Sooner or (35 Years) Later

Welcome to the continuing story of my torrid love affair with the made-for-TV movie Sooner or Later.

It’s funny. I post about a lot of things on this blog. Some of them are about the process of writing and publishing while others are controversial appeals for civil rights. However, no matter what posts have their ups and downs in popularity, the tongue-in-cheek one I did on how Sooner Or Later Ruined My Life constantly scores attention.

Last night I re-watched Sooner or Later to gain a more realistic, adult perspective of its impact on my life. Satire again hit, because if I took my findings too seriously, I would need therapy. Think I’m kidding?

Warning: You might want to look up the number for a good shrink before proceeding.

Revelation 1: My writing career began the night this film aired.
Sooner Or Later begins with thirteen-year-old Jessie ignoring a lecture on the birds and the bees to read a romance novel. When I was Jessie’s age I baulked at this scene. Fast forward and I’ve published several romance novels. Considering how I felt about what she was reading, should I still be proud of my accomplishments? *shudder*

Revelation 2: I thought the only thing this film got me addicted to was rocker boys. Wrong!
Jessie spends what must be a small fortune at the makeup counter in an attempt to look older. I did the same thing except I did it at the drug store. How did a thirteen-year-old get the money to buy makeup from a department store? Shoot, I still cringe when I whip out my credit card at the Estee Lauder counter, though now I don’t do it to look older. I’m such a sucker that a rep calls me two weeks before the promos happen so I can preorder. You know what the dealers say about hooking kids early. Clearly it works. It’s going to be difficult not to start calling Jessie, “The Pusher.”

Revelation 3 is a by-product of Revelation 2: This is why I think I can afford expensive face goo. If a thirteen-year-old without a job can, surely I can as well.

Revelation 4: Caroline is brilliant!
I once thought Jessie’s friend was pretty ridiculous; however, I have come to appreciate her genius. The scene where she talks about kissing her dentist with her arm seems so juvenile, but just imagine having that opportunity now with a hot actor or musician that you have had a crush on for years. Caroline is definitely not the silly friend she appears to be. She has the dual role of being the goofy little sister and the adult voice of reason.

“Older boys aren’t like younger boys. They are like men, only younger.”

I totally get that statement now! Caroline is so worldly!!!

Revelation 5: Sooner Or Later was the original version of The Rules.
When Michael takes Jessie home from that second lesson, she teaches us the art of playing hard to get, yet it is done in a way that is endearing and acceptable. You go, girl! Condition us! Show us the way! That scene is like the freakin’ Gospel According to Jessie. She seals her destiny as a role model when she pretends to take up running to see Michael again. Nope! I don’t see any hint in here that you should try to impress a guy by being someone you are not. Maybe we can forgive her for lying about her age. This leads us to Revelation 6: So THAT is where I got it from! And Revelation 7: (False) impressions are everything. (Yeah, I’m sticking with my earlier statement that this movie ruined me.)

Revelation 8: Jessie is a musical genius!
After two lessons, not only does Michael parade Jessie to his friends like she is the queen, she is also good enough to sit in with the band. No wonder why I always expect to pickup my guitar and magically sound perfect.

I had to stop there, because my mind was spiraling out of control. Jessie was becoming a false deity, and a padded cell was calling me. However, before I could hit the stop button on the DVD player, Jessie’s dad became the jailer that slammed my cell door shut. To paraphrase him, “Thirteen-year-old girls are older now. They are forty-five.” Yeah, if you put me in Jesse’s place, that is kind of true. However, with me it is sort of a circular argument, because while I am closer to forty-five than thirteen as far as age goes, I obviously still identify with Jessie a little too well.

Wait, does this mean I am thirteen again? I need to get back to that makeup counter!

So, in my revisit of this gem of a film I found that while I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to watch it with me, I also fear that moment. Should I let her enjoy Sooner Or Later for all it is worth, or should I ruin Sooner Or Later by exposing it as a cautionary tale? I’m sure I’ll let her love it so she can make the same mistakes I did. After all, she is her mother’s daughter and will do that anyway; thus, she will need something to blame. I’ll chime in on that sobbing, cake-devouring scene though. Her waistline will thank me later.

Diane’s love of 60s and 70s pop culture shines through in the Romantic Comedy Scary Modsters … and Creepy Freaks, winner of the 2017 International Body, Mind, Spirit Award for Excellence in Visionary Fiction.



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  1. I really enjoyed reading that. I was wondering if your daughter ever had a chance to watch sooner or later with you as of yet? I rediscovered that movie over the last several years. Watched it 10 years ago and many times since.When it came out I was 13 as well. I’m now 53 going on 54 and I just watched the movie again. Can you believe it? Rex Smith is dreamy but there’s something about that movie that brings me back to 1979.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting. My daughter is not quite 7 yet, so she’s a little young…Or is she…? 🙂 There really is charm in that film. Rex Smith and Denise Miller were just perfect casting. They really broke through the TV and into everyone’s hearts. I can’t even begin to imagine what that film would have been like without those two. So brilliant!

      • Hi! I absolutely agree with you…I loved the movie back in ‘79 when I was just 13….watching it now catapults me back to that time! Such a great movie with great music! I have the book and the sequel Waiting Games…
        Until recently I wasn’t aware that a 3rd book was written 10 years later….have been trying to get my hands on it or a ebook…anything… dying to know where the Harts left the story! I don’t want to pay over $200 for it… crazy I know….
        My daughter loves the movie as well and would love to read the final book….thx,

        • It is absolutely CRAZY how much those books go for! It would be so easy (and cheap!) for the rights holder to scan and re-release the trilogy as an ebook package. I don’t think they realize how much people still love that story.

  2. Love this movie! I just ordered it and watched it again and cant stop thinking about it. I am 50 and I cant stop thinking about it – nuts! The music is great and I loved Sara Lee Chocolate cake too!!

    What is it with this movie? BTW I ordered the sequel book. Cant wait to read it. Wish they made another movie 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer! Thanks for reading and commenting. What did you think of the sequel book? And have you tracked down its sequel yet? I have a feeling you will need to. :).

      • Question….Have you ever thought of completing the fourth book in the series? It was set up BUT Bruce Hart passed away. Just a thought….many 50 somethings are CRAVING it and want someone to put a finish on it…so it doesn’t keep hanging there!!

        • Wow. I’m thinking about it now! Once I finish the epic novel I’m working on, I was thinking of writing another sweet romance in the same vein as I did Scary Modsters, etc. Interesting…

          • I would love to collaborate….my daughter’s life was Michael Skyes.I could work on the music industry end and we have a terrific songwriter for the songs…SEND ME A private email and I could share more.

          • I would love to collaborate. I could assist with the music industry…Private email me if interested….my daughter WAS Michael. I am extremely versed in this industry.

    • They would need to make it where Jessie is 54 and Michael is 57!! If we wanted to keep our favorite couple!!

  3. Where did you get the movie!! I have become obsessed with trying to find it!!!

    • Hey Cami! I got it on Amazon years ago. I can’t believe how much people still revere this film. Amazing staying power!

  4. Question….Have you ever thought of completing the fourth book in the series? It was set up BUT Bruce Hart passed away. Just a thought….many 50 somethings are CRAVING it and want someone to put a finish on it…so it doesn’t keep hanging there!!

  5. They would need to make it where Jessie is 54 and Michael is 57!! If we wanted to keep our favorite couple!!

  6. OMG i’m Not the only one that was ruined by this movie and still watch every now and then. I was 11 or 12 when this came out and it’s been burned in my brain ever since!! Funny, I wanted to share this with my daughter, and watch with her, when she was the right age. We never got a chance and at 20 yrs, I don’t know if she would appreciate it as much. I’ll have to try.

    Side note… I did meet and fall in puppy
    Love with a 16 yr old musician when I was 12 and we still stay in touch. Yeah he’s still a guitarist and even wrote a song for me back in the day that actually had radio play.

    Lol love and “hate” this movie!

  7. Thanks for these brilliant articles! I, too, am an author/ victim of Sooner or Later so I totally get it. Am in a second honeymoon phase with Rex as I’ve just re-discovered him. And I think the network would make gazillions if they brought Michael and Jessie back today- can you imagine the sheer pandemonium? Maybe Ashton Kutcher could be Michael’s son. Viva Rex!

    • Now that would be interesting casting! So many people want more of this story! I keep getting pulled back toward it. I had just stepped away, but now I’m pondering the possibilities again. So many thoughts on where it could go. Nancy, did you read the other 2 books?

      • No, unfortunately not, as the costs are unjustifiable. If only they were on Kindle!

      • I was thinking his own son in real life or someone who sings could play one of his kids… Unfortunately, someone who owns the estate is very watchdog about the books and movie. They don’t appear to want to advance the story.

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