The Whole Wide World

Bomb Rating: 

Until 1985, Novalyne Price had not told of her 1934 love affair with "Conan the Barbarian" writer Robert E. Howard. Director Dan Ireland wants you to think this encounter was simply too profound to easily unearth. After seeing this film, one concludes it's more likely she just forgot.

Archaeologists dig up fossilized crap all the time.However, unless it's really, really old, they don't ask people to pay money to see it: "Hey, look everyone! I just spent the last six months out in the desert with this tiny shovel and found this minuscule piece of ancient Roman toilet!" Until 1985, Novalyne Price had not told of her 1934 love affair with "Conan the Barbarian" writer Robert E. Howard. Director Dan Ireland wants you to think this encounter was simply too profound to unearth easily. After seeing this film, one concludes it's more likely she just forgot.

Since Howard (Vincent D'Onofrio) was something of a strange person, director Dan thinks his brief affair with Novalyne (Renee Zellweger) warrants an entire movie. Howard has an extremely lively imagination, which makes him both a good science fiction writer and a maladjusted human being. As if this doesn't make him enough of a babe magnet already, he also exhibits an unhealthy devotion to his mother.

This makes for a rocky relationship between Howard and Novalyne which ends when Howard picks up a knife and stabs Novalyne to death in the shower (oh wait, that's another film). Actually, they never really manage to get together, although Bob walks through the whole film looking like he's going to explode with feeling (or something else) at any moment.

This film could have used a good explosion. Given Howard's career path, "The Whole Wide World" is a classic case of truth being far more interesting than fiction.

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