On his girlfriend's insistence, a disgruntled man tries to make peace with his high-spirited, street-smart and often irritatingly careless father, a failed actor who never quit his dream to be a success.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Abbie
...
Abe
...
Lisa
...
Dorothy Davis
David Ackroyd ...
1st Assistant Director
...
Horace Bosco
...
Al (Broccoli)
...
2nd Assistant Director
Peter Elbling ...
Director
...
1st Assistant Director (Soap)
...
Dancer
Joe Shea ...
Stan Kantor
Joe 'Flash' Riley ...
Tango (as Jay 'Flash' Riley)
Billy Beck ...
Angry Man
Margarito Mendoza ...
Mariachi Trumpet Player
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Storyline

On his girlfriend's insistence, a disgruntled man tries to make peace with his high-spirited, street-smart and often irritatingly careless father, a failed actor who never quit his dream to be a success.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Memories of Me - Das tragisch-komische Leben eines gro├čartigen Versagers  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,965,604 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Abe introduces Abbie to Sean Connery, who happens to walk by dressed as a U.S. Army officer. Connery was actually in costume for the filming of The Presidio (1988), and did the cameo appearance in between takes. See more »

Goofs

At Abe's funeral, there were flowers surrounding and on top of the casket. At Jewish funerals, flowers are not sent because it signifies a joyous occasion. See more »

Quotes

Abe: There's an art to being incidental.
See more »

Connections

References Fatal Attraction (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I Am An Actor!"
11 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film proves with JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT that Alan King was capable of a good film career. The story here does not deal with secretive billionaires and their angry mistresses, but with a man who left his family in New York City decades before to pursue a career in Hollywood. But Abe has never been more than a background extra. When his son Abie (Billy Chrystal) is recovering from a heart attack, he goes to Hollywood to see his father for the first time in years. Abie discovers that his father has never even had a real speaking part (the closest is when he was the sixth or seventh man in SPARTACUS to yell "I am Spartacus!"). Naturally, given the shattering effect that Abe's abandonment of the family had, it does not seem to Abie that his father had much to show for it. Abe, who has become part of the Hollywood community (he is usually seen with his fellow extras, but we see he does know Sean Connery by first names). He is reasonably happy - but Abie keeps dismissing him as a hack, not an artist.

The arrival of Abie's girlfriend Lisa (JoBeth Williams) does not help matters at first, but she manages to bridge the anger and contempt that the son feels for his father, and slowly they do find some degrees of similarities. Abie loves playing the trumpet, for example, and does it well. But Abie discovers that there is something physically wrong about his father - a sudden memory problem causing the father to recite a scene he liked from INHERIT THE WIND. The prognosis is grim. So Abie decides to help his father accomplish his greatest wish: get a full scene in a movie with actual dialog.

Most of the comments here have been fairly negative, insisting that it is a very lachrymose and overly sentimental tale. There is no denying that it is (ultimately) a tragic story - but the performances (particularly King as a proud and touchy man, who will not admit that his life has been less than a success) are good for the three leads. King's performance mingled pathos and comedy quite well. Witness the scene where he was trying to choose among his friends for the extras in a science fiction film, where he is dressed in a lobster costume. King shows his sauciness at a self-important assistant director, but he also shows the start of his mental/physical collapse in the same sequence (quite a change of pace). Similarly his interview with the casting director for the speaking part that Abie sneaks into is done with great charm and dignity. It was a first rate performance - and proved that King was an actor.


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