Case in point, “One From The Heart” (1982), a sort of musical about two lovers — Hank (Frederic Forrest) and Frannie (Teri Garr) — living in Las Vegas and celebrating the fifth anniversary of their first meeting, which also is the Fourth of July.
Hank and Frannie are at different places in their lives, and on this Fourth of July they are on the verge of breaking up. He works at Reality Wreckers, and she runs Paradise Travel Agency, seriously. And “One From the Heart” is full of those kinds of juxtapositions.
Hank and Frannie have an argument, and then they spend their anniversary separately on the Vegas Strip.
They both meet new potential lovers — Hanks has Leila (Nastassja Kinski) and Frannie meets Ray (Raul Julia) — and proceed to enjoy the summer night and make future plans.
There is a remarkable sequence — all in one take — of Hank and Frannie going to see their best friends to discuss the recent breakup. It's a 10-minute sequence that shows Hank, at his friend Moe's (Harry Dean Stanton), and Frannie, at her friend Maggie's (Lainie Kazan), going back and forth from both sets. It must have been a logistic nightmare, but beautifully executed.
While all of these things make “One From The Heart” interesting to watch, the movie lacks a strong story and reasons to care about the characters.
“One From The Heart” is full of subtle — and not-so subtle — references to past cinema masterpieces like “Citizen Kane” (1941), “Singing In The Rain” (1952) and “Rope” (1948).
I mentioned “One From The Heart” was “a sort of musical” and what that means, for the most part while the main characters do a bit of dancing, they don't do much singing.
The songs and music are written by Tom Waits and performed by Waits and Crystal Gayle.
Waits can be an amazing songwriter. For the most part Waits' approach to the songs is a slow sexy piano bar vibe, but Waits' choices can be distracting and make “One From The Heart” lose some of its dramatic punch. In the climactic scene where Hank is chasing after Frannie at the airport, Waits' clanging, banging piano playing and singing knee-caps Forrest's big moment.
Coppola sees similarities in optical effects in “One From The Heart” and music videos made just a few years later. It's a stretch, but the commentary track was worth it just to find out the sets of “One From The Heart” were sold to the producers of “Blade Runner” (1982). I find that awesome.
“One From The Heart” doesn't have a bad performance in it. Forrest and Garr are two of the most talented and under-rated actors in movie history.
“One From The Heart” was an interesting film for Coppola, particularly made after “Apocalypse Now,” but I think it ultimately falters because the technique indulgences Coppola uses in the film overpowers a simple story about two lovers falling apart.
“Lost & Found” is a weekly column and review of films the author Seames O'Grady, self-professed movie expert, has in his DVD collection or on his Netflix queue, but just hasn't got around to watching until now.