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Moment By Moment has a lot to teach casting directors about chemistry. Secondly, if a film is about a May-to-December romance, the leads should probably not look so alike that they more often come off like an incestuous mother-and-son team than conventional lovers. Thankfully, the Internet is a generous entity, and I was soon deluged with offers to send me bootleg copies of the film for this column.
Moment By Moment opens with bored, soon-to-be-divorced housewife Lily Tomlin strutting down Rodeo Drive against a backdrop of smooth jazz seemingly designed to lull the audience into a state of drowsiness. His life is unbound by the responsibilities endemic in having a job or a career or even a permanent home address.
Tomlin, in sharp contrast, is tied down by everything. She envies his freedom; he envies her life of wealth and privilege, unaware just how empty and unsatisfying it feels from the inside. Throughout the first 27 minutes of the movie, Tomlin treats Travolta like a giant mosquito that has somehow acquired the ability to make incredibly irritating small talk. Travolta barrels past her clear dislike for him, ignoring social cues, facial expressions, and just about everything else in his dogged determination to win over Tomlin in spite of her clear and eminently justifiable contempt for him.
No, he possessed a pouty, feminine beauty and a beautifully sculpted body that is on full display throughout the film. At a time when Travolta could seemingly do no wrong—commercially, at least—he starred in a movie that literally does nothing right, one so bizarrely off that it borders on avant-garde. Also like Mark Wahlberg at the beginning of Boogie Nights, Travolta here at once possesses everything—youth, beauty, energy, sexuality, the promise of a more exciting tomorrow—and nothing, in the sense that he has no job prospects, no skills, and no real vehicle for his restless, misplaced ambition beyond random scams and a gift for sweet-talking wealthy women.
He desperately longs for the status symbols that give Tomlin no joy and highlight the expensive emptiness of her existence. Travolta takes tiny little moments he shared with Tomlin and creates universes of meaning out of them. Travolta similarly makes a whole lot out of running into Tomlin seeking sleeping pills at the pharmacy. Travolta was at the height of his beauty when he made Moment By Moment , yet Tomlin looks at him not with lust but with the barely concealed exasperation of a kindergarten teacher confronted with an overly excitable child who simply will not shut up.
Yet Travolta is undeterred all the same: He wants this cold, not particularly attractive middle-aged woman who repeatedly rebuffs him. A note of joy and playfulness enters what was previously a peeved monotone, and her angry glare melts into a warm smile as she unconvincingly falls instantly in love with a man she has previously treated like misbehaving household help. But after they make sweet, passionate, cringe-inducing love, he angrily demands a real, substantive relationship, not just a sordid sexual fling.
Lily Tomlin made her name playing a dizzying array of broad comic types on Laugh-In , but Moment By Moment sometimes suggests a feature-length SCTV parody of a hilariously overheated hothouse Tennessee Williams melodrama about the doomed love between an older woman and younger man. The film has no sense of humor about itself or its unlikely lovers, so the voluminous laughter it engenders is strictly of the unintentional variety.
In its first act, Moment By Moment at least attempts to be an artsy, archetypal, s character study about alienated outsiders separated by an impregnable divide of age and class. Moment By Moment is a film where every miscalculation amplifies the last. When he leaves her house, she goes after him and they have lunch.
Thus officially begins their relationship, which proves to be rocky. She enjoys time spent with him, but the difference in age and class has her feeling a sense of shame. When they attend a photography exhibition together, they run into Stu, which makes the situation uncomfortable. Once Trisha and Strip return home, they argue over their relationship. Strip leaves, but Trisha tracks him down and they reconcile. A paperback novelization of the screenplay was written by Darcy O'Brien and published by Ballantine Books in January as a promotional tie-in.
Despite the film's poor reputation, its title song was a considerable hit for singer Yvonne Elliman. Moment by Moment was widely panned by critics and moviegoers. That the two stars look enough alike to be brother and sister is no help, and though Miss Wagner's camera comes in for some tactful close-ups of flesh in the love scenes, they are singularly unerotic. One has the impression that these two lovers would prefer to be doing something else. What seemed like inspired casting on paper, the teaming of John Travolta and Lily Tomlin, fails badly in execution.
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- Moment By Moment | Definition of Moment By Moment by Merriam-Webster;
Chalk it up to working with the wrong people at the wrong time. For all practical purposes 'Moment by Moment' is a two-character idyll, concentrated at a location—the heroine's Malibu Colony beachhouse—that seems imaginary.
Yet for those of us who respond to the intense concern Wagner projects for Tomlin and Travolta, there actually is chemistry between them and what they have to say to each other sounds lifelike rather than merely trite. At any rate, Tomlin and Travolta clearly have trusted in Wagner completely, giving themselves entirely to their roles, with Tomlin underplaying to Travolta's engaging projection of vulnerability. It was like being on the voyage of the damned.
Two years after its release, Lily Tomlin said of the experience: "John and I were totally unprepared. We thought it was a sweet, small, lightly funny movie. We were not prepared for what others thought.
moment by moment
It's the one thing that all performers live in fear of—total failure. And when it happens and you survive, I think you're probably in a much better place.
It's made me less cautious. It made me place more importance on the experience of working with other artists than on the reaction of critics or the public.
A Moment’s Reflection on “Moment by Moment” (1978)
The film remains a "camp classic," with a reputation sufficient to have prompted Mystery Science Theater producers to try unsuccessfully to obtain the rights necessary to broadcast it and mock it on their show. And because of that, more people should be talking about this thing" . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Moment by Moment Theatrical release poster. Box Office Mojo.