Nothing In Common

I’m not going to write a full review, she tells herself. Not even a full rant.

1986: a year I can’t even fathom. The Challenger blows up. Out of Africa wins best picture. Chernobyl is unleashed. Oprah gets on TV. Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Armie Hammer, Kit Harrington, Shia LaBeouf, and the Olsen twins are born. Donna Reed, James Cagney, and Cary Grant die. Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, and Platoon top the box office. Dionne and Friends’ That’s What Friends Are For and Lionel Richie’s Say You, Say Me race up the top 40 charts. A jar of Skippy peanut butter could be had for $1.49, and a Mustang for $7452.

And Tom Hanks made a super weird movie with Jackie Gleason called Nothing in Common. Now, I thought I’d done a pretty deep dive into Tom Hanks’s catalogue, but I hadn’t seen this, or been aware of it, or been prepared for it, more importantly.

David Basner (Hanx) is a womanizing, successful ad executive whose life gets derailed when his mother (Eva Marie Saint) suddenly leaves his father Max (Gleason). This divorce is totally unexpected and shocking. For Max. And David. Not so much for the long-suffering wife who had a neglectful lout for a husband for 30 years or more. Of course, Max is a typical man of his time: totally and completely useless. He doesn’t know how to grocery shop, much less make a sandwich. Or how to do laundry. Or find which drawer the bills go in. Or prevent himself from getting lazy-boy-induced pressure sores (probably). So poor David has to put his life on hold to act as the go-between between his feuding parents.

And let me tell you, 1986 was a pretty slimy time. Because even goody-two-shoes Tom Hanks comes off pretty badly in this. He thinks his mother should go back just because. And he has to listen to his father call his virginal mother frigid. Garry Marshall’s in the director seat, and makes some very mid-80s decisions regarding music. There’s an EXTEEEENDED opening song. Whew boy, I’ve never been in a 30 year marriage but I almost felt like I had by the time the opening credits shut the fuck up. I can’t even tell if I liked this movie – it’s hard to tell ANYTHING when 1986 is punching you repeatedly in the face. And I have a worrisome feeling that this movie could be the story of my own grandparents’ mid-80s divorce, if they weren’t good catholics who believe that god wants them to be miserable in an adversarial marriage for 60 odd years before they die (67 years and counting!), although if my mother is the Tom Hanks in this scenario, she’ll die long before they do because they are driving her to an early grave, and not slowly either! Having old, cantankerous parents is fun, I’m told. Loads and loads of wildly xenophobic fun.

Tom Hanks is charming, but this movie is not so much the fun. But hey, at least Chernobyl can sleep a little better knowing it wasn’t the worst thing to happen to 1986.

 

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25 thoughts on “Nothing In Common

    1. Jay Post author

      Well good luck to you! I mean, it’s watchable, sort of. It hasn’t aged well, but it’s still not as bad as some of the drippy shit that comes out today.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. mywifeisablackbelt

        It can be interesting and fun in a way to watch movies that haven’t “aged well”. Though sometimes they just make me cringe, so it’s not worth it. Hard to know before you watch it I guess… πŸ™‚

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  1. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    My memories of the 80s don’t come close to your review, but maybe because I’d moved on from a difficult relationship to an amazingly happy one. Nonetheless I am as admiring of your thought process as ever

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      1. The Arcane Nibbler

        Yeah I guess I aged myself with that comment. It was a slow movie week no doubt. A friend and I used to go to movies every two weeks. I remember neither one of us being too enthusiastic about seeing it but it was the best choice we had. Must have been released in February. As I recall, it did get some decent reviews, but we both thought it was lame.

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  2. mcwilsonkygmailcom

    Hilarious! Love this review, so on point for the movie. I love Tom Hanks too, but this one was not worthy of his talent. I was a teen in the 80’s and there weren’t many 80’s movies that I liked so I wan’t surprised. I think the absolute worst was 1986 “Howard the Duck” – have you reviewed that one yet? I’d love to read it if you have!

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    1. Jay Post author

      Ha! That is such a great discussion – I fear if Sean and I did a co-review, it would end our marriage. Challenged accepted πŸ˜‰

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  3. ninvoid99

    I do remember seeing this as this was a film in the 1980s and 1990s that I grew up watching on HBO almost all the time. I don’t remember the film very much right now as it’s one of Hanks’ lesser films.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I just LOVE hearing that other people have seen this film. I felt like it might be a weird portal or something, but no, it’s been out in the world and someone else has taken a look.

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      Reply
  4. selizabryangmailcom

    Yeah, giving advice that someone should “go back” to someone “just because” and a husband calling a wife frigid pretty much sums up where THAT movie’s coming from. Pass!

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  5. Liz A.

    It was a deep movie for 1986, I think. I don’t know if I sat through the whole thing. Tom Hanks was transitioning into the movie star he is today, but he hadn’t quite gotten there yet.

    Yes, I remember 1986. Quite vividly. I remember watching the Challenger explode on TV over and over and over again. It was a school day and the band director moved the TV into the room and we just watched. It was very shocking.

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