Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

Moment by Moment / Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Moment by Moment
February 1, 2019 - 7:30 pm

Moment by Moment  (1978)

Lily Tomlin and John Travolta, at the peak of their 1970s fame, play not only against their celebrity brands as musical/comedy stars, but also against industry standards in this drama that celebrates a romance between an older woman and younger man. Tricia, a rich Beverly Hills housewife, is going through a divorce when she meets Strip, a young street hustler from Hollywood. The two embark on a love affair at her Malibu beach house where they struggle over differences in age, economic class, social upbringing and relationship expectations: Tricia, the “good wife,” is looking forward to having casual sex for the first time, while Strip, who has only ever been sexually objectified, is searching for real love. In 1978, Moment by Moment was an anomaly in the annals of Hollywood cinema. It was a studio production featuring two of the most popular actors at the time working outside of Hollywood and fan expectation, and was the rare instance where the 39-year-old actress gets top billing over her male co-star, a young heartthrob on the rise.

35mm, Technicolor, 105 min. Director/Screenwriter: Jane Wagner. Cast: Lily Tomlin, John Travolta, Andra Akers.

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe  (1991)

Between 1973 and 1976, Tomlin and Wagner created several Emmy-nominated television specials for ABC and CBS: Wagner as writer and frequently producer, and Tomlin as the star. In 1977 the couple collaborated on Tomlin’s one-woman show, Appearing Nightly, which won a Tony Award. These works featured Tomlin performing a catalog of characters who used comedy as a platform to talk about social issues such as feminism, race, class, sexuality, and contemporary politics. In The Search for Intelligent Signs of Life in the Universe Tomlin continues to excel in the one-woman format capturing the range of human experience, literally, as she plays a dozen characters from the angry teenager, Agnus Angst, to Paul the burnt out disco hedonist, and Trudy the Times Square bag lady in this screen adaptation of her 1985 Tony-winning, Broadway show. An astute social satire rooted in 1980s cultural politics, the material remains timeless through this performer’s boundless energy and Wagner’s acute understanding of the way in which disparate individuals make up humanity.

35mm, color, 108 min. Director: John Bailey. Screenwriter: Jane Wagner. Cast: Lily Tomlin.