Always (1985)

At the center of the movie Always (1985) is David (Henry Jaglom), who will make your flesh crawl. He is whiny, icky, and creepy. He likes to wallow in his feelings, and worse than that, he wants to share. When the movie begins, David does not understand why his wife Judy (Patricia Townsend) left him and wants a divorce. We, on the other hand, do not know how she stood it as long as she did. But then, she is not much better than David, nor is anyone else in this movie, and so for almost two hours we suffer through watching a bunch of people who want to hug, feel, and communicate. By the time the movie is over, you will want to spend time around some real men, who don’t even know what feelings are, let alone talk about them.

When the movie begins, David’s wife Judy comes over to his house to sign the divorce papers. Right then, we know something is wrong with that setup. This is the sort of thing you do at your lawyer’s office. In any event, David has decided that he will surprise Judy by fixing dinner for the two of them. At first we wonder why he didn’t realize that she might have other plans, but we soon discover that he does not care if she does. When she finally relents and agrees to stay for dinner, she says she wants to call someone and let him know she won’t be able to keep their date. But he doesn’t want her to do that, because this is their special divorce dinner, and he doesn’t want it spoiled by her making a phone call. Although this is incredibly selfish and immature, the movie does not want us to react to it that way. We are supposed to think it is warm and cuddly the way he wants to have their last dinner together be just so.

By the time the notary gets over to the house for the signing of the divorce papers, David and Judy are acting like two people who have just fallen in love and cannot get enough of each other, cuddling, kissing, and whispering sweet nothings. The notary tells them to think it over and leaves, figuring they really do not want to get divorced. After that, people start showing up at David’s house for one reason or another, culminating in a barbecue on the Fourth of July, and we get to witness the many different ways people can be obnoxious, blathering pop-psychology and superficial philosophy.

The only good thing about this movie is that it is just a movie, because if you have ever had the misfortune to wind up around a bunch of people like that, you know that they want you to discuss your feelings too. And in this regard, they are relentless and will not be denied. But the only feeling you have is that of being violated.

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