Best Scene: Nicholson and MacLaine re-living the past on the beach.
The Evening Star (1996)
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Best Scene: Nicholson and MacLaine re-living the past on the beach.
Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine- reprising her Oscar winning role) is now dealing with her three grown Grandchildren. One is a saint, Teddy, who is already married with child. Tommy, the "problem child" of the original film, is in prison. And Melanie (Juliette Lewis), the youngest, is struggling through college because she's going through a rebellious phase and likes hanging out with her sleazy boyfriend, or mooching off Patsie (Miranda Richardson), the now very rich divorcée. There's also the loyal housekeeper Rosie (Marion Ross), who despite always being on her duties and quick to have a sarcastic comeback, is falling in love with the next door neighbor Arthur (Ben Johnson- in his last screen performance).
All of this is a little hokey, but the performances more then make up for it. When Aurora starts seeing a therapist (Bill Paxton) and then sleeping with him, people start whispering about her reputation. And when Melanie keeps going back and forth between her relationship, she finally finds peace with Aurora, who she at first despised.
"The Evening Star" is by no means superior to "Terms of Endearment". That movie is a landmark in it's own right. But it is more fun- in my opinion. MacLaine, in a funny performance, seems more lively and witty here then her original time around. And the most fun of all is to watch her and Miranda Richardson go at it - almost like "Grumpy Old Men"- but FUNNIER. A scene in an airplane perfectly displays their hatred for one another- but in a way, they are best friends- since they're always around each other, competing, gossiping or nagging.
To wrap it up, it's a long movie with a lot of unnecessary subplots (the death toll was ridiculous), but keep in mind this is also based on the book, so do we blame the filmmakers or the author? "The Evening Star" is a movie that should be watched for a good laugh. You don't have to have seen the first one to understand it. True, Debra Winger is missing (but if you saw the first film you'd know why), but I am rating this solely on how well it entertained me.
The Review: Just not meant to happen. Contrived is what comes to mind when viewing this sequel with Bill Paxton, Scott Wolf, and Jack Nicholson among the famous actors making walk on appearances. Overlong and underwritten, the film misses the interest of the original, not to mention any inkling of James L. Brooks' involvement. There's no Danny DeVito, and no Jeff Daniels (which is very odd considering he was the father of the three but is omitted from the film). Nowhere near as good as the first.
Yet Aurora still manages to make the same mistakes we all make. Love is not an easy road traveled.
This movie brings humor to that road, tears just like the original movie. I will agree the airplane scene was over the top, but I loved the scene with Jack Nicholson on the beach with the car going through the surf.
I have never read the books, but now I really want to.
One interesting fact - almost every star in this movie is a daughter or son of someone in Hollywood - Teddy was Patty Duke and John Astin's son. Tommy's wife is Cary Grant and Diane Cannon's daughter, Teddy's wife is someone from Jefferson Airplane's daughter. Even Lewis has an acting father - although she has made her own name in the business.
The plot line starts off about fifteen to sixteen years after Terms ended. The grandchildren are now all grown, and each has their own problems. Aurora remains the queen bee, but feels like she is losing her family, as her grandchildren resent her interfering and blame her for their current state. Added to the mix is Patsy, Emma's rich best friend and Aurora's nemesis who feels like she could have done a better job raising Melanie. Also along for the ride is Rosie, Aurora's long term maid and companion.
The movie mainly follows Aurora as she attempts to deal with life, by dating various men and trying to put her grandchildren on the right path.
There are a number of problems with this movie. The first being the complete lack of Flap Horton, the children's father. Here, he has no role in his children's lives, and he is only briefly mentioned as living in New Mexico. The second issue is the character of Melanie. She is essentially a stand in for Emma in this movie, but the dynamic between her and Aurora is underdeveloped and does not work very well. The other two grandchildren, Tommy and Teddy, are even more underdeveloped. The fourth issue is the virtual cavalcade of death this movie becomes in its second half where three main characters die! The one positive note is the Patsy/Aurora relationship. Both actresses have a good chemistry and play well off each other. You can feel the way each resents the other, but it is also understood that at the end of the day, there is a grudging respect.
So overall, not a bad movie, but don't watch it expecting another Terms.
The scene at the end when Aurora is surrounded by her family during her last moments was very touching to me. My grown daughter was watching the movie with me and I eased into the kitchen to weep, and I, slightly embarrassed, told her I was having a "mommie moment." I saw this film on TV not too long after my own mother died. She would have loved to have gone that way,peacefully, at home, with her family around her. Me too, for that matter.
In Aurora's later years, when her grandchildren are grown up and she even has a great-grand son (who enjoys singing "For she's a jolly good butt whole which nobody can deny" to Aurora's great annoyance) Aurora is still looking for the love of her life. She's still chasing after men, and finds one at, that, with her counselor/physchiatrist played by Bill Paxton. The romantic scenes between these two are unmissable. But here's where the problems strike the movie. In the first movie, Aurora was a little bit more....well.... unpremiscuous as you could possibly get. Here, she's a little more floozy-ish. Aurora changes from "Terms of Endearment" to this movie. This is still an excellent movie, with an extrememly heart-felt, and sad ending. I loved it! For those who liked "Terms", you'll love "The Evening Star." Shirley MacLaine shines. :)
Not all happy endings after Emma's death. Tommy is in jail, Teddy is somewhat nebbish but seems to try and do the right thing at times. Baby Melanie has grown into a pretty but defiant boy crazy teen which drives strong willed Aurora even more crazy.
In The Evening Star we see two new character--one old in the earlier film who now has a much bigger part---Rosie Dunlop, Aurora's maid superbly acted by Marion Ross (who played Mrs C in Happy Days) Here we see Rosie had a much greater impact on Aurora's life as not just a maid but as an extended family member. And Rosie feels the same way as she tries to guide Aurora thru life's problems. This time Aurora suffers besides her grandchildrens crisis, she seems to be going thru a change of life or mid life crisis. On advise, she goes to a psychiatrist, played by Bill Paxton, who seems half her age.---and seduces him. I know that this seems to show the audience that Aurora, even though she approaches her elderly years--that she still has "got it". It just seems as a silly superficial not needed sub plot line.
One of the most disappointing outcome of the characters from the past movie is Emma's best friend, Patsy Carpenter. In the original movie, Patsy was a self sufficient, sleek well groomed career girl. In the Evening Star somehow she has morphed into a debauched drunken alcoholic only after the money from men that she preys on. She and Aurora are immensely jealous of each other and compete from Emma's children attention and love. I suppose this sub plot is put in for comic relief, it just seems so silly and detached from the characters.
And of course, Aurora's love Garret comes back for a brief appearance but jack Nicholson just doesn't have the same pizazz as before. He seems to look as someone is making him star in this movie--just my imagination-you be the judge.
The remainder of the film, now focuses on the end of Aurora's days after all her grandchildren have come to terms with there problems. It is very sad and will probably make you think of the emotional scene of Emma's death. The Evening Star is an entertaining film to watch. But I say if you haven't watched Terms of Endearment before it, you may not have the same impact from the original.
What could possibly be more unnecessary than a sequel to Terms of Endearment? Because the pivotal relationship was eliminated by Wingers exit in the first film, this sequel has no focus. What had been an amusing take on the funny and sad moments in an erratic mother-daughter relationship, has become a plot less holding pattern. There is no central emotional relationship to care about and the characters have little to do. They have not found a suitable foil for Aurora here. The relationship between Patsy and Aurora which had been quietly disagreeable, is now full-on antagonism. And that's a familiar, unsatisfying device to duct-tape a story onto.
If you were wondering what happens next after Terms ended, the answer is that the characters continued living. Whoopee. "Star" tries to milk tender emotions from you, but those feelings are given no foundation. It just moves on to some new unrelated emotional "payload" every ten minutes or so. Whether this went on for an hour or three (which it feels like) it just wears you down. The creators fail to understand that extraneous undeveloped characters (who've barely been introduced) can only deliver phony emotional epiphanies. It's so overwritten that superfluous sub-plots are M.I.A. for an hour at a time.
It has so many false endings, that I gave up shortly after Nicholsons odd, special-guest-star appearance. He arrives to spout some tender inexplicable pseudo-Oprah drivel. It's like it was written by Edna Ferber. It goes on and on and on...
MacLaine returns to her role and basically this movie is just her life and we get an update on how she's living. Juliette Lewis and Bill Paxton get little to do - Lewis is annoying as usual and frankly I wouldn't mind if she just stopped acting permanently tomorrow.
The best thing about this film has to be Jack's cameo appearance as Garrett. It almost saves a failing movie - but once he leaves it all falls apart again.
I put most of the blame for this mess on Robert Harling. He had a hit with Steel Magnolias, and he obviously is in love with the idea of a tearjerker. However, this screenplay is so overloaded with excess drama and attempts to bring a tear that you end up feeling used and angry. He totally changed the screenplay from the actual book.
I could go on and on and on about how awful this movie was, but I'll spare you. I suppose if I'd never grown up on TOE this movie might not make me so angry. But then they should have had a different actress play Aurora and just a whole new cast, which they basically did anyway. If you loved TOE, do NOT see this. I'd give it a one out of ten.
That point is completely missed as Robert Harling takes over for Brooks and takes the episodic approach that seemed to work for his screenplay for 1989's "Steel Magnolias". Based on Larry McMurtry's sequel novel, the story picks up Aurora's story fifteen years after Emma's death as we see true to her daughter's final wishes, that the grandiose older woman has raised Emma's three children. Now adults, oldest son Tommy is in prison for drug dealing, while youngest son Teddy has become standard white trash who wants only to own a tow truck. That leaves granddaughter Melanie who has inherited her mother's independent streak as she struggles in a bad relationship with an aspiring underwear model. Without Emma, Melanie picks up the slack and so do two minor characters from the first film - Emma's best friend Patsy, who has become a wealthy divorcée constantly competing with Aurora, and Aurora's salt-of-the-earth maid Rosie.
The movie becomes a virtual traffic jam of personal problems orbiting around Aurora with the second half an endless series of dramatic climaxes. MacLaine does the best she can under the circumstances, but the rest of the cast is set adrift. Bill Paxton looks particularly lost as the psychotherapist in love with Aurora. Juliette Lewis uses her familiar off-kilter mannerisms as Melanie, while Miranda Richardson is forced to play Patsy on two notes - petulant jealousy and benign resignation. Nicholson's appearance is welcome, but he understandably looks like he wants to leave the minute he arrives to remind Aurora of her enduring appeal. Only Marion Ross and Ben Johnson acquit themselves respectably as Rosie and her husband-to-be Arthur. Except for MacLaine's work, this overlong slog is really unbearable to watch. The 2001 DVD offers no significant extras.
This is a horrible movie, with horrible characters, and horrible acting.
It is so bad, I don't know if I'll be able to watch "Terms Of Endearment" again, and that is one of my all time favorite movies. The only redeeming feature this movie had was the music from the original.
I had very low expectations, but this movie still missed them by a mile. Do yourself a favor, if "Terms Of Endearment" meant anything to you, don't see this sequel.