The Accidental Tourist (1988) Poster

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It Sucked. And Badly!
powermandan28 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I don't care if this adaptation of the book was faithful! I don't care if it was one of the most acclaimed movies of 1988! It still sucked!!

Now that I've got that out of my system, let's explore the movie as a whole:

The great William Hurt plays writer Macon Leary. He lives in Baltimore and writes travel guides for uneasy travellers on how to make the best of unpleasant trips. It would be great if we saw him writing and get more of his ideas for his books. His wife is played by Kathleen Turner. Both of them are mourning the loss of their son and she wants a divorce as a means to move past it all. The house gets put up for sale and Macon moves in with his siblings. Needing obedience training for his dog, he falls for Geena Davis who plays the dog teacher.

One reason this sucks is how dark and murky this is. It looks like it was laundry day and placed in a load of dark's. After awhile I wanted to see some sunlight and some nice images! I understand Kasdan wanting to make the movie to reflect the state of William Hurt, but he really goes over-the- top with this, leaving it one-dimensional. I'm not saying this needs to have sunshine and castles, but add a variety or elements to the look and make the look pleasurable. Maybe that's the wrong word, but you get where I'm coming from. Next, the movie is ridiculously slow with nothing happening to the characters we just give up on. I can see a gradual flow and making a movie slow for the audience to really get invested in and really develop all areas, but that doesn't happen here. The movie tries so hard to sadden the audience and I got sick of it. Maybe if I actually felt something, I would have been more invested. But that's the writers' and director's fault for poor writing and horrendous directing!

Geena Davis won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar with an average lineup. She is the only character that is actually somewhat interesting in an extremely dull picture. I guess Hurt does a good job, but that's where the good parts stops.

I can think of no reason to see this (other than if you're a fan of William Hurt and Gene Davis). The one-dimensional trait makes the movie as a whole ugly to look at. It is not pleasurable in the slightest and there is no payoff to all the melancholy forced onto you. Might as well let Lawrence Kasdan come to your hose and physically drain your tears by hand.
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surprising adult film that was missed due to age
steeledanton4 January 2017
so I had seen this on television not too long ago over the Christmas season of 2016. When it had come out, I was only about 11 yrs. old I guess so it wouldn't have piqued my interest...I totally liked was very sad and kind of interesting. One of the first long films I remember watching by myself starred Ralph fiennes or his brother, and it was about a fighter pilot that crashed and slowly died along a cavern in like Afghanistan or something...and I think it starred cate blanchette... so here we see Gina davis be as annoying as ever on screen. And William hurt is a writer who has ed Begley junior as his brother and bill Pullman as his publishor or editor that is kind of flirting with the possibility of getting together with ed Begley juniors wife. ordinary brother interaction involving William hurt and ed Begley Jr. kind of make this film more sad as they endure life in their early fifties I suppose? so Gina davis ends up training a dog almost voluntarily for William hurt where you notice on occasion she asks for only five dollars for services.
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Incredibly moving
Parker Lewis16 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I read Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant but haven't read The Accidental Tourist. Still, this movie is a masterpiece, and William Hurt displays his top quality acting skills, especially the scene where he's called to identify his deceased son at the morgue. His facial expression says it all. That scene alone is worthy of three Oscars, and should be shown to all acting students. Why William Hurt didn't even get an Oscar nomination for this role is a mystery for the ages I guess (I say that with due respect to those nominated of course).

Another scene is where Macon attempts to explain to his siblings Rose, Porter and Charles, why he has kept the corgi. When we flashback to Macon's son having a wonderful time with corgi, nothing needs to be said, and Rose, Porter and Charles understand with much sympathy. It brings a tear to the eye.

I don't know if they makes movies like The Accidental Tourist anymore, as I guess Fast and the Furious and comic book heroes dominate the cinematic landscape (not that I'm being condescending of course). But this movie is timeless.
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Good film that shows as with time and love it's often slow yet always changing.
Danny Blankenship16 July 2016
Finally on my plate I got around to seeing 1988's romantic drama "The Accidental Tourist" for one I had high interest since I always enjoyed the work of Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis as both were very sexy screen ladies in their day and for what I've seen of the work of William Hurt it's above average so the chemistry made this picture a winner.

The story based from an Anne Tyler best seller involves Macon Leary(William Hurt)as a writer who publishes travel guides and he gives advice on trips that people take and he has his own side baggage of emotions as still he's dealing with the freak murder of his son just a little boy. Plus he's just getting ready for a divorce from his trophy wife named Sarah(the elegant and attractive Kathleen Turner).

Along the way this film becomes a new journey of life for Macon as it's a fun and tender film of love, life, regret, and stopping to reflect as Macon takes his time before changes happen. To spice things up Macon's a dog lover so when he meets his new dog sitter and trainer Muriel(Geena Davis)a sparkle is in her eyes for passion, slowly but surely it happens still Macon will sample his plate for romantic taste before he makes the choice between her or Sarah.

The love triangle is back and fourth it shows and proves that passion can change and it shows that love travels and takes tours just like matters of the heart. Overall good well done serious film of change and making choices about matters of the heart.
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Its no accident that many folks, including me, adore this great gem of a movie!
Amy Adler13 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
In Baltimore, Macon (William Hurt) is a writer of travel books called, what else, The Accidental Tourist. His premise is that his advice will help people travel without being extremely homesick. Alas, Macon is hurting at this time, due to the untimely death of his only son. As his wife, Sarah (Kathleen Turner) has moved out, also, too grief stricken to continue their marriage, Macon is left with his son's upset dog as a companion. He occasionally visits the family home nearby, where his single sister, Rose, takes care of her two bachelor brothers. One morning, panic ensues. Macon is starting a journey to Europe and he is refused dog boarding at his usual place, as the canine bit someone last time. In a quandary, the writer spies a vet's office which also boards. Although he has no appointment, the unusual clerk, Muriel (Geena Davis) takes the dog. But, oh, when Macon returns, he finds that Muriel wants to "train" his dog and has set her sights on going out with Macon, too! The writer tries to discourage her in every way, but the lady prevails. Soon, Macon is constantly at her urban apartment, where she barely makes ends meet, as she is also a single mother to a son, Alexander. Muriel, however, is an eccentric woman, who makes Macon smile but who is the subject of ridicule to his brothers and ex-wife. In fact, Sarah makes another play for her former hubby. Meanwhile, Macon's editor, Julian (Bill Pullman) has been courting sister Rose. Will Macon abandon Muriel, who dearly loves him, for a return to his former wife? This lovely film is a life-affirming masterpiece. We love, we lose, we grieve, and we reconnect. Love also comes when we least expect it, at times. As the writer, Hurt is excellent, with a carefully nuanced performance. Turner, Pullman, and the others do great work, too. In her Oscar winning role, Davis gives the performance of a lifetime as the funny, offbeat Muriel. Then, too, the setting in Baltimore is most interesting, as well as a spell in beautiful Paris. Costuming is most noteworthy here as Muriel's outfits are sublimely ridiculous while everyone else is sedately, classically clad. Finally, the dazzling story, based on a book by Anne Tyler, and the wonderful direction by Kazdan combine for a unique film experience. Do NOT leave it to accident to view this great one. Make plans and soon.
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love the undercooked turkey
SnoopyStyle29 June 2015
Macon Leary (William Hurt) is a travel writer with a book called Accidental Tourist. It teaches businessmen to travel with the least inconvenience and not connecting. It's the same as his life especially after the death of his son. His wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner) can't take it and leaves him. He is pursued by Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis) from the animal hospital. After injuring himself, he moves back in with his siblings Rose Leary (Amy Wright), Porter Leary (David Ogden Stiers) and Charles Leary (Ed Begley Jr).

It's quirky without big laughs. Geena Davis is absolutely winning which actually causes a problem for me. I can't imagine any red-blooded guy would resist her. There should be a line forming around the block of men throwing themselves at her. For some reason, I love the undercooked turkey scene. I find it funny and poignant that Julian insists on eating the turkey.
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A 'Lawrence Kasdan' film about people who find love after experiencing terrible losses in their lives.
FilmCriticLalitRao24 April 2015
The death in a family is viewed as an irreparable loss which affects everybody.In such a case,it is a wrong decision for a couple to fight with each other and separate.It would be better if the couple stays together to support each other in times of crisis.It is on these lines that American director Lawrence Kasdan's film "The Accidental Tourist" informs viewers about how wrong choices are corrected by a solitary man when he meets a talkative woman who would like to move ahead in life with him and her son.Although the film is not based on an original screenplay nevertheless it is able to interest viewers as its tone is light.There are various little episodes in these two people's lives which make for an interesting viewing experience.Apart from the leading man who writes travel guides,there are also other people seeking love.It is this story development which gives "The Accidental Tourist" a different edge as it has been promoted as a sad film.
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Mr-Fusion19 March 2015
For a good deal of its running time, "The Accidental Tourist" deals with wandering through life after a couple suffers the worst kind of loss. So that morose feeling is understandable, but mostly this movie is thoroughly depressing. The healing power of human compassion finally arrives in the form of Geena Davis, but she just gets jerked around, and all I really wanted to do was punch William Hurt in the face. I know this is about people being out of sync with their emotions, but there's only so much slack you can offer.

I tend to like Kasdan movies for the most part, but I wasn't expecting a movie with such stiffness and awful characterization.

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The pain underneath the comedy.
The_Film_Cricket3 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Macon has a profession that more or less mirrors his own personality. He writes travel books for people who hate to travel. Macon lives in a shell of emotional sterility following the death of his son and soon after, his marriage.

One of his travel guide trips turns up Muriel Prichett (Geena Davis), an oddball, petshop owner who can see right through Macon's hard shell. But Muriel has complications too especially with the idea that her son needs a father. This movie will be a hard-fought journey.

Macon breaks his leg and moves in with his brothers and sister. We can see right away where Macon developed some of his dullness. Porter and Rose are obsessive-compulsives who never leave the house, don't answer the phone and alphabetize the groceries on the shelf.

A problem arises when Macon's wife asks him to give it another go. So he must make a choice, a free and happy life with Muriel or the comfortable armchair he once had in his marriage.

'The Accidental Tourist' is first a movie about characters. Everyone here is drawn with loving care even if they tend to be frustrating (as are people in real life). Even as emotionally distant as Macon is, we know that there is a person in there, he just needs a way to pull it out. This is also a movie for grown-ups that may seem too leisurely paced for thrill seekers. You know who you are.
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A sensitive study of subtle flaws and eccentricities of character
robert-temple-14 June 2014
I decided to watch this film again after many years, and it impressed me more now than it did when it came out. It is a very sensitive film based upon a novel published in 1985 (of the same title) by the well-known American novelist Anne Tyler (born 1941), a denizen of Baltimore. The characters of this novel are also from Baltimore, which some regard as the Centre of the Earth, by which I refer primarily to those innocents who have not seen THE WIRE (2002, see my review). William Hurt gives one of his brilliant performances (which seem to come so naturally to him) as Macon Leary, an up-tight and hopelessly stuffy author of travel guides for Americans who do not like to leave America and wish to travel in their bubble, thus protecting themselves from all contaminating influences such as foreigners or even people from another city such as Philadelphia. But to give an idea of how hopeless an isolationist Leary is, we see him eating disgusting hamburgers at a Burger King in Paris, which he will in turn recommend to his readers. Leary will guide timorous Americans to Burger Kings and other such horrible places wherever they are in the world, so that they need never eat anything strange. In a voice-over in this film, he says of French restaurants and their menus of the day: 'Avoid Prix Fixe. It forces you to eat all those courses you don't want.' One presumes that Tyler is being gently satirical in inventing this character (let us hope he never really existed and is a caricature). Leary's series of books are called 'The Accidental Tourist', hence the title of the film. And as for Leary himself, he is an accidental tourist of Life. Meanwhile, Leary's accidentally toured life has been devastated by the death of his only son, and he has been savaged by grief. His wife, played by Kathleen Turner, leaves him at the beginning of the story to live in a separate flat and go her own way, as she says he has not yet come to terms with his grief and she can no longer live with him. Thus, he lives alone in his house with the most charming actor in the film, a dog called Bud, who plays the dog in the film. I would greatly like to have Bud come and live with me! However, as the film was made 26 years ago, perhaps he is no longer about. I like all dog films, and this to a larger extent than one might imagine is a dog film. It is Bud's lack of good behaviour which brings Leary into contact with the charmingly eccentric character Muriel (whom Leary later describes as 'that odd girl'), who is a dog trainer, and who becomes his romantic muse and saviour. This character is played by the wonderfully odd actress Geena Davis, one of my favourites. The film she made just before this one, in the same year, was EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY (1988, see my review), which I think of as one of the funniest films ever made, and Davis's central performance in it made it work. Never having met Davis, I can only presume that in order to play these wacky and offbeat characters to such perfection, she must be pretty odd herself. However, she rid herself of these anomalies when she played the President of the United States in the excellent TV series COMMANDER IN CHIEF (2005), in which her performance was, well, 'commanding', and it won her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV drama. It is a great pity that the rather weird and wonderful Geena Davis has not made many more films than she has, but she won a well deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, which shows that she has been appreciated by her peers (as do her countless other awards). She also resembles the goddess Diana (aka Artemis) in that she is an archery champion, and having been married four times, she clearly takes good aim at the heart. If she were ever to 'come up to see me sometime', I could show her my long bow which my grandfather lovingly carved out of lemonwood from South America because he said it had the best qualities (his idea being that he would be making the Stradivarius of long bows). No mere yew for him! Long bows are so much more romantic than etchings. Another excellent actress who appears in this film is Amy Wright, who does a brilliant job of portraying Leary's eccentric sister Rose. The film is essentially a study of people who 'don't fit'. Sometimes they don't fit in a good way and sometimes they don't fit in a bad way. So Tyler seems to be excavating the American psyche to find divergences from the norm, which is an important thing to do in a country where 'normality' ranks second only the 'the dollar' theologically speaking. This film was directed by the highly talented Lawrence Kasdan, who knows a good nuance when he sees one. And in this film we see plenty of them.
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Worth watching, but somewhat uneven
richard-178717 May 2013
This movie has a lot going for it. The acting is the best part: the three main characters - perhaps I should say the two main characters, the roles played by William Hurt and Kathleen Turner - are very three-dimensional. Those actors given their characters many dimensions, and it makes them interesting and sometimes surprising. Gena Davis also does a fine job with her role, but her character does tend to be a caricature at times.

That is the problems with most of the rest of the characters: they are written as two-dimensional, and they too often come off as oddball caricatures. I'm sure those actors could have done better with a better script concerning them, but they didn't have the chance.

Some of the moments are really remarkable, especially the scenes between Turner and Hurt. And then, some of the scenes are just wrong. The worst, for me, was the last 60 seconds of the movie, where Hurt's character meets Davis' character and the music swells: it screams "make the women in the audience happy" and seems like it was pasted on.

Equally problematic is what leads to that: the second-last scene, between Turner and Hurt, where Hurt finally explains what he sees in Davis' character. It's very interesting and intelligent dialogue - her quirky character has allowed him to try to be someone different, to get out of his old, boring rut - but the movie never really showed us that. That, for me, was a real problem.

A lot of this movie is very well done, and I recommend it. But a fair amount of it is facile caricature, and that may boor some viewers.
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glacial pace
Roedy Green26 August 2012
The DVD cover bills this as "astonishingly, irresistibly funny". Edward the dog is funny, but the people are not.

From the title, you would think the movie revolved around travel, but the only travel is a visit to a mundane hotel room in France you don't get to leave.

The big problem with this movie is the central character Macon is unsympathetic. He is boring, rude, insensitive, self-centred. He is pathologically passive. He speaks in a taciturn monotone. His job it taking the adventure of of travel, writing guides on where to find Burger King and MacDonalds outlets in Europe.

There are three romantic relationships in the movie. I could not not for the life of me see what any of the parties saw in any of the others.

That created some humour, Geena Davis's dogged pursuit of William Hurt who always responded like a limp dishrag.

It was a very frustrating movie. I wanted ANYTHING to happen to break the tedium of watching people going about their very boring lives.

There is only one scene in the movie that really touches the heart, when Macon sees a French boy who resembles his murdered son, but you have to wait to almost the end for it.
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Life's changes and the paths we travel with such changes. We are the accidental tourists.
Rodrigo Amaro9 March 2012
The main character introduces to us very much like this about what to take and what's not while going on a travel: "Take one book to avoid people who will want to talk to you. But don't take more than one book because you might not have space to fill your suitcase with other things. Take detergent. Take a gray suit." Travel guide's writer Macon Leary (William Hurt) is someone in control of everything around him and such rules usually work (except if he's traveling along with someone who has his famous guide named "The Accidental Tourist"). But control doesn't apply when it comes to dealing with emotions, the loss of a family member or a marriage. His guide is useless to help him to cope with things after his wife Sara (Kathleen Turner) decides to left him, no longer bearing to stay with him after their son's tragic death.

That was one step, one big change. Life's surprises and life's accidents will lead them to bigger but positive changes that will lead him to rediscover himself as a man, as a better person and as someone who cares about other people's feelings, something he wasn't so used to except for his family. The dog trainer Muriel (Geena Davis on her Oscar winning performance) will be that fundamental change in Macon's life, after an accident (again!) involving his dog Edward and she offers to train the animal who, like Macon, seemed to be deeply affected by the changes around him, biting his owner among other happenings. Muriel's not only interested in the job but also in the man, she wants to know him even though he keeps pushing her away, trying to be distant from her. Of course, they've got nothing in common: he is very quiet, moderate, a little bit cold and distant; she's completely extroverted, smiley, cheerful, someone people can easily relate with. Surprise again!

We're all accidental tourists in this life, we didn't consciously chose to be on Earth and we don't get an traveling guide on how to live. There's situations we can control and others we cannot, and for the most part we're here to try and try again. We're here just for the ride. That's what "The Accidental Tourist" is about. A movie about the life's surprises, the unfortunate accidents, the happy accidents and the way people react to them, accepting them or not, but always remembering that these are things no one can manipulate, there's no form of control over them. Muriel deals with her problems with a smile on her face while Macon stays absent from whatever social situations may come on his way (quite comprehensible once you get the chance to know his brothers and sister, who don't even answer the phone when it rings in their house).

Romantic, funny, delicate and enjoyable like a warm and sunny afternoon, "The Accidental Tourist" evokes life with a careful realism blended with what fiction brings best, a tiny bit of illusion perfectly made for any kind of audiences. Lawrence Kasdan's adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel is an inspiring story, an movie to be appreciated and it has all the fundamental elements that makes a great film being great . Perfect performances from the ensemble casting, Hurt enjoying his greatest moment after one Oscar and two consecutive nominations (surprises me that he wasn't nominated for this); Davis bringing grace and excellence as the charming Muriel; Turner has few moments but she shines in most of them; and good performances from Amy Wright (Macon's sister), Bill Pullman, David Ogden Stiers and Ed Begley, Jr.

I strongly advise you to watch it more than once, if possible, since it isn't so simple to get the movie's idea right away. Sure, the majority will look at only to the romance that comes to surface but the movie is much more than this, it is also about people helping people, deconstructing ideals and mannerisms, trying new things in order to improve their lives for the best. You can't go wrong with those themes specially if they're being well handled. "The Accidental Tourist" certainly got that. 10/10
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So Good You'll Have to Rewind it Into the Night
skoolgurl_1318 December 2011
This film begins with an aloof travel writer named Macon Leary being left by his schoolteacher wife played by Kathleen Turner. The Learys recently lost a member of their nuclear family and are mourning in different ways. As the film proceeds William Hurt's character becomes involved with a kooky dog trainer portrayed by Geena Davis who inadvertently transforms his life. What makes this picture special is that it follows an ordinary couple not a yuppie Hollywood one trying to save their marriage and at the same time trying to make sense of an unexpected tragedy.

I recommend this movie because of its poignancy and light humour but mostly because its contemplative and mature enough for serious adult viewers. All the actors stepped into their roles in a realistic way and played their respective roles intensely.
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Watch it for William Hurt's Masterful Performance!
namashi_122 September 2011
'The Accidental Tourist' is a Human-Drama, that is honest, unspoken & devastated. Accomplished Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan delivers a film, that truly ranks amongst his best works to date, and his handling to this tough & gritty subject, is excellent. But, the Greatest Merit & Strength of 'The Accidental Tourist', is it's Lead-Star, Academy-Award Winner William Hurt, who's masterful performance, leaves you spell-bound. He delivers one of his finest performances in here.

'The Accidental Tourist' Synopsis: An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

'The Accidental Tourist' is a heart-felt, human-drama, that is honest, unspoken & yet devastated. The Journey of it's Protaganiost is filled with sadness, motivation & emptiness. The Adapted Screenplay by Kasdan himself, is moving & well-worded. Kasdan's direction, on the other-hand, is excellent & he makes each moment felt.

Perofmance-Wise: As mentioned right from my summary, Hurt's performance is the greatest merit of this film. He delivers a performance, that can easily be credited as an embodiment. What Hurt achieves over-here, is "impossible" to pull off. In short, it's a performance that demands & deserves your utmost attention. Geena Davis, in an Oscar-Winning performance, is decent. Kathleen Turner is dependable. Amy Wright & Bill Pullman lend support.

On the whole, If your a fan of Hurt, don't dare to miss this one. And even if your not a fan by a chance, yet don't dare to miss his masterful performance.
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Ho-hum drama
mnpollio21 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
After the death of his child, travel author William Hurt retreats into an emotional shell and watches his marriage to Kathleen Turner dissolve before finding a second chance at happiness with eccentric dog trainer Geena Davis.

Lawrence Kasdan's by-the-numbers adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel is a passable, if overly pedestrian drama that has many fans with a tendency to over-exaggerate its emotional impact. Anyone anticipating sparks to fly with the reunion of Hurt and Turner with their Body Heat director Kasdan will likely be surprised by this tame seriocomic oddity that is light years from film noir. The storyline relies on bizarre character traits to generate interest, but they only do so sporadically and haphazardly. For instance, much time is spent with Hurt's two brothers and sister, all broadly played by Ed Begley, David Ogden Stiers and Amy Wright. The three of them co-habit in one house and spend their days doing such madcap things as ignoring the ringing telephone and alphabetizing their canned goods. Apparently this is supposed to be more amusing then it really is. When Hurt's editor, delightfully played by Bill Pullman, falls in love with Wright, the attraction is puzzling because Pullman comes off as a real person, while Hurt's family seem like sketches for a rejected skit from an episode of The Carol Burnett Show.

Turner is utterly wasted in the film. It isn't that she is not good, but she is saddled with a glorified supporting turn that requires her to vanish for extended periods of time. She is not allowed to have any meaningful emotional moments with Hurt, so that his late act decision contains no surprise. Geena Davis bugs her eyes out and purses her lips in an attempt to appear kooky, and actually she is quite good in the film, but she is miscast and there is no getting around it. Davis is one of the most attractive actresses working in Hollywood and her innate charm is on display here, so that when all of these people keep pulling Hurt aside and asking in genuine bewilderment "What do you see in this Muriel woman?" - we have no idea what they are talking about and they all seem like idiots. Is she supposed to be undesirable? If so, then the casting is completely wrong.

Ultimately, though, the film rises and falls on Hurt. It is his show and the film focused on his emotional journey breaking out of his indifference and fear. In his best moments, I have always found Hurt to be a very mannered actor. His Method approach often seems self-conscious and he loves to overuse an arsenal of tics and odd vocal inflections in place of genuine range. Sometimes it works - here it fails him. He comes off less as a victim of emotional shellshock than he does a somnambulist. It is impossible to see why Turner would want him back or why Davis would instigate a relationship with him. Even worse, when his character starts taking decisive action and makes some daring choices, he seems just as lifeless as he was at the beginning of the film. He comes off as a guy just going through the motions - which would be a good description of the film itself. It looks great, but ultimately it is just going through the motions.
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I wish they made more movies like this
Agnelin8 March 2011
"The accidental tourist" is, for me, the perfect compendium of a heartfelt drama -though never melodramatic- a bigger-than-life story, a romance, and a comedy, never quite being any of them, but borrowing bits and pieces of each of those styles and genres. It is a film of rare elegance and subtlety, and one of its best qualities is, in my opinion, the fact that it feels extremely real: all the drama, emotion, humor, love, relationship story is something taken out of real people's lives. This film could have been the portrait of any person out of the street, on any given day.

Each and every one of the actors is just perfect in his/her role, from the main roles to the supporting ones. William Hurt shines as Macon Leary, a grayish writer of travel guides for businessmen or people who generally travel by obligation. His aim in doing so is to provide those people a false feeling of security in every moment they are away from home.

When the movie begins, Macon's wife, Sarah (Kathleen Turner, another great pick for this role) is leaving him. We learn that their only son, Ethan, had died the previous year, and their marriage just does not feel the same to Sarah. From this moment on, Macon will have to keep living his life, not really wanting to or trying to make any changes. But he's in for something unexpected when beautiful and funny dog-trainer Muriel (Geena Davis) enters his life and turns it upside down... What follows is the story of Macon thereafter, and how he learns more about himself, life, and starting anew even after something as painful as losing a child has happened in a person's life.

Even though the movie's starting point and leitmotiv is the death of one's child, this movie is not a melodrama, and it is not a laugh-out-loud comedy, either, even though some of its lines and scenes have made me laugh more than many so-called comedies. It is a simple story, but it is extraordinary in how it is told, in how close it feels to the viewer, in how it makes you believe in that yes, it is possible to reinvent ourselves and to become someone better, more ambitious, wiser, and more able to love and be loved. This is the kind of gem that studios just don't make anymore.

My vote is 10/10.
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Excellent Comedy-Drama
kenjha18 February 2011
A writer of travel books must cope with the death of his young son and the ensuing divorce. This adaptation of the Tyler book is an excellent comedy-drama that incisively examines relationships and dealing with life's challenges. Hurt is quite good in expressing the pain of loss and separation, and he conveys so much through small gestures. As a quirky dog trainer, Davis is simply marvelous in an Oscar-winning performance. Turner has a relatively small and unsympathetic role but she makes the most of it. Wright, Stiers, Begley, and Pullman round out the excellent ensemble. The dog is a scene stealer. Kasdan's low-key, leisurely direction is perfectly suited to the material.
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The Accidental Tourist
Scarecrow-8818 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
William Hurt and Kathleen Turner are so devastated by the death of their son that the marriage falls apart due to anguishing grief. Turner needs time to recover while Hurt is somber, numb, and grief-stricken to the point that he walks around in a daze, his face and demeanor barely able to contain the agony and loss he feels. That is when he meets, by chance or fate, a quirky dog trainer(played by Geena Davis who is a delight)who awakens in him a reason to live again. Turner, however, after time apart, wants to reenter his life and start over. THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST follows Hurt's dilemma, having to choose between the woman he will always love and the new person who resuscitated him with her charm and unrelenting pursuit for his affections. I think what makes Lawrence Kasdan's THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST work so well is that it's wholly believable and speaks from the heart, the performances of the three leads completing winning you over because they come from a realistic place. Hurt and Turner, as many married couples do, grieve to the point that they can no longer be around each other due to the painful recollection of the son they lost. Hurt is a travelogue writer who doesn't really enjoy the places as much as clinically define the experiences in a literal instead of pleasurable sense. Davis wears loud, colorful dresses, flashes a bright, wattage smile that is hard to resist(with a personality to match)and is actually the one who instigates the relationship. Hurt actually benefits from being around her because Davis is the type of person whose attitude and personality rub off on you. Turner, though, represents what he once had which is why he returns to her with little difficulty, although I think we can see all too well that this is window dressing. Davis, the other woman, is persistent in being a part of Hurt's life despite his heavy resistance. Meanwhile, there's a subplot regarding Hurt's wallflower sister(Amy Wright)and his publisher(Bill Pullman)who become an item, although she is dedicated to her family(Ed Begley, Jr. and David Ogden Stiers)which might test their courtship. Ultimately, I felt, the film is about healing and moving on past a horrific incident which stifles those truly affected. Turner and Hurt do eventually realize that the love between them will forever last, even if they can no longer be together as husband and wife. It's amusing how an unruly dog(owned by Hurt)is the reason for his meeting Davis in the first place(it bit a neighbor). Established in the film is Hurt's bouts with intense back pain, often a source of misery for him. The end of the 80s was good for Davis who seemed to perform at a high level entering into the next decade. Hurt successfully carries the film as a broken father and listless husband who so desperately needed someone like Geena to give him hope and some semblance of potential happiness. Turner, for the exception of maybe BODY HEAT, has never been more beautiful.
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A remarkably good film, with a strong woman's role
pontifikator6 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a remarkably good film, with a strong woman's role (Muriel) for Geena Davis, an excellent actress. William Hurt plays a travel writer (Macon) who hates to travel. His son was killed in a traffic accident, and the stress has led his character to separate from his wife (Sarah, played by Kathleen Turner). He returns to his family home, where his brothers and sister live, and you meet a stunningly civil, stunningly dysfunctional family. Muriel is very off the wall and just the relief Macon needs. Their growth toward each other, and Macon's recovery from the grief of his loss is subtly and well done.

The contrast between Davis's character and the one played by Helen Hunt in "As Good as It Gets" merits thoughtful consideration. In this film, Muriel won't settle for Macon as he is when they meet. Muriel is a competent adult, not a needy woman. If Macon grows and meets her halfway, fine. If not, that's fine, too -- Muriel won't accept the emotionally crippled Macon. There are very few roles where women are written as strong, competent actors instead of passive accepters. ("Silence of the Lambs" comes to mind as another such movie, both for Clarice Starling and for Catherine Martin, the victim that traps Buffalo Bill's dog and uses it as a bargaining chip.)
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A halfhearted compromise
Michael Neumann1 November 2010
Anne Tyler's novel about a reluctant travel writer drifting through life more like a passenger than a participant presents an interesting dilemma: how to adapt a story about dull, listless people without it becoming a dull, listless film? The outcome is a halfhearted compromise, mixing Tyler's attention to mundane detail with Lawrence Kasdan's typically glossy direction. Casting high profile stars (all of them, by the way, upstaged by a pet dog) in low profile roles further undermines the scenario, leaving a cast of offbeat characters stranded in a decidedly conventional movie. Geena Davis provides a token spark of interest as a kooky animal trainer who draws William Hurt out of his shell, but Hurt's effort to appear distant and distracted only makes him look constipated. And Kathleen Turner's role is little more than a convenient plot device, serving no purpose except to provide Hurt's character with a choice (ex-wife or new girlfriend?), the making of which seems, in the end, only an extension of his indecisiveness.
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Found the film boring
topmost25 September 2010
I could not understand why Macon left his suitcase on a wall and then left, presumably for the airport, or even what he took out of the zippered pocket before leaving.There were other previous problems - why Muriel, who has a dog kennel business, has to ask Macon for cash when she gives him dog training lessons? William Hurt, who is a fine actor, goes through the film with a dazed expression on his face, as if he really belongs elsewhere (he does.) Why did Macon's sister inherit the house that is referred to as a family heirloom, when there were older boys in the line of succession. I understand that Kathleen Turner likes to show off her body (on the London stage, for example) but why only a prurient view of her naked back. Who writes this drivel?
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"That travel-armchair isn't just your's you."
moonspinner554 September 2010
After a year of silent grief over the loss of their son, an East Coast author of travel manuals for business-people and his mercurial wife of seventeen years decide to separate; he gets custody of the family dog, whose need for obedience-training leads the writer to a pert, persistent dog-trainer (who, apparently, also teaches men as well). Terrific adaptation of Anne Tyler's book by Frank Galati and producer-director Lawrence Kasdan, who are careful not to let the eccentric comedy inherent in the story and characters go over the top. William Hurt (in yet another wonderfully precise performance) mends a broken leg at the family home of his directionless siblings, each of whom of are very funny--though not in an outrageous way; the unconventionality of their personalities is touched upon so gingerly, we understand a great deal about them without exposition. This may be some of the best directing Kasdan has ever done. Oscar-winner Geena Davis is perhaps too forceful in some of her early scenes, and Kasdan's camera appears to be checking out her figure without protagonist Hurt seemingly being aware of it. Still, their relationship, which is far from smooth, is quirky and interesting because Davis cuts right through the bull. She liberates Hurt from his grip on the past but, sadly, the formula-end of the story dictates that we must bring back the estranged wife for dramatic purposes. The film's third act loses its way, which is a shame, yet the writing here doesn't mitigate some marvelous moments and fully-realized portrayals. It's a smart, exceptional treatise on love and starting over, and William Hurt proves once again to be a master at his craft. *** from ****
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It slips through such serious emotional turf so quietly...
secondtake1 September 2010
Accidental Tourist (1988)

So, for starters, Geena Davis won a best supporting actress for this role. She is a surprising presence, but she is only a shadow, to me, of William Hurt's deceptively taut and perceptive role. Weakest of the three main actors is Kathleen Turner, who is brought far down from the energy she had, say, in "Peggy Sue Got Married" just two years earlier. This might be because Davis is lifted so high.

The story is by Anne Tyler, who won awards and praise for her novel, as literature, before the movie. The hook implied by the title is just the starting point. Even though "Accidental Tourist" deals with totally, very, beautifully serious things, there is a kind of gleam to it all, a knowing despondency, as if the writer knew what tricks to use to make us feel deep things. And it's sort of okay, even at the end, which is improbable the way it is played out, but is emotionally really satisfying.

I liked the movie a lot, for sure. It's about feelings and real people, without crime and violence, and I like all that. But maybe the Oscar might have gone to William Hurt, who pulls off a subtle role with absolutism. He nails the detached, patient, observant, fearful person that his character is. Geena Davis with all her idiosyncratic energy, and later with her more mainstream domesticity (the two are never resolved), is a perfect spark for his smolder.

And it pulls together, most of the time, but there are oddities that are meant to be quaint and fun that throw it off course. The agent is awkward, the Leary family is like a comic idea that just makes the depth of the principles odd for their seriousness. And the sudden attempt at reconciliation seems improbable, at least with the knee-jerk way it comes off. The music is oddly repetitive and annoying if you notice it, too.

One element, of course, that infects how you look at all this, is the role of the two children, the two sons. They make everything the adults do significant, even if still sometimes questionable. But hey, it's actually a soap opera, which I love, with emotions flying this way and that, and echoes of our own lives everywhere. So dive in and give it all a go. Even it feels slow at times, give it a moment. Hurt, who isn't always on target in other films, is really perfectly cast here, and he makes it work.
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Incredibly awful movie
krounded29 November 2009
If you like movies with long close ups of boring people with no dialogue, you'll like this movie.

You can't really tell what's going on in the movie.

You just know you are suppose to be emotionally moved by it due to the dramatic interludes of nothingness.

It's definitely a candidate for one of those shows where they make stupid comments throughout a movie to make it more funny or interesting. It would be hard to do that for this movie.

It's an accidental movie. Should just be a still shot.

It's even hard to get 10 lines out of this. I don't think there was even 10 lines in the whole movie.

There is not even a chance to redeem this movie.

Stale and uninviting.

If I had seen it in a theater, I would have stabbed out my eyes.

Maybe if they subtitled in the plot? Nah......there was no hope from the start.
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