Old Boyfriends (1979) Poster

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Adrian is P***ED OFF...
Psychiatrist Talia Shire goes nutzoid-- she dopes herself up, slams herself into a concrete wall, ditches her husband, then hops into her firebird and hunts down her old boyfriends in a somewhat vague quest for vengeance. First up is Richard Jordan, who actually loved her. Second is John Belushi, who humiliated her in high school. And third is a boy who was killed in Vietnam, though his brother Keith Carradine bears a startling resemblance to him. In the end, though, she learns that life goes on and gets on with it.

"Old Boyfriends" is an underrated little curio. Talia Shire gives what is probably her best non-Adrian performance (and that's a shame, because this movie is nearly lost). The rest of the cast isn't quite so bad itself, particularly Richard Jordan as the one "good boyfriend". John Belushi also shines as Shire's senior-year boyfriend, using a lot of Bill Murray-isms and doing quite well in what is a serious role for him. John Housemann seems a bit hammy during his confrontation with Shire. It almost comes off as if he's trying his best to take down the lead.

Director Joan Tewkesbury does an adequate job, but her work here is nothing special. Though, the set-up of a scene with Shire and Jordan in a bathroom is particularly clever and stylish. At 103 minutes, the film doesn't seem long at all-- it runs fairly smoothly as follow Shire from ex to ex. The only seemingly bad thing about the film is David Shire's (then husband of Talia) score-- it just seems rather limp and unimpressive and meanders about melodically.

Though it may not be for everyone, give "Old Boyfriends" a shot (if you can find it). It's rather undeserving of its much maligned reputation.
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I'd like to take Richard Jordan home to mother
trob22630 November 2008
Talia Shire's marriage goes belly up and she decides to find old boyfriends to see who she was then, so she can find out who she is now. First up is old college beau Richard Jordan who asked her to marry him 3 times, but she turned him down. Don't know why, he sure is adorable, but she runs out on him again and moves on to high school beau John Belushi who shamed her, then quickly on to find a grammar school beau but that doesn't work out either. Meanwhile, Richard Jordan is looking everywhere for her because he and his daughter (Jordan's real life daughter) want her back. Heaven knows why, but he just doesn't give up easily. Talia Shire's character is not very sympathetic for the lead heroine, but Jordan's is and makes up for it. The scenes between them are sweet.
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"I wish I loved myself as much as he does!"
moonspinner555 December 2009
Talia Shire plays a troubled psychologist with a bad marriage behind her who decides to look up three former flames from her school days. The purpose: to reconnect with the person she was in order to understand the person she's become. Leonard and Paul Schrader penned this curious, tentative, occasionally thudding but often interesting feminine odyssey, a kind of 1970s retread of a Jean Simmons vehicle from the 1960s. Shire has pretty eyes and a beguiling, girlish smile, but her pinched, benumbed manner is off-putting, and the different personalities she affects with each successive man is more perplexing than intriguing. There's a funny, feminist-revenge bit involving John Belushi that is well done, but is that this woman's plan: to be a vengeful bitch? She's brittle and mysterious with single dad Richard Jordan and Adrian-like with psych-case Keith Carradine, but which lady are we supposed to be drawn to? Director Joan Tewkesbury, making her debut behind the camera after penning the acclaimed screenplay for Robert Altman's "Nashville", is typically cautious for a first-time filmmaker; she keeps a steady pace, but her apparent insistence on being enigmatic regarding the central character (and her background) eventually backfires. The film is excruciatingly tasteful (aside from the Belushi episode) and visually washed out, but it surprisingly isn't a man-hater's movie. It does a provide a prince in the end (a prince this psychologist might not deserve), yet it stays grounded and isn't too flighty or vindictive. ** from ****
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Old Boyfriends is an underrated drama with a nice humorous turn by John Belushi
tavm26 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Continuing to review "SNL"er's early work in movies, we're now at 1979 with the release of Old Boyfriends which has John Belushi playing one of the title characters of lead Talia Shire. According to the book "Wired" by Bob Woodward, when this was released the year after Animal House became a smash hit, Avco Embassy did a dishonest ad campaign emphasizing both Ms. Shire and Belushi in newspapers. In fact, Belushi's sequence was quite short. He played Shire's former high school boyfriend who bragged to all his friends about her going all the way with him. She never forgot about that and so...but I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll just now say that he was funny when the climatic moment came and also-in his character of being a singer-was quite good musically but that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his impersonation of Joe Cocker or "Joliet" Jake Blues role. Anyway, Ms. Shire is on a journey to find herself by exploring her past relationships having just divorced her husband. Other former flames she attempts to encounter include Richard Jordan as the one who proposed marriage three times, each of which she refused, and someone named Louis who we find out had died while in service of his country so we meet his younger brother-played by Keith Carradine-instead. That last one explores what might be considered a creepy kind of relationship though considering what Carradine's character was previously going through, I didn't think it was that bad. Other fine dramatic turns come from John Houseman as Carradine's psychiatrist and Buck Henry-yes, Belushi's usual partner in the Samurai sketches on "SNL"-as someone who helps Jordan's character find out about Ms. Shire after she disappears without telling him. Screenplay by Leonard and Paul Schrader is touching and funny in the right places, aided immeasurably by Joan Tewkesbury's direction and music score by David Shire (Talia's husband at the time). So on that note, Old Boyfriends is worth a look. P.S. I found this on YouTube.
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