Best Friends (1982)

PG | 116 mins | Comedy, Romance | 17 December 1982

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HISTORY

       In addition to the original songs written for the film, the wedding party scene features jazz musicians performing a version of George and Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” which is not included in the credits. Although neither actress nor character name appears in the cast list, the role of Paula’s friend is said to be played by Valerie Curtin, one of the film’s screenwriters.
       On 30 Mar 1979, DV announced that Norman Jewison would direct Best Friends for Warner Bros. According to the 30 Jul 1981 HR, Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn would each receive $3 million for starring in the film, and a 21 Aug 1981 Warner Bros. press release stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin in Jan 1982. However, a story in the 26 Dec 1981 LAHExam listed the production start for mid-Feb 1982 and declared that Pat O’Brien, Burt Reynolds’ former co-star in The End (1978, see entry), had expressed interest in the role of “Tim McCullen.” The 22 Jan 1982 DV specified a principal photography date of 15 Feb 1982, on locations including Buffalo, NY, VA, and Los Angeles, CA.
       A Warner Bros. press release confirmed the 15 Feb 1982 start date. A 22 Feb 1982 article in DV reported that the film’s five-man Los Angeles-based camera crew violated rules of the New York Photographers Local 644 union under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Although producers were expected to replace the existing cameramen with Local 644 camera operators, filming progressed with no alterations. The shoot was scheduled to continue in Buffalo for another two weeks before moving ... More Less

       In addition to the original songs written for the film, the wedding party scene features jazz musicians performing a version of George and Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” which is not included in the credits. Although neither actress nor character name appears in the cast list, the role of Paula’s friend is said to be played by Valerie Curtin, one of the film’s screenwriters.
       On 30 Mar 1979, DV announced that Norman Jewison would direct Best Friends for Warner Bros. According to the 30 Jul 1981 HR, Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn would each receive $3 million for starring in the film, and a 21 Aug 1981 Warner Bros. press release stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin in Jan 1982. However, a story in the 26 Dec 1981 LAHExam listed the production start for mid-Feb 1982 and declared that Pat O’Brien, Burt Reynolds’ former co-star in The End (1978, see entry), had expressed interest in the role of “Tim McCullen.” The 22 Jan 1982 DV specified a principal photography date of 15 Feb 1982, on locations including Buffalo, NY, VA, and Los Angeles, CA.
       A Warner Bros. press release confirmed the 15 Feb 1982 start date. A 22 Feb 1982 article in DV reported that the film’s five-man Los Angeles-based camera crew violated rules of the New York Photographers Local 644 union under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Although producers were expected to replace the existing cameramen with Local 644 camera operators, filming progressed with no alterations. The shoot was scheduled to continue in Buffalo for another two weeks before moving to the Washington, D.C. area in VA. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Buffalo locations included the Central Railroad Terminal and a house on Summit Avenue, which was selected from hundreds of homes after the film’s location manager published an advertisement in the town newspaper. Virginia scenes were shot in Tyson’s Corner, VA and Georgetown in Washington, D.C. An undated studio press release announced the conclusion of six weeks of photography on East Coast locations, which also included MD. Filming was scheduled to resume in Los Angeles Friday, 2 Apr 1982. Army Archerd’s 21 Apr 1982 “Just For Variety” DV column stated that filming was underway on location at the main gate of the Burbank Studios, the former Warner Bros. studio that was home to both Warners and Columbia Pictures at that time, in Burbank, CA. The story also stated that production was three days ahead of schedule. In addition, Var announced on 18 Aug 1982 that Best Friends was completed under budget at $15,211,000, instead of the original projected cost of $16,250,000.
       Despite many critics’ affection for the pairing of Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn, the film opened on 17 Dec 1982 to mildly negative reviews.
       “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Original Song.
      End credits include a note from producers thanking the people of Buffalo, NY, Buffalo Mayor James D. Griffin, the VA Film Commission, Georgetown Park, the Rotonda Condominium Unit Owners Association in McLean, VA, Clyde’s of Tyson Corner, Inc., and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Filming took place at Laird International Studios and on locations in Buffalo, NY, and Vienna, VA. Production notes also list the assistance of the Buffalo Sanitation Department for their help transporting snow to the exterior sets, although they receive no onscreen credit.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Mar 1979
pp. 1, 32.
Daily Variety
22 Jan 1982.
---
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1982
pp. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1982
p. 3, 14.
LAHExam
26 Dec 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1982
p. 7.
New York Times
17 Dec 1982
p. 10.
Variety
18 Aug 1982.
---
Variety
15 Dec 1982
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Joe Wizan Presentation
A Norman Jewison Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Vis consultant
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Const coord
Const foreman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost
Mr. Reynold's cost
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals by
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Asst to the prod
Personal asst to Norman Jewison
Personal asst to Goldie Hawn
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod office coord
Prod office secy
Prod office secy
Prod office asst
Loc mgr (Los Angeles)
Loc mgr (New York)
Loc mgr (Virginia)
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Addl casting
Extra casting (New York)
Extra casting (Virginia)
Extra casting (Virginia)
Extra casting (Los Angeles)
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"How Do You Keep The Music Playing?," music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, arranged by Greg Phillinganes and Johnny Mandel, performed by Patti Austin and James Ingram, produced by Johnny Mandel
"Think About Love," music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, arranged by Greg Phillinganes and Johnny Mandel, performed by Patti Austin and James Ingram, produced by Johnny Mandel.
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 December 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 17 December 1982
New York opening: week of 17 December 1982
Production Date:
15 February--late March 1982 in Buffalo, NY, VA, MD, and Washington, D.C.
2 April--late April 1982 in Burbank, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 February 1983
Copyright Number:
PA166190
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
116
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26838
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In their Los Angeles, California, home, screenwriting partners Richard Babson and Paula McCullen read their script aloud as Richard carries Paula into the bedroom to make love. Later, the couple meets with studio executive Larry Weisman about collaborating on a new project. He assures them that their current screenplay is progressing tremendously during production. During lunch, the couple discusses their plan to buy a house and Richard questions why they are avoiding marriage. While touring their new home, Richard presses the issue, stating that marriage is the only appropriate expression of his commitment, but Paula remains hesitant. She later talks about her dilemma with a friend, explaining that her uncertainty stems from fear of her own mortality and the loss of independence. That evening, Paula suggests that she and Richard take a trip to the East Coast for her parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, since Richard has never met them and she worries they will die soon. She later joins Richard in the shower and agrees to get married in a private ceremony. They visit a small Spanish wedding chapel and recite their vows before boarding a cross-country train to Buffalo, New York. After three days in a cramped cabin, they arrive in freezing Buffalo and Richard awkwardly greets Paula’s eccentric, slightly senile parents, Tim and Eleanor McCullen. On the way home, Mr. McCullen stops by an acquaintance’s funeral while Mrs. McCullen, waiting in the car, tells Paula that her husband no longer satisfies her sexually. After dinner, Richard is frustrated that he and Paula have to sleep in separate rooms and are unable to have sex during the vacation that is technically their honeymoon. The next morning, Richard begs ... +


In their Los Angeles, California, home, screenwriting partners Richard Babson and Paula McCullen read their script aloud as Richard carries Paula into the bedroom to make love. Later, the couple meets with studio executive Larry Weisman about collaborating on a new project. He assures them that their current screenplay is progressing tremendously during production. During lunch, the couple discusses their plan to buy a house and Richard questions why they are avoiding marriage. While touring their new home, Richard presses the issue, stating that marriage is the only appropriate expression of his commitment, but Paula remains hesitant. She later talks about her dilemma with a friend, explaining that her uncertainty stems from fear of her own mortality and the loss of independence. That evening, Paula suggests that she and Richard take a trip to the East Coast for her parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, since Richard has never met them and she worries they will die soon. She later joins Richard in the shower and agrees to get married in a private ceremony. They visit a small Spanish wedding chapel and recite their vows before boarding a cross-country train to Buffalo, New York. After three days in a cramped cabin, they arrive in freezing Buffalo and Richard awkwardly greets Paula’s eccentric, slightly senile parents, Tim and Eleanor McCullen. On the way home, Mr. McCullen stops by an acquaintance’s funeral while Mrs. McCullen, waiting in the car, tells Paula that her husband no longer satisfies her sexually. After dinner, Richard is frustrated that he and Paula have to sleep in separate rooms and are unable to have sex during the vacation that is technically their honeymoon. The next morning, Richard begs Paula to allow them to leave Buffalo early, but Mrs. McCullen’s genuine attempts to welcome him into the family make him feel guilty and he agrees to stay. Upon returning from an afternoon shopping trip, Paula discovers Mr. McCullen sexually assaulting the maid. When Mrs. McCullen learns of the incident, she tells Paula that she is not bothered by her husband’s attempts to retain his virility. After celebrating the McCullens’ anniversary, Paula and Richard drive to Virginia to visit Richard’s parents, Tom and Ann Babson, and his sister, Nellie Ballou, who has just separated from her husband. Following the announcement of Richard and Paula’s marriage, Mrs. Babson is furious that she was unable to witness her only son’s wedding and insists on throwing them a party. Larry Weisman calls from New York City to announce that the ending of their current screenplay needs to be rewritten, but Richard refuses to cut the vacation short. The next day, Larry shows up at the Babson's condo in Virginia and insists the work be completed before Sunday, so the couple agrees to finish writing while in Virginia. At the wedding party, Paula becomes agitated by the Babson’s overbearing friends who ask her about married life and having children. The couple argues loudly in front of the party guests, but Richard later gives Paula a muscle relaxer and she apologizes for her behavior. While Richard and his father spend the afternoon discussing their marital relationships, Mrs. Babson and Nellie take Paula out to lunch, where the anxious newlywed continues to swallow more muscle relaxers and eventually faints face-first into her plate of chicken salad. After she is rushed to the hospital, Paula and Richard return to Los Angeles, where torrential flood rains cause leaks in their new home and wash Richard’s car down the hill. Interpreting these unfortunate events as a bad omen, the couple decides that marriage was a poor idea and Richard moves out. On Sunday, Larry locks the couple in an office and orders them to finish the last two pages of the rewrite. After fourteen hours of arguing and procrastination, Paula breaks down crying, upset that the end of their marriage means she will lose Richard as her best friend. They soon begin kissing on the floor of the office, reflecting on the simplicity of their relationship before they got married. Suddenly inspired by the strength of their love for one another, they complete the rewrite and exit the studio, hand in hand. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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