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Fall From Grace

A Change of Seasons Directed by Richard Lang At the Beacon Hill

By William E. Mckibben

AT A MINIMUM, every movie advertisement in American history has contained three paeans from critics enthralled by the film. Bo Derek's new vehicle, A Change of Seasons, is no exception.

Though they be traditional, the accolades in this case are befuddling, for A Change of Seasons is as abominable a film as anyone has made in recent years. possibly a critic might be tender-hearted enough to single out one or two cast members less injured than the rest by the explosion of this bomb; perhaps a few faint words of praise for the ending, which actually has a slightly engaging twist. But surely no one would say, "Wonderful, hilarious, often touching and always entertaining." Or "It's the best entertainment of the season." That Rex Reed, Syndicated Columnist, and Vernon Scott, UPI, did is proof enough that our society is truly pluralistic. As James Madison could have said but didn't, "Different strokes for different folks." Assuming that some small number of readers might share Mr. Reed's or Mr. Scott's sentiments, what follows is a short list of the movie's contents. It they sound appealing, the film is still showing at many suburban and downtown theaters.

1) A heavily sedated male lead. Anthony Hopkins should be hyper--his wife is perturbed about his lover, who in turn has a truly terrifying sexual appetite. Still, Hopkins manages to look as if he contracted to play in a '50s style government film stressing the dangers of Quaaludes.

2) A giddy female lead. Shirley MacLaine spends a large portion of this movie eating, quite a bit of additional time laughing at jokes no one else (at least in the audience) understands, and the remainder making love to a carpenter in a flannel jacket who lost his first wife when she ate produce from their farm poisoned by government herbicides (his life story is the humorous high-water mark of this film).

3) A plot, of sorts. If you put three screenwriters in front of typewriters, one will eventually author the Declaration of Independence. Shortly thereafter, another might produce this screenplay. MacLaine and Nature Boy go to the house up north for weekend of skiing and screwing. Hopkins and Derek come along too. They ski some, they screw some. Then Hopkins' and MacLaine's understandably confused daughter arrives and walks around saying "Holy shit," which actually is as good a response as any. Then the daughter's boyfriend arrives, and they go off to get married, which neither mother or father seems to notice very much. Then Derek's father, a Beacon Hill professional who travels with lobsters in his suitcase, shows up. Nature Boy leave. MacLaine takes up with Lobster Man. Derek leaves. Hopkins sadly walks away through the snow. He has lost his wife and his lover, but at least he can now exit this movie.

4) Derek's body, which is unclothed for the two minutes devoted to opening credits, while she and Hopkins take a bath outdoors. The guy next to me, having paid his $3.50, got up and left three minutes into the film, explaining, "I sat through the whole thing yesterday, and that's the only part where she takes off her clothes. The rest of it sucks."

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