Nothing in Common (1986) Poster

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An adult movie rated PG
FRDuplantier25 January 2005
Sometimes it takes a great shock to remind us what our priorities should be. We may take offense at the suggestion that our ambitions, our lusts, and our greed are more important to us than the health and safety and happiness of our loved ones, but how often do we find ourselves acting as though they are? Sometimes the shock occurs in time for us to rearrange our priorities. Sometimes it comes too late, and we can only regret our foolishness.

Garry Marshall's Nothing in Common concerns just such a shock. After 34 years of marriage, Lorraine Basner (Eva Marie Saint) leaves her husband Max (Jackie Gleason) because she can no longer tolerate his oppressive silence. Over the course of three decades he has treated her at best as a roommate, at worst as a handservant. Their marriage is barren, devoid of affection and intimacy. Aside from their son David, they have nothing in common anymore.

Max is devastated by his wife's departure, and too proud to admit it. He would like nothing better than for her to return, but he is unwilling -- perhaps unable -- to protest his love. The shock has come too late for Max and Lorraine, and the blame belongs to both of them. Max has indeed treated his wife shamefully, but she in turn has put up with it. Thirty-four years is a long time to wait before lodging a serious complaint.

The shock has come just in time for David Basner (Tom Hanks), the clever young adman always ready with a line -- for a client, for a girl. He lives a life of constant change, moving blithely from one presentation or seduction to the next, putting together a reel of 60-second commercials and 90-minute relationships as he goes. In his preoccupation with the surfeit of choices in his smorgasbord life, he has denied himself the opportunity to get to know his parents as people and deprived them of the one thing they still have in common, their son. The shock of their separation reminds him that he is neglecting his responsibility to his parents; the discovery that his father will require life-threatening surgery gives added urgency to his renewed interest in their lives.

The shock also gives him pause to reflect on the shape of his own life, to recognize that he has nothing in common with the sleeping partners he picks out like actresses at a cattle call and that the childhood sweetheart with whom he can identify may not be available forever.

Nothing in Common is an adult movie in the true sense of the term. It offers a mature treatment of a subject of extreme importance to adults in a country racked by divorce. It does not resort to nudity, coarse language, or superficial sociological dialogue. It presents the breakup of a marriage as an unmitigated tragedy, not as a grand opportunity for the exploration of narcissism (as is the case with such shallow contemporary films as An Unmarried Woman). It resolutely rejects the irresponsible and amoral lifestyle celebrated in so much of modern culture, and it encourages us to do likewise, by giving us an honest picture of it. Nothing in Common is an adult movie with a PG rating, a fine cast of characters, a skillful director, and an important story to tell.
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A Great Sleeper
sampson-tx23 July 2005
This is a great movie. It combines several emotional aspects of the human condition. Classic Tom Hanks humor, emotionally touching realism as well as some serious drama.

Over the years since it was released I have watched this dozen's of times. I never get tired of it. I am moved as David Basner is forced to face the reality of his parents divorce and tries to build an individual relationship with each of his parents.

I think this is much better than Splash, probably on par with BIG. Of course, just about anything with Tom Hanks is great simply because he is able to carry the load.
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Tom Hanks was great, even back then
avi-41 July 2004
The story line is pretty straight forward, and the production was good, especially considering the 80's style of movie making. But Tom carries the movie, with his now-classic mix of rapier wit, sarcasm, and charming humor.

Tom play David Basner, a talented, slightly arrogant Chicago ad-exec whose parents just split after 50+ years of marriage. Though he has left "the nest" and views his parents as a necessary evil to be dealt with as little as possible, he finds himself providing ever-increasing support to each parent, all the while discovering the frailty and human side of each of them, and discovering what his priorities should be.

A definite watch
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Hanks' perfect blend of comedy/drama; fitting swan song for Gleason; underrated Marshall flick
george.schmidt11 April 2003
NOTHING IN COMMON (1986) ***1/2 Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason, Hector Elizondo, Eva Marie Saint, Sela Ward, Bess Armstrong, Barry Corbin. Garry Marshall's winning serious comedy about ad exec Yuppie Hanks who faces the inevitable: caring for his at odds parents including separations, ageism and finally acceptance. Warm and slyly comic turn by Hanks with some great moments. Armstrong is adorable and Ward is sexy (just needed to state this for no other apparent reason). Best moment: Hanks telling off bullying client Corbin.
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Lots of talent, script a little facile
Nozz18 September 2004
The film begins with a barrage of wit from Tom Hanks as an adman whose business is creativity. And indeed why should he not be witty? But then we meet his father, who is on his way to dying the death of a salesman, and his father is just as brilliantly witty. The lines just aren't lines that ordinary people could come up with. Everyone is a little too quick with the comedy, and when the comedy pauses, everyone is a little too quick to come up with the deep but gracefully phrased emotional revelations. And yet the movie is long; though most of the large cast of characters is quite undeveloped, still the script has a mighty load of relationships: Hanks with his father, Hanks with his mother (not so much), Hanks with two different girlfriends, the father with the mother, Hanks with his boss, and Hanks with the big client. The big client is perhaps the worst: the stereotype of the big blowhard who is charmed when you call him a big blowhard to his face.

I think there were two movies here: the one about the workplace, with a little subplot about the father; and the one about the father, with a little subplot about the workplace. I suspect, with no huge evidence, that someone had an emotional investment in not leaving material out. Some of the details have the ring of autobiography.

Several big talents appear in the movie: not only Jackie Gleason, Tom Hanks, and Eva Marie Saint but also Hector Elizondo and, in a tiny role, Dan Castellaneta. Nobody does anything here that he hasn't done better elsewhere, but still it's good to see them all.
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Garry Marshall once again sugar coats an important issue...and it works here!
WalterFrith15 March 1999
This is the movie that convinced me that Tom Hanks would go on one day to be an Oscar winning actor. In his last screen appearance, "the great one" Jackie Gleason is perfect as the father who becomes a thorn in his son's side. With his career in the advertising business going very well, Hanks is forced to care for his seriously ill father when he can as his parents (Oscar winner Eva Marie Saint is his mother) go through a divorce after 35 years together.

There are some hilarious jabs at some of the immoral politics contained within the corporate world. Bess Armstrong, Sela Ward and Hector Elizondo are all excellent in supporting roles.
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An intelligent and moving comedy drama featuring one of Tom Hanks' better performances
Isaac585517 January 2007
NOTHING IN COMMON was a smart and sentimental comedy drama that offered a pre-Oscar'ed Tom Hanks one of his best earlier roles. Hanks plays David Basner, an advertising executive whose lightning-quick advancement at his company becomes hampered when has to start taking care of his father (Jackie Gleason, in his final film role)who has become completely helpless after his wife (Eva Maria Saint) has left him. This comedy takes some pointed and effective jabs at the advertising industry and still manages to be a warm family story as well. Hanks beautifully walks a fine line between comedy and drama in one of his better and nearly forgotten performances. Gleason is abrasive as the dad, but Saint is lovely as the mom. Sela Ward, Bess Armstrong, and Barry Corbin are also effective in supporting roles and the ending has been known to produce a few tears. An intelligent and heartwarming look at the choices that we sometimes have to make regarding career and family.
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Wonderful Movie - Bess Armstrong at Her Best
puglover32326 February 2005
I think the movie, "Nothing in Common" was a very wonderful show, from both the perspective of the acting and writing. The evolution of the relationship between the characters of Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason was superb. However, what also had such a high degree of meaning to me was the character development between Tom Hanks and Bess Armstrong. Most especially poignant was the romantic street scene during about the middle of the movie, as the Carly Simon song played, "If It Wasn't Love" when Hanks comes to the realization of what he was letting go..and thus begins to grow up. The eye connection between Hanks and Armstrong as she begins to peddle away toward the end of the song, says it all. No dialog was spoken at all during this scene with the exception of Ms. Simon's lyrics...very moving. Bess Armstrong was wonderful in this role, and I believe much overlooked. She was beautiful inside and out. As another great song once stated, "sometimes, the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you can't see". The movie was the greatest. The actors art seemed effortless, however, that is the sign of a professional. I highly recommend.
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A truly underrated Tom Hanks film
Idocamstuf26 July 2002
I have wanted to see this movie for a while now, and I finally saw it last night. Tom Hanks did a great job, and so did Jackie Gleason. In the 80's Tom Hanks made a lot of unmemorable films(Bachelor Party, The Man With One Red Shoe, Volunteers, The Money Pit, ect.), but this film is much better than all of those. This was also Tom Hanks' first dramatic role. This film is probubly a difficult film to find, but if you can find it, get it and watch it.
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Good movie.
pk-24 April 2007
Someone mentioned about last night, which they also hated, well its the opposite for me. I was around the ages of the main characters when both these came out and liked both of them. In this movie, you sorta see the early goofy (but very Funny) Tom Hanks doing his transition to the more serious Hanks as the movie goes on. And pretty much was his last real comedy role. Hanks does his usual funny shtick and it works well. And Gleason is great, and sad as an aging ex great sales rep, trying to hang on to his cust. as a changing world leaves him without a place. And the divorce of Hanks Parents thrown in sorta makes this a bittersweet comedy. Overall, its a good movie.
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The First Film That Really Showed Tom Hanks' Unlimited Potential
tfrizzell9 December 2000
Tom Hanks had been around for a few years before "Nothing in Common", but it was this film that really showed how great he could be as an actor. He stars as a high-class advertising executive whose life is turned upside down when his elderly parents (Jackie Gleason and Eva Marie Saint) get divorced. While Saint adjusts and becomes happy with her life, it seems that Gleason just becomes more angry. On top of this, his health quickly worsens. While Hanks is working with Barry Corbin and daughter Sela Ward on a big advertising deal, it seems that Gleason's diabetic condition is becoming a real problem. Gleason has basically upset everyone so much that everyone has given up on him and do not even know about his condition. Hanks proves to be the only one that Gleason can count on in the end. The relationship between Hanks and Gleason makes "Nothing in Common" a somewhat forgotten treasure from the 1980s. Tom Hanks proved that he could handle delicate material and even mix it with smart comedy. All the players are great as well. Along with all the aforementioned actors, Hector Elizondo and Bess Armstrong do good work as well. The screenplay is solid and the direction is focused throughout. 4 stars out of 5.
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Great Chicago movie and last hurrah for a Hollywood great.
OCOKA29 August 2004
I happened to catch this movie in college back in 1989. At the time though, I only caught the last half, but it really piqued my interest b/c the last scene where Tom Hanks is pushing a wheel-chair-bound Jackie Gleason down a hospital corridor through a windowed overpass was actually filmed where I was born -- Northwestern Memorial Passavant Hospital in Chicago.

Years later, I was finally saw "Nothing in Common" in its entirety on video, and while I liked some parts of it -- mostly b/c of its numerous Chicago location shots -- I thought the film's production value was a little bit low for a Hollywood film as it was produced and directed in such a way as to be reminiscent of network television soap operas and made-for-TV movies. The overlaid 80's soundtrack, for example, gave this movie a sappy feel and exuded tres gauche, maudlin schamltziness, IMO.

Nevertheless, Tom Hanks was great, as usual, in his reprisal of the sympathetic 'everyman' role that has now become his trademark, and I believe that this was Jackie Gleason's last performance. Sela Ward, however, is the number one reason to see this film, as she is from beginning to end the unequivocal scene stealer.

Not only is Sela Ward hot hot hot, Ward brought a certain amount of authenticity in her portrayal of a big-city advertising executive circa 1980s. This is because long before Ward became a model and began her acting career, Ward, who majored in advertising at Ole' Miss, was a real-life advertising copywriter and exec on Madison Avenue in NYC in the late 70's and early 80's. Regardless, Ward's drop-dead gorgeousness did not detract from her believability as the cutthroat yuppie executive, Cheryl Ann Wayne, by one iota.

Great Chicago references though, e.g., Wrigley Field, location shoots in neighborhood pubs, downtown scenes, etc.
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A very touching and meaningful movie.
rortrain27 April 2014
"Nothing in common" is truly a movie about relationships. It has so many interesting characters that are so important to each others. I have seen thousands of movies and the relation between the characters of Tom Hanks and Bess Armstrong is the most beautiful i have seen in a movie. Bess armstrong is so charming and beautiful, she brings sensibility and beauty to every scene she is in. We can see that she and tom loves each others but there are so many things that separate them. The beautiful song of Carly Simon "if it wasn't love" playing with images of the movie showing the people evolving with each others, and only by looking to their faces we see so many feelings of care and tenderness. It is a magic moment in the movie. Especially when Bess turns around and gives a touching look at Tom before going away with her bicycle, she tells him only with her eyes that he is letting her go.She is so expressive and touching in the expression of her love. It is also very touching to see the character of tom hanks, confronting but also caring for his father and his mother. This movie gives a very important message that we should talk to the people we love, tell them how we feel and tell them that we love them. And also, that we should create more happy and important moments with the people we love . It is a very underrated movie. It is very unfair that this movie has a 5.9 rating.
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Charming early Tom Hanks movie.
TxMike2 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was directed by Garry Marshall, who also gave us such classics and "Pretty Woman" and "Princess Diaries." It is a Garry Marshall type of movie.

Tom Hanks was in his late 20s here as he plays David Basner, a very creative advertising guy who is popular with his employees and with the girls. But his life is thrown out of kilter when his parents of 36 years announce they are splitting up.

Already near 70, Jackie Gleason is his dad, Max Basner, an old type salesman who brings samples to stores and takes their orders. But his time seems past and he is struggling to keep a job. Of note he died in 1987, the year after this movie was released. I remember him mostly in his comic roles in his old TV show I grew up on, but he was also a fine dramatic actor.

Mom is played by still beautiful Eva Marie Saint (of 'On the Waterfront' fame) as Lorraine Basner. She married Max young, knew of his affairs, and finally after all those years is breaking off on her own.

My friend Barry Corbin (we met shooting a movie in 1998 in Houston) has a good role as Andrew Woolridge, owner of an airline, looking to David and his company to develop a new advertising campaign.

All-in-all a fairly typical movie for the 1980s, it is mainly enjoyable for the actors, the story itself is not particularly unique.
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A Highly Underrated Film
jevangel-3949425 March 2015
I've always believed, contrary to his starring in the 1988 film 'Big' that this was the film that actually launched Tom Hanks career as an actor who could tackle any role. He ran the gamut of emotions in this film, and made it all believable. He was funny, charming, and showed that he can tackle the role of a leading man in his David Basner character. It is also Jackie Gleason's swan song, and the chemistry between him and Hanks sent him off to the promised land with a flourish. Yes, it is a little dated and at times can look like a made-for-TV movie, but the dialogue and acting is spot-on.

Great performances by Sela Ward and Hector Elizondo as well. This movie and its message can appeal to all generations. Do yourself a favor, watch this film, and the heartfelt performances that are given in it and you will see what I am talking about.
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Muddy but Well-Intentioned, This is More Drama Than Comedy
drqshadow-reviews1 July 2014
Jackie Gleason, in his final film role, plays the icy, stonewalling father of a hyperactive, professional Tom Hanks. There's a good message at the core of this one, about the impenetrable veneer expected of men from his generation and the dire effects it bore on those around him. Hanks, a smooth-talking corporate '80s ad exec, and Gleason, a foot-to-pavement salesman struggling to deal with the end of his career, manage well with the heavy stuff while occasionally injecting a few welcome dashes of humor and sarcasm to the mix. The film is flawed, though, in its unbridled lack of restraint. Every last supporting character hints at a big, convoluted back story and many of them are halfheartedly explored. That diverts attention away from the key players and leaves us with what seems like one big, fuzzy, unfocused batch of incomplete or unfulfilling arcs. There's simply too much to keep track of, and too much time wasted with characters we don't care about. Noteworthy as the stage where Hanks showed he could be more than just a comic player, but otherwise it's too overstuffed and vague to recommend.
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Must be Tom's best movies!!!
pero882 March 2002
This must be Tom's best movie! I must say I have seen this film like 20 times and still it moves me like hell! Finally it came on DVD and that is exellent!!!!!!!!!!! This film got everything I love in a movie, amd more?!

See it! Love it!

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Underrated Last Film of Jackie Gleason
lobosco1074 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Nothing In Common is one of those underrated 80s films that is forgotten but had plenty of heart. It is a favorite movie of mine.

The film, released in 1986, was not a great financial success, but it became more popular as Hanks's fame grew. It is considered by some to be a pivotal role in Hanks's career because it marked his transition from less developed comedic roles to becoming a leading actor in more serious stories, while many critics also praised Gleason's performance, which was his last movie. The original music score was composed by Patrick Leonard. The film was marketed with the tagline "On his way up the corporate ladder, David Basner confronts his greatest challenge: his father." Happy-go-lucky advertising executive David Basner, who recently got a promotion at his Chicago ad agency, returns to work from a vacation. He is utterly carefree until his parents split up after 36 years of marriage.

Out of the blue, he must care for his aging, bitter father Max (played by Gleason), as well as be there for his emotionally fragile mother, Lorraine (played by Eva Marie Saint). To add insult to injury, Max has just been fired from his 35-year career in the garment industry.

At work, David is developing a commercial for Colonial Airlines, owned by the rich and eccentric Andrew Woolridge. A successful ad campaign would likely promote David to partner in his company. David develops a relationship with Woolridge's daughter, no-nonsense Cheryl Ann Wayne. His father is well aware of David's playboy nature. Asking at one point if his son is in bed with a woman, Max adds: "Anybody you know?" The parents begin to rely more and more on David, calling him on the phone constantly. His mother needs help moving to a new apartment. His father needs to be driven to an eye doctor. Lorraine needs to be rescued in a bar after going out on a date with another man, having become frightened when he tried to kiss her goodnight.

David's mother then confides to him that Max cheated on her and humiliated her. An enraged David goes to confront Max. Their argument ends with David saying: "Tomorrow I'm shooting a commercial about a family who loves each other, who cares about each other. I'm fakin' it." The next day, David is distracted by the deteriorating relationship with his dad and it affects his work. As a peace offering, David offers to take Max to a nightclub to hear some of the jazz music Max likes. It is there that David accidentally discovers a secret Max has been hiding: diabetes. His foot is gangrened.

Max must go to the hospital. While awaiting surgery, he and Lorraine share their thoughts about their life together, with Lorraine condemning him for doing what he did to himself and to her. Max sobs over his mistakes once he is alone.

At the agency, Andrew Woolridge insists that David go to New York with him to promote his new ad campaign. David refuses, saying he wants to stay with his sick father. Woolridge complains that it's unnecessary. David tells him off and is fired.

The next day, David accompanies his dad to the operating room. His boss Charlie assures him that he will personally smooth things over with Woolridge, so David should take some time off.

Max loses two toes. When he goes home from the hospital, David pushes his wheelchair. Max admits to his son: "You were the last person I thought would come through for me." Even though I consider this film forgotten and underrated, it is available on DVD. It is worth the $5 for the DVD just to see the genius of Jackie Gleason one more time...
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Should have earned a nomination for Jackie!
Sylviastel1 December 2012
The film starts with a Christopher Cross song, "Lovin Strangers," which should have earned an Academy Award Nomination for Original Song. It's a catchy tune! The film stars Tom Hanks before hitting big. The film is directed by Garry Marshall. Tom Hanks holds his own against heavyweights like Jackie Gleason and Eva Marie Saint. This film was probably a final chance for Jackie Gleason who had a legendary status as comedian. His performance is subtle and terrifically played out as the father of Tom Hanks. This film is a comedy and melodramatic at times. Tom Hanks proved himself in his performance. Other actors like Hector Elizondo and Sela Ward act as his co-workers and boss.. Hanks's character Max Baxter works at an advertising agency. His mother leaves an unhappy marriage to pursue a single life. In the end, the theme song of loving strangers by Christopher Cross makes perfect sense. In some ways, they are not strangers but more similar than different with a stubbornness too. It's a must for any Jackie Gleason fan! Too bad, the Academy couldn't have given him one final shot at an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Regardless, Jackie Gleason was legendary.
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This early Hanks gem is also a fitting swan song for Gleason
islesmets629 July 2004
If you have not yet seen this terrific movie I suggest you try to find it at a video store near you immediately.

After Hanks showed us his excellent comedic chops in "Bachelor Party" and "Splash," he finally shows us what's to come in this wonderful drama (in which he also maintains his great wit). What truly sells this movie for me is the performance of Gleason after working in some incredibly dismal pictures in the years preceding. He finally shows that he still had the ability that he showed in his early work, and that he wasn't just picking parts for a paycheck.

Don't pass up an opportunity to see this underrated 80's gem, especially if you're a Tom Hanks fan that is just starting to find some of his early works, or just to see Gleason's terrific swan song.
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Phenryss15 August 2003
This movie along with Field of Dreams really hits home with me, due to me losing my dad. Both of these films dwell on the idea of trying to make peace with a distant father.

Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason worked very well off each other. They were very believable. It made me think alot of my relationship with my father and how distant we really were. I loved him...but he just kept his distance. This film just makes you think about the fragility of life and how short it can be. It also foreshadows how much potential Tom Hanks has as an actor. Yes, it has it's comedic moments...but most of it is very serious and thoughtful.
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A star in the making
fleister27 September 2001
In this movie, Tom Hanks shows what he will go on to be as he matures in his craft. As he matures as a loving son, you can watch his eyes to learn what he is going through and becoming. He shows that the star quality and work ethic existed long before most people recognized him for what he is: a WONDERFUL, FULFILLING ACTOR. I did not like many of his early movies until, after falling in love with him in The Green Mile, I went back and watched them with open eyes. This movie gives glimpses of what is to come. Thank you, Tom Hanks, for being such a giving actor.
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Much better than I thought it would be.
Britwebber13 October 2011
I finally got around to watching this movie on Netflix last night and was pleasantly surprised. I am a Tom Hanks fan and usually love all of his works but of course he's had a few that wasn't what I'd call spectacular acting or anything.

But I watched Nothing in Common last night and really loved it. I wouldn't say it was his best, nor would it be one of my favorite movies, but I'd certainly watch it again. I thought every one did a great job and the characters were done very well. The storyline was great, it's such a common theme in today's world. I know many couples who got divorced in their 50's and 60's after many years of marriage and it does take a toll on the whole family. "Kids" who are now in their 30's often take for granted their parents are still together and don't even pay attention to the fact that things could not be going so smoothly. Anyways, it's a modern day theme still today and I thought the emotions shown in this movie were spot on.

The only complaint I have was the cheesy '80's music that would start playing during a pivotal moment and I felt it sort of "ruined" it but I was able to get past that and realize what a fantastic movie this was. Definitely an important moment in Tom Hank's career that, I think, is often by passed.
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Underrated early Hanks tragicomic picture !!!
elo-equipamentos16 October 2019
Yes it's true, this is an almost unknown early Tom Hanks tragicomic picture, too overlong, weird, unfunny, even boring, however Hanks and Jackie Gleason were great, the last one deserved to be nominee to Academy Awards as supporting role, he was simply fantastic as grumpy old man, who was fired from your long job as seller, his wife left him for good, which lived together around 30 years without any sexual relations after the his son was born, actually his wife (Eve Marie Saint) is frigid, Hanks has a successful career as marketing manager, he is trying to get a great contract from an Airline Company, also has involved with two women, when his parents break apart his life stays upside down, one night realize that his father needs a pressing surgery on your foot, now he has to make a hard choice, take care of his forsaken cold father or got the profitable contract, the weak point is the soundtrack, so sugary, that spoils a little bit!!!


First watch: 1990 / How many: 2 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 7.25
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An Adult Movie with A lot of Heart.
romanticinsomniac2 September 2019
Simply brilliant movie, about marriage, divorce, the mistakes made raising children, love, family, pride, forgiveness, and the realization of priorities. Jackie Gleason, and Tom Hanks are astoundingly realistic, as Father, and Son. Sela Ward is sexy as you can get, as the daughter of an airline owner, who's also a shrewd business woman, and lustful playmate of Hanks. Watch it, you won't regret it. This movie gets my highest recommendation.
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