The Accidental Tourist
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A husband and wife separate one year after their 12-year old son is killed. While apart, the man starts seeing a woman who trains his dog, and who also has a son of her own. The two develop a bond, just around the time the man’s wife decides to come back home. Unsure of his feelings toward either woman, the man must come to terms with himself.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
An overly praised film, nominated for Best Picture in 1989, delivering top-notch performances from both William Hurt, who plays one of the best unemotional, melancholic individuals that I have ever seen (other than myself), and Geena Davis, whose performance is a prime example of a Supporting Actress doing everything just right (she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress that year). From the minute Davis’ character hits the screen, she overtakes the story and punches life, enthusiasm, humor and genuine emotion into the movie. Kathleen Turner is alright, but doesn’t have all that much to do, other than look great (which she still did in those days) and deliver a tough break-up speech early on. The rest of the two hours is essentially filled with character development and plenty of dysfunction with all of the lead characters distributing their own brand, and Hurt’s family members also getting in on the fun.
Thanks to them, the film isn’t a complete downer, as Hurt’s character could not bring any more sadness to the screen if he tried. Which is one of the reasons that the film’s final shot is a brilliant one that should stick with you (he does something that he doesn’t do during the entire movie) On the downside, the editing and pacing of the film was “off”, with moments in time difficult to grasp, as well as any sort of even flow. Hurt’s character leaves Davis’ at one point, but we are never privy to the break-up. Hurt’s family was humorous as well, but they were just a little too dysfunctional to believe. Does anybody not pick up their phone nowadays? Felt “written”. The film’s funniest line came courtesy of Hurt though, when he said: “I just want the kid to learn how to subtract.” It’s a simple line, but hilarious in that moment. Overall, this movie focuses on each individual's way of dealing with grief and loss, while offering a metaphoric tourist’s view of its emotional ramifications. A touch of humor prevents it from being a total downer, as well as the unforgettable turn by Davis as the sparkplug in the proceedings.
“Introduction by Lawrence Kasdan” is a 3-minute intro by writer/director Kasdan discussing the film’s roots, its emotional aspects, as well as its touching effect on people. A nice addition. “It’s Like Life” is a 13-minute featurette of interviews with the film’s three leads, back in 1988, along with the film’s head-man. It’s a good, non-fluffy watch, filled with their impressions of the film, their characters and its impact on audiences. Yet another decent addition. We also get about 40 minutes of selected commentary by Geena Davis over a number of predetermined scenes, which you can listen to all in one shot (so you don’t have to sit through the entire film just to listen to her speak) This is yet another fun and fulfilling extra that provides lots of neat insight into what Davis was thinking during her scenes and how she prepared for her character’s look and motivation.
The DVD also includes no less than 18 lifted scenes (read: deleted scenes), which you can watch one at a time, or all at once. They’re about 38 minutes in all, and unlike some other falsely advertised deleted scenes, are actually DELETED scenes and not just lengthened or alternate sequences already in the film (although there is one pretty cool alternate scene of the film’s opening break-up, but in a public restaurant) On the whole, the scenes are quite good and to be appreciated by fans of the film. They also provide you with new opportunities to discover the lead characters, particularly Turner, who got more than her fair share of scenes truncated from the final cut. A couple of new characters involved in subplots are also featured here, including Hurt’s mother and a friend of Davis’. One of the scenes even explained my complaint about “pacing problems”. A theatrical trailer of the film completes these fine extras.
A decent character drama featuring some strong performances and insight for those struggling through divorce or the loss of loved one. The film’s not a total downer a la 21 GRAMS though and also features plenty of light humor, a touch of romance and a cute score. The extras on the dvd are solid though, with featurettes, constructive deleted scenes and a commentary track helping to complement the movie.