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Somewhere in Time (1980)

On Mike’s recommendation, and on 40 years of good word of mouth, I watched Somewhere in Time, the time travel love story starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. It's a marvelous Hollywood romance. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and absolutely recommend it if you haven’t seen it. Thanks, Mike, for the nudge.

My review of the film ends there. The rest of this is a mess of musing about movies in general, and about falling in love — something I’ve been lucky to do, just once.

Hollywood movies are expensive — they're business, more than art. To make a profit, they need to sell lots of tickets and streams and toys for the kiddies, so from concept to marketing, every step of the way, every decision is about building as broad an audience as possible.

One of the first and most important decisions is who plays the leading roles. A Hollywood movie's main actors and actresses are almost always very attractive, because more people will pay to see Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour than Jonah Hill and Kate Micucci.

That’s not a complaint, though, and I’m as susceptible as anyone. I loved looking at Reeves and Seymour for an hour and a half, and wish I could’ve watched them on an 80-foot screen in a theater instead of my 23-inch monitor. Without blushing I’ll admit, I would absolutely boink Ms Seymour or Mr Reeves circa 1980, or both at the same time. They were frickin’ gorgeous.

Beyond the movies, though, very few people look like movie stars. Most of us have a birthmark or a limp, a nose that’s too big, eyebrows too bushy, a little or a lot of flab, or an allergy that triggers frequent sneezing. Sometimes our hair isn’t perfectly combed, or there’s celery stuck in our teeth.

Very few of us are successful playwrights, like Reeves’ character, or famous actresses, like Seymour’s. Most of us are schlubs with mundane existences, living on a tight budget, with constant disappointments and annoyances and ongoing problems we’ll probably never solve.

In real life, love rarely happens after only a glance or a few sentences, just from gazing into someone’s eyes. Falling in love requires conversations far deeper and weirder and more revealing than movies allow. If film characters opened up about trauma they’d experienced, or insecurities they felt, or offered out-of-the-ordinary opinions on politics, religion, art, literature, or science, it would offend or alienate most of the audience. That’s why love, in the movies, is all about staring into eyeballs.

My wife died a few years ago, and the rest of my life will be romance-free, so I need a good movie romance once in a while. Somewhere in Time is a great movie romance. When it was over, I dried my tears and watched it a second time. The opening scene is perfect. The last shot is perfect. Everything in between is perfect.

Life isn’t perfect like that, of course, so somewhere in time I’d also like to watch a movie romance with actors who don’t look like chiseled Greek statues, don't have perfect jobs and lives, and don't stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island.

So lemme ask: Can you recommend a good movie romance with scrawny, pudgy, funny-looking, insecure, flawed characters kinda like you and me — maybe unemployed or working at crappy jobs, and with bad habits and annoying families and an unexplained rash?


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