Film & Water #94 – Modern Romance



Rob welcomes back Max Romero to discuss Albert Brooks' 1981 masterpiece of comedy and heartbreak, MODERN ROMANCE. Cue the Hulk Screaming!

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9 responses to “Film & Water #94 – Modern Romance

  1. Very informative guys. For some reason, I’ve never seen this one despite loving Brooks’ other films. I like your comment comparing Brooks to Woody Allen. There are some similarities in their onscreen personas are quite a bit different. Woody can be both at once more confident and more of a nebbish than Brooks.

    The parallels to Annie Hall seem apparent but your discussion got me to also thinking of Allen’s Whatever Works (2009) with Larry David (in a role originally conceived years earlier for Zero Mostel). David plays a curmudgeon who marries a much younger woman with whom he’s totally unsuited. Fate ultimately steps in and we get a truly happy ending (somewhat unusual for Woody). Plus: it has Samantha Bee & Henry Cavill in small roles.

    FYI: Here’s Brooks promoting Modern Romance in 1981 on the Tonight Show. He enters at the 20 min. mark.

    1. I wish there was a DVD compilation of all of his Tonight Show appearances. One time he famously came out just to tell Johnny he was “completely out of material.”

      Nice find!

  2. Surprise, surprise, I haven’t seen this movie. This really doesn’t sound like my type of movie (I’ve been blessed to be in perhaps the most uncomplicated romance in the history of…history), but despite all that, you guys sold me on wanting to see it.

    The Hulk bit was hilarious!


    1. Albert Brooks is not for everyone, but my unbridled enthusiasm for this movie overrides my normal reticence about recommending movies that I know are not for everyone. This movie is like one of those great sad songs, that is painful to listen to but you can’t turn it off.

      And yes I figured the Hulk bit was perfect sample to use for the people who visit this network regularly!

        1. Not sure, they seem to come and go on Netflix. Of his five (IMO) great movies, I think they are most accessible in this order:

          Defending Your Life
          Lost in America
          Modern Romance
          Real Life

          …basically the reverse of how they were released. He has two other films, THE MUSE (meh +), and LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD (skip).

          He plays a major role in BROADCAST NEWS, which is a terrific movie in its own right, but he didn’t write or direct.

          1. For anyone who thinks this movie (or Albert Brooks in general) might not be their sort of thing, I’d say, give it a try anyway. As Rob says, Brooks isn’t for everyone, but I’ve also seen a lot of people who felt that way become fans after watching one of his movies. Any of the five movies Rob lists above would be a great place to start!

            For some reason, Brooks’ movies have been harder to find lately. They were all on Netflix for an all-too-brief time, and then disappeared again. I think they’re readily available on Amazon, and they’re definitely worth the rental fee.

            Oh, man, if you think the scene sounds funny, you’ve gotta watch it — the visuals make it even better!

          2. Brooks is brilliant. I can’t even express how intelligent and subtly funny his work often can be.

            Great show, fellas. I need to up my game.

  3. Thanks for this episode.

    I have seen all of Brooks movies and I have enjoyed them as I watched.

    But I have never watched them a second time. And I watch movies over and over and over.

    I guess it is a testament to his talent. He makes me so uncomfortable during the movies. It is visceral. He can be so unlikable. Any movie that can invoke that much feeling in me has to be considered a success.

    But, despite the glowing discussion from you both, I don’t think I could watch this again. And that is despite being reminded that Kathryn Harrold is in it! How much did I like Kathryn Harrold growing up? I watched 2 seasons of MacGruder and Loud!

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