5.3/10
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39 user 4 critic

Listen to Me (1989)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 5 May 1989 (USA)
A group of college debaters learn about the world, friendships, love, dreams and family in this warm, endearing drama.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Tucker Muldowney
... Monica Tomanski
... Charlie Nichols
... Donna Lumis
... Garson McKellar
... Dean Schwimmer
... Senator McKellar
... Bruce Arlington
... Susan Hooper
Timothy Dang ... Bobby Chin
... Cameron Sweet (as Peter De Luise)
Jason Gould ... Hinkelstein
Jon Shear ... Braithwaite (as Jon Matthews)
... Tom Lloynd
... Stewart Shields
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Storyline

A group of college debaters learn about the world, friendships, love, dreams and family in this warm, endearing drama.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It was the best time of their lives... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mismatch  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,299,023
See more on IMDbPro »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garson's license plate - BDR 529 - is the same as the Bluesmobile in "The Blues Brothers". See more »

Quotes

Garson McKellar: Knowledge is better than ignorance
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Growing Pains: Ben and Mike's Excellent Adventure (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Invention No. 1 In C Major
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Johnny Pearson
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
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User Reviews

 
Incredibly bad. (spoilers)
23 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

This movie uses a fairly ridiculous premise to argue a position on abortion (of which consumes most of the latter half of the movie), even if this was not the sole intention of the writers or filmmakers.

The story is about a team of college debaters. Two of them, Tucker (Kirk Cameron) and Monica (Jami Gertz) are among the prestigious newcomers who are the fortunate recipients of the only two debating scholarships received by the incoming Kenmont College freshman class. They are, of course, total opposites at first with Tucker being the out-going former Okie with some kind of laughable rebellious past. And Monica is the quiet, obedient young woman from Chicago.

The team "coach" is Charlie Nichols (Roy Scheider) who is secretly scheming with the star debater and all-around guy, Garson's (Tim Quill) Senator father who predicts that success on the debate will naturally lead his boy into success in politics, carrying on the family tradition. In fact, Garson's father demands it, while Garson just wants to be a writer. This point in the story is fairly idiotic in and of itself, despite the attempts to elicit our sympathies for the guy who should be left alone to make his own decisions about his career plans, especially when he's both dedicated and good at what he does.

This familial struggle starts to make the rest of the film fairly wishy-washy because we keep wavering between focusing on this element and that of the two new debaters trying to stake out their own successes on the team. And then, there are a few subplots still (such as the odd moments when Donna--Amanda Peterson--a disabled member of the team is frequently and reluctantly courted by fellow teammate, Bruce--Chris Atkins).

In the meantime, while all of this goes on, the team is leading up to a competition in a major tournament in which it will debate abortion before the Supreme Court. In the filmmakers defense, the arguments made on both sides are very thought-provoking, but makes a policy argument so dramatic and climactic that this hardly seemed like an adequate forum. Picture something like the near-defeated Mr. Smith (in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) making his heroic hours-long speech about the Constitution and morality.

It gets about that corny and not to mention, the film has portrayed a college debate team in such a way that as to make it comparable to the image of a great football team or some other great academic team setting. Even student government might've worked better. And I agree with another who said that debate participants are trained on arguments and ethics and not the kind of false sympathy trials that the teammates here stake (and win) their case on.

This drastically unrealistic and uneven approach, coupled with ample moments of corny dialog, does not make for an especially good film. However, for nostalgics who don't mind b-movie tripe, I would recommend it simply for the cast alone as it was not only a vehicle for Cameron, Gertz, and Scheider, but also Chris Rydell (How I Got Into College), Quinn Cummings (The Goodbye Girl), and Peter DeLuise, among others.


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