Theme Song: There is no theme song to Listen to Your Heart because it was made in 1983 and Roxette had not yet written my mom’s second favorite song of all time, “Listen to Your Heart.” That didn’t happen until summer of 1989, or so. Between that and her Johnny B and The Leisure Suits tapes, it was a miserable summer.
Interesting Dated References: Answering machines being a nuisance that constantly cut off the message-leaver; having random sexual or intimate contact with your coworker being a big deal; a single adult male having an open bottle of white wine in his refrigerator; being single and dating in Chicagoland being enjoyable and something in which you don’t have to compete with younger and younger eras of disease-ridden, “cool,” bike messengers who also “dj.”
Best Line: None.
Social Context: Made-for-TV, post-Annie Hall, 1980s-existential-relationship-melodrama, made quickly for a readily-digestive television-viewing audience. The main conflict in Listen to Your Heart (dating a coworker) was less of a deal in the early 80s than it is now, since modern businesses often have policies about it.
Summary: Listen to Your Heart opens with a big panning shot of Chicago circa 1982, from the (then) Sears Tower. The city sure looks a lot different than it does now. Granted I’m no expert, because I’m terrified of urban areas and have hidden in the suburbs all these years, but it sure does look like there used to be a lot more sand than there is now. After the pan, we see some more shots of other Chicagoland area buildings, all so you’ll say, “Hey, this was filmed in Chicago!” or “Hey, I projectile vomited there late one night after a miserable evening!” In fact, this is the second Chicago-based, early-80s, relationship drama that specifically takes place in the Near North Side/Old Town neighborhoods I’ve reviewed this year (Windy City being the other).
So there’s our skyline shot, and then we’re teleported to a place called Houlihan’s, which is right next to Mother’s Too (if you care). There’s no way to really tell if this place is connected to the modern day Houlihan’s chain, but let’s assume it is. Regardless, this current locale is a now a FedEx Office, not the hopping, yuppie, singles bar that appears here. Inside Houlihan’s we meet Frannie, played by Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels). She’s just out of a long-term relationship with her former boss and decided to let her slutty friend, Stacey, show her around.
They meet Josh (Tim Matheson) and his friend. The girls immediately like the guys and never think they are creepy or shady or possibly going to try to sexually assault them. In fact, their willingness to go home with these guys (separately) only shows how different things were in 1983.
At home, Josh and Frannie have awkward conversation as she chugs wine and tells him how she doesn’t think she’s going to be good at having one-night stands. After about 2 hours of that, Josh takes her home. The next day they go about their lives (separately). Josh plays soccer and has a good attitude about life, and Frannie moves in with her slutty friend and drinks a lot.
The next day at work, Josh goes to see the new “art person” about some artwork he is unhappy with. Somewhere in there, Josh mentioned he was a book editor. The new “art person” is Frannie. She has a giant type-specimen book on her wall which you will find interesting if you are an out of work graphic designer. Even though they didn’t even see each other naked, let alone exchange fluids, they both immediately get weird and uncomfortable with each other. This whole conflict is a little convoluted. Ever the professional, they both agree to proceed as coworkers and never mention their awkward night together.
One Saturday night Josh is out shopping for books by the old Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and stumbles upon Frannie and Stacey out with some dudes. Frannie hides from Josh, but I can’t tell if it’s because she’s embarrassed for him because he’s out shopping on a Saturday night, or if it’s she’s embarrassed she’s out with a bunch of dildos.
Eventually Frannie gets unhappy with all the dudes and decides to enter into a relationship with Josh. People around the office gossip and spread the news. I’d love to provide some commentary or insight, but there’s really nothing going on here that’s worth noting.
Because this is Chicago, Josh takes Frannie to meet his dysfunctional Italian-stereotyped family. Josh gets angry and distant for almost no reason at all, and decides to take a job in California. At the last minute he decides to stay and bombards Frannie with a surprise kiss as she sits around at some country club. How the fuck were people able to track other people down in the 80s? You must have had to call like three different people to try to find someone, then take a random guess at where they were, or something.
Sometimes there just isn’t that much to say about a movie, especially when it’s made-for-TV. Tim Matheson is a good actor, but the story lacks depth. Oh yeah, and Ann Landers had a cameo appearance in there during a lunch scene.
Poster and Box Art: This was a made-for-TV movie, so it gets one of those default boxes featuring a scene from the movie that doesn’t really explain anything. They did, however, trouble themselves with taking this press photo, which would have made a better cover:
This photo seemed to be part of some type of press kit. I’m not sure why this movie would have a press kit, but it did.
Availability: Used VHS on Amazon. It seems a lot of people who are still into Kate Jackson seek this out and pay at least $25.00 for it.