Joseph Kotcher, a retired traveling salesman, lives with his son Gerald and daughter-in-law Wilma in Los Angeles. He dotes upon his young grandson Duncan irritating high-strung Wilma to the... See full summary »
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Joseph Kotcher, a retired traveling salesman, lives with his son Gerald and daughter-in-law Wilma in Los Angeles. He dotes upon his young grandson Duncan irritating high-strung Wilma to the point that she hires Erica, a high school student, as a regular babysitter to replace his efforts. However, Grandpa Kotcher still gets on her nerves, and she convinces Gerald to move him out. To humor his son he agrees to take an apartment at a retirement facility, but after being subjected to some psychological tests he opts instead to take an extended vacation, traveling up the coast by bus. Erica leaves town at the same time, for upon discovering she is pregnant, Wilma fires her and she is sent away to work in San Bernadino by her uptight older brother Peter, who is also her guardian. Grandpa Kotcher returns weeks later to find a Halloween party underway and his room full of Wilma's sewing stuff. A waiting card from Erica explains that due to "serious difficulties" she cannot repay some money he... Written by
I had not seen Kotch for a long time before viewing my VHS copy today and I was really moved with how good it was. Too bad Jack Lemmon never wanted to try directing again. Maybe had the film won an Oscar or two, he could have been persuaded to try.
I think I finally figured out who Walter Matthau modeled his Oscar nominated performance on, it's Casey Stengel. Casey without the double-talk, but the same non-stop garrulousness that I remember from my youth.
But Casey had his captive audience of baseball writers and fans. Poor Joseph Kotcher is a retired salesman who lives with his son and his family. Though he's an excellent babysitter for his young grandson, he's generally underfoot according to his daughter-in-law Felicia Farr. Son Charles Aidman gently persuades him he ought to move into a retirement home.
But Matthau is just a lonely old man, looking for someone to bond with. He finds someone quite unlikely in the person of Deborah Winters, the new babysitter who finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend Darrell Larson. She moves in with him and not in a retirement home and they have some interesting experiences.
Matthau lost the Best Actor Award to Gene Hackman and Kotch similarly lost as Best Picture to The French Connection. Still I think this one has stood the test of time a lot better.
Marvin Hamlisch and Johnny Mercer wrote the song Life Is What You Make It for Kotch and it lost for Best Song to the Theme from Shaft. That one was truly unfortunate.
Kotch is a picture about the person who's your grandfather, old and a bit crotchety and some times a pain in the posterior as Deborah Winters says. But he's also the one with enough life experience to come through in the clutch.
Come to think of it, one of the things that drove Deborah crazy was his insistence on a car with an old fashioned clutch as opposed to automatic transmission.
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