year: 1984
cast: Rob Lowe, Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges, Seth Green, Lisa Banes
rating: *

An oddball family running various Hotels in New Hampshire, Vienna, New York and then back to New Hampshire. The film adaptation of John Irving's novel centers on the eccentric nomadic Berry clan but focuses mainly on the teenage son (an elvish Rob Lowe) and daughter (Jodie Foster, during the purgatory of her career) of a man (Beau Bridges) who runs the hotels with an ever-optimistic look on life no matter how many bad things happen. The book delves with casual irony into subjects like terrorism, rape and incest, getting away with turning a glib cheek to all things taboo (including homosexuality, which wasn't as discussed in the early/mid eighties). The overly obvious symbolism (like a dog named Sorrow) works in the novel because it's strictly thematic and never forced. But this movie... I just can't begin to explain how bad it is. It was made because of the success (and brilliance) of Irving's "The World According to Garp", a much easier narrative to translate - it's at least about something, or rather, someone. And while "Garp" centers on a mainline story with tragic weirdness surrounding it, this centers on weird tragedy with no real story to be found. Might possibly be the worst adaptation ever made.

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