Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Glenne Headly, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis
MORTAL THOUGHTS (1991). Director: Alan Rudolph.

"All these years you haven't been married to me, you've been married to each other. -- Arthur Kellogg.

Cynthia Kellogg (Demi Moore) has been best friends with Joyce Urbanski (Glenne Headly) -- a couple of Bayonne, Jersey Girls -- for years, but their friendship is put to the test when Joyce's bullying pig of a husband (Bruce Willis) is found dead and both women are involved. Cynthia tells Detective Woods (Harvey Keitel of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) her side of the story, but things may be even more complicated than he imagines. Mortal Thoughts holds the attention, and it provides an interesting (some might say stereotypical) look at the lives of lower-class Italian-Americans -- whatever their intended ethnicity these people come off like Italians --  but something's just a little off with the picture, which at times borders on a black comedy (which actually might have made it a better movie). Headly and Moore give good, but somehow unmemorable, performances -- Headly has the edge on Moore -- and the film just doesn't have the strong dramatic impact it requires. It doesn't help that just about everyone in the film is unlikable. Willis [Surrogates] does okay as the slobbering Jimmy, and John Pankow offers some very nice work as Cynthia's husband, Arthur. There are some good character performances sprinkled throughout the movie as well. There's another murder by the end of the film, but many viewers won't be sure who the perpetrator is. This just becomes a little too contrived and unconvincing. Moore [Mr. Brooks] once made such high-profile movies as Ghost, Indecent Proposal, and For a Few Good Men, but her best years remain the 90s.

Verdict: Low impact pre-CSI thriller. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill, saw this one years ago and thought Demi and Bruce did a nice job...this was when everyone was saying neither Demi nor Bruce could really act, and this was their defense. You are right, it has a gritty, low-budget TV movie feel, but I remember enjoying it when it came out as a change of pace for the two stars--and I believe their first (only?) film together.

William said...

I think it was. How time flies -- Demi Moore was once considered "the most bankable star in Hollywood" and Willis could do no wrong. Both are still acting however, and Willis seems to have a slightly higher profile than Moore.