Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1989. Universal Pictures, United Artists, Amblin Entertainment, U-Drive Productions. Screenplay by Jerry Belson, from the screenplay A Guy Named Joe by Dalton Trumbo, adapted by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, from the story by Chandler Sprague, David Boehm. Cinematography by Mikael Salomon. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg. Music by John Williams. Production Design by James D. Bissell. Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick. Film Editing by Michael Kahn.
In this remake of A Guy Named Joe, Richard Dreyfuss plays an airborne firefighter who dies in a tragic accident, leaving behind his heartbroken girlfriend (Holly Hunter) and his best friend (John Goodman). Once Dreyfuss has accepted the fact that he is dead, a heavenly messenger from above (Audrey Hepburn, her last appearance on screen) tells him that he must stay by Hunter’s side and help guide her through the next transitional period of her life, one where she gets over her grief for him and embraces a new romance with a handsome young pilot (Brad Johnson). Dreyfuss thinks it will be a piece of cake, but spending time around his old love without being able to be truly near her lets him realize that the difficulty in letting go will be mostly on his part and not hers. Lushly romantic, featuring wonderful performances (especially Hunter), it doesn’t quite recreate the feeling of an old-fashioned melodrama, but it’s an amicable effort all the same.