Ladies Night Presents: Hearts of Fire (1987)

When we look at cult movies there's sub-genres within sub-genres. That's what's so great about them, peeling back the layers of what cult film is. Well out of all the derivations of cult movies the Ladies have found one that is rarely mentioned. So I Invite you to read on as The Ladies of the Lair explore the weird world of Bobsplitation. 

Hearts of Fire (1987) starring Bob Dylan, Rupert Everett, and Fiona. Directed by Richard Marquand. Written by Joe Eszterhas. 

Hearts of Fire is a feel good rock film with an eighties flair. It’s about a girl named Molly (Fiona) who is an aspiring musician. One night while performing cover songs in a local bar, she meets retired rocker Billy Parker (Dylan). Billy invites Molly to accompany him to London where he takes her under his wing to help with her music career. While there, she meets her favorite, has been pop star James Colt (Everett). As Molly’s career begins to take off, a love triangle emerges, and she learns that fame is not all that it seems. 

Tid Bits

--Richard Marquand also directed Return of the Jedi. Hearts of Fire was his last film and it was released posthumously. It was rumored that Eszterhas script was so mad it killed the director. 

--Eszterhas also wrote the scripts for Flashdance, Basic Instinct, and the all time classic Showgirls.

--Fiona was a musician with four albums being released between 1985 and 1992. She was a guest on Warrant’s Cherry Pie album, and she appeared in two episodes of Miami Vice.
Hearts of Fire was meant to jump start her career. 

The script was deplorable, the plot was thin, and the acting was questionable at best. With that being said, it was fantastic! Comedy gold! This movie contains an endless supply of one-liners and a fistfight that you’ll just have to tell your friends about. There was even some blood! OK, so it was just a tiny amount, but it splattered and I was happy to see it.

Now, I am not as big a fan of Dylan as Ms Directed. Nobody is, but he was the best part of the film. There was a bit in the middle without Dylan in it, and it was not nearly as entertaining as the rest of the film. Bob Dylan’s Character is pretty much what I would expect him to be in real life, a little disconnected, a little weird, and lots of fun. 

Rupert Everett as a pop star is kind of laughable, but it’s still more believable than Fiona. He even sang his own pop songs and performed them complete with eye liner and spirit fingers. The film also contains several rock star cameos.

On a side note, the movie was rated ’R’, but I’m not sure why. Yes there was a small amount of blood, but only for a second. And yes, we did see Fiona topless, but it was kind of like looking at a dude. All in all, I don’ think that an ’R’ was warranted.

I did enjoy my time with Hearts of Fire. In fact, I watched it twice. It made me laugh, and it even managed to teach me a few things….

1. Fiona can’t sing. I am not surprised that I had never heard of her before watching this film, and some of her warbling made me wish I was a double Van Gogh.

2. F**k ’em if they can’t take a joke. 

3. Famous pop stars own their own helicopters and live in castles. 

4. Chicken farmers have lots of eggs. Possibly because they have a “No Admittance” sign posted above their “Eggs for Sale” sign. 

5. If you’re a down and out rocker, find a chicken farm and fall asleep in various places. This will seem normal. 

6. Fiona still can’t sing. 

This movie will not change your life. It will not take you to that special place in your sub-conscience that you didn’t know existed. It will, however, take you on a fun ride. It delivers laughs for almost the whole of the 96 minute running time. Was that intentional? Probably not, but funny and how! It is entertaining even for a non-Dylan fans, but if you have high standards for your films then skip this one. Otherwise, I highly recommend watching it (if you can get your hands on it, it has been long out of print) and have a great time watching it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Comedy gold!

Count 'em Up, Bob!

    April 21 1991. If you have a date in you’re life that all important roads either end at or leave from you will understand. No walls fell, no disaster stuck, important history was not made but for me there is B.B. and A.B. In my life it is how all time is kept. I was at the local auditorium. I was 16 with one ticket in my hand. None of my friends wanted to go with me. Most of my friends didn’t know who I was going to see. I had heard Bob Dylan first and thought what most 13 years olds think. “What’s he saying?”

Then I really started to listen. Dylan was the first songwriter that made me love the twist of a phase. After I was about 3 tapes (yeah I’m old) in I was hooked. From there I found Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, The Band, even more contemporary people I had just missed like Tom Petty. I loved him not just for his music, but for his knowledge of music. The more I read about him the more I discovered my own American Musical heritage. I’m not just speaking of folk music, but old country, rock, and blues. 

   I stood outside waiting to get in. I was in the second row. I had to camp out for tickets by myself while my mother nervously rode around the block. After a day of sleeping on the street and a couple of months, I was going to see Bob Dylan. I was the coolest person ever.

   The concert was awesome, to me. On the way out I heard college kids complaining about what he didn’t play. I heard old hippies talking about how he’d changed. All those people were obviously nuts. I saw an awesome show.

   The reason for this story is two fold. The first we’ll get back to later, but for now let's bring it back home to the review and how hard it is for me the say bad things about Dylan. There are all kind of nerds in this world. Some go for comic books, some are in the chess club, and if you go way down the list you get to song nerds. Like a Spiderman fan is to Stan Lee, I am to Bob Dylan. I tell anyone to take my opinion of this movie not with a grain of salt, but a whole shaker. 

   The movie has flaws. If you are a rock music history fan, there will be enough to keep you entertained. but strangely the music is not one of those things. It is interesting to see the songs that were picked to share the screen with the greatest songwriter ever. He sings tunes by John Hiatt and Shel Silverstein. To me, those are both songwriters very near the top of my list. Also Ronnie Wood pops in as well as Richie Havens. There are a couple of Dylan references put in for good measure like little cinematic hidden track.
   The acting is hit and miss. Fiona seems half stoned for the whole film. Sometimes it works with the screen, sometimes not. Rupert Everett does the best he can, but the guy he is playing needs to be put down for general whininess. Dylan is, well, Dylan. If you know a little about Dylan you know that means good and bad things for a movie. That means at times he will be hard to understand. That also means he will be funny and deliver lines with timing that only a song and dance man could.
   The movie looks well done. The worst part is the writing. There are some lines that just don't jive with who the characters ought to be. After all, I'm a girl who has played guitar her whole life, and there's no chance I would have to ask what a mandolin is. Fiona's character has a tendency to say things twice for effect. She's not a great actress, but with what she was given, Catherine Denauve couldn't have delivered on the drek that Joe Esterhauz  spread all over everyone's script. There were buckets of bad dialog.
   The main message of the plot is fame and how it affects art. To this point the film is effective and even ends on a hopeful note. The melodrama in the middle does play out like soap opera. 
Dylan's character comes off part himself, part Keith Moon and a little Willie Nelson. In spite what most people would believe, the character was not intended to be a carbon copy. If you are looking for a better understanding of Dylan, I suggest the movie I’m Not There. Watching it you will be confused the whole time, but you will know a lot more at the end.

   This movie will always have a place on my VHS shelf, but it’s not for everyone. So take that into account, but if you are a Dylan fan, pick it up if you can find it. For those of who might not understand the appeal of Hearts of Fire, think the American Ninja for guitar playing chicks.

    April 21 1991, and I'm walking outside after the show waiting for my mom to pick me up. There is this guy in a leather jacket holding a star from Dylan’s green room. I hear him talking to his friend about the show. I run to him asking a flurry of questions.  Little did I know then that we would meet years later, rule over the moon and try to take over the Earth with B movies. Life is strange. So thanks Bob for bring people together in the name of music. My life After Bugg is much superior to Before Bugg.
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hats

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to the next Bobsploitation.


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