Listen to the Lobsterman, for he has the true knowledge.

"Caring will break before the man if he can only wait it out." Navajo saying.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gentle Movie for a Summer's Night

As I write this it's 3:31 a.m. and I'm hearing the first thunder of the spring--a great sound and I need some comforting thunder tonight. Speaking of comforting things, I love quiet slow movies that put great acting and script ahead of special effects and Hollywood endings. I stumbled upon such a movie on IFC (which I can no longer afford, so haven't seen it in a long time) called Spring Forward starring Nead Beatty and Liev Schreiber and liked it so much I bought it (used) on Amazon. It's not a tremendously exciting film and if you're tired you'll fall asleep watching it (a good thing if you have trouble sleeping--and much safer than drugs that you do not need), but it's about two parks employees in Connecticut: the older one played wonderfully by Ned Beatty and the younger played just as nicely by Schreiber. The movie is really nothing but one long conversation between the two, interspersed with interactions with a few other more minor characters (one of them you'll recognize from Fraiser), and at times the script limps along looking for it's other leg (arrrgh, something the Lobsterman knows LOTS about having lost one of his to a giant squid off the coast of Newfoundland--a story for another time), but Ned Beatty is such a comforting, wonderful actor that if you handed him an old Wheaties box he could create a profound scene by reading the list of ingredients.

Anyway, this is not a film for anyone that needs a plot or any feeling of action (trust me, there isn't any), but if you like acting, storytelling, the friendship that can grow between two unlikely candidates for friendship, then you will enjoy this film. And you can get it used on Amazon for under a buck, so really, what have you got to lose? Give it to the local book sale if you don't like it and you'll feel like you've helped your community--and then go buy a used copy of Deliverance (in which Beatty gives a performance so great that he should have been given every Oscar ever created) and you'll get enough action to shiver the timbers of any old Lobsterman.

Here's a review from a feller on Amazon that seems to have liked it and I hope he doesn't mind the old Lobersterfeller ripping off his review. So, next summer Saturday night when you're sitting home alone (argggggggggggh, ask the Lobsterman about THAT sometime, too), pull up a pot of chowder and some lobster crackers and watch this film. Next time I'll tell you about another offbeat film that I love and that has magic in every moment--and also lots of great acting.

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem!!, October 16, 2004
By John Margaritis (Floral Park, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spring Forward (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Can a movie with no plot or action to speak of be any good? Well, the answer is yes and no and it all depends on who's asking. Most of the people I know would have no patience to sit through Spring Forward probably because it's a slow moving character study and involves no action. No guns, car chases, or explosions, just wonderfully written dialogue and strong fleshed-out characters. These days those qualities seem to be in such short supply and that's one of the reasons I loved every minute of this film.

The movie follows two Parks Department workers around on their daily errands. Harold(Ned Beatty)is the veteran who is on the verge of retirement and Paul(Liev Schreiber)is the new guy who just got out of jail for armed robbery. I knew what to expect from Beatty but was greatly surprised by Schreiber's performance--he was brilliant throughout. I never even heard of him before this movie.

The movie moves at its own pace, which is rather slow, but once I got into it the time went by rather quickly. The only conflict in the movie stems from Paul and his inclination toward self-desctruction. Paul's hit on some bad times and things haven't been looking up, but he seems like a decent guy who's trying to improve himself. Harold sees that and trys to give him some guidance without being overbearing. In return, Paul helps Harold deal with some guilt he feels towards his seriously ill son. The relationship that develops between the two men is truly special and handled with any hint of sentimentality.

I saw Spring Forward on a recommendation from a friend at work and couldn't thank him enough after I had watched it. I watch a lot of movies but there always seem to be some great ones that I haven't seen and love the feeling of discovering them for the first time. This is definitely one of them.

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