April 15th, 2022
MOVIE: LIAR’S MOON- BLU-RAY REVIEW
STARRING: MATT DILLON, CINDY FISHER, HOYT AXTON, MARGARET BLYE
DIRECTED BY: DAVID FISHER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The kind of scripts that would be approved in 1981 are not the same as today, where it’s not that they don’t hold up, but something tells me a studio in 2022 would not approve Liar’s Moon. Director David Fisher’s film is a riff on a Southern Romeo & Juliet and an introduction to Matt Dillon. Set in East Texas, it’s the romantic story of Jack Duncan (Dillon) and Ginny Peterson (Cindy Fisher), a pair of high school kids, one is the poor farmer’s boy, and the other a rich banker’s daughter. They meet at the town carnival, where Ginny is at the kissing booth, and although the rich boys pursue her, there’s an instant connection between Jack and Ginny. What starts as a young teen romance soon takes a turn, with the couple running away to spite their disapproving parents, but what they don’t know is that a dark family secret could derail all their dreams of wedded bliss. Liar’s Moon begins as a strong, romantic story, about two lovers against the world. It’s highlighted by some strong young performances, but takes a strange turn in a convoluted ending, something that was not expected. It’s still worth a peak, with a fresh new Blu-ray release from the MVD Rewind Collection, and a reminder of the type of challenging narratives that movies could take.
There’s a flashback that opens Liar’s Moon, with a young woman sitting at the doctor’s office, discussing the news of her pregnancy. It’s made clear that this will come up later down the line, but for now what we pick up is that Ellen Duncan (Margaret Blye) is excited with the prospect of her own baby boy. The story then moves ahead to Jack’s life, working hard for his father in the field, enjoying wild weekends with his friends Mike and Bobby. It’s not long before Jack and Ginny meet, but it’s everything after that turns the tide, including Jack’s dad dying in a freak accident with heavy machinery, and Ginny’s father not approving of her new found love. It’s the parents disapproval of the relationship that alludes to something deeper at hand, but what that is would ruin the films climax, while also dampen the films narrative build up.
One of the major problems with Liar’s Moon is two-fold, where the performances outside of Dillon and Fisher are a collection of soap opera fodder. The screenplay is written by director David Fisher, working off the story by Janice Thompson and Billy Hanna, and it fails to generate much passion from the newfound lovers. There’s a romantic picnic and some horseback riding, but under the work of a more known name director, Liar’s Moon would have much needed flare. It reminded me of movies such as Blue Valentine, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, or Revolutionary Road, where a movie about conflicted relationships can push the boundaries of love and heartbreak. Liar’s Moon seems afraid to approach its subject matter and also afraid to let the two lead characters truly be in love.
That’s not to say that Liar’s Moon is all bad, where it gives off a feeling of low-level Tennessee Williams, and a cool edge to Matt Dillon that reminds us of his James Dean potential. The old way of Hollywood is evident here, with a thick drama featuring two attractive leads, both with potential to grow beyond their initial spark. For Dillon his career would sky-rocket, while Cindy Fisher’s career never moved past television, and ultimately ended around 1987. Liar’s Moon is at least a time capsule that captures the two leads having a genuine romantic chemistry.
Is Liar’s Moon a blu-ray worth picking up? I say yes for the sheer purpose of seeing the start of a young Matt Dillon and seeing a time where deeper rooted dramas still made an effort in cinema. The blu-ray itself has the controversial alternate ending available- you decide which one works best, along with some behind the scenes conversations from the cast and crew, and the transfer has that cool crisp shot on film look. It may not have set the world on fire the way Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy or Terms of Endearment would before and after, but it’s nice to see a lesser known film get a second chance. Take a peak at Liar’s Moon.
LIAR’S MOON IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM MVD ENTERTAINMENT
2 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady