Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th November 1983
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Robert Jiras
Producer: David Lange
Starring: Frank McGurran as Young Adam, Robert MacNaughton as Adam Farmer, Russell P. Goslant as Gardener, Cynthia Nixon as Amy Hertz, Robert Cormier as Mr. Hertz, Dorothea MacNaughton as Produce Lady, Milford Keene as Harvester, Robert Wagner as Dr. Brint, Don Murray as David Farmer, Hope Lange as Betty Farmer, Lee Richardson as Mr. Grey, Joey Jerome as Whipper, Ronnie Bradbury as Corn, Robert Dutil as Jed, Jeff Rumney as Counter Man, David Lange as Mr. Montgomery, Christopher Murray as Eric Peterson, Sudie Bond as Edna, John Bernek as Store Owner, Paul Romero as Coke
Also starring: Robert Jiras
From the beloved novel comes this low-budget, much-maligned affair, a film that has become in many circles the antithesis of the book they loved.
Adam Farmer (Robert MacNaughton -- the older brother from E.T.) is an everyday but mildly pathetic teenager who always feels, deep in the back of his mind that something isn't right about his life. Eventually, circumstances land him in a mental hospital, where he sort of regresses to discover he has an alternate identity and that his parents were murdered. Spies and espionage are involved. Or something like that.
Backed by a score that makes liberal use of "The Farmer in the Dell" as a theme, I Am the Cheese is gritty, low-budget, and nonsensical. I've never read the book, but detractors rail against the changed ending -- and frankly anything would be an improvement over the non-finale on display here. Who's the cheese? Yeah, you're the cheese.
I really wanted to like this movie, as MacNaughton's earnestness is endearing, and the presence of the then-innocent Cynthia Nixon is a guilty pleasure. But so much of Cheese makes so little sense, it all comes off like an after-school special. This one's way too ripe.