HEARTBREAKERS (1985) Los Angeles. The 80s. Peter Coyote stars as a struggling artist having relationship problems.

heartbreakers_usposterTheme Song: Anytime you see “Soundtrack by” and “Tangerine Dream” next to one another you can be sure of three things:

1. The movie you are about to watch is going to be totally over the top 80s.

2. The soundtrack is going to filled with annoying sax, synths, and atmosphere.

3. Cocaine was probably involved with the decision to include Tangerine Dream.

Interesting Dated References: Los Angeles being a place cool people are from and/or want to live.

Best Line: Arthur — “She’s slipping away from me!” Eli, in reply — “Then compromise.” Arthur then answers — “If I compromise then I’m you.” Later, said by an artist to Arthur — “You can’t paint or fuck.”

Social Context: In Los Angeles in the 80s, a lot of scripts were written about relationships, which may or may not have been penned by people high on cocaine. This is yet another one of those movies.

Summary: Peter Coyote has the best voice of anyone ever of all time.

In Heartbreakers, he plays a failed artist named Arthur, who works in a print shop. His girlfriend can’t commit to him because he is fiscally immature and preoccupied with his art. As a result, she meets ex-boyfriends for lunch which infuriates Arthur to no end. Arthur has a friend named Eli who is a successful businessman who wants nothing more than to be in a long-term relationship, but instead just sleeps with random chicks.


Okay, so now that the setup is all clarified, let’s move on. Arthur quits his print shop job and goes to Eli’s house to vent. Because Eli is promiscuous, he has a topless chick on his bed. Because it’s Los Angeles, they all decide to go to Fatburger.


Look at the fucking interior of this restaurant. It’s possibly the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. While at Fatburger, Arthur sees his girlfriend on a date with one of her exes, who is played by Detective Wojo from Barney Miller. The next day she moves out. Coyote really gives her the what-for. He smacks her around and tells her she’s a whore who knows nothing about passion because she’s delusional. I can’t be certain but I think I just drank a bottle of wine in like ten minutes.


Look! It’s Peter Coyote and some chick with huge breasts reenacting that scene from Ghost! So Arthur gets an art show, Eli screws up his dad’s business, and both go to an 80s party where Arthur yells at the Barney Miller ex-boyfriend.


Remember when women could wear baggy sweaters and it was considered sexy? That was disgusting. So Arthur and Eli pal around and take the baggy sweater girl (Carol Wayne, who died in a bizarre drowning accident the next year) to dinner, and then have a really awkward threesome with her. Really though, aren’t all threesomes awkward? People should just stop having them.


Eventually, Arthur goes to visit Barney Miller and they straighten things out. Then Arthur argues with Eli’s new art gallery-working girlfriend. The girlfriend is played by Carole Laure who was Miss Monde 1984 in Sweet Movie. Seeing her in a normal role is a little disorienting. Then all of a sudden Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” gets played during a disco dance scene sequence.


Arthur and Eli immediately get into an argument because Arthur danced with the art gallery chick. “Love Is A Battlefield” is still playing. Did you realize that during that song Benatar sings “touch me deep inside?” That’s sort of sexy. It’s even sexier that she has vanished from pop culture. That takes real integrity. So, Arthur and Eli decide they should play racquetball at like 3 am in front of the gallery working-chick, and then they get into a fist fight. Arthur and Eli make up and have a successful gallery show. The moral here is that even though Arthur goes on to great success, the girlfriend who left him is stuck with Barney Miller. And everything works out fine for Eli. And yes, I was having some camera issues during this movie.


Poster and Box Art: It’s that same aesthetic that somehow lasted from 1985 to 1993. The Heartbreakers poster walks the same line as the Saved By The Bell intro. Computer generated patterns, squares, fluorescent colors, some weird type. Welcome to 1985. The real tragedy is that this style has seen a renaissance.

Availability: Used VHS as always. Can you believe this interview with director/writer Boby Roth in which he stated that if he could only watch three movies the rest of his life they would be: “Bertolucci’s ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ ‘De Sica’s ‘The Bicycle Thief,’ and my own film ‘Heartbreakers.'”


  • His name is BLUE, billy. I love this film. Every time I wanna understand the sexual politics of the Boomers, just where their heads were at in 1984, I throw this on. Maybe it’s just an LA thing… I love LA, blow me. (But I hate it, too.) Kathryn Harrold is such a babe, and that Nona Hendrix song that plays during the menage is hot. I recommend Bobby Roth’s earlier film, THE BOSS’ SON. It’s only on VHS (Vestron!).

  • The Etta James song “MORE” while they are dancing at disco is “soulful”. But I cannot for the life of me find it anywhere( must be some copywright dispute.) The movie is a reflection of the 80’s, and how friends can have a competive element to their friendship,no matter how good the friendship.For example,Kathryn Harrold, who is Peter Coyote’s girlfriend,was Nick Mancuso’s girl, and went to Peter Coyote.At the end of movie,Peter Coyote sleeps with his best friend,Nick Mancuso’s girlfriend, Carole Laure (even though, it is implied that this is part of her job,to keep the artists for the gallery “happy”.)He knows how crazy nick is about Carole Laure,but he does it anyway.He regrets it,she regrets it.He then tells Nick. Why? Because he has been his best friend and he really regrets his actions. You see see all of them “maturing”, as a result,of recent and past behavior.If anyone can tell me how to get the Etta James song “More”,I would appreciate it. I like the movie – shows how superficial L.A. (New York,etc) of the 80’s and the music. Just one person’s point of view.

  • I’ve known the soundtrack since the LP was first released in the UK – and I find almost half of it drivel.Fine, but the other half of the tracks are beautiful, atmospheric, and as good as the best of any TD from the same period. For those who like this sort of thing, TD never got to do the complex polyrhythmic arpeggio thing this brilliantly again.The birdsong-like flute licks on ‘Breathing The Night’ away (played by Edgar Froese, I assume) are absolute musical magic.-The film is certainly flawed, but I do like Peter Coyote (he could turn me…) and I find this a quite moving story of friendship, greed, and soullessness.First time I saw it I did well-up at the end, when the lovely sad piano theme comes in.Maybe (paradoxically) Heartbreakers is a chick-flick – I was first turned on to it by a girlfriend who loved the whole package.

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