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Parenthood (1989)

Let's discuss the 1980's American comedy film Parenthood. The film chronicles the lives of the Buckman family as they go through ups and downs.

Directed by Ron Howard

Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel

Music by Randy Newman

Starring Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Dianne Wiest, Harley Kozak, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin "Leaf" Phoenix, Dennis Dugan, and HELEN SHAW as Grandma

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by Anonymousreply 50February 28, 2023 2:39 PM

I was born when Grover Cleveland was president

by Anonymousreply 1January 24, 2023 2:41 PM

I went into this thinking it would be super funny but it was kind of grim. Great cast though

by Anonymousreply 2January 24, 2023 2:44 PM

I remember the scenes with the gambler son ( Tom Hulce) and the kid he abandoned. Even as a child, I knew that plot line was devastating.

Mary Steenburgen was great in this too.

by Anonymousreply 3January 24, 2023 2:48 PM

I ADORE this movie. It’s just about perfect. Dianne Weist at her best — she was Oscar-nominated fit this. And she has said she really wanted it. She’s fantastic.

Robards Abby’s a gravitas to the entire thing. As does Martin, actually. Tom Hulce, Mary Steenburgen, Martha Plimpton. It’s a terrific movie. Very funny, but surprising in its pathos and is quite moving.

by Anonymousreply 4January 24, 2023 2:50 PM

Yes, r4, I agree about Dianne Weist's performance too

by Anonymousreply 5January 24, 2023 2:53 PM

The funniest scene in the movie.

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by Anonymousreply 6January 24, 2023 2:56 PM

Randy Newman destroys everything that Ron Howard doesn't.

by Anonymousreply 7January 24, 2023 3:02 PM

R7 how so?

by Anonymousreply 8January 24, 2023 3:33 PM

My retainer!!!! My retainer!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 9January 24, 2023 3:37 PM

Show him, honey.

by Anonymousreply 10January 24, 2023 3:40 PM

I forgot to add Eileen Ryan to the cast list! She plays Jason Robards wife.

by Anonymousreply 11January 24, 2023 3:41 PM
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by Anonymousreply 12January 24, 2023 3:52 PM

Keanu Reeves was hot in this

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by Anonymousreply 13January 24, 2023 3:58 PM

When he touches me, I quiver.

by Anonymousreply 14January 24, 2023 4:24 PM

I was in going into 9th grade and saw it in the theater. Everyone I was with hated it, but I loved it and still do. Babaloo Mandel wrote some good 80's movies

by Anonymousreply 15January 24, 2023 4:48 PM

He’s ruining the play!

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by Anonymousreply 16January 24, 2023 4:52 PM

[quote]Randy Newman destroys everything that Ron Howard doesn't.

Since you bring it up...

The oddest thing is if you listen to the scoring during the birthday party scene with Steve Martin clowning around, you might recognize the note for note melody of a song "composed" by Andrew Lloyd Webber for his dopey musical "Sunset Boulevard" allegedly written years later! I think is "The Perfect Year" from the show. It isn't a similar tune, it is EXACTLY the same song. Hmmm....?

I guess Randy Newman stole a composition that ALW had yet to write!

by Anonymousreply 17January 24, 2023 7:05 PM

I never caught that, r17!

by Anonymousreply 18January 24, 2023 7:13 PM

If you ever watch it again, see if you hear what I hear, lol.

by Anonymousreply 19January 24, 2023 7:15 PM

A funny movie

by Anonymousreply 20January 24, 2023 11:35 PM

Wiest is lovely in the scene where she flips through her daughter's smut photos. A great blend of shock, disgust, envy, and humor on her face.

And the scene where Leaf/Joaquin Phoenix calls his dad to go live with him, and Wiest has to silently listen to her son be told "No, kiddo, you can't come live with me. I have a new family that I love more than you," is so damned heartbreaking. I had that same exact phone call as a kid, back before I realized that my father didn't just desert my mother - he deserted all of us.

by Anonymousreply 21February 27, 2023 4:49 PM

[quote] And the scene where Leaf/Joaquin Phoenix calls his dad to go live with him, and Wiest has to silently listen to her son be told "No, kiddo, you can't come live with me. I have a new family that I love more than you," is so damned heartbreaking. I had that same exact phone call as a kid, back before I realized that my father didn't just desert my mother - he deserted all of us.

I agree, that was a very heartbreaking scene.

by Anonymousreply 22February 27, 2023 4:55 PM

Wiest handles that scene so well

by Anonymousreply 23February 27, 2023 5:12 PM

If more of the broad-audience summer movies were on the level of Parenthood, I'd still see more of them. I saw it when it was new and I thought it exceeded expectations. Everyone in the cast is on form, it's often very funny, it's observant about all the different struggles parents go through (at all stages of their children's lives), and the screenplay even has passages of eloquence. Grandma's roller-coaster story is such a great "wise old person" movie speech...but then Martin looks out the window and delivers a good punch line to balance it out.

by Anonymousreply 24February 27, 2023 5:27 PM

This was a movie made for the entire family, grandparents down to grandkids, to go together and everybody enjoy it.

Now that the Toy Story movies are over, do they even make films like this anymore?

by Anonymousreply 25February 27, 2023 5:54 PM

What gives the film a broad appeal is that it doesn't sanitize the adult aspects of it in order to appeal to a child's sensibility. Schlocky "family films" are the ones that are made with the kids in mind rather than the parents. Parenthood is wisely an adult movie that even kids can enjoy rather than the other way around.

by Anonymousreply 26February 27, 2023 6:34 PM

A podcast I like dissected this film, and generally liked it. But they had one biting criticism:

No fucking way is Steve Martin believable as a 35 year-old "young" father of three.

by Anonymousreply 27February 27, 2023 6:34 PM

Was his character supposed to be 35? I haven't seen it in a long time. Martin was 44 when the movie was released, which was maybe a little old for his kids to be so young, but not totally unreasonable (especially since he was a lawyer, so had at least five years of university after high school, and likely would have married in his thirties).

by Anonymousreply 28February 27, 2023 6:40 PM

Sorry, should be at least six years of university above.

by Anonymousreply 29February 27, 2023 6:43 PM

Martin's age didn't bother me (he's one of those people I would have guessed at "around 40" long before he was 40 and for some time after 40 was behind him), but I think Gil was a sales exec rather than a lawyer.

by Anonymousreply 30February 27, 2023 6:44 PM

He’s not a lawyer, he’s a sales exec.

by Anonymousreply 31February 27, 2023 6:45 PM

Wow, it really HAS been a long time. Never mind.

by Anonymousreply 32February 27, 2023 6:49 PM

I have been enjoying the show. I've even cried a few times.

by Anonymousreply 33February 27, 2023 7:04 PM

R27 what podcast?

by Anonymousreply 34February 27, 2023 7:08 PM

My dad's hair was mostly grey by the time he was in his 30s. He was 37 and my mom was 35 when I was born. My dad also smoked until his 40s and it showed on his skin which combined with the grey hair lead to people sometimes thinking he was my grandfather. I think maybe the Parenthood writers and Ron Howard probably expected audiences to buy Gil as someone whose hair went white early and because he was obsessed with his career he aged quicker than other people in their 30s.

Here's a pic of Steve and Mary Steenburgen with the actors who played kids in the movie. Mary would have been around 35 when the movie was filmed. She looks quite youthful despite the 80s frau hairdo and clothing.

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by Anonymousreply 35February 27, 2023 9:06 PM

R35 I actually hate how in most movies the parent is usually about 20 years older than the kids. Unless they were all born in trailers it’s not accurate.

Why not cast a 45 yo actress for ex with a 7-8 year old kid? Happens irl all the time.

by Anonymousreply 36February 27, 2023 9:11 PM

I listened to the Rewatchables podcast episode of Sleepless in Seattle and they did a segment about who they would cast for a modern day remake and one the panelists suggested Ben Affleck, but others on the panel argued that he would be too old to be the father of an 8 year old child and then it was suggested in a remake that child's age could be changed to 12. I thought it was weird argument. In real life, you will find some people in their late 40s or early 50s with elementary school age kids.

by Anonymousreply 37February 27, 2023 9:23 PM

R37 especially men where there really is no limit!

by Anonymousreply 38February 27, 2023 9:31 PM

[quote]they did a segment about who they would cast for a modern day remake

Shall we cast a remake ourselves?

Knowing the original was damn close to perfection, of course.

by Anonymousreply 39February 27, 2023 9:33 PM

Ahem, r37.

by Anonymousreply 40February 27, 2023 9:34 PM


R38, ahem.

by Anonymousreply 41February 27, 2023 9:34 PM

For those harping about Steve Martin age and gray hair in the movie, lest we forget that Steve Martin was already gray in his 20's. Plus, men have kids at any age as long as their paramour is still able to conceive.

by Anonymousreply 42February 27, 2023 9:45 PM

Whatever happened to Harley (sometimes Harley Jane) Kozak? She was another Santa Barbara alum (same time as Robin wright) who got a few decent parts in some very big movies, then seemed to disappear.

by Anonymousreply 43February 27, 2023 9:45 PM

R34 The Rewatchables, mentioned by R37.

And R43 The guys on The Rewatchables asked that very same question. She was in this, Arachnophobia, When Harry Met Sally, and a few other small parts, but then disappeared. She's a novelist now.

by Anonymousreply 44February 27, 2023 9:55 PM

They should do a sequel. Bring them all back together. Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway and Jesse Plemons could play Martin and Steenburgen’s adult kids.

by Anonymousreply 45February 27, 2023 10:21 PM

R45 those kids are all about ten years too old for that to work convincingly.

by Anonymousreply 46February 28, 2023 3:31 AM

R43 she did a Locher Room awhile back and she’s a full time author. A pretty successful one evidently.

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by Anonymousreply 47February 28, 2023 3:47 AM

R46 - 1989 was 34 years ago. Topher is 44, Anne H is 40, Jesse is 34. Steve Martin is 77.

by Anonymousreply 48February 28, 2023 3:56 AM

Thanks, OP, for posting. I love this film but it feels somewhat forgotten, even with the TV adaptation which I never could get into.

The cast is excellent but Dianne Wiest really was a standout and completely deserved her nomination.

Steve Martin was perfectly cast and I thought he was kind of sexy in the lead role, and Steenburgen was terrific too. I agree Reeves was hot and I could understand why Plimpton's character was so into him.

I was a fan of Harley Jane Kozak and was disappointed she retired from acting but good for her for becoming successful in writing. Also sucks that Rick Moranis retired from acting but I'm sure the business is a grind and he made a lot of $$ in his career. Hollywood isn't everything.

I know Ron Howard gets some flack but he has made some really good movies (Parenthood, Rush, Splash, Willow, The Paper).

by Anonymousreply 49February 28, 2023 4:09 AM

[quote]even with the TV adaptation

Two! A failed 1990 sitcom and the more successful 2010 show with Peter Krause and company, which is the only one I suppose most people remember. That 1990 show with Ed Begley Jr. in the Steve Martin role did have some good youth casting. Leonardo DiCaprio, David Arquette, and Thora Birch were all regulars on it, pre-fame.

So, future Best Actor winners Joaquin Phoenix and DiCaprio played the same character on the way up.

by Anonymousreply 50February 28, 2023 2:39 PM
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