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Author! Author! (1982)

Directed by Arthur Hiller

Starring: Al Pacino, Dyan Cannon, Tuesday Weld

This 1982 film was directed by Arthur Hiller, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for Love Story (1970). The movie is loosely based on the experiences of writer Israel Horovitz who wrote the screenplay. The movie stars Al Pacino and Dyan Cannon. Also featured are a number of other familiar faces like Bob Dishy (Along Came Polly) and Tuesday Weld (Looking for Mr. Goodbar).

Ivan Travalian (Pacino) is struggling to hold his family together while he finishes the script for his newest play. With his wife (Weld) pulling away, Ivan is left to work on his play and raised the mixed bunch of children under his roof. As his wife seeks love elsewhere Ivan struggles to keep all of the children under his roof. Soon Ivan is also looking for love, this time with the star of his new play, Alice Detroit (Cannon). As he looks to have a happy home, Ivan is forced to make tough choices.

When this movie was released the critics bashed it. Perhaps it’s improved with age, I really enjoyed this one. Sure, it’s dated and corny, but the movie has some really great moments. The dialogue in the film brings out some zingers from the kids in the cast which really add to the comedy. There is also drama in the story as the film addresses the issues of parenting and custody.

The acting from Pacino is good, but it feels a little forced at times. The real chemistry in this movie comes from the scenes with Pacino and the young actor Eric Gurry. Those scenes are some of my favorites. Cannon and Weld also do well with the parts they have in this movie.

The weak point of this movie is definitely the song played at the opening and closing credits. “Comin’ Home to You (Is Like Comin’ Home to Milk and Cookies)” might be the worst song ever written for a movie. Perhaps the critics would have been kinder to the film had this not been the last thing they heard when viewing it. The song even earned a Razzie nomination for the Worst Original Song.

This isn’t an award winner, just a fun movie with some light moments and some attempts at touching emotion. Despite the weaknesses, this is worth watching if you’d like to see a warmer role by Al Pacino. It’s a corny film and one I would add to my guilty pleasure list. I give this one 2.3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 110 minutes


  1. I’ve never got around to seeing this one. However, I just looked up the song and no doubt – it’s simply terrible by any measurable standards. It’s like something written for a SNL Digital Short parody. Anyway – I should check the movie out because I need to see some more of Pacino’s “lesser” work.

    FYI, Hiller was only nominated for Best Director for Love Story. He lost to Franklin J. Schaffner for Patton.


    1. I knew someone might catch my error. I caught it myself but I had not changed that yet.

      It really is a fun movie, just nothing of the caliber Pacino is known for. The critcs didn’t like it since it appeared to “bash” on the female charcters.


  2. I cant say anything about the technical aspects but ‘I like the idea…the story. I saw this movie for the first time 9 year back,after that I again watched it 3 year back and now I think i have some idea about what this movie is all about as i have just watched it for two or three times.I always want to understand why after all we want to love people why we want to live with them why we want to hold them with ourself,is love is also is some kind of ignorance?I think yes and that’s its beauty,that’s the reason we are attracted towards it.This movie in its story present that in a very subtle manner.And like truth the reason of sorrow is also lies beneath the anarchical flow of life.And which appeared momentarily when this anarchy is threaten by our true nature.


  3. Your review is spot on. I never watched the movie when it first came out. I was an Al Pacino fan until his later movies and then I couldn’t stand him.

    I recently watched this movie for the first time and really liked it. The kids swear too much, of course, but they’re New Yorkers – at least it’s not the F word and the kids are not too sarcastic and quite likeable.

    There were some very likeable and funny scenes – “I’m stuck up here on the rooftop with Henny Youngman” and when Spike gives Ivan the baseball card.

    It wasn’t continually funny but you are right, the messages are important; about family and having a home. I thought Pacino handled the role just fine.

    Lastly, the song you mentioned, is absolutely horrible! Music can definitely make or break a film.

    Liked by 1 person

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