Kiss the Sky (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

One thumb hesitantly up from Scoop, one convincingly down from Tuna.


Scoop's note in white:

The Robbins Recipe: The Beach meets The Over-The-Hill Gang

Since modern medical science extended our life-spans and created a period of "middle age" for us, the greatest problem of that part of life has been its vulnerability to an attack of the crazies. You wake up one morning, and you question everything that you've done. Maybe you're a great success, by the typical standards of society, but you question the value of those successes. You get a longing for a time in your life when you were living closer to the edge, when everything was new, when you still had your ideals, and a full lifetime ahead to realize them. When you remember what your dreams were, you become acutely aware of how few of them you did realize, and you then become aware that you got distracted by day-to-day life, which offered some detours. You took the detours, they gradually became your new road, and you never even realized it.

I suppose this phenomenon, although prevalent in all modern generations and probably in all developed societies, has had an unusually intense psychological impact on my generation, because our youths were so full of violent rebellion, freedom from societal constraints, and being on the leading edge of change, ultimately exercising more cultural power than our own parents.

In that crazy 1968-74 period, we experienced something the the guys before us never had. Instead of crushing us under the weight of conformity, adults started copying us, believing us, changing their own lives because of us. We first began to realize our power on the night LBJ announced he wouldn't run again. Damn, our silly little protests kicked a president out of office. Then the rules started changing in every way. From global issues like minority rights to petty matters like campus rules, the times, they really were a-changin'.


Sheryl Lee's breasts were seen several times, including in three-way sex scenes. The top third of her butt is visible twice, and there is one very dark, very brief flash of pubic hair.

Patricia Charbonneau did an unrevealing sex scene, with possible a brief glimpse of areola, maybe not

Gary Cole and William Petersen showed their buns in a skinny-dipping scene.

Two women named Elena Bennett and Katie Chesters were seen stark naked (full frontal) in flashbacks

Then the adults started co-opting our speech, clothing, and drugs. Middle aged guys would flash the peace sign and ask you for a doobie. What a trip. It was a wild and heady ride, I tell you, to be steering the cultural ship at that age instead of just sitting in a passenger seat waiting for some destination. It all culminated when another U.S. president, resignation in hand, left office in humiliation and disgrace.

And so it ended.

That was the end of it for the mainstream of our generation. Except for a few idealistic stragglers, we set down our protest signs, and in time we traded in our VW campers for Porsches, and most of us created a nest not very different from the one in which our parents had raised us. As I said earlier, every generation of youth loses its ideals, so there's no great story in that, but we sure seemed to fall from a greater height to a greater depth. The sheer vertical drop of that fall seemed to us to be tragic at Aristotelian levels. That's melodramatic, but that's how it felt. Such was our generation's inflated estimation of our own place on the planet.

And that's what this movie is all about. Two guys "have it all", and they can't breathe. So they seek to recapture their youthful passion by adventures, exploration, experimental relationships, mysticism, whatever it takes. The movie doesn't really reach any conclusions. One of the guys returns to his job and family, still confused, with one foot still out the door. The other guy ends up in a Buddhist monastery, not knowing where his next road will lead. The ending is unsatisfactory, unless you believe that the journey itself is the destiny. That may be true and real, but it doesn't make for a very good movie ending.

I think that if you are now a prosperous, white, middle aged former student radical or wild child, you'll see a lot of yourself in this film.

I don't know if the movie is any good. Probably not, because it's only a couple of years old, was produced with a substantial $6 million budget by a major studio in exotic Philippine locations, and yet was totally buried by the studio that produced it.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen , no features. but a good looking transfer

I can't find any record of a theatrical release, or even a cable showing, and it took two years to get to DVD. Yet I liked it and was fascinated by it. It is so close to the bone for me that I enjoyed watching it, in a painful and depressing sort of way. If you are from my generation, it will ring some familiar chords, and the sounds will be amplified by the growling, despairing, music of Leonard Cohen.

You guys from other generations? Well, MGM didn't seem to think it was much good - what else can I tell you?

Tuna's thoughts in yellow:

Kiss the Sky is billed as a romance, but it is more of a buddy movie about two men going through male menopause. The only thing they really suffer from is a total lack of self awareness, but they blame their life, their families, and society for the fact that swallowing prescription drugs is the only thing that keeps them from committing suicide. The solution? Go to the Philippines together for a business deal, travel to a remote spot, have a three way with Sheryl Lee, and then finally realize that maybe they are responsible for who they are.

The both feel they had the secret of life as young hippies, and want to regain that freedom and sense of self-importance. Sheryl Lee, for her part, is out to discover who she is. As part of that discovery, she is up for most anything sexual.

Although I am from the generation that this film is supposed to target, it bored me to distraction. First, the two heroes obviously learned nothing in the 60s, and went through their whole lives without a clue. Second, it was chock full of "meaningful" Zen dialogue. Third, it was completely predictable. Based on the comments at IMDb, it seems to resonate with other men who are not cursed with self-awareness.

 If male menopause is your idea of a good time, here is 105 minutes entirely devoted to it.

The Critics Vote

  • Consensus: two stars. Apollo 40/100, efilm 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.5
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ if you are an aging boomer. I'm guessing it's a C- for anyone else, and even Tuna called it a C-, and he is in the target audience.

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