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I'm not crying: Smoke's in my eyes

Always_2 Today's retro-review: The 1989 film "Always," starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter and John Goodman. A good pick since Florida is currently going up in flames thanks to hundreds of wildfires. (The smoke is so thick over the Tampa Bay area right now that people can't go outside -- at all.)

The plot: A brave but reckless firefighter/pilot (Dreyfuss) is killed during a forest fire battle, leaving his girlfriend (Hunter) and best friend (Goodman) to figure out how to survive without him. Lucky for them, Pete returns to earth in "spirit" form to help them -- and a young pilot -- find their way.

Sounds familiar: It's a remake of one of director Steven Spielberg's favorite childhood movies -- the 1943 flick "A Guy Named Joe." (Dreyfuss and Spielberg both loved the movie as children -- something they learned about each other while filming "Jaws.")

Maybe you remember: Brad Johnson ("Flight of the Intruder") playing "Ted Baker" -- the young pilot who is partnered with the Dreyfuss' ghost -- and his former girlfriend.

Surely you can't forget: The whistling skills of Dreyfuss, whose character Pete belts out snappy tunes whenever he gets nervous. You won't be able to get the ditty out of your head after seeing the movie.

One bad review: "The feeling of the film is more 1940s than 1980s, which is no doubt what Spielberg was hoping for, but I'm not sure it works." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

Why we love it anyway: Goodman is a god in this movie, reinforcing what I've always suspected: He was the genius behind the TV series "Roseanne." And while romantic films wouldn't become Spielberg's specialty, you have to admire his longtime passion for this story.

Top 5 lines from Always:

5. "Root beer. Don't forget the olive."

4. "He's too beautiful. He's too much twisted steel and sex appeal. I can't be with a guy that looks like I won him in a raffle."

3. "I know now, that the love we hold back is the only pain that follows us here."

2. "You quit, you gave up. He never quit on anything 'til it killed him, and that was his way, and there's much worse ways, and boy you sure found one."

1. "My engine's on fire! Can you believe that? And I was in such a good mood!"

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:23pm]


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