The Thing Called Love (1993)
Critic Consensus: The last film River Phoenix completed before his death, The Thing Called Love doesn't have much new to say about show business, but it's energetic and well acted.
A handful of up-and-coming songwriters discover that love is as difficult to navigate as the music business in this romantic comedy-drama from director Peter Bogdanovich. Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis) is an aspiring singer/songwriter from New York City who loves country music and has decided to take her chances in Nashville, TN, where she hopes to strike it big as a musician. After arriving in the Music City after a long bus ride, Miranda makes her way to the Bluebird Café, a local watering hole with a reputation as a showcase for new talent. The bar's owner, Lucy (K.T. Oslin), takes a shine to the shy but plucky newcomer, and gives her a job as a waitress. Before long, Miranda has gotten to know a number of other Nashville transplants who are look looking to land a gig or sell a song, among them sweet and open-hearted Kyle Davidson (Dermot Mulroney), moody but talented James Wright (River Phoenix), and spunky Linda Lue Linden (Sandra Bullock). As the four friends struggle to find their place in the competitive Nashville music scene, both Kyle and James display a romantic interest in Miranda, while she finds it difficult to choose between the two. The Thing Called Love features cameos from a number of noted country performers, including Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Katy Moffatt, Jo-El Sonnier, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Sadly, The Thing Called Love would be best remembered as the last film actor River Phoenix completed before his death in the fall of 1993. … More
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as James Wright
as Miranda Presley
as Kyle Davidson
as Linda Lue Linden
as Taxicab Driver
as Singing Cop
as Bluebird Waitress
as Reverend Raymond
as Doug Siskin
as Desk Cop
as Writer's Circle Part...
as Writer's Circle Part...
as Rear-ended Driver
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Critic Reviews for The Thing Called Love
Perhaps there's not much new to say about the dues and disappointments involved in breaking into the country music scene, but the scenes are fresh and the emotions real in Peter Bogdanovich's tune-laden, mixed-mood drama.
Bogdanovich's modest staging is occasionally awkward -- his kids still watch John Wayne movies at the drive-in -- but there's a convincing sense of what Nashville's like and how country music works.
Although well acted, with early scenes that deftly sketch the atmosphere, the movie, written by Carol Heikkinen, never takes off.
It bears as little relation to the real Nashville as Altman's 1975 feature, but director Peter Bogdanovich, the talented cast, and the credited and uncredited screenwriters are so busy conjuring up a charming world of their own that I didn't mind.
Perhaps no one could have saved Phoenix, who was not lucky enough to find a higher bottom than death. But this performance in this movie should have been seen by someone as a cry for help.
Audience Reviews for The Thing Called Love
This was River's last movie. About a group of musicians seeling fame and fortune.
A bit of a chick flick but it's a good film with some great performances by Samantha Mathis [she is sexy as hell], Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock, and the late River Phoenix.
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