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|Index||13 reviews in total|
Perhaps this excellent film could not easily be appreciated in its time.
was one of the few people I know of who thought this film was terrific
it was first released. I first saw it in at the Dallas Film Festival in
1984; then in 1999 on cable TV. Fifteen years later I realized it was
better than I had originally thought!
Viewing it in 1984, I saw it as a breakthrough film depicting a view of the dark side of the new young, hip culture of its time. The values and attitudes that are now emblematic of the 80s are all well-represented in this film.
But wait! That's not all that this film is about. In retrospect, it's a coming of age film that very subtly reflects the transition from the 1970s to the 1980s. We see the freewheeling spirit of the 70s while at the same time a longing for meaning and depth that being a free spirit alone cannot bring. Interestingly, the primary relationship is between two people who are seeking true friendship.
"Heartbreakers": Whose hearts are breaking? Mine for one. I am so disappointed that it took 15 years to be able to see this film again. The upside is that with so many new TV venues it's likely to be screened now more than ever so no one has to miss it for as long as I did. If you're a Peter Coyote fan, don't miss this one!
P.S. I wish this film would be released in video so it could be even more accessible.
This sometimes lyrical, sometimes harrowing, exploration of male friendship is unique in its honesty and the fearless, fully revealing perfomances of both its male stars--Nick Mancuso and Peter Coyote. They open both light and dark sides of their characters in relationship to each other and to the women in their lives. Then one women becomes the focus for both, threatening to destroy years of common bonds. In today's more-fortuitous indie market, this haunting little beauty might have had the exposure it merits. It opens a window on man-to-man talk through which few of us are ever allowed to look.
"A frustrated artist and his feckless friend, search for meaning in LA's
avant-garde art set. But their friendship is threatened, when a beautiful
woman enters their lives. (1984)"
I really love discovering great films like this. I saw a brief description of it in a guide which intrigued me, (see above) and watched it in the early hours of the morning. I've never been to LA during or after the early '80s, but films like this seem to me, to accurately depict things as they were back then. Many people's optimisitic and hedonistic ideals were being crushed towards the end of that decade, due to AIDS, Reganomics, and other factors too numerous to mention. The characters are all well written and acted, even some of the cameos like Max Gail's. Peter Coyote is always excellent in small films like this, especially in Polanski's 'Bitter Moon'(1992), and receives some great support from Nick Mancuso as his long-time friend. Some of the scenes featuring nudity though, do seem unnecessary, and heavy handed. This is one of those movies which doesn't need car chases, or endless explosions to hold onto a viewer's attention, because it's about something most of us are familliar with; People's relationships with each other.
Another film I liked as much as this, with a similar story was 'Twogether' (1994) starring Nick Cassavettes.
Heartbreakers captures its place and materialistic time perfectly. It is a career peak for both Peter Coyote (projecting the charisma of a young Henry Fonda) and for the underappreciated Max Gail as his artist-nemesis. Carol Wayne, who was relegated through her career to playing arch-bimbos of the 60's pre-feminist variety (especially as Johnny Carson's frequent sidekick on the Tonight Show), turned in a moving performance here; sadly, she drowned not too long after this picture was released. This is well worth checking out, especially if you want to recapture what it felt like to be a single guy in LA in the early 80s.
Heartbreakers is a slow moving film about two friends who share more
than friendship. They share a mutual feeling of wanting to outperform
the other as well. Businesswise this is not a problem as one of the two
is an artist. But where women are concerned, they want the one the
other is having. After a slow build-up everything comes together when
they share the same women in a threesome. Where the movie goes from
there seems very logical from my point of view. It's a shame that this
scene is sometimes omitted, as I once realised when I was watching this
on the BBC.
It's a terrific movie and I consider it Peter Coyote's best. No action scenes, no violence, just psychological content to which anyone can connect. Recommended.
This film really impressed me when it was first released. Though it was hardly a box office hit, it (and "The Boss's Son") did contribute to Bobby Roth's reputation as a fine independent film maker. Roth captured the late 70s, early 80s LA art scene perfectly. It was a time when many people were having to temper the idealism of the 70s in order to survive. Perhaps its lack of wide success stemmed from the fact that you had to be familiar with Los Angeles at that time to appreciate it fully. Also a great soundtrack, especially the Etta James' songs.
Stylishly directed, very well-acted, offbeat, adult film with good, complex characterizations and a terrific music score that pushes it forward. The only problems are a certain lack of direction (in the sense of destination and purpose), and some implausible scenes (the behavior of the French woman is rather totally unrealistic). Still, the film is never boring and deserved better than it got from the public. (***)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I graduated high school in the 1980s so I can attest to the
authenticity of this film. The difference between this and a brat pack
film is that this film really captures the adult ambiance of the 80s
without trumping it up with teen coming-of-age clichés. These are
sexually predatory adults crashing into each other.
There is a ruthlessness to the casual nature of the relationships in this movie that you rarely see addressed in film, and in a non-judgemental fashion. In a way, the fact that such a film can even be made is testament to the time it was made in, because no film today would set up this kind of behavior without punishing it in the plot later. That feel and philosophy is what is so early 80s above all. Instead of sermonizing, this film lays the situations out almost as if the characters have to survive their own petty foibles. Its not a comfortable film, and Coyote does a harrowing job of portraying an artist seemingly bent on self-destruction. I've always known Coyote as a mellow older actor. Seeing him in this showed me a whole different angle.
The film addresses an even more rarely-covered topic, that of the art world, and the battle between poor, message artists, and rich, decor or abstract artists. Coyote gives some beautiful speeches on the topic while heckling a wealthier competitor at his opening. The film also accurately portrays a gallery owner and painting model as characters. This could only be in the film because it was directly related to the writer/director's life. It is super real, except perhaps in Coyote's change of fortunes, although he was doing something similar to Nagel, who did end up rich painting women in the 80s.
I have a bit of a envy for the warehouse district these guys were living in, before the housing bubble made these places worth millions. Medium to giant painting studios, with an art scene coffee shop nearby filled with locals. It shows you what an art district in a city like LA, SF, Seattle, Portland was actually like before the gentrifying latecomers showed up and kicked everyone out. The crime of central LA wasn't really shown, though this film just predated the most pronounced rise of gang drive-bys that peaked in the late 80s/early 90s. Colors, the 'first' modern gang film, came out in 1988.
There are some flaws in the pacing and purpose of the film, and some off acting here and there, but it's an example of a director who just set out with a low budget and captured a lot of mood and a lot of the time in which it was made, and now its a super-valuable time capsule. It's also the only film I can ever remember covering sexual competition between men, more specifically men under 30 in an age when AIDS and herpes were just around the corner.
I say its a 6 for execution, and an 9 for intent, average out to 7.5. Kudos to the THIS network for broadcasting it. Oh yeah, it does have an awesome 80s ambient synth soundtrack mixed in with some other fare.
this movie is so emblematic of the 80's(such a phony and UNrealistic decade!),it's amazing this movie got made at all.it says so much for the short time it's on screen,that alone was worth my time.i wouldn't get too critical,though.it's all about MOOD.... .if women want to get a "peek" into the male psyche,this would be the way to go.(it's a good thing we don't do this to often)watch the movie and you'll see why.i enjoyed this movie immensely,from the raw production values,great acting (Peter Coyote especially.....BUT not to leave out the Others...)to the great soundtrack.B/T/W...if you buy the soundtrack of this movie by Tangerine Dream,some of the music is NOT on the CD!?!. i feel this movie is (or will be) an American Classic.Thank you, Mr.Roth.
Heartbreakers is a very special movie for me being an artist myself I
could relate to some of the dialog in the movie. I remember going to
see this movie by myself at the age of 21. I usually go to movies by
myself if I felt that it would be too strange for my date. Art films
like this are strange to the typical person and I didn't have to worry
about anyone else not enjoying it. I live in Chicago and at that time
it was about 3 art movie theaters that would show a movie like this,
which, I'm very grateful for living in a big city and be able to see it
I connect to this movie in every way from the title, the male friendship, the music, the attractive ladies, the story and the strange artwork. Heartbreakers is the perfect title for the film because all the characters were selfish and unapologetic with their love. The friendship with Blu (Peter Coyote) and Eli (Nick Mandcuso) seem so authentic and at that time I felt similar to my own friendship I had with someone I grew up with. The music at that time didn't impress me but now that I gotten older I have a better appreciation for it. The art gallery receptionist was very sexy She stayed on my mind for a while after seeing the movie and when I look at the movie now she still look sexy. I though the other women Blu's ex-girlfriend and Blu's muse were pretty sexy back then but now not so much but still attractive. The story had everything I wanted with romance, betrayal, friendship and payoff for perseverance. The artwork was hauntingly dark and sexy it was something I never seen before a big-breasted woman in lingerie painted in black and white Oh, that was new creative territory for me. At that time I didn't know anything about Bettie Page but recently a movie came out about her and then I put two and two together.
I bought the VHS version of Heartbreakers but I'm eagerly waiting for it to go on DVD. I guess I will have to check out this Bettie Page movie until Heartbreakers make it onto DVD.
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