Seasons in the Sun (1982)

Genres - Drama  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Canadian pop strummer Terry Jacks stars as "Terry Brandon," a famous rock star who leaves the business when a rare disease threatens his health. Terry sails off alone on his boat (the "Seasons in the Sun") for the tranquil waters of British Columbia, but his peace and quiet is disrupted when he inadvertently (and inexplicably) stumbles upon international intrigue, love and betrayal. Double agents, Russian spies, sensitive C.I.A. documents and professional assassins; it's hardly the interpretation most would glean from the 1974 megahit that scored Jacks AM radio immortality. What's more puzzling is why this film, which sources date anywhere between 1982 and 1986, would arrive so long after Jacks' initial popularity, when "Seasons in the Sun" had already achieved "Golden Oldie" status. Regardless, this is a sluggish star vehicle for Jacks, a weak adventure with inert action and ridiculous plot twists. Even though the character of "Terry Brandon" is transparently autobiographical, Jacks has trouble playing himself, reading every line by rote with the same thin, mewling delivery. Director Ain Soodor pads the running time with long, aimless footage of Jacks wandering through the Canadian woods, staring pensively into nature and presumably brooding about the meaning of life and death. Unfortunately, the singer has the charisma of a one-hit wonder, and he's impossible to take seriously as a superstar, philosopher or love interest. There are some interesting faces on display, thanks to a trio of recognizable character actors who show up to do their thing. Michael Vale, better known for his Dunkin' Donuts commercials ("Time to make the donuts"), plays Terry's business manager as a wide-eyed, overenthusiastic bumpkin who bubbles over sold out shows and hit records. John Quade (Every Which Way But Loose, The Sting) donates his craggy Jack-O-Lantern countenance as a pointlessly aggressive drunk who pops up to hassle Terry whenever nothing else is happening. Veteran film star John Ireland (Red River, I Shot Jesse James, Satan's Cheerleaders) walks his way through a low-intensity secret agent role with dignity intact. As a musician, Jacks demonstrated an intuitive knack for songcraft in his work with the Poppy Family, and his haunting, unforgettable solo single of the titular Jacues Brel/Rod McKuen tune is undoubtedly the definitive version. Still, this limp stab at crossover fame is deservedly obscure, and even those who thrive on celebrity embarrassments won't be missing much. Animal rights activists beware; in order to accurately portray his character's love of fishing, Jacks takes plenty of opportunities to gut exotic fish in gruesome detail. Jacks' next filmmaking project found him behind the camera, directing the documentary short The Warmth of Love, The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas in 2001.