My Life (1993)

PG-13 | 112 mins | Drama | 12 November 1993

Director:

Bruce Joel Rubin

Cinematographer:

Peter James

Editor:

Richard Chew

Production Designer:

Neil Spisak

Production Companies:

Columbia Pictures, Zucker Brothers Productions, Capella Films
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HISTORY

The 27 Aug 1990 DV announced that screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin would make his directorial debut with My Life, which he would write for Zucker Brothers Productions. Rubin was hired after writing the screenplay for the surprise hit, Ghost (1990, see entry), and would re-team with Ghost director Jerry Zucker, who would serve as a producer.
       According to the 11-17 Nov 1993 Drama-Logue and production notes in AMPAS library files, Rubin’s story was inspired by a real-life event when he woke in the middle of the night with severe stomach pains. Rubin’s thoughts turned to his two young children, and worried they would never know him if he died, he considered making videotaped footage to leave for them. Rubin soon realized that he had the makings for a movie. As reported in the 15 Nov 1993 HR, Rubin wrote a twenty page spec treatment twelve years before, and approached CBS to make a television movie based on it, but CBS declined.
       Principal photography began on 4 Mar 1993, as announced in the 9 Mar 1993 HR production chart, despite earlier HR production charts that listed start dates as Aug 1992, 1 Feb 1993, and 25 Feb 1993. According to production notes, filming began in Los Angeles, CA, at Sony Pictures Studios, and concluded with two weeks of filming in Chicago, IL, which stood in for Detroit, MI, locations onscreen. Several Ukrainian churches were scouted in Chicago for the wedding scene, before filmmakers selected St. Nickolas Church.
       The 23 Aug 1993 Var announced an estimated ... More Less

The 27 Aug 1990 DV announced that screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin would make his directorial debut with My Life, which he would write for Zucker Brothers Productions. Rubin was hired after writing the screenplay for the surprise hit, Ghost (1990, see entry), and would re-team with Ghost director Jerry Zucker, who would serve as a producer.
       According to the 11-17 Nov 1993 Drama-Logue and production notes in AMPAS library files, Rubin’s story was inspired by a real-life event when he woke in the middle of the night with severe stomach pains. Rubin’s thoughts turned to his two young children, and worried they would never know him if he died, he considered making videotaped footage to leave for them. Rubin soon realized that he had the makings for a movie. As reported in the 15 Nov 1993 HR, Rubin wrote a twenty page spec treatment twelve years before, and approached CBS to make a television movie based on it, but CBS declined.
       Principal photography began on 4 Mar 1993, as announced in the 9 Mar 1993 HR production chart, despite earlier HR production charts that listed start dates as Aug 1992, 1 Feb 1993, and 25 Feb 1993. According to production notes, filming began in Los Angeles, CA, at Sony Pictures Studios, and concluded with two weeks of filming in Chicago, IL, which stood in for Detroit, MI, locations onscreen. Several Ukrainian churches were scouted in Chicago for the wedding scene, before filmmakers selected St. Nickolas Church.
       The 23 Aug 1993 Var announced an estimated $15 to $20 million budget, of which Columbia Pictures reportedly funded more than half. A Christmas 1993 release was anticipated.
       Following the death of Bruce Joel Rubin’s mother, Sondra Rubin, who appeared onscreen as “Aunt Sophia,” and died suddenly before the picture’s release, the 5 Nov 1993 LADN reported that a special private screening of I^My Life would be held the following day in Detroit, MI, so Rubin’s friends could attend.
       The picture opened on 800 screens on 12 Nov 1993, according to that day’s HR. Filmmakers planned to expand the release to 1,200 theaters on 19 Nov 1993. The 25 Jan 1994 LAT reported $26 million in box-office receipts.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: "Filmed at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California," and, "Special Thanks to: Chicago Film Commission and the citizens of Chicago; St. Nickolas Church; St. Volodymers Church; 'Bajda' Ukrainian Folk Ensemble; Dances performed by Ukrainian Folk Dance Ensemble of Chicago 'Ukraina'; Dariah Chaikovsky - Ukrainian consultant; Peter Efimenkov - Ukrainian dance instructor; Green Eggs and Ham courtesy of the estate of Theodor Geisel; The Lone Ranger courtesy of Palladium Limited Partnership." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1990
p. 1, 18.
Drama-Logue
5 Nov 1993.
---
Drama-Logue
11-17 Nov 1993
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1993
p. 5, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 1993.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
5 Nov 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Nov 1993
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jan 1994.
---
New York Times
12 Nov 1993
p. 17.
Variety
23 Aug 1993.
---
Variety
15 Nov 1993
pp. 30-31.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
In association with Capella Films
A Jerry Zucker production
A film by Bruce Joel Rubin
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Video supv
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set des
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR supv
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opticals & titles by
Visual eff supv, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff prod, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Lead anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff coord, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Film rec op, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff ed, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Film opticals, Sony Pictures Imageworks
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Prosthetic makeup
Body makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Rubin
Asst to Mr. Zucker
Asst to Mr. Netter
Asst to Mr. Keaton
Asst to Ms. Kidman
Loc mgr
Loc mgr (Chicago)
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Post prod & sd services by
Digital film scanning
Craft service
Medical consultant
Medical adv (birth)
Birthing consultant
Dialect coach
Unit pub
Welfare worker
Circus coord
Casting asst
Extras casting (Los Angeles)
Extras casting (Chicago)
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Some Enchanted Evening," written by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II, performed by Ezio Pinza, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Over The Rainbow," written by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
"Chariots Of Fire," written and performed by Vangelis, courtesy of Polygram Special Markets
+
SONGS
"Some Enchanted Evening," written by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II, performed by Ezio Pinza, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Over The Rainbow," written by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
"Chariots Of Fire," written and performed by Vangelis, courtesy of Polygram Special Markets
"Overture To William Tell," written by Gioacchino Rossini, performed by The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, courtesy of Sony Classical.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 November 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 November 1993
Production Date:
began 4 March 1993
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 December 1993
Copyright Number:
PA667968
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32443
SYNOPSIS

In Detroit, Michigan, in 1963, Bobby Jones wishes on a star, and asks God for a circus to be in his backyard when he returns from school the following day. In anticipation, he invites all of his schoolmates to come over, but when they arrive, there is no circus. Thirty years later, in Los Angeles, California, Bob Jones records himself on videotape for his soon-to-be-born child. He looks into the camera and declares he is dying of cancer. On camera, he shares photographs and home movies from his own childhood, and talks about his family. Bob and his wife, Gail, discuss how and when they should tell their friends that Bob is dying. However, Bob still has hope that he will be cured, and participates in experimental therapies prescribed by his doctor. At the public relations office where Bob is a successful executive, he assigns a young employee named George to videotape his colleagues and interview them about Bob, without telling them why. As Bob watches the footage, he hears his colleagues admit that they do not know him very well, and that he even changed his last name from Ivanovich to Jones. Later, Gail tells Bob that he needs to tell his parents about his illness, but Bob refuses. She tells Bob that his brother, Paul, is getting married. However, Bob is reluctant to return to his hometown for the wedding, and jokes that he will probably be dead by then. Later, he learns from his doctor, Joseph Caliano, that his tumor is not responding to the experimental therapy, and he is given three or four ... +


In Detroit, Michigan, in 1963, Bobby Jones wishes on a star, and asks God for a circus to be in his backyard when he returns from school the following day. In anticipation, he invites all of his schoolmates to come over, but when they arrive, there is no circus. Thirty years later, in Los Angeles, California, Bob Jones records himself on videotape for his soon-to-be-born child. He looks into the camera and declares he is dying of cancer. On camera, he shares photographs and home movies from his own childhood, and talks about his family. Bob and his wife, Gail, discuss how and when they should tell their friends that Bob is dying. However, Bob still has hope that he will be cured, and participates in experimental therapies prescribed by his doctor. At the public relations office where Bob is a successful executive, he assigns a young employee named George to videotape his colleagues and interview them about Bob, without telling them why. As Bob watches the footage, he hears his colleagues admit that they do not know him very well, and that he even changed his last name from Ivanovich to Jones. Later, Gail tells Bob that he needs to tell his parents about his illness, but Bob refuses. She tells Bob that his brother, Paul, is getting married. However, Bob is reluctant to return to his hometown for the wedding, and jokes that he will probably be dead by then. Later, he learns from his doctor, Joseph Caliano, that his tumor is not responding to the experimental therapy, and he is given three or four months to live. When Dr. Caliano suggests he stop treatment and accept his fate, Bob accuses his doctor of taking away his hope. Gail takes Bob to see Mr. Ho, a Chinese healer, to try Eastern medicine. After laying his hands on Bob, Mr. Ho correctly notes that his body is filled with tumors, and tells Bob he is holding onto a lot of anger. Although he claims that he still has time to change, Bob dismisses the healer as a “quack.” Sometime later, Bob visits his childhood neighbor, Carol Sandman, and asks her to help him remember his past. In time, Gail discovers the videotapes Bob has been recording, and weeps at his honesty. She wishes he would share his feelings with her. Sometime later, Bob stirs from a nightmare, and tells Gail he does not want to die. He returns to see Mr. Ho, who again mentions Bob’s need to forgive and to let go of his anger. Bob and Gail travel to Detroit for Paul’s wedding. After visiting his childhood home, now owned by another family, Bob remembers when he was a boy and prayed for a circus to appear in his backyard. When he shares the story with Gail, she calls him a “believer.” Later, Bob wishes on a star again, and prays to live long enough to see his child be born. When Bob and Gail arrive in time for the wedding, the family is surprised to see them. Bob videotapes his family members without revealing why he is capturing the footage. When he asks his parents about his childhood, Bob is surprised to hear them say he was ashamed of them. Bob’s father accuses him of moving away and changing his last name because he thought he was too good for his family. Bob dismisses the accusations, but in private, Paul reveals that he, too, felt rejected by his brother. As he and Gail head home, Bob realizes he did not resolve anything with his family. He returns to Mr. Ho, who tells Bob he needs to forgive. After learning they are having a boy, Bob and Gail excitedly think of baby names, and return home to make love. Bob makes videotapes for his son with tips on playing basketball, cooking pasta, and shaving. In time, he tells Gail that he has lived past the time his doctor predicted he would die. When Gail goes into labor, Bob videotapes the birth of their son, Brian Zachary Jones. Afterward, Bob silently thanks God for answering his prayer. They bring their son home, and cheerfully begin parenting, but before long, Bob learns his cancer has spread to his brain. The doctor declares it miraculous he is still alive, but expects Bob to live for only another month or two. Mr. Ho continues his therapy, but tells Bob the cancer is moving too fast to be healed. A hospice nurse named Theresa arrives at the Jones’s, and teaches Bob to use a walker. When a hospital bed is delivered to their home, Gail sobs, and is comforted by her mother, Doris. Gail videotapes Bob as he tells the story of how he fell in love with her, and she is moved. In time, Bob has a dream about his father, and upon waking, telephones his parents and finally reveals that he is dying, and tells them they were wonderful parents. His mother overcomes her fear of flying to visit him in Los Angeles, along with his father, brother, and sister-in-law. They are stunned to see how much Bob has deteriorated, but happy to meet their grandson. Bob’s family makes his childhood fantasies come true by surprising him with a circus in his backyard. His father proclaims, “better late than never.” Later, Bob tells his sleeping son that he loves him, and expresses his love to his own father. Soon after, Bob dies, with Gail by his side. In time, Brian begins to walk and talk, and Gail shows him a video recording of his father reading him a story. +

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

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