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|Index||12 reviews in total|
When this movie first came out I was in college and must have taken 4
or 5 different dates to see it. This movie was a mini cult phenomenon
on campus, at least where I was, so I have always been surprised that
it didn't get more publicity and acclaim. I saw it so many times
because I felt it was a very worthwhile and meaningful film as a view
into aging, the way we take care of elderly people, especially when it
might be inconvenient for us. It was a good look into the feelings and
hang-ups of people interacting among themselves: a retired man feeling
increasingliy irrelevant in the environment he is compelled to live in,
his spineless and uncomprehending son who doesn't offer much support at
all, and his post-natal depressive daughter-in-law who can't understand
why she has to put up with this codger who complicates her
The movie also has a lot to say about the power of the human spirit to cope with change and make the best of things that aren't always going the way we always want them to.
I would like to see it again after 30+ years, but I can't find it at the usual rental stores. Having thought about it, though, I will continue to seek.
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.
Wonderfully unpredictable movie, with fine direction and acting and nice film score. Lemmon should direct more often. Viewer never knows what is going to happen next, although expectation Matthau may die or get killed. Great movie on aging, uplifting and superbly directed, acted and written. A real "10."
What a wonderful movie. For a change,Walter Matthau plays a sympathetic
rather than a cantankerous character. He is just wonderful here in his
Oscar nominated performance.
What makes the movie so good is that it doesn't really stress the attempt of his son and daughter-in-law to put him in a home and then show the misery of homes. Rather,it deals with the coming of life anew for Matthau when he takes a profound interest in the very pregnant babysitter for his grandson. What an interesting idea and it is so well developed.
Deborah Winters gives a fantastic supporting performance as the pregnant girl,orphaned, raised by an uncaring brother who finds meaning in her life when she aided by Kotch.
There is a totally winning song dealing with what you do with your life.
This film was definitely an under-rated gem. Too bad.
I first saw this back in the late '70's on TV. We loved it in the family,
great fun, heart and performances. Matthau's intrepid, smart if slightly
'out There' Kotch is a unique character, well acted, and always someone we
root for. It's not much different from the roles he would go onto play in
the 90s, but...done by a younger man.
Sometimes the makeup and haircoloring doesn't quite look convincing, but that's okay too. The performance is put across as much by body language and posture as anything else.
The car is a great added touch-the knocking engine and etc a counterpoint to Kotch's own creaky body.
I liked Ellen Geer as the crabby daughter too-was surprised that she wound up in 'Phenomenon' and several other flix(Patriot Games) that I have seen before. Never made the connection.
It is dated sure, but that is inevitable with films. It's worth yer time.
*** outta **** Nice job by Lemmon, too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just watched Kotch, the only film Jack Lemmon directed with his pal Walter Matthau starring. Matthau plays Joseph Kotcher, a retired businessman who's staying with his son Gerald (Charles Aidman), daughter-in-law Wilma (Felicia Farr, who was Lemmon's real-life wife), and their baby son Duncan. Since both parents work and Joe isn't always responsible with his grandson (Wilma mentions Duncan getting some beer foam and pizza from his grandpop), they send him to a retirement home. This happens despite the babysitter they hired, Erica (Deborah Winters), being not so responsible herself since she has sex with her boyfriend in Kotcher's home with Joe as witness. Needless to say, Joe and Erica form an unlikely bond when she gets pregnant and he decides to go on the road instead of agreeing to the old folks home. I'll stop right there and say while I thought that the movie was going to be a little treacly with scenes of Matthau and the baby on the playground and the Marvin Hamlisch-Johnny Mercer song "Life is What You Make It" playing (which amazingly got an Oscar nomination), it got a little better with Joe's amusing tangents throughout the picture. Erica took a little more getting used to since her tangents were initially irritating but she calmed down eventually. I was worried for her, however, when she first rode in Kotch's creaky 1940s car especially since neither wore a seat belt when they were running fast! The funniest scene to me was when they stopped at a gas station and, as they were going to the ladies' restroom, the sign near the door said, "Ask Attendent for Key"! This happens as Erica's water broke and the attendants were very fixated on their motorcycle. Also appearing here are Larry Linville in his film debut as Erica's brother and guardian who provides some amusing moments a year before becoming Frank Burns on "M*A*S*H", and Ellen Geer, actor Will Geer's daughter, who plays Joe's late wife Vera in flashbacks in touching scenes. She was also Lemmon's ex-wife Frances on The Odd Couple II, and recently played Katherine Mayfair's aunt on "Desparate Housewives". Not a great dramedy, but Lemmon the director provides some nice touches that makes one keep watching for the little moments that Matthau provides in a role that got him a second Oscar nomination. Worth a look for fans of both.
Jack Lemmon did an excellent job with this script and produced a very entertaining movie with an unforeseeable ending. Matthau is outstanding as usual and his fate keeps viewers in suspense until the end. I recommend it to young and old.
Bittersweet film directed by Jack Lemmon features real-life pal Walter Matthau as an unwanted old codger in Southern California who befriends an unmarried, pregnant teenager. The film makes points on several topics (retirement homes, married life in suburbia, the value of the elderly), yet it doesn't use this material to build momentum--and since the film isn't a satire, the humor (often condescending or sarcastic) comes off as smirking. Matthau does a very fine job--he even convinces us he's a baby lover!--but his relationship with the troubled girl fails to ring true (Matthau's pinched, icy daughter-in-law is a worse matter--she's a one-note caricature). At one point, Kotch goes on a road trip by bus and sends back lots of postcards to his son, but director Lemmon doesn't use this segment to bolster the plot (it's too sitcom-like and, with that silly music, plays like a geriatric "Midnight Cowboy" besides!). Lemmon is careful not to flood the movie with teary sentiment; he's generally gracious and attentive, and many of his details are wonderfully wry. The film is likable enough, but overall seems a bit fatigued. **1/2 from ****
I saw this movie when I was a teenager. From what I remember of it, it was a waste of good talent. Walter Matthau did his best acting and Jack Lemmon did his best directing. However, somehow the script just didn't do justice for either one of these two celebrities. I've seen Deborah Winters in other movies and back then it seemed as though she gravitated towards controversial roles such as a 16-year old drug addict or pregnant teenager. I absolutely hate that song "Life Is What You Make It," because they played it throughout this entire movie over and over again; and seeing the pregnant teenage Deborah Winters and hearing Walter Matthau's New York accent as this unusually compassionate older man somehow reminded me constantly of how much I absolutely hate deadbeat teen fathers. I always got the feeling throughout the film that I just wanted a scene in which the teen father of this girl's baby got the tar knocked out of him for being such a jerk. I vaguely recall one scene in which he actually spoke with Deborah Winters after he had gotten her pregnant, but he was more annoying than anything. The kind of teen father that would create a precedent in our court system to make justifiable patricide perfectly legal for all youngsters who have the indignity of having someone like him for a biological father. By the way, I disagree with the title of that stupid song, "Life Is What You Make It." I can't believe that song even won an award. It's crass and callous in its lyrics, because some people are born more privileged than others in the real world and the lyrics of that song just don't own up to that same reality of life. If you have nothing better to do with your time, you may want to give this movie a peek. However, if you have limited time like me, it's probably not worth watching.
I watch this movie all the time I love it they don't make em' like this anymore. I like this movie mostly cause the music it's very comforting you can watch when your sad when your happy when your angry mostly it calms you down. I saw it first when I was 13 and I still watch not on a daily basis I dont even own it yet YET I'm going to bye it soon cause one of the only feel good movies I've ever seen. Thank you JACK LEMMON.
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