Nominated for a slew of Emmy Awards (and winner for Supporting Actor Scott Jacoby), That Certain Summer turns out to be a surprisingly boring affair. The theme of homosexuality was still relatively new to movies in general back in 1972, and practically unheard of on TV. But 37 years later, it's understandable that the impact has been somewhat muted. So forgettable is the storyline that halfway through viewing the film, I realized that I had actually seen it—or at least some of it—as recently as last year.
Hal Holbrook, a big favorite of mine, plays a divorced father of a 15-year-old boy (Jacoby) who comes to learn that Dad's good friend Gary (Martin Sheen) is actually his live-in lover. (Memo to closeted dads: if you have an electric razor, hide the bottle of shaving cream.) It's a bitter pill to swallow, regardless of the year or the political climate. But That Certain Summer unfolds at a snail's pace, and the truly great cast (including Hope Lange and Joe Don Maker) don't manage to make much of an impression, at least on me. After looking forward to seeing it for half a lifetime, That Certain Summer proves to be a major letdown from one of my all-time favorite writing teams, Richard Levinson and William Link—who subsequently reteamed with Holbrook for the infinitely superior TV movie Murder by Natural Causes seven years later. Rating: 2/5.