Crooked Hearts (1991)

R | 112 mins | Drama | 6 September 1991

Writer:

Michael Bortman

Cinematographer:

Tak Fujimoto

Production Designer:

David Brisbin

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
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HISTORY

       On 14 Aug 1987, Publishers Weekly announced that A&M Films had acquired film rights to Robert Boswell’s 1987 novel, Crooked Hearts. As noted in an 18 Oct 1989 HR article, literary manager Joel Gotler assisted in the sale of the property, which producer Dale Pollock assigned to writer Michael Bortman. With over a decade of experience writing for television, Bortman “had reached the point” in his career where he wanted to direct as well as write, according to a 7 Oct 1991 NYT article, and he agreed to adapt Crooked Hearts “on condition” that Pollock allow him to direct. Although production was anticipated to begin spring 1990, a 7 Apr 1990 Screen International news brief indicated that filming would not start until summer. Actor Christian Slater was listed among the cast, but he does not appear in the film. The news item also suggested that filming would take place in Arizona. However, a 17 Apr 1990 DV news brief stated that Vancouver, B.C., Canada, had been chosen as a location.
       Principal photography began on 11 Jun 1990 in Vancouver, according to the 13 Jun 1990 Var production chart. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that scenes were shot at the Vancouver Aquarium, Canadian National Railway building, City Square Mall, and Stanley Park, a large inner-city park almost completely surrounded by Vancouver Harbor and English Bay. Filmmakers used the Fraser Valley south of Vancouver to stand in for the rural Virginia farmlands, at which the opening sequence is set. On 4 Sep 1990, DV announced that filming had ended.
       Although ... More Less

       On 14 Aug 1987, Publishers Weekly announced that A&M Films had acquired film rights to Robert Boswell’s 1987 novel, Crooked Hearts. As noted in an 18 Oct 1989 HR article, literary manager Joel Gotler assisted in the sale of the property, which producer Dale Pollock assigned to writer Michael Bortman. With over a decade of experience writing for television, Bortman “had reached the point” in his career where he wanted to direct as well as write, according to a 7 Oct 1991 NYT article, and he agreed to adapt Crooked Hearts “on condition” that Pollock allow him to direct. Although production was anticipated to begin spring 1990, a 7 Apr 1990 Screen International news brief indicated that filming would not start until summer. Actor Christian Slater was listed among the cast, but he does not appear in the film. The news item also suggested that filming would take place in Arizona. However, a 17 Apr 1990 DV news brief stated that Vancouver, B.C., Canada, had been chosen as a location.
       Principal photography began on 11 Jun 1990 in Vancouver, according to the 13 Jun 1990 Var production chart. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that scenes were shot at the Vancouver Aquarium, Canadian National Railway building, City Square Mall, and Stanley Park, a large inner-city park almost completely surrounded by Vancouver Harbor and English Bay. Filmmakers used the Fraser Valley south of Vancouver to stand in for the rural Virginia farmlands, at which the opening sequence is set. On 4 Sep 1990, DV announced that filming had ended.
       Although the NYT conveyed filmmakers’ hopes for an “early” 1991 release, the film received only one screening that spring, on 16 May 1991, at the Seattle International Film Festival. The film opened to lukewarm reviews in Sep 1991.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “B. C. Film Commission; City of Vancouver, Fire Department”; “Producers wish to thank Granada Canada Ltd.”; and “Sincere appreciation to: The Motion Picture Studio Production Technicians, I.A.T.S.E. 891, Vancouver, Canada.” End credits state: “Filmed on location in British Columbia, Canada.”
      Voiceover narration by actor Peter Berg (credited as Pete Berg), in the role of “Tom” is heard intermittently throughout the film. The narration generally reveals the character’s inner thoughts or clarifies a shift in setting. However, at the end of the film, he describes what the future holds for “Tom” and “Marriet.” As end credits roll, the narration continues with Noah Wyle in the role of “Ask.” He recounts the young man’s rules to live by: “1. Never make a complicated thing simple, or a simple thing complicated 2. Wear white at night 3. Take care of Tom 4. Eat from the three food groups 5. Be consistent 6. Never do anything with the sole intent of hurting someone 7. Floss 8. Always put the family first 9. Clean, even where it doesn’t show 10. Pursue the truth 11. Wear socks that match your shirt 12. Take care of Cassie 13. Look up words you don’t know 14. Never put out electrical flames with water 15. Get to the bottom of things 16. Forgive.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1990.
---
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1990.
---
Daily Variety
28 May 1991
p. 2, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1989
p. 1, 26.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 1991
p. 5, 9.
Los Angeles Times
13 Nov 1991
Calendar, p. 7.
New York Times
7 Oct 1990.
---
New York Times
6 Sep 1991
Section C, p. 13.
Publishers Weekly
14 Aug 1987.
---
Reader
13 Sep 1991.
---
Screen International
7 Apr 1990.
---
Variety
13 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
10 Jun 1991
p. 62.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
MGM presents
an A&M Films production
a film by Michael Bortman
in association with Star Partners III, Ltd.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
Unit mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
and
Prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam trainee
Video coord
Steadicam op
Panaglide op
Underwater cam
Underwater asst
2d 2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Key rigging grip
Still photog
D.O.P., 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Addl 2d unit D.O.P., 2d unit
Addl photog by, 2d unit
Extra cam op, 2d unit
Extra cam op, 2d unit
Extra cam op, 2d unit
Extra cam op, 2d unit
Extra cam op, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Extra cam asst, 2d unit
Cranes and dollies by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Draftsman
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
1st asst ed (U.S.)
2d asst ed (U.S.)
1st asst ed (Canada)
2d asst ed (Canada)
Negative cutting
Post prod facilities provided by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Set dec buyer
Set dresser
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Props buyer
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Key scenic carpenter
Key scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Const laborer
Head painter
Lead painter
Lead painter
Standby painter
Head greensman
Lead greens
Lead greens
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp
Exec mus prod
&
Exec mus prod
Mus consultant
Featured instrumentalist
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
Mus clearance by
Cartoon score by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Playback op
Playback op
Cable person
Sd des & supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
1st asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Supv re-rec mixer
Eff mixer
A.D.R. mixing by
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Fire coord/Spec eff man
Spec eff consultant
Spec eff man
Spec eff man
Spec eff man
Titles and opticals by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Hair asst
Wig maker
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Trainee coord
DGC trainee
Craft service/1st aid
Unit pub
Canadian casting by
Asst to Mr. Stevenson
Asst to Mr. Pollack
Asst to Mr. Bortman
Asst to Mr. Brisbin
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Transportation coord
Transport capt
Transport co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Security consultant
Security capt
Security guard
Security guard
Security guard
Security guard
Catering by
Catering by
Animal trainer
Artificial animals created by
&
Artificial animals created by
All animal scenes were viewed or monitored by
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod placement provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the novel Crooked Hearts by Robert Boswell (New York, 1987).
SONGS
"Ooh Baby, Baby," written by William Robinson Jr. and Warren Moore, performed by Linda Ronstadt, courtesy of Electra Entertainment by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"China Grove," written by Tom Johnston, performed by The Doobie Brothers, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Waiting For A Girl Like You," written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, performed by Foreigner, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
"Ooh Baby, Baby," written by William Robinson Jr. and Warren Moore, performed by Linda Ronstadt, courtesy of Electra Entertainment by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"China Grove," written by Tom Johnston, performed by The Doobie Brothers, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Waiting For A Girl Like You," written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, performed by Foreigner, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"RC Cola And A Moon Pie," written by Terry Adams, performed by NRBQ
"Groove Master," written by Alphonsus Cassell, performed by Arrow, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love," written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, performed by The Mills Brothers, courtesy of MCA Records
"Ain't Got No Home," written by Clarence Henry, performed by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 September 1991
Premiere Information:
Seattle International Film Festival screening: 16 May 1991
New York opening: 6 September 1991
Los Angeles opening: week of 13 September 1991
Production Date:
11 June--early September 1990
Copyright Claimant:
MGM-Pathe Communications Company
Copyright Date:
15 October 1991
Copyright Number:
PA542099
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a rural Virginia town, eleven-year-old Tom Warren develops a crush on Jennetta, a waitress at the local diner where he and his nine-year-old brother, “Ask,” spend their summer days. One night, their older brother, Charley, allows them to tag along when he goes out. At the diner, a wide-eyed Tom watches Charley and Jennetta embrace and kiss. He follows the couple out back and witnesses them having an argument. When Charley storms off, Tom approaches the woman, and Jenetta kisses him. Later, Tom asks Charley why he argued with Jennetta, and the older boy angrily suggests that she has feelings for their father. At the end of the summer, the family moves to Tacoma, Washington. Nine years later, Tom, an aspiring architect, returns home after dropping out of the University of California, Berkeley. Ask wonders if a woman named Eileen had anything to do with Tom’s sudden lack of motivation, but Tom avoids answering. Later, his parents, Jill and Edward Warren, throw a party, and Edward makes a good-natured toast to yet another Warren family failure. Afterward, Charley, who still lives at home, admonishes his little brother for not making the most of life’s opportunities. The next day, Jill suggests that her son take a neighbor’s daughter out for a date. Tom protests, but everyone in the family agrees it is a good idea. That Saturday, Tom and Marriet, who has also returned to Tacoma after living in Los Angeles, spend the day at the aquarium. He learns that she recently ended a relationship with a married man, and is taking time to reassess her life. Later, Marriet invites Tom to her apartment, where she presents him with ... +


In a rural Virginia town, eleven-year-old Tom Warren develops a crush on Jennetta, a waitress at the local diner where he and his nine-year-old brother, “Ask,” spend their summer days. One night, their older brother, Charley, allows them to tag along when he goes out. At the diner, a wide-eyed Tom watches Charley and Jennetta embrace and kiss. He follows the couple out back and witnesses them having an argument. When Charley storms off, Tom approaches the woman, and Jenetta kisses him. Later, Tom asks Charley why he argued with Jennetta, and the older boy angrily suggests that she has feelings for their father. At the end of the summer, the family moves to Tacoma, Washington. Nine years later, Tom, an aspiring architect, returns home after dropping out of the University of California, Berkeley. Ask wonders if a woman named Eileen had anything to do with Tom’s sudden lack of motivation, but Tom avoids answering. Later, his parents, Jill and Edward Warren, throw a party, and Edward makes a good-natured toast to yet another Warren family failure. Afterward, Charley, who still lives at home, admonishes his little brother for not making the most of life’s opportunities. The next day, Jill suggests that her son take a neighbor’s daughter out for a date. Tom protests, but everyone in the family agrees it is a good idea. That Saturday, Tom and Marriet, who has also returned to Tacoma after living in Los Angeles, spend the day at the aquarium. He learns that she recently ended a relationship with a married man, and is taking time to reassess her life. Later, Marriet invites Tom to her apartment, where she presents him with a “lover’s contract,” which commits those who sign it to treating each other with kindness and respect. Tom is speechless, and she demands he leave. While playing basketball, Tom and Ask discuss Marriet’s request, and Ask, who likes the idea of adhering to one’s principles, urges his brother to keep an open mind. That night, as the Warren family sits down for dinner, Edward and Charley get into an argument about Charley’s girl friend, Bonita, who has been staying at the house without introduction. When Edward comments on Charley’s lack of ambition, Charley throws a plate of food at the wall. After dinner, Jill confides to Tom that she would like Charley to move out, but feels incapable of making it happen. The next day, Tom stops by the local bakery, where his former lover, Eileen, informs him that she is pregnant with his brother’s Charley’s child. Although Charley talked about marrying her, he never seemed serious, so she hastily married another man. Tom returns home and confronts his older brother, but Charley refuses to discuss the situation. A few days later, Charley quits his job, packs his belongings, and drives away. However, he discovers that his teenage sister, Cassie, is asleep in the back of the van, and is forced to return home. Edward yells at Charley, and Jill suggests they kick him out, but Edward fears alienating his son. Late that night, Charley tries to make amends with Tom, confessing that he wants to be kicked out of the house, but Tom remains upset with his brother. Sometime later, Tom and Ask go to the train station at Charley’s request. There, they discover a lockbox filled with love letters from Jenetta to their father. Meanwhile, Charley sets fire to the house. Tom convinces Ask to leave the lockbox in the mail locker, and they return to find their home engulfed in flames. A few weeks after the fire, Tom and Marriet walk through the charred remains, and he expresses disappointment with his father, who refuses to acknowledge Charley’s act of vengeance. Later that evening, Tom and Marriet make love in her apartment, before heading to a party at the motel where the Warrens are temporarily living. There, Edward Warren wryly toasts the demise of the family home. Sometime later, the Warrens find a new residence across the street from Marriet. Ask collects the lockbox from the train station and takes it to Marriet’s apartment, where he urges his brother to destroy the letters. Tom suggests they open one, but Ask protests. Marriet reads a letter aloud, silencing the brothers with its intimate revelations. From across the street, Edward sees Ask leave the building with the lockbox. He rushes to confront his sons, confused about how they came to possess his private papers. Tom blames Charley, and Edward is forced to accept the fact that his eldest son turned against him. Ask offers to burn the letters. However, gusts of wind send the flaming papers across the road, and as he chases after them, Ask is struck by a car and killed. After the funeral, Jill reveals that she knew about Jenetta’s correspondence with her husband but did not care. Charley returns, and Tom angrily accuses his brother of causing Ask’s death. Beleaguered, Charley turns to leave, but Tom asks him to stay, gathering their parents and sister and proposing a toast to the family. A few months later, with the intention of finishing his college degree, Tom moves to Berkeley with Marriet. As they drive away, he reflects on his younger brother’s optimistic approach to life. +

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

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