Forever (1992) from Tuna

Tuna's notes

Keith Coogan plays an music video director with no job prospects. When his car dies, he ducks into a house to use the phone, where he finds a house full of antique furnishings, and a lovely ghost. The next morning, he is awakened by a real estate agent. It turns out that the house belonged to a murdered silent film mogul named William Desmond Taylor, and the ghost he saw was a famous silent star named Mary Miles Minter (Sean Young).

Coogan contacts his agent, and it seems his luck has suddenly changed, He has won an MTV award, and been given a huge and lucrative contract to make 12 videos.  His agent, Sally Kirkland, expects sex - and plenty of it - as part of her commission, but Coogan is falling in love with the ghost of Minter, who appears to him, along with many other silent era stars, whenever he runs the old silent films through an antique movieola editor. In fact, he is so taken with Minter/Young, and so busy trying to discover who really shot William Desmond Taylor, that he nearly defaults on his contract to produce the rock videos.

Forever is labeled as a horror/mystery at IMDb. I can't imagine why they applied horror to this offering. From my viewpoint, this is no more horror or mystery than The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, but rather is a gimmicky romantic comedy, and not an especially good one. Keith Coogan, who was 22 at the time, looked about 16. Believing him as a music video director, much less a bed partner for the mature Sally Kirkland, required more imagination than I have. One reviewer commented that the silent film characters were not portrayed accurately, and I will have to defer to his knowledge there, but that seems like only one small misstep in what is 93 minutes of missteps. Had they starred a more believable male lead, gotten the silent era parts right, and actually come up with something new after all the dithering about  the famous murder, this premise might have developed into something.  As it is, I will generously say it is barely watchable.


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Sean Young and Sally Kirkland show their breasts

Scoop's notes

I haven't seen this film, but I have certainly read plenty about this murder. I don't understand why Mary Miles Minter would appear to the guy at Sean Young's age. That makes no sense. Minter lived well into the 1980s, and was 82 when she died. On the other hand, she was 19 when Taylor was murdered, and never appeared on screen after the age of 21. Sean Young was in her early 30s when she made this film, so was therefore either much too young or much too old for the part! (It would be much too old if I understand correctly that the ghost is supposed to appear from Minter's movie images.)

Minter had purportedly started an intimate relationship with Taylor when she was still underage and Taylor, a noted lothario, was 30 years older. Hollywood was scandalized when the youngster's love letters were found in the murdered man's bungalow, and even more so when she kissed his corpse full on the lips at the wake. The real capper, however, was that she then turned away from the body and started to exclaim to the crowd that Taylor had just spoken to her from beyond the grave, having professed his eternal love!

It was rumored that her mother was also Taylor's lover, and the overbearing stage mother was considered a very strong suspect in the Taylor murder, with jealousy a possible motive. Irrespective of her mother's role in the affair, Miss Minter's bizarre involvement with Taylor effectively destroyed her career. Although she had been a big star and was contracted by Paramount at $2250 per week -  roughly equivalent to a million and a half dollars per year in 2006 dollars - her public could never forgive her, because her image was supposed to be one of doe-eyed innocence. (She was considered Paramount's answer to Mary Pickford.) Minter made two films after the murder, both bombed, and she would be completely out of show business within two years of the murder, banished from the industry at the tender age of 21, never to return, although she would live another sixty years.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our 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. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • 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 low, low C-, watchable, but just barely.

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