[second viewing] Director Tony Richardson's blend of broad comedy, slapstick, sentimentality and poignant drama plays a lot better today than it did in 1984. Here is a rarity from that much-maligned decade: A mainstream 1980s film that has aged well. This is still a Cliffs Notes version of the John Irving novel (which I loved when I was 14 but have never revisited), but the first half of the 110-minute film is better than I remembered, nailing the hairpin emotional…
Why adapt Peter Straub's novel if you're going to jettison three-fourths of the book? Saddled by the curse of Craig Wasson, aka the most boring actor to ever land leading parts in movies, and a cast of elderly titans who can barely remember their lines. Memorable only for Alice Krige, who never got the career she deserved despite being Meryl Streep-level talented, and some nifty makeup effects by the great Dick Smith. Such a lame adaptation that you can watch the movie and then read the book, and the book will still seem completely new.