A Walk on the Moon (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This movie was a very pleasant surprise to me. It's a 1999 movie which bombed in a limited theatrical run, and I expected it to bite the begonia, but it touched me.

It uses 1969 as a backdrop to show how the social and cultural revolution of the late 60's affected real people, average folks with real and largely unarticulated longings for change.  It is completely believable - a real rarity in American movies. No bizarre coincidences, no artificial resolutions. It does have kind of a happy ending, but a realistic one. All the characters, situations, and dialogue are real. 

This is how "the 60's" really affected us.

I was very impressed with the script as well as with the acting. It isn't a movie of grand sweep, but it's good. I felt it was much better than the two stars Ebert gave it. Liev Schreiber, in particular, was excellent as the cuckolded husband. Come to think of it, Liev is pretty good in everything.


Diane Lane was topless twice - once under a waterfall with Viggo, once partially covered in paint

There was also nudity from some miscellaneous hippies at Woodstock

The simple story:

Diane Lane plays a young wife who goes off to the Catskills for the family summer trip. For various reasons, her husband wasn't able to spend much time with his family that summer. Although she loved her husband and realized what a good person he was, she had some deep stirrings for rebellion and change and variety and spontaneity, and she ended up spending a weekend at Woodstock with an itinerant blouse salesman. In the long run, this forced her to start moving closer to her husband since they had to scrape the everyday veneer from their conversations and get down to what they were really feeling.

The film is, in its way, kind of a hymn to the best days of my generation. In the summer of 1969, within a very short time, man walked on the moon and the Woodstock festival took place. That packed a tremendous amount of epochal and newsworthy significance into a couple of weeks. You might call it the reconciliation of opposites, the apotheosis of sophisticated science side by side with an urge to rejoin nature in pastoral simplicity, a statement that love and progress could stand side-by-side, or could battle each other to the death. Both events, in their way, marked beginnings and endings, and both symbolized hope.

For my generation it was a helluva summer. For me as well. It was the peak of my acting career, and the summer I fell in love for the first time. The world was filled with infinite promise, as they say. On the other hand, infinite promise matched with finite abilities leads to near-infinite disappointment. 

But that doesn't make the nostalgia any less sweet.

This movie is about how those cosmic events, and the cultural revolution of the late 60's, affected ordinary people. Not student radicals, or naked hippies, or Marxists, but you and me. The great silent short-haired socks-wearing masses. For many women, it was about wanting to expand the constricting stereotypical roles assigned to them in the post-war era. Like most people, the Diane Lane character knows the times they are a changin', but she doesn't know what it all means to her. Still, she has this unarticulated feeling that if there is more freedom to be had, she wants a chunk of it. 

So did we all.

Maybe the reason why I like the film that has nothing to do with the quality of the film itself. Maybe it's just one of those otherwise uninspired movies, like "Kiss the Sky", that sums up the generational angst of the aging Baby Boomers like me, the feeling that everything didn't turn out the way we planned.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features


Everybody in my generation seems to claim to have gone to Woodstock, even if they were living in Albania at the time. If you took a survey of people who are about my age, then extrapolated the results to the full population, there must have been 30 million people there. 

But me, I could have just about walked there from where I was, and didn't go. Oh, we talked about it, we knew it was happening, but .... you know how it is.  

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.8 
  • With their dollars ... a weak performer. Budget $14 million, gross $5 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ or maybe a B-. I'm not sure, because it's too close to my own experiences, so I can't gauge if others without those shared memories will find it interesting. Excellent look back at the meaning of the 60's cultural revolution for ordinary people.

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