Director: Stephen Paul                   
Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Eileen Davidson

The Paul family seems to have a (confused) mission. Their movies 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 call Eternity reminiscent of Ed Wood. Yes, this isn't a good movie. Yes, it's misguided. But Ed Wood had that special touch that turned sincerity into ludicrousness 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. Even so, it is unlikely most viewers will accept or respect it.

The oddest thing about the project is why, after a mysterious five-year absence from the silver screen, Oscar-winner Jon Voight would choose this project as his comeback. One explanation comes from the credits: Voight gets co-writing credit, along with Paul family members Stephen and Dorothy. The screenplay proves the proverb "Too many cooks spoil the broth," in this case by cramming numerous social issues, religious allegories, lectures 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 (Assante). Only the presence of their king father (Wilford Brimley!) keeps them from going beyond simple arguing. Their conflicts are both political (Voight wants the kingdom to make peace with a neighboring kingdom, Assante wanting 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 next-door neighbor Bernice looks like his dream mother. His company advisor looks exactly like Wilford Brimley! - or should I say, his father in his dream. 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 individual named "Shawn Wallace" is desiring to buy Voight's company. (Was this name a deliberate barb against actor Wallace Shawn?)  S.W. looks exactly like the brother in his dream. Voight vocally decides that Shawn is a "warmonger" and turns down the buyout, even though his company is in financial difficulties.

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 their first meeting how she was his past love. (Amazingly, she takes this news a lot better than you'd think). It doesn't help that Voight, normally giving 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 reservation next to a development (shades of Tom Laughlin). His tangling with Shawn over the company, the love of Valerie, and other developments eventually land Voight in a televised libel trial initiated by Shawn. Voight's arguments 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 would 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 moments 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 movie is over two hours long. The viewer has to suffer through a poorly written/though-out script, that several laughs in no way compensate.

Also, the production values are inept; There are an incredible number 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. Some of the dialogue isn't even given the simple treatment of post-sync dubbing.

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 results of when a performer writes the screenplay he performs in. One thing I admired about the movie was that, unlike most movies, it wasn't afraid to boldly state its political agenda. Too bad that few, if any viewers, will understand what agenda Voight and the Paul family were trying to teach us.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)

Also: Billy Jack Goes To Washington, Breezy, An Enemy Of The People