Endless Love (1981) Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. This actually isn’t one of those five films. This is a bonus preview I’ve made because Endless Love (2014) is being inducted. That preview will follow directly. But if you end up watching Endless Love 1981, here’s your one stop shop for preview information. Enjoy!

Endless Love (1981) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 31 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.3%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.6% Higher Notability: Halloween II, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Cannonball Run, Looker, All Night Long, The Devil and Max Devlin, The Final Conflict, Death Hunt, Caveman; Lower RT: Final Exam, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Deadly Blessing, Death Hunt, The Devil and Max Devlin, Student Bodies, Caveman; Notes: The BMeTric bit is obviously the most impressive. To understand what it is saying, consider that only films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% are counted in the percentiles (so it is the top XX% for qualifying films). So basically it is saying there are 20ish such films in 1981 and of those this film has the highest BMeTric. That’s pretty amazing. Sub-5.0 IMDb, and very notable for having an Oscar nominated song. Hit it! Endlesssssss Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Is there anything good in the movie? Yes. Brooke Shields is good. She is a great natural beauty, and she demonstrates, in a scene of tenderness and concern for Hewitt and in a scene of rage with her father, that she has a strong, unaffected screen acting manner. But the movie as a whole does not understand the particular strengths of the novel that inspired it, does not convince us it understands adolescent love, does not seem to know its characters very well, and is a narrative and logical mess.

(I 100% agree with Ebert on all counts here. I think the film, with a few years of distance, is slightly better than the two stars he gave it. But I think Shields is the strongest bit of a pretty okay adaptation of a difficult book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33msTt1jAu8/

(Pretty intense stuff. This trailer makes me wonder whether it was recut due to confusion by test audiences. Because it is really explicit that he set the fire, so the scene (which isn’t in the movie) of him admitting he set the fire doesn’t make sense. But, if the film was originally non-linear … then it would be easy for the movie to be shown in such a way where the “you’re just jealous of our love compared to your failing marriage” idea holds a lot of water.)

Directors – Franco Zeffirelli – (Known For: Tea with Mussolini; Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; Jane Eyre; The Taming of the Shrew; Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Callas Forever; Future BMT: The Champ; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars, one as director for Romeo and Juliet, and the other for La traviata as a set designer. Was a member of the Italian parliament in the 90s for the rightist party Forza Italia.)

Writers – Scott Spencer (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Waking the Dead; Future BMT: Father Hood; BMT: Endless Love; Endless Love; Notes: Apparently adapted someone else’s book into the Charles Bronson film Act of Vengeance.)

Judith Rascoe (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Bang Bang Club; Dog Soldiers; Future BMT: Terror Train; Havana; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Daughter of critic Burton Rascoe, she is a writer who taught fiction at Yale. She was tapped to adapt a series of novels in the late 70s and early 80s.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; The Midnight Meat Train; Chalet Girl; Freeway; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Alice, Sweet Alice; Freaked; King of the Gypsies; Daisy Winters; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; The Greening of Whitney Brown; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was a model and 15 at the time of filming this film. She stopped acting in 1983 to attend Princeton where she graduated in Romance Languages. She was the star of the television show Suddenly Susan.)

Martin Hewitt – (Future BMT: Two Moon Junction; Yellowbeard; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Hired as part of a nationwide search. Is a home inspector in California now.)

Shirley Knight – (Known For: As Good as It Gets; Our Idiot Brother; Sweet Bird of Youth; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Picnic; The Salton Sea; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Rain People; Juggernaut; The Group; Petulia; Redwood Highway; A House on a Hill; Future BMT: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Angel Eyes; Diabolique; The Centre of the World; Grandma’s Boy; Little Boy Blue; P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Color of Night; Endless Love; Stuart Saves His Family; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars in the 60s for Sweet Bird of Youth and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Was a Warner Brothers television contract star in her early career.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $31,184,024 (Worldwide: $32,492,674)

(Obviously hard to tell, but $31 million seems pretty alright for an adaptation of a novel in 1981. I can’t imagine people were thinking in terms of beaucoup bucks on the Endless Love IP at the time. There are also not really any actors in it. It was probably fine.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (5/18)

(I get to make a consensus: Notorious for its poor understanding of the character and melodramatic tones, the film mainly fails to live up to its much more profound source material. Reviewer Highlight: A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer’s powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous. – Variety Staff, Variety)

Poster – Endless Lurv

(I like it. I like the color, I like how creepy he looks. The literally endless Endless Love is maybe a bit on the nose, but otherwise it is a pretty solid poster for the film. A-.)

Tagline(s) – She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears. (B)

(I think it could have done without the first bit. I understand that part of the point is that she is far too young to be dealing with this obsessing young man … but I think the short and sweet “The love every parent fears” gets the point across while clashing with what otherwise might seem like a generic romance to work well.)

Keyword – obsessive love

Top 10: The Great Gatsby (2013), Batman (1989), Fear (1996), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Ghost (1990), The English Patient (1996), Fatal Attraction (1987), Far from the Madding Crowd (2015), Walk the Line (2005), The Reader (2008)

Future BMT: 60.5 Obsessed (2009), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 50.9 Mr. Wrong (1996), 37.3 Enough (2002), 36.0 Hush (1998), 33.3 Mad Love (1995), 32.4 The Crush (1993), 25.1 The Phantom of the Opera (1989), 24.0 To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996), 23.0 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996);

BMT: The Boy Next Door (2015), Swimfan (2002), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Perfect Stranger (2007)

(They’ve loved obsessive love in Hollywood for years. I think I’m most intrigued by eventually watching Obsessed, although I do believe Jamie has already seen that one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in Endless Love and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – During the lovemaking scene, director Franco Zeffirelli squeezed Brooke Shields’ big toe off camera to provoke a reaction that would look like an orgasm. (Gross)

Movie debuts of Tom Cruise, Ian Ziering and Jami Gertz. (I don’t remember Ian Ziering)

Tom Cruise’s very brief appearance in the movie is critical to the movie’s plot. (I guess … )

Brooke Shields’ mother and manager Teri Shields nearly turned down the movie after first reading the script, as she felt the role of Jade Butterfield had no substance. She said “It was just going to be Brooke standing around looking beautiful.”

Martin Hewitt was the subject of a high profile talent search. Despite considerable media attention, his career failed to take off. Both Leonard Whiting and Graham Faulkner experienced similar career slumps after appearing in Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) for Franco Zeffirelli.

Meg Ryan auditioned for the role of Jade Butterfield before Brooke Shields was cast. (That could have been interesting)

The MPAA awarded the initial cut of the movie an X rating. Franco Zeffirelli subsequently made several cuts in the love scenes between Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt to achieve a lower rating. The movie was resubmitted to the MPAA five times before they awarded this an R rating.

The movie was noted to have one of the most spectacular one-man stunt displays when Hugh Butterfield gets run over by a car in New York City. The stuntman does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air. (It is very impressive)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Lionel Richie, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dyson Lovell, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Shirley Knight, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Franco Zeffirelli, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Judith Rascoe, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Martin Hewitt, 1982)