Tuesdays with Morrie (film)

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Tuesdays with Morrie
Tuesdays with Morrie.jpg
DVD cover
Based on Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom
Screenplay by Thomas Rickman
Directed by Mick Jackson
Starring Jack Lemmon
Hank Azaria
Theme music composer Marco Beltrami
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducersExecutive Producers: Kate Forte
Oprah Winfrey
Associate Producer: Susan Heyer
Supervising Producer: Jennifer Ogden
Cinematography Theo van de Sande
Editor Carol Littleton
Running time89 minutes
Production companiesCarlton America
Harpo Productions
Distributor ABC
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseDecember 5, 1999 (1999-12-05)

Tuesdays with Morrie is a 1999 American made-for-television film adaptation of Mitch Albom's book of the same title. [1] Directed by Mick Jackson, it features Jack Lemmon in a role for which he won an Emmy award. [2] The film originally aired on ABC on December 5, 1999. [3]

Contents

Plot

In 1995, Mitch Albom (Hank Azaria) became caught up with his career as a sport commentator and journalist. His girlfriend, Janine (Wendy Moniz), a backup singer feels that he never places her as a priority. Mitch is consistently doing six things at once. One evening, while on the telephone with Janine, Mitch flips through TV channels and lands on an edition of Nightline where he sees his former professor Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon) being interviewed by Ted Koppel. Morrie discusses his current health and lets everyone know he is dying of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease" or ALS. Morrie, a retired sociology professor from Brandeis University, comes on the show to describe his final journey.

As life goes on with work and balancing his relationship with Janine, Mitch feels bothered he never got a chance to visit his old professor. Feeling so moved by the interview, Mitch reaches out for a visit with Morrie after sixteen years of no contact. Morrie has an affinity with food and it becomes a regular endeavor with his visits with Mitch. Office hours during university were on Tuesdays, Morrie would grade papers and critique student’s assignments, Mitch now makes it a habit to visit him every Tuesday. Connie (Caroline Aaron), Morrie’s home nurse, is his primary care taker. After leaving Morrie, Mitch continues working and can’t find a groove with Janine.

Mitch returns and witnesses a “living funeral” where friends and family come to honor Morrie while he is still alive, per Morrie’s request. As the two get reacquainted, they participate in several thoughtful and reflective conversations about various substantial topics. Morrie divulges in many stories on his time as a young boy and how his relationships unfolded between his mother, stepmother, and father. Back home Mitch continues with his impressive and busy journalism career, and while out on a story he receives a call from Janine breaking up with him.

Another visit prompts Mitch to officially bring a recording device to capture all of Morrie’s powerful pieces of advice and all his anecdotes. Morrie and Mitch grow closer and closer with each visit, some significant topics that were explored were death, love, marriage, family, and relationships. The time spent with Morrie starts to affect Mitch’s position at work, he argues with his boss and decides to prioritize his visits with Morrie. Mitch, being so immersed in this new world asks Connie to teach him a few skills to aid Morrie when no one else is around. New tasks Mitch learns include: helping Morrie in and out of his wheelchair, using his oxygen tank, feeding Morrie, and even special massages.

Finding value and meaning in Morrie’s advice, Mitch proposes to Janine via letter. She rejects him and comes along on one of his visits to Morrie’s home. Janine notices a change in Mitch’s personality in the way he knows what to do around Morrie from the oxygen tank assistance to cleaning Morrie’s crying eyes. Janine and Morrie speak without Mitch in the room. Later, on an airplane on their way home Mitch and Janine make up and decide a proper proposal should take place.

On a rainy visit, Mitch brings Morrie food, but learns he has not been able to eat solid foods for some time. Charlotte (Bonnie Bartlett), Morrie’s wife advises Mitch that his visits have a great impact on Morrie. Mitch notices how the illness is progressing in a devastating way. They continue to go back and forth on difficult topics, regret, spiritual life, forgiveness, and love. Morrie reiterates that we all, as humans, must love one another or die. He recounts the story of his father’s death. Mitch receives a call from Walter (John Carroll Lynch), his boss, and they find middle ground to allow Mitch to write again. Mitch takes Janine to the islands and proposes to her there. Once back home, Mitch requests to have all of his Tuesdays off to continue his visits with Morrie.

On a snowy visit, Mitch asks Morrie what a perfect day would be like. Morrie gives a simple answer with friends, family, food, dancing, and choosing his burial site. Morrie asks Mitch to visit once he has passed, breaking his heart. Mitch cries and hugs his old friend. Mitch promises to come back next Tuesday. Morrie dies Saturday morning, Janine and Mitch receive a call. Charlotte keeps his funeral small, and all the people in his perfect day are included. The funeral is held on a Tuesday. [4]

Cast and characters

Reception

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes give it a 71% rating based on 7 reviews. [5] Fred Topel from About.com says, "Movie of the week with film caliber performances". [6] Common Sense Media Editors states, "Oprah Winfrey presents a three-hanky weepfest". [7]

Ratings

The film brought in a 15.2/22 rating/share, and was watched by 22.5 million viewers, ranking as the most watched program that week. [8] [9]

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
2000
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television – Movies of the Week and Mini-Series Richard Van Dyke, Dan Hiland, and Gary D. RogersNominated [10]
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television or Miniseries Mick Jackson Won [11]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Jack Lemmon Nominated [12]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Television Movies and Specials – Dialogue & ADR Bob Newlan, David Hankins, John Green,
Sonya Henry, and Larry Goeb
Nominated
Best Sound Editing – Television Movies and Specials (including Mini-Series) – Music Chris McGearyNominated
Humanitas Prize 90 Minute or Longer Network or Syndicated Television Thomas Rickman Won [13]
Online Film & Television Association AwardsBest Motion Picture Made for TelevisionNominated [14]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesJack LemmonWon
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Hank Azaria Won
Best Direction of a Motion Picture or MiniseriesMick JacksonNominated
Best Writing of a Motion Picture or MiniseriesThomas RickmanNominated
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Made for Television Movie Kate Forte, Jennifer Ogden, and Oprah Winfrey Won [15]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Jack LemmonWon
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Hank AzariaWon
Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Carol Littleton Won
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Michael C. Casper, Daniel Leahy, and Jim TanenbaumNominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television Oprah Winfrey and Kate ForteWon [16]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Hank AzariaNominated [17]
Jack LemmonWon
TV Guide Awards Favorite TV Movie or MiniseriesTuesdays with MorrieNominated [18]
2001
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adapted Thomas Rickman – Based on the book by Mitch Albom Won [lower-alpha 1] [19]

Notes

  1. Tied with John Logan for RKO 281 .

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References

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