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Journey of the Heart

Journey of the Heart (Sun (2); 9-11 p.m.; CBS) Filmed in Los Angeles by Long Bow Prods. in association with River Siren Films. Executive producers, Bill Pace , Ronnie D. Clemmer, Richard P. Kughn; co-executive producers, Cybill Shepherd, Sharon Cicero, Jim Noll, Tyler Tyhurst; producer, William Shippey; co-producer, Dalene Young, director, Karen Arthur; writer, Young; director of photography, Thomas Neuwirth; editor, Michael Brown; production design, Jim Newport; sound, Rob Janiger; music, Roger Kellaway. Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Stephen Lang, Kay Lenz, Chris Demetral, Blake Heron, Cassdy Rae, David Carpenter, Richard Herd, H. Richard Greene, Jeremy Lelliot, Will Rothhaar, Carolyn Lagerfelt, Maggie Bly, Steve Ireland, Carolyn Pemberton, Maurice Sherbanee, Elayn Taylor, Venus Demilo Thomas. Scribe Dalene Young trods very familiar territory in this mostly uninteresting telefilm about a working mother's quest to get her disabled but gifted son a shot at the brass ring. While star Cybill Shepherd elevates stage mothering to new heights, her "Cybill" footprints loom too large and as a result preclude many of pic's attempts to strike emotional resonance from being taken seriously. A punchline is almost expected at each turn. Story centers on single mother Janice Johnson (Shepherd) and her hard-working life in a small Texas town. Upon discovering that her son Tony (Chris Demetral), though blind, is a gifted pianist who can play by ear, she seeks to get him enrolled at a school that can advance his prowess. Packing her small-town life into boxes, Johnson heads to Boston where the expected conflicts between small-town Mom and stubborn school administrators ensues. Fortunately, a music prof (Stephen Lang) takes a liking to Tony, though he is obviously smitten with Johnson's aggressive demeanor. Tony and prof bond, while Tony's brother Ray (Blake Heron), who dreams of a career in baseball, mostly strikes out in getting the amount of attention paid to Tony by the grownups. Young plays up the Tony/Ray rivalry sufficiently, while also managing to make Tony appear more capable than Ray on many levels, emotional stability being one of them. Even Mom eventually realizes Tony's development may allow him to take flight from the apron strings. The chemistry between Heron and Demetral is top-notch and immeasurably aids the storytelling, just as the tension between Jeremy Lelliot and Will Rothhaar, who play the very young Tony and Ray, respectively, does in the pic's first half. The latter pair are clearly future stars. TV vet Lang, who's had a spate of web telefilms since starring as part of the groundbreaking and enjoyable "Crime Story" series ensemble, makes all the right moves and helps to shepherd this otherwise plodding offering from getting too bogged down in web-requisite sappiness. Director Karen Arthur guides her talented cast into watchable perfs --- though while articulating predictable, shop-worn dialogue. Her efforts are most telling in the scenes involving the young actors, who appear less as polished pros and more as real-life brothers. Roger Kellaway provides some interesting musical choices for Tony's repertoire, bouncing between potent classical and jazz works; his score work also helps advance the story. --- Adam Sandler

With:
Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Stephen Lang, Kay Lenz, Chris Demetral, Blake Heron, Cassdy Rae, David Carpenter, Richard Herd, H. Richard Greene, Jeremy Lelliot, Will Rothhaar, Carolyn Lagerfelt, Maggie Bly, Steve Ireland, Carolyn Pemberton, Maurice Sherbanee, Elayn Taylor, Venus Demilo Thomas.

Journey of the Heart (Sun (2); 9-11 p.m.; CBS) Filmed in Los Angeles by Long Bow Prods. in association with River Siren Films. Executive producers, Bill Pace , Ronnie D. Clemmer, Richard P. Kughn; co-executive producers, Cybill Shepherd, Sharon Cicero, Jim Noll, Tyler Tyhurst; producer, William Shippey; co-producer, Dalene Young, director, Karen Arthur; writer, Young; director of photography, Thomas Neuwirth; editor, Michael Brown; production design, Jim Newport; sound, Rob Janiger; music, Roger Kellaway. Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Stephen Lang, Kay Lenz, Chris Demetral, Blake Heron, Cassdy Rae, David Carpenter, Richard Herd, H. Richard Greene, Jeremy Lelliot, Will Rothhaar, Carolyn Lagerfelt, Maggie Bly, Steve Ireland, Carolyn Pemberton, Maurice Sherbanee, Elayn Taylor, Venus Demilo Thomas. Scribe Dalene Young trods very familiar territory in this mostly uninteresting telefilm about a working mother’s quest to get her disabled but gifted son a shot at the brass ring. While star Cybill Shepherd elevates stage mothering to new heights, her “Cybill” footprints loom too large and as a result preclude many of pic’s attempts to strike emotional resonance from being taken seriously. A punchline is almost expected at each turn. Story centers on single mother Janice Johnson (Shepherd) and her hard-working life in a small Texas town. Upon discovering that her son Tony (Chris Demetral), though blind, is a gifted pianist who can play by ear, she seeks to get him enrolled at a school that can advance his prowess. Packing her small-town life into boxes, Johnson heads to Boston where the expected conflicts between small-town Mom and stubborn school administrators ensues. Fortunately, a music prof (Stephen Lang) takes a liking to Tony, though he is obviously smitten with Johnson’s aggressive demeanor. Tony and prof bond, while Tony’s brother Ray (Blake Heron), who dreams of a career in baseball, mostly strikes out in getting the amount of attention paid to Tony by the grownups. Young plays up the Tony/Ray rivalry sufficiently, while also managing to make Tony appear more capable than Ray on many levels, emotional stability being one of them. Even Mom eventually realizes Tony’s development may allow him to take flight from the apron strings. The chemistry between Heron and Demetral is top-notch and immeasurably aids the storytelling, just as the tension between Jeremy Lelliot and Will Rothhaar, who play the very young Tony and Ray, respectively, does in the pic’s first half. The latter pair are clearly future stars. TV vet Lang, who’s had a spate of web telefilms since starring as part of the groundbreaking and enjoyable “Crime Story” series ensemble, makes all the right moves and helps to shepherd this otherwise plodding offering from getting too bogged down in web-requisite sappiness. Director Karen Arthur guides her talented cast into watchable perfs — though while articulating predictable, shop-worn dialogue. Her efforts are most telling in the scenes involving the young actors, who appear less as polished pros and more as real-life brothers. Roger Kellaway provides some interesting musical choices for Tony’s repertoire, bouncing between potent classical and jazz works; his score work also helps advance the story. — Adam Sandler

Popular on Variety

Journey of the Heart

Sun (2); 9-11 p.m.; CBS

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Long Bow Prods. in association with River Siren Films. Executive producers, Bill Pace, Ronnie D. Clemmer, Richard P. Kughn; co-executive producers, Cybill Shepherd, Sharon Cicero, Jim Noll, Tyler Tyhurst; producer, William Shippey; co-producer, Dalene Young, director, Karen Arthur; writer, Young.

Cast: Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Stephen Lang, Kay Lenz, Chris Demetral, Blake Heron, Cassdy Rae, David Carpenter, Richard Herd, H. Richard Greene, Jeremy Lelliot, Will Rothhaar, Carolyn Lagerfelt, Maggie Bly, Steve Ireland, Carolyn Pemberton, Maurice Sherbanee, Elayn Taylor, Venus Demilo Thomas.Director of photography, Thomas Neuwirth; editor, Michael Brown; production design, Jim Newport; sound, Rob Janiger; music, Roger Kellaway.

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