CANNES–Bemoaning how the quality of modern films has slipped, a character here remarks, “I think somehow the magic has gotten lost.” Seldom has this notion been more conclusively validated than in “Forever,” a sweetly intended Hollywood saga of embarrassing awkwardness. An unappetizingly incongruous mishmash of the supernatural, rock videos, Hollywood history and soft-core porn, indie production is headed straight for the video bin.
The ghosts of some of the silent cinema’s legendary stars are literally summoned up for this low-budgeter.
Callow young music video whiz Keith Coogan moves into the Hollywood villa where, 70 years before, film director William Desmond Taylor was murdered (in a case that has never been solved despite numerous famous speculations).
When Coogan begins looking at film he finds spooled on an ancient Movieola, the personalities included therein–Mary Pickford, Wallace Reid, Billy Baldwin, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand and, most important, Mary Miles Minter–come spinning into his life and totally distract him from his video assignments, much to the consternation of his crass agent and sometime lover, Sally Kirkland.
Story’s core, such as it is, has Coogan falling in love with Minter. But instead of exploring the extraordinary and metaphysical aspects of a romance conducted through the time barrier, klutzy script by producer Jackelyn Giroux and director Thomas Palmer Jr. has Minter exclaiming about the wonders of movies on cable TV and complaining about the inferiority of wine coolers to champagne.
Shot mostly in the house location, pic is notable for the exceptional stiffness of its numerous sex scenes. Coogan looks about half as tall as both Kirkland–who does her raunchy thing once again– and Sean Young, a most implausible Minter, and none looks happy to be there.
No better are Steve Railsback and Diane Ladd, who have the improbable assignment of sharing a hot-tub scene while portraying William Desmond Taylor and Mabel Normand.
Film buffs who have heard of these characters will be appalled, while general audiences could scarcely care less.