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Film / In the Mood

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In the Mood is a 1987 comedy film starring Patrick Dempsey and Beverly D'Angelo, based on the real-life love misadventures of Ellsworth "Sonny" Wisecarver, a junior (14-years old when he started) romeo who became attracted to older women and even ran off with two of them, earning the nickname "The Woo-Woo Kid" in the years of World War II when a lot of men were off fighting.

The film takes some usual Hollywood liberties with history. In the story itself, Sonny's forbidden love affairs are depicted as lonely women and a nice kid hooking up, until an effort to stop this by his Cloud Cuckoolander Mom gets him in the sights of the times' Moral Guardians. Hilarity Ensues.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Sonny's Mom seems to live in another realm altogether; the judge he gets put before twice actually puts him in prison for his "crimes"; and the radio evangelist his Mom brings in to try and "save" him from his habits uses a combination of attention-seeking and Activist Fundamentalist Antics to make his life miserable. Subverted at the end with the people who eventually become his in-laws and who notably take the time to hear him out.
  • Artistic License – Law: Sonny is put in prison for having an affair with the older women, while his current paramour is let go scot-free. The judge is shown to have a clear bias against him, in part for being before him a second time. Then again, those times did see a lot of really bad justice, so it may also be a case of Aluminum Christmas Trees crossing with Reality Is Unrealistic. In modern times, though, Sonny's status as a minor would be taken into account and the judge might at least be asked to recuse himself.
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  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Sonny's Mom, all the way. First, she calls an attention-seeking radio evangelist to 'guide' her son back to normalcy, never catching on how he is using them and the situation to line his pockets and get ratings. Later, during his trial, her odd comment about Sonny's height and weight for his age being unusually mature comes out so badly, Sonny is taken offscreen to have his privates measured.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: To say that Sonny hates being called "The Woo-Woo Kid" is a huge understatement.
  • Gilligan Cut: Sonny protests to the unsympathetic judge that he can't put him in jail for falling in love. A second later, he is in prison, lined up and in a prisoner's clothes.
  • Hollywood History: The real Sonny Wisecarver was not as hapless as Dempsey's character, and his own parents had him declared an incorrigible delinquent. The prison he quickly escapes at the end he actually spent some time in.
  • Humiliation Conga: Sonny trusts his loving but dim mother and ends up demonized by the media of the day as a threat to society. He is belittled, slandered and subjected to a test of his 'size' (thankfully offscreen) in a biased trial where his own mother is the worst help he could ever have. Later, he ends up before the exact same judge after another offense, in which case his current older girlfriend, the reason for him doing all this, has left him for her once-estranged husband, ostensibly so she could avoid prosecution herself, this after saying she would stand with him for their love. Once put in prison by the vindictive judge, his first day there, another inmate promises to kill him over a perceived slight, leading to his escape into a California that has made him out to be a menace to decency, forcing him to flee to Nevada under an assumed name - and only then does his life get better.
  • Titled After the Song: "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller, a huge-selling swing instrumental which it considered an all-time classic of the era.