“First of all, I don’t know what I want to do; and second of all, I keep changing my mind!”
College student Stanley Sweetheart (Don Johnson) explores sex, drugs, and underground filmmaking in New York.
Based on Robert T. Westbrook’s semi-autobiographical novel, this counterculture curio is primarily notable for featuring Don Johnson in his screen debut. While Stanley’s not exactly sympathetic (like many 20-something males, he’s both self-absorbed and sex-obsessed), his attempt to keep his two disparate lives — one sex-and-drug filled, the other monogamous — separate from each other is unique and somehow believable. Johnson is a charismatic cutie, and folk singer Holly Near as Stanley’s pudgy yet sexually confident conquest is enjoyable as well. With that said, the screenplay (which clings faithfully to its source material) often feels like simply a filmed version of a more introspective narrative, with the resolution (a key character suddenly dies) coming out of nowhere; because we can’t see into the “magic garden” of Stanley’s mind, we don’t understand the true significance of this event in his life. Ultimately, Stanley Sweetheart remains a flawed and dated film, but is worth a look if you stumble upon it; my dark-hued copy was taped off of TNT years ago.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Don Johnson in his screen debut as Stanley Sweetheart
- Michael Greer as “Cherry”
- Holly Near as redheaded Fran
No, but it’s recommended, and a must for any Don Johnson fans.