Happiness
I Love NJ
Happiness
is available on an unrated, widescreen (1.85:1) DVD from Trimark, featuring the trailer, bios for Adams, Baker, Boyle, Hoffman, Lovitz and Solondz, and a nominal "easter egg" feature: trailers for the Saul Williams film Slam and Larry Clark's Another Day In Paradise, and an identical "Lion's Gate Signature Series" edition DVD. It's also available in a full-screen VHS edition.
1998, 140 min.

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Joy sings "Happiness"Happiness, a film at once hilariously sardonic and profoundly unsettling, tells a series of interconnecting love stories set in American suburbia. Award-winning film-maker Todd Solondz explores the sorrows and desires of men and women - as they desperately try to navigate through the uncharted and most intimate aspects of their lives - with the same unremitting glance, and taste of dark humour, that gave his portrait of adolescence in Welcome To the Dollhouse such disturbing power.

The search for happiness connects lonely lives in this subversively funny film. Meet three sisters at the center of a struggle with the secret demons of middle class perfection. There's Joy (Jane Adams) who is rebounding from a breakup with her latest loser boyfriend (Jon Lovitz), Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle), a glamorous writer looking for drama in a relationship with a slovenly obscene phone caller (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and then there's Trish (Cynthia Stevenson), the housewife who appears to have it all, including a shrink husband (Dylan Baker) who has an unnatural obsession which he manages to keep secret from his family and friends.

Happiness screenplay by Todd Solondz, Farber & Farber
Happiness - Todd Solondz' sceenplay, published by Faber & Faber, Inc. on October 1, 1998. 112 pages, ISBN: 0571197922
features a four-page forward by Eytan Mirsky.


Serial Rapist Pervert
"The fake door front successfully blown off its hinges. At the end of the day it didn't make the final cut."

If you missed Christine Vachon & David Edelstein's auto-job-ography Shooting To Kill: How an Independent Producer Blasts Through the Barriers To Make Movies That Matter (which, by the way, I recommend), here's the text referring to an alternate sequence in Happiness, in a chapter on special effects. It reveals the ultimate fate of Dylan Baker's character that's never shown in the finished version (and I have to agree - it's pretty unneccesary): "On another film, another character opens a package and gets blown up. We debated ways of doing it - from moronically inexpensive (cut from the character opening the box to someone next door doing dishes and hearing a BOOM! while the camera shakes) to the Schwarzeneggerian (blow up a whole house). We also thought about blowing up a miniature. In the end, we built a fake front door on the house, blew it off its hinges, and pumped out a lot of black smoke. It cost about two thousand dollars."


Cool, German VHS cover:

Solondz directs Marla Maples

"Happiness"
written by Eytan Mirsky
performed by Michael Stipe and Rain Phoenix

"It seems the things I've wanted in
My life I've never had.
So it's no surprise that living
Only leaves me sad.

Happiness, where are you?
I've searched so long for you.
Happiness, where are you?
I haven't got a clue.
Happiness, why do you have to stay
So far away... from me?

When I'm in despair and life has
Turned into a mess,
I know that I don't dare to end my
Search for happiness.

Happiness, where are you?
I've searched so long for you.
Happiness, where are you?
I haven't got a clue.
Happiness, why do you have to stay
So far away... from me?

Happiness, sometimes I think
I see you from afar.
When I run to catch you, though,
That's just not where you are.

Happiness, you know I'll get a hold of
You some way.
Until I do, you know I'll keep on
Searching every day.

Happiness, where are you?
I've searched so long for you.
Happiness, where are you?
I haven't got a clue.
Happiness, why do you have to stay
So far away... from me?

Gonna find it, gonna find it,
Gonna find my happiness.
Gonna find it, gonna find it,
Gonna find my happiness.

When I'm in despair and life has
Turned into a mess - gonna find it -
I know that I don't dare to end my
Search for happiness - gonna find my...

Happiness, where are you?
I'm gonna get to you.
Happiness, where are you?
I'll know before I'm through.
Happiness, you know you just can't stay
So far away... from me.

Gonna find my - Happiness where are you?
Gonna find it - I'm gonna get to you.
Gonna find my - Happiness what are you?
Gonna find it - I'll know before I'm through."

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