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Staying Together (1989)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  10 November 1989 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 562 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 11 critic

The complacent life of three small town brothers is shattered when their father sells the family business from under them.

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Title: Staying Together (1989)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Duncan McDermott
...
Nancy Trainer
...
Eileen McDermott
...
Jake McDermott
...
Denny Stockton
...
Lois Cook
...
Kit McDermott
...
Brian McDermott
...
Kevin Burley
...
Beverly Young
...
Beth Harper
Ryan Hill ...
Demetri Harper
Rick Marshall ...
Charlie
Michael Burgess ...
Workman
Leon Joseph Pinner ...
Newsman
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Storyline

Jake McDermott, after 25 years running a fast food business, proclaims one morning that he's hated dealing with chickens the entire time and has finally sold the family restaurant. For his three sons, who counted on taking it over someday, this comes as a shock and begins to break apart their family. No longer big, carefree fish in a small pond, will the boys manage to rearrange their lives and reconcile with their parents? Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boy's Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,348,025 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jake McDermott: [handing over $20 per Duncan's request] Will this be enough?
Duncan McDermott: You are a humanitarian, a benevolent presence in this age of frugality. If all fathers were such good examples to their sons, this world would be...
[Jake covers Duncan's mouth]
See more »

Connections

Features Jeopardy! (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

The More Things Change
Performed by Paul Cotton
Courtesy of Existia, Inc.
Written by Richard Feldman and Peter Beckett
Published by Irving Music, Inc. on behalf of itself and Long Range Music (BMI), ORCA Songs (ASCAP), Pennystamp Music (BMI)
Produced by Richard Feldman
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User Reviews

 
Stuck together, ripped apart
6 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Staying Together is a heartwarming and earnest dramedy, sometimes packing clichés, and other times, resembling Stand By Me, focusing on three teenage boys who are left without a plan for their future when their father decides that he is going to sell his restaurant since he "doesn't want to die selling chickens." When his boys find out, they are outraged that they were left out of the decision-making process, and feel they were betrayed by their own provider. One of them even walks out to live by his own rules.

The boys are hot-headed Brian (Quill), simple and love-struck Kit (Mulroney), and prankster Duncan (Astin), and their father is Jake (Haynie). After the decision to sell the restaurant is final, the boys struggle to find a specific path to take. They planned to work at the restaurant for years to come, and possibly, forever. Now, with those plans shattered, they must go their separate ways, making life decisions for themselves that were previously made by mom and dad.

I'm aware at how cliché this story sounds, but I mentioned in my review of Nicolas Cage's It Could Happen to You, I don't always immediately ride on a film for being cliché. If a film has a cliché premise, but it also occupies good intentions, sophisticated pacing, likable characters, and a charming attitude and direction than it will most likely merit a positive score. There is nothing wrong with predictability, as long as the film is passable in other areas. Staying Together is, and it is motivated by worthy, capable performances by actors who are very underrated.

Sean Astin's start was in goofy comedies and adventure flicks such as Encino Man and The Goonies before eventually playing Samwise in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while Dermont Mulroney has acted in over seventy films, yet is still patiently waiting for his breakout role. These are all great actors and they finally have their time to shine.

Lee Grant's film is a likable one, but for the sake of randomness and the fact that I have ran out of things to say about the film since there is no need for hardcore, deep analysis, I noticed one glaring continuity error. Quite possibly the biggest I've seen in a while. During the scene where the parents come home to find their kitchen in smithereens, there is a shot of the parents in the doorway of the kitchen which is interrupted by a shot of two boys in the kitchen. When it cuts back to the parents, the dad is now missing and the lighting has drastically become darker. When it cuts back to the kids it is bright and vibrant outside, showing grand effect on the lighting in the room itself. What happened? Did they forget to film something and had to come back later? It doesn't bog down the film one bit, but sometimes when a film gives you something unexpected, and when you just don't have much else to say, it comes in handy. Staying Together is a healthy exercise in the coming of age formula, and a worthy mention for forgotten eighties dramas that are sadly never spoken about in present day.

Starring: Tim Quill, Dermont Mulroney, Sean Astin, Stockard Channing, Jim Haynie, and Melinda Dillon. Directed by: Lee Grant.


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