Moment by Moment (1978) Poster

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Get out your magnifying glass and you can catch a few glimpses of truth in the screenplay
moonspinner5512 March 2003
Wretched, empty romantic drama gives the word 'shallow' a whole new face. Soon-to-be-divorced Malibu housewife (Lily Tomlin) wanders around Hollywood and the beach, running her fingers through her hair, coddling her mutt and rubbing her forehead; seems a stud like John Travolta is just what she needs, but he's more puppy dog than pouncing lover (annoying, childish, needy, clinging). There's a good line here and there: I liked it when Lily Tomlin says, "I've never had cheap sex...I have to admit I was looking forward to it." But Travolta's character ("Strip"!) is ridiculous and hasn't been thought out; he's just a bleeding heart ex-runaway looking for true love. It feels about as real as a cartoon. *1/2 from ****
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I wish I knew what they were thinking about
blanche-22 March 2014
I have no idea why this movie was made or who came up with this preposterous casting.

I've decided it was some sort of an inside joke cooked up by Robert Stigwood, who had no taste. None.

Lily Tomlin, her spouse Jane Wagner, and John Travolta are all huge talents. Tomlin has proved herself over the years to be a fabulous comedienne and a fine dramatic actress. Wagner is a brilliant writer. John Travolta has acting ability, charm, and charisma to spare. But Tomlin is woefully miscast as a rich Malibu housewife, John Travolta's name in the film is Strip, and the script is terrible.

I think a couple of things. First of all, I think Travolta, Tomlin, Wagner, and Stigwood were all friends. If you look at Stigwood's resume, he was known way back when for taking untalented people and making them stars. The stardom never lasted, but the man could obviously sell ice to Eskimos. He thought he could make a hit movie with a hot star like John Travolta, no matter that the script was bad and his costar was miscast. When in doubt, overhype. Tomlin probably wanted to try something different, and Wagner accommodated her. However, neither were in their milieu. The result: a disaster that hurt John Travolta's career. Fortunately, he recovered.

For "so bad it's good movies," this one beats Monsignor, Valley of the Dolls, The Big Cube, The Oscar, and Bittersweet Love.
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While Moment by Moment wasn't the best of Travolta and Tomlin, it wasn't completely their worst either...
tavm8 June 2009
After 30 years of knowing of the reputation of Moment by Moment being the nadir of the movie careers of John Travolta and Lily Tomlin, I finally got a chance to watch this on Hulu and I must say, it's not as bad as I feared. Oh sure, Travolta's character is very much a stalker in the beginning and it's not completely believable seeing Tomlin fall for him but once that's out of the way they both have some nice moments together. And in the book "Golden Turkey Awards", there was some choice words about Ms. Tomlin's nude scene that made me think she appeared topless here but I found out not once do her breasts show so it wasn't uncomfortable the way Julie Andrews showing hers on S.O.B was! There was, however, one scene where Trish says she has some questions for Strip and the first thing I was thinking she should ask him is "What is your real name?" I mean, really, what parents name their child "Strip"? LOL! And her constantly saying "Oh, Strip!" I have to wonder if there were ever any drinking games about the number of times she says that...Anyway, I think the real reason this movie flopped was because Tomlin wasn't being funny and Travolta wasn't tough like in Saturday Night Fever and Grease. And yes, seeing them in bed together does look uncomfortable. But while Moment by Moment isn't very good, it's not very bad either. P.S. Producer Robert Stigwood must have had a hell of a year in 1978 having started with two blockbusters in SNF and Grease and then ended it with the bombs Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and this one.
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I had (blessedly) forgotten this train wreck
preppy-36 February 2008
Rich and lonely Trish (Lily Tomlin) meets and falls in love with Strip (John Travolta) who's at least 15 years younger than her. They both have issues--but do they love each other enough to battle those issues together? Believe me--you won't care!

I had forgotten that I saw this. I was 16 when it came out and this (inexplicibly) has an R rating. I had always loved Lily Tomlin and wanted to see it. In fact at the time this came out Tomlin and Travolta were (purportedly) madly in love with each other in real life. It turns out that was all a publicity stunt to sell the movie. Anyways, I conned my mom into taking me to see it. Wow--was THAT a mistake! Talk about dull! My mom and me literally kept dozing off during the movie. By the end (which is REAL stupid) I actually was giggling at how hopeless this movie was. It bombed badly and years of therapy helped me block it.'s come back to haunt me! Tomlin and Travolta CAN be good (given the right material) but this script was just so tedious and dull that even they couldn't pull it off. Travolta is as good as anyone can be. Tomlin REALLY tries but she's hopelessly miscast. She only got the role because director Jane Wagner and her were (and still are) lovers. I (sorta) want to see this on DVD to see if it's as bad as I remembered. I've heard there might actually be a DVD release of this in the works. That would be kind of cool. A 1 all the way.
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What a World, What a Life, I'm in Love!
sol-kay8 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
**SOME SPOILERS** Bored with life and not wanting to face her friends in any of the big parties and artistic social gatherings that she's used to attending Malibu socialite Trish Rawlings,Lily Tomlin, has opted to down bottle after bottle of pills to put her in a state of perpetual suspended animation. While under the influence Trish sleeps it off while a nasty divorce is finalized with her carousing and cheating husband Stu,Bert Kramer.

Going to the drugstore for a new bottle of pills Trish is told by the druggist that she can't have them unless her previous prescription bottle is used up. While Trish is at the counter this local hustler and part time drug pusher Strip Harrison, John Travolta, pops in looking for his good and close friend Craig who works at the pharmacy. Strip finds out that he's been busted by the police the day before for stealing drugs from the store room.

A shocked Strip then for some strange reason takes an immediate liking to the middle-age Trish offering to give her free of charge some pills that she was refused. It's then, like a man helplessly under some kind of hypnotic spell, for what seems like like days Strip follows and hounds her day and night in and around her beach-front estate until she finally gives in. Trish ends up giving the hungry and overbearing nudnick a piece of fried chicken to quench his appetite and a towel to dry himself off from a cold dip he took in the Pacific Ocean.

Trish being all by herself and feeling that she needs someone to do some handy work around the beach house allows Strip to do part-time work for her. Soon the two begin to fit so well together, even though Trish is some fifteen years older Strip, that they shack up and before you know it start to have a hot and heavy sexual relationship.

Strip goes through a number of violent and sudden emotional changes in his affair with Trish who's become very friendly with him that has her at times feel that if she as much as innocently says something that's not to his liking he'll explode and leave her forever! In fact it was actually something that Strip's parents didn't say to him that had a very depressed and heart-broken Strip run away from home. This happens a number of times in the movie that shows that Trish, despite all her hang-ups, is by far the more stable of the two. Later Strip storms out of the beach-house over such menial things like him being embarrassed when Trish had a friend Naomi, Andra Akers, over for drinks. Strip unexpectedly showing up with the groceries has Trish tell Naomi, not wanting her to know that Strip is living with her, that he's the delivery boy! This has a hurt and confused Strip angrily reject a tip which she gave him.

Hurt and humiliated by Trish making him look like her houseboy not lover Strip stormed out of the house having, a now repentant, Thrish as well as Naomi scour the sleazy L.A red light district trying to get him to change his mind and come back before he ended up getting killed or killing himself. Strip who had earlier found out that Craig have died of a drug overdose, which he felt was really murder,again comes back to Trish and after making up the two become more and more of an item, in the minds of many Malibu residents. It's later when Trish and Strip go to this big party for a local art photographer where Trish's estranged husband Stu shows up together with his ex-girlfriend Stacie (Debera Feuer) the women who's responsible for her and Stu's breakup. Stacie's now new boyfriend mob drug kingpin Dan Santini, James Luisi, is who Strip believes is the person who had his friend Craig murdered.

All this is just too much the for poor and emotionally drained Strip who loses his cool and again storms out of the art exhibit leaving Trish looking like a fool in front of all her socialite friends. Including her estranged husband Stu who up to that time felt that he was the only one doing any cheating. Just when Trish feels that she'll have to finally make a break with the very emotional and unstable Strip a number of unrelated incidents happen that in the end brings the two together in of all places the deceased Craig's home! It's there where Strip, with the acceptance of Craig's parents, was living after he checked out. Strip now throws away all the imaginary roadblocks that kept them apart all this time and finally get it on as equals in the romance department. Believe it or not what turned out to be the two magic words that finally broke the ice between them was "Happy Birthday" which Trish unlike Strips parents remembered.
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Moment by moment, I was ripping my hair out! It's so bad!!!
ironhorse_iv31 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I really hate this romantic love movie. I really doubt, a rich, middle-aged Beverly Hills socialite with an icy demeanor will inexplicably falls for a homeless, drug-pushing street kid, but there has been real life examples of such things happening. Still, the story doesn't give you, anything, but annoying drama from both from the socialite, Trisha Rawlings (Lily Tomlin) and the drug-addict, Strip (John Travolta). Directed by Jane Wagner, Moment by Moment was just stressful and ugly looking to watch. First off, the two actors are horrible. Lily Tomlin does nothing but many blank, expressionless faces throughout this film. The other reaction, we got from her is a hidden disgust face for Strip, or a confused look of how to act like she is in love. Lily Tomlin was a gifted comic actress, but those skills nearly use in this film. Instead, she has little to no personality, and talks like a piece of wood. I don't see how John Travolta's character can fall in love with her, unless Skip had an ulterior motive, like getting the money. Jane Wagner is actually Tomlin's lesbian partner, and has been for over thirty years. You can now tell, due to utter lack of chemistry between Tomlin and Travolta in this movie. It makes sense. John Travolta plays the role, as a droopy over the top, over reacting, over acting, man-baby. He also seem more of a stalker, then a love interest. Most women like men that act like men, not annoying stalker man-child. The first part of the movie has Lily continuing to tell him to stop bothering her. He continues, very annoying trying to make her love him by offering illegal sleeping pills to Trisha. Wow, how romantic. It's like the relationship between a drug dealer and an addict. He's OK about getting drunk, and getting loaded on sleeping pills, but when Trisha mention pot. Strip is livid, because, all of a sudden, he doesn't want her to do drugs. He has standards! What?! This relationship get more confusing, as Strip talks more about his male friend, Gary who never show up in the film, more than anything else. It's like a closet gay man was trying to prove he isn't gay, by trying to sleep with a woman that looks like a guy. John Travolta probably took this role, so people would stop asking him about that question. He seems more like a closet homosexual now, even after doing this movie. The relationship if you call that a relationship, isn't much anything, but a stupid series of breaks ups acts between Trisha and Scrip. When Trisha finally gives in to his love quest, he tells her to stop following him. She continues to look for him, after hundreds of walks outs throughout the film. Give up, woman. Strip is just a character with odd major mood swings. These people shouldn't be together. They don't even look right. The two could have just as easily been playing mother and son or sister & brother, with their identical dark hair and shaggy hairdos. To be honest, the whole thing feels like we're watching an incestuous relationship. Its throw me off, every time, they hold a scene together. It get more creepy when you find out that John Travolta took the role, because he just coming out of a tragic relationship with an older woman himself with actress Diana Hyland, who actually played his mother in a previous movie. Also the movie get more gross, as Lily has a striking resemblance to John's real-life actress sister, Ellen, and they are both around the same age to boot. I'm about to vomit. Lily Tomlin is not pretty at all even if Strip was high on drugs, most of the film. I know the 1970s has a different taste of attractive, but in the modern sense. It's not attracting. The hot tub scene in Moment by Moment is not sexy, but disturbing with all the hair with both the guy, and woman. How disturbing it is to watch two clones spoon together. There is no sexy moments, unless you count how boyish the film makes Travolta. It would certainly get gay guys to watch it. The plot doesn't do any favors here. It's establish that they met before, without even once showing it. It's add a Mafia and a porno sub-plot, 3/4th in the film time-frame, but it's never mention again or resolve. The dialogue is a mess. Lot of time and film wasting dialogue about them talking about minor things or doing childish things like building sandcastles. Honestly, what's the point of this film? That a May-December romance can work? Is the movie about love being stronger than class and age differences because it didn't seem like it was addressing that. Another fault is the film is how clichés it is, even for a 1970's romantic film. I hate the horrible ending, with the picture freezes, and a "Polaroid frame" is placed around them.'s not like I ever saw that before in a film. The movie could had work if it had a better soundtrack, rather than cheesy sax-heavy music or funky rock music. I hate Yvotte Elliman's music in this. A good Ballard or classical composer score would make this movie, much better. Overall: This movie nearly hurt John Travolta's career. It wasn't until Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction until his career was kinda revitalized. Moment by Moment is not a good movie to watch if you feel like you need to watch a chick flick movie. There are better 1970s love movies than this. Watching this movie made me think, how this moment suck.
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Lie by Lie - Moment by Moment does have its moments
caspian197821 November 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Although this is far from a good movie, I will defend against all the critics who have trashed this movie as total junk. The biggest problem in the criticism from the critics is of Lily Tomlin and John Travolta. That's where the critics are wrong. Neither Tomlin of Travolta are portraying themselves. This is the biggest misconception from the Haters. Granted, it is very difficult to stop seeing the Actor when they are portraying the character. None the less, this is the ongoing problem why people have hated this movie for over 40 years. In its defense, Moment by Moment does have its moments. This is far from a disaster than Battlefield Earth. Nor the best movie Travolta has been in, but at least he looks good. The same goes for Tomlin, who, does look very attractive and pulls out a performance to what the story demanded. Both characters are flawed with the dismal script and the overall story. Still, these star crossed lovers that these two portray are similar to the high end dog and the mutt from the street that share their screen. Travolta and Tomlin star in a romantic drama about two flawed characters who are each living a lie. Other than the truth behind the dent in her car, everything else the two characters portray are nothing more than a lie built on another lie. A young drifter who is involved with drugs and an older woman who is on the brink of divorce cross paths by chance. One odd antidote after another eventually has both characters caring for one another as they become romantically involved. The fifteen year age gap between the two in real life adds a taboo quality to their romance that adds flavor to the movie. Other than that, the movie does fall flat. Throughout the movie, Lily Tomlin adds moments of titillation with her wearing multiple love cut blouses and showing off her legs. Travolta adds to this by gracing his body to the audience in countless speedo wearing scenes. Other than a brief moment of seduction and hot tub passion, the movie fails to show any vulnerability in their romantic scenes. The lack of any raw emotion with the absence of nudity as well as sex leaves the audience to rely on the narrative only for stimulation. It is my opinion that this is where the movie really fails to be a romance. The movie is not painful to watch although it is disappointing when you realize how good this movie could have been.
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Completely misguided effort
Boyo-216 September 2002
Lily Tomlin is a talented person, there is no denying it. But judging from this pseudo-romance, you'd think she was just a lousy actress.

Travolta has tons of charm, if nothing else, and it seems slightly unfair that he took the hit for how bad this movie is. If he didn't take the hit, he certainly lost some career momentum because of it. Its not his fault that the movie is bad and I think he tried to make something of the pitiful script he was handed.

These two likable actors crash and burn in this dreary story of two bored and boring people. They meet cute in Schwab's Drug Store (thereby bringing a bad name to a place that has come Hollywood history) when he's there to meet his friend, and she's there to get a refill on her Seconal. He follows her down the street since they had met briefly before and he wants to thank her for something ridiculous. Its just a reason to have them (ha, ha) 'conversing', as it were, so don't pay that much attention. She runs to her beach house, which he also tracks her down at. He wants to be friendly and open and she is bottled up and rude. Its just so they can 'overcome' all that, later on.

Eventually, after much more inane dialogue and stupid reasoning for them to have another scene together, they warm up to each other and begin an affair. The movie does not improve and Lily goes from Ice Queen to Simpering Romantic Fool in twenty seconds.

Strip (Travolta) eventually figures out he's being used for sex only and that Trish does not love him. He leaves in a huff and Lily and her friend visit every seedy bar in Southern California looking for him. Ugh, right.

The dialogue is not even funny enough to laugh at, though when Trish asked Strip "Are you a member of the Automobile Club", I howled.

It just seems like a waste. Lily and her partner Jane Wagner were not allowed near anything even remotely dramatic again. Travolta emerged eventually, but this isn't his fault, like I said. He does try but not even Olivier could have made this flimsy material work. 1/10.
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The agony of watching this goes on moment by moment!
rosscinema10 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
How could a film that stars two incredibly talented and witty actors fail on such an astronomical level and possess a script so devoid of life and energy? Aah....a question for the ages! Story is about a woman named Trisha Rawlings (Lily Tomlin) who is going through a painful divorce and while she is walking down the street she keeps getting pestered by Strip Harrison (John Travolta) who reminds her that he was a valet at one of her parties. Trisha is staying at her beach home in Malibu and "Surprise" keeps meeting Strip who insists on intruding into her life and he tells her that he is trying to raise money to get his drug pushing friend out of jail.


One day Strip learns that his friend has died while in jail and seeks solace from Trisha who lets him stay with her. She eventually succumbs to his charms and they start spending every aching moment with each other. After time Trisha's friends and her husband find out about her boy toy and now she must consider if she should break it off but he overhears her having a conversation with a friend and he takes off.

This film is directed by Jane Wagner who is a comedy writer and a personal friend of Tomlin's and they had worked together before. This film has the reputation of being one of the worst films ever made and it's hard to dispute that. There simply is no life or energy going on in this agonizingly long film! You would think that a script that was written by a comedy writer would have some sort of wit or creativity in it even by accident but it doesn't. First the film takes almost an hour before they start their romance and we have to painfully watch Travolta practically stalk Tomlin and anyone else would have called the cops on him. Then for no reason Tomlin gives in to his annoying charms and we get the privilege of watching them stare at each other and mutter things like "I'm tired of cheap sex, it makes me feel cheap" and Tomlin responds with "I have never had cheap sex, I was looking forward to it". I understand Tomlin's character having sex with a young stud like Travolta but why would she fall in love with a guy that hangs around with drug dealers and lives in a flop house and has no ambition in life? She wouldn't! Hell, his name alone is annoying enough. The film drags on and on for an hour and forty five minutes with endless shots of walking and sitting on the beach. As an actress Tomlin is usually reliable for giving energetic performances but she just stares into space here like she's hypnotized. This is unfortunately not one of those "It's so bad it's funny" because that would make this as somewhat watchable. Instead, it's just hypnotically dull and totally empty in terms of wit and creativity.
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Something better left unwatched
jjnxn-113 May 2013
Unbelievably wrong headed piece of tripe was so notorious a flop on its release that it has become an unspeakable badge of shame for both of it's stars and director.

Lily Tomlin is an incredibly talented woman but even the most gifted people usually have things they can't do and overblown melodrama is something that is beyond Lily. The part itself is awful but something that a larger than life star such as Susan Hayward or Lana Turner could have found a way to make work with glamour and gravitas, there is none of that here. John Travolta is vapid and annoying, an empty vessel with the ridiculous name Strip. His character is those things but he brings nothing to the role other than that. At least he wears very little during most of the film and at this time in his career was quite attractive so if you're a fan of his that's something. But it's the ONLY thing he brings to the picture.

Both stars are awful but they are only part of the larger problem which is that not only is the script dreadful but it is directed or rather undirected with zero sense of purpose or point of view. What are we supposed to take away from this meandering mess other than the memory of Lily saying Strip! Strip! over and over again? The answer seems to be that she has no clue and neither will you.

Damaging the reputation of all involved spare yourself and skip this.
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... more than likely requires a second viewing
bjarias28 October 2014
At first I thought it an odd paring, LT and JT... now can't envision anyone else in the parts. Yes, at times you do look and see them familiar as in real-life, most times though you just see Trish & Strip. But should you not appreciate 'Travolta mannerisms'... well, you're not going to be happy with this production (as many are obviously not), for they're fully evident all throughout the film. The movie wants you to believe there's a larger age difference between them, when in fact at the time (35 years ago), they were 24 and 38... as such, their getting together was pretty feasible. It's a film that comes across more like a play, and that's why it has held up over the years better than expected. Coming from two good actors, the performances although not perfect, are tender and sincere... there are just oh so many good, heartfelt scenes between them. For me, the film has instantly become a favorite Lily Tomlin movie.. .. A bit campy (with music to match), not everyone's kind of film, but for those that do appreciate it... it fully rewards. And as for Trish and Strip, wither or not they actually stay alongside each other is no longer important, as ultimately both come to realize, even though they might not always be together, they still can have very deep feelings for each other. | "Don't be afraid of missing opportunities... behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed." ~ Lily Tomlin
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This is what no chemistry looks like
Java_Joe10 December 2018
If there's one thing that a love story needs is for the two leads to have chemistry. You know, that unspoken thing between them that makes their movie believable. And in this movie we actually see what negative chemistry looks like. That's right, the chemistry between Lily Tomlin and John Travolta is so terrible that it actually goes into negative integers.

The story itself is pretty generic. Tomlin plays a rich divorced woman and Travolta plays a drifter. They run into each other, Travolta stalks her, keeps showing up at her house and eventually they wind up in bed together. And that's it.

This was so badly received that once it's short theatrical run was over, it never got an official release. If you've seen the movie, you'll understand why.
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Bad movie, bad BAD movie!!!
Monika-515 July 1999
I saw this one on the Sunday afternoon movie on our local NBC station, and HAD to watch just for the sheer awfulness of it. SO 70s (check out Lily and John's identical shaggy hairdos and bellbottoms)! Without a doubt, John's worst movie (and I've seen the Look Who's Talking films)! For additional laughs, check out its review in the book "Bad Movies We Love". You'll love it!
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Hey! It was the 70s!!!
angelsunchained26 August 2020
This movie is not that awful if you put it in the context of the era in which it was made. The acting was good, they was a connection and it really wasn't that far fetched. Ms Tomlin was very attractive in this film and definitely could of done some more romantic roles. I like romance, so I liked this film. This is as good as William Holden's, Breezy, Tom Hanks', Everytime We Say Goodbye and Anthony Hopkin's, A Change of Seasons.
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Trish & Strip & Unzip.
happipuppi1323 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
How do I detest thee? Let me stop laughing long enough to tell you. Oh,thank goodness for late night TV ('cause I sure wouldn't want to pay to see this,unless you count the electric bill.) It's one of the incredible mysteries of Hollywood,as to why Travolta would allow himself to star in a movie that gives new meaning to the term "in the can".

I recall a humor magazine cartoon that showed Travolta having a bad dream and saying,"Burn the negative-burn the negative!" They should have and also,what possessed the casting director to give Travolta a leading lady who...well,looks so much like him?! It's like that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry dates a girl who resembles him!

Then,oh boy,their names! Trish and Strip??!! Why not "Ms. Fish" & "Chips"?? There is another in the cast named Stu (stew)who's lover could be Hammond Eggs who likes it,say,over easy?

Speaking of that,the love scenes have no real spark in them and it's the only time "Trish" actually means it when she says "Strip".

Any of Travolta's or Tomlin's flicks were better then this (70's lingo time!) "jive turkey". (..or a "strip" of beef jerky?" ) Certainly would've left a better taste in my mouth.(END)
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A hoot
Ric-729 July 2013
I enjoyed this movie so much, and for so many reasons. But that's because I can appreciate a truly awful film. I can't say anything really, to add to everything that's been said here. At least Ed Wood had an excuse, gaining immortality with absolutely no resources. So poverty is not an explanation for this film. However, it's just as hilarious as Plan 9, and I am so glad I found it again after so many decades. Tomlin and Travolta were talented enough to survive this career-killer.

I was tempted to give this film a multi-star rating because of how much I loved it. But I didn't rate it because it would be a shame to skew the average, and perhaps lead someone to think it's a good film. Which it's not. But I don't think that's any reason not to see it.
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Possibly, a cure for insomnia
gregorycanfield27 November 2021
Don't blame Travolta. Blame Lily Tomlin. She is a bore, plain and simple. This is a woman who became famous as a comedian (Laugh-in). How could the same person star in a movie, and have absolutely no personality, no energy, no presence? Nothing of value to offer. Nothing at all. As the movie opens, Travolta is constantly following Tomlin around. He seemed to be reverting back to his annoying Welcome Back Kotter character. Travolta and Tomlin have less than no chemistry. Nothing happens that could be of possible interest to anyone, for any reason. The ONLY noteworthy thing Tomlin did here was going braless. Hey, there had to be something! Nothing else that she did or said was going to hold anyone's attention. Dreary, boring, pointless, stupid movie.
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Interesting Citation ... Best It Can Hope For!
jmatrixrenegade24 November 2002
I have not seen this movie, but in the latest "Gilmore Girls" book, Rory makes a rather obscure reference to the unknown reason why Lily Tomlin and John Travolta did a certain movie together ... must be this movie, and I think it's a great testament to a movie that has rather few.

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Travolta's star fell some after this "Moment"
jrs-82 February 2006
"Moment By Moment" came out at a perfect in the career of John Travolta. Hot off the huge successes of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" he must have thought he could do no wrong and boy was he ever wrong about that. You don't get much worse then "Moment By Moment" which is a silly love story between an older woman and a young man. A provocative idea you say? Perhaps, but there is nothing provocative about this movie.

Travolta and Lily Tomlin are cast in the leads and we can see right from the start that they have absolutely no chemistry what so ever. That right there would sink any love story. But writer/director Jane Wagner's awful script continues topping (or bottoming) itself with hopeless ideas and ridiculous situations without directly confronting the central issue of the story.

You would think in a movie about an older woman/younger man relationship we might get a reason as to why Travolta (who, get this, plays a beach stud named Strip!)is attracted to older women (particularly someone like Lily Tomlin). How about one small scene where we see him on a date with a girl his own age and he can't relate to her? With that we could understand his desires but here it's just plot device to move things along.

The whole movie runs on empty. Tomlin (who has since come out of the closet and admitted director Wagner is her longtime companion) is hopelessly miscast. She may be older but she sure didn't fit the bill for what a young man looks for in an older woman. They could have put some make-up or seductive clothing on her to try and at least create the illusion of the sexy woman but perhaps Wagner's intent was to show the normal everyday woman. I hate to tell you this Jane but people don't buy it when a normal, everyday woman is seduced by a beach stud named Strip.

"Moment By Moment" has long been forgotten and rightfully so. It's set up is preposterous, dialogue is laughable, and the acting is downright horrible. It's so bad it almost makes "Battlefield Earth" look not so bad. Skip this junk and thank me in the morning.
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Read these reviews ant tell me you don't wanna see it!
xavrush8923 October 2003
I have never laughed my fool head off so hard as when I read some of the reviews here. But why be mean to Lily? MALE actors cast themselves ALL THE TIME opposite leading ladies far younger and even more COMPLETELY out of their league. (Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery anyone?) That being said, the main reason to watch this is that it's so not ABOUT anything that it's surreal. If you put yourself in the context of the ME decade, you can see what Jane Wagner was going for here, two people "finding themselves." The trick is making anyone else care. Well, I cared, in the same sense that I care when I see a pile-up on the freeway. Still, if you like Travolta's hairy chest this is a good one watch it in. (If you like it waxed, see "Two of a Kind.") If you want to see Lily in an atypical role, this is the one to watch too. Let's face it, as film disasters go, I'll take this over "The Majestic" any day!
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rollo_tomaso17 February 2001
Stupid! Possibly the dumbest script for a full-budget movie in Hollywood history, and the "chemistry" between Tomlin and Travolta is utterly laughable. The direction is as clumsy as you are ever likely to see. Only a pretty lively soundtrack saves it from being my #1 worst movie of all-time. Feeling charitable, I give it 2/10.
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A film with few defenders and fewer fans that deserves a closer look
elisereid-2966630 August 2020
When I was a teenager, I scoured bad movie review websites because A) I thought they were funny, and B) it was a way to discover movies I'd never heard of. Sometimes when I actually saw those movies, I agreed with the critics, but other times I thought they were way off. Sure, some bashed movies don't deserve good reviews, such as Monster a Go-Go (the worst movie ever made, in my opinion), but others were merely misunderstood. It's clear that when this movie came out, nobody understood what Jane Wagner was trying to say with Moment by Moment.

But if she's reading this today, I want her to know that I got it, and I think the movie is unjustly overlooked.

Most people are so put off by the early, awkward as hell encounters between Tomlin and Travolta that they immediately label the movie as a turkey. But what nobody seems to realize is, those scenes were *meant* to be awkward as hell. And as likeable as Strip (Travolta) seems, we understand why Trish (Tomlin) is put off by him-any woman can tell you (if you bother to listen) how uncomfortable strange men make her when they come on so strong. It's very rare that a movie shows you how the woman feels in such an encounter-too many movies show such behavior as "romantic" and that the woman actually likes such attention. Trish clearly doesn't like it for a long stretch of the movie, but she begins to trust Strip all the same, once she gets used to him, and she eventually sees him like the audience does.

The most telling line of dialogue is one that many people miss-when Trish's ex-husband picks a fight with her over her relationship with Strip, he asks how old he is, and Trish responds that he is about as old as the woman with whom her ex had the affair that ended their marriage. The ex responds that it's "worse" for Trish because she's a woman, and it's a double-standard that Trish can't understand. This message of the movie is underplayed because it would have only turned audiences further off to suggest that her relationship with Strip (which critics and audiences alike bashed) would be considered the same as many celebrated, mainstream movies with a middle aged leading man with a girlfriend in her twenties who finds him irresistible. This is a trope so common in American cinema that to see it reversed is a novelty, but one that audiences couldn't accept. This reflects the inherent sexism of many male viewers (whether they want to admit it or not) that only like movies with passive, un-intrusive heroines that don't speak their minds. And it is male ticket buyers that tend to determine whether or not a film is a success (note how many of the critics that hated Moment by Moment were men).

But Travolta is really the revelation here. Very few major movies with a hot actor of the time are willing to put him on the screen and allow him to be *truly* vulnerable, but this movie lets him do it, and the scenes where he describes his childhood are magically heartbreaking. The scene where he accuses Trish of using him for "cheap sex" also broke my heart. The idea of putting a young, male actor in a romantic movie and making him the vulnerable one (rather than his co-star), is very seldom seen in hit movies, and audiences weren't ready for that in 1978 in the wake of Saturday Night Fever and Grease (both of which featured Travolta as a "tough guy").

The awkwardness of the early scenes make this movie a hard sell to most people, and yes, some of the dialogue comes across as weird because we're so used to Hollywood movies where everybody speaks with wit, unnatural wit. But Moment by Moment has its heart in the right place, and didn't deserve to be branded a camp classic.
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Lily Tomlin and John Travolta had film chemistry.
james36200129 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It has been years since I have seen this film and thanks to and Hulu I have seen Moment By Moment (1978) again. It is currently not available on VHS nor DVD.

I like the film because of the good performance of Lily Tomlin and John Travolta. They had good film chemistry together. Okay, before you bite my head off, let me explain. We know a little bit of Lily Tomlin's personal life and we know about John Travolta and some people might be judgmental about this film, but look at it this way, Lily Tomlin played her character believable and John Travolta's character was that of an insecure, sensitive young man who was down and out and needed someone to give him a lifeline. John Travolta played his role believable as well. Despite the bad dialogue that was written in this film, the two professional actors held the film together. If you watch closely, Travolta was being very respectful to Tomlin during the love scenes.

I do like this film and I would buy it on DVD if it ever became available.

Spoiler: I wish the film would have made an additional ending of the two back at the beach house together instead of how it did end.

As many acting projects as these two big stars have done over the years and are still actively acting, I'm surprised John Travolta and Lily Tomlin haven't appeared in a film together again.
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John and Lilly try to find direction in a film by Jane Wagner
snicewanger10 June 2014
This film is stupefyingly bad. Other then the fact that they happen to look like brother and sister, there is absolutely no chemistry between Tomlin and Travolta. Tomlin's attempt to portray a well-to-do Southern California matron who is totally bored with her life until she encounters Travolta comes off totally unbelievable and her character is just uninteresting. Travolta's plays his character as an emotional vacuum who views their relationship with all the enthusiasm of an ex-con checking in with his parole officer. I found myself checking my watch every five minutes hoping that my misery would soon end. I was more entertained by my triple bypass surgery.After it was over I told my wife how I felt and she said"For heaven's sake why didn't you say something? I wanted to leave halfway through!"

Jane Wagner is incredibly talented writer of observational and ironic comedy but she displayed no talent for directing a romantic drama. The film is not just bad it is a colossal bore. It's not even interestingly bad.It's 102 minutes of my life I will never get back and I cannot un-see it.I have heard that it has become a cult favorite. Well the cultists can have it. I'll watch The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe instead.
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From Macho Bklyn. Stud To Passive Calif. Beach Bum...
Blooeyz200114 April 2002
John Travolta was a Lily Tomlin fan & wanted to work with her. This movie is what they came up with. It's interesting trying to figure out what exactly they were trying to do. A male/female role reversal is definitely going on here. Tomlin is aggressive & sexual. (She's even lying on top of him in the movie poster). Travolta is passive & misty-eyed. Why exactly would this hunk in Speedos be attracted to this older, plain deadpan woman? It's definitely not her "personality" because she has none to speak of. They look almost like mom & son with the same black shaggy hairstyles. Tomlin looks bored & uncomfortable in their romantic scenes, perhaps her true sexuality was coming through, even though she's supposed to be "acting". I actually like this movie, even though nothing really happens in it. It's fun to watch because you know it never should have been made in the first place! The theme song, sung by Yvonne Elliman, is one of my favorites.
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