon Voight would choose
project as his comeback. One explanation comes from the credits: Voight
gets co-writing credit, along with Paul family members Stephen and
The screenplay proves the proverb "Too many cooks spoil the broth," in
this case by cramming numerous social issues, religious allegories,
to the audience, and alternating between two time periods!
It's starts off very intriguing at the beginning: Voight
plays a prince
in a medieval European country who is at odds with his prince brother
Only the presence of their king father (Wilford Brimley!) keeps them
going beyond simple arguing. Their conflicts are both political (Voight
wants the kingdom to make peace with a neighboring kingdom, Assante
war) and personal (both fight over the love of a gypsy girl).
Then Voight wakes up. He's actually a producer/talk-show
host in Los
Angeles who had a dream. Or was it just a dream? He notices his
neighbor Bernice looks like his dream mother. His company advisor looks
exactly like Wilford Brimley! - or should I say, his father in his
And Valerie, a woman he meets on the set of a commercial being shot in
his studio looks like his dream gypsy love.
Plus, he finds that events that happened in his dream
have an amazing
"similarity" to what is happening in his real life. A Ted Turner-like
named "Shawn Wallace" is desiring to buy Voight's company. (Was this
a deliberate barb against actor Wallace Shawn?) S.W. looks
like the brother in his dream. Voight vocally decides that Shawn is a
and turns down the buyout, even though his company is in financial
His statement is just one of many things he does that
would have gotten
him taken away by the men in white coats after several hours. He calls
his advisor "dad", and immediately starts blubbering to Valerie in
first meeting how she was his past love. (Amazingly, she takes this
a lot better than you'd think). It doesn't help that Voight, normally
a solid performance in a movie, performs these scenes extremely badly,
and with no conviction. What's worse, he's in almost every scene of the
movie, and gives a long-winded speech in many of these scenes.
After refusing Shawn's offer, he continues his work for
the common folk;
Voight exposes a conspiracy of making Indians "disappear" from a
next to a development (shades of Tom Laughlin). His tangling with Shawn
over the company, the love of Valerie, and other developments
land Voight in a televised libel trial initiated by Shawn. Voight's
and speeches (shades of Tom Laughlin again!) are so embarrassing it was
hard to watch. Not to worry, for everything ends in a way Frank Capra
have loved (if he hadn't seen the previous 120 minutes).
Is there any true merit in the movie? Not much. Well,
it's fun to hear
Wilford Brimley spout out four-lettered words. And there are some
of unintended hilarity (a string-quartet at the libel trial, an out of
place soft-core sex scene, another seduction scene during a slide show,
etc.) But such unintended laughs aren't enough, especially since this
is over two hours long. The viewer has to suffer through a poorly
script, that several laughs in no way compensate.
Also, the production values are inept; There are an
of black spots on the washed-out print; all suggesting that this spent
a while on the shelf. The matt painting of the castle is laughable.
of the dialogue isn't even given the simple treatment of post-sync
I'm not recommending this movie, but, strange as it may
seem, I'm glad
that I saw it. The premise was certainly intriguing, I didn't have any
idea what was going to happen, and it's always interesting to see the
of when a performer writes the screenplay he performs in. One thing I
about the movie was that, unlike most movies, it wasn't afraid to
state its political agenda. Too bad that few, if any viewers, will
what agenda Voight and the Paul family were trying to teach us.
for availability on Amazon (VHS)
Also: Billy Jack Goes To
Washington, Breezy, An Enemy Of The People