Three Days of Rain (2002)
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The film weakly dramatizes the lives of unhappy people, a long-time married couple who begin to drift apart because the wife, of all people, is aghast by her husband's preoccupation with a homeless person she refused to give restaurant leftovers to, a cab driver dealing with rude passengers (especially a drunk who suddenly begins to psychologically analyze him) while coming to terms with his son's death, and a mentally retarded janitor who is accused of removing vital lug nuts from train tracks. There's also the drug-addicted young woman who was forced to give up her baby (and is hired by the adoptive father who just happens to be the natural father too to be the baby sitter), an elderly man who can't prevent himself from constantly trying to scam his own son, and the tile maker who forces his way into the home of a client's widow in order to get paid for services rendered.
The unpleasant mix of stories makes this difficult to watch and the way many of the stories are wrapped up (if they are at all) leaves the viewer feeling incomplete. My favorite character was the compassionate Erick Avari who is a very successful businessman questioning his own existence outside of success, much like the character of Ben Stone in the Stephen Sondheim musical of "Follies". His wife is so cold that she doesn't see the humanitarian desires her husband displays, only her ideal that if they stopped to help every homeless or needy person in Cleveland, they'd be broke or suicidal. This gives the movie a feeling of hopelessness and the sad selfish view that the world has moved into over the past decades as the economy has a massive impact on more than just the businesses forced to declare Chapter 11.
Peter Falk plays a character like none he's ever played, a charming but amoral elderly man who seems determined to drink his pension, knowing he can sucker his son into helping him anytime the money runs out. Blythe Danner has a meaningless cameo as a taxi passenger who has an instant nervous breakdown after learning of the driver's son's death, as if she was Mother Courage, Mother Teresa and Tammy Faye Baker rolled into one. Joan Allen gives a deeply touching performance as the widow who must deal with the pushy tile maker, an obnoxious character who handles being right in a very wrong way. Then, there's the prissy condo receptionist who fires up the tile maker's wrath, a character so puckered with cynicism and bitchiness you wonder why he doesn't end up a corpse simply by his nasty attitude.
I felt sorry for the cab driver, especially when stuck with the drunken partiers, but admired the young black man in the car who stuck up for him, basically telling his obnoxious friend to shut up. Other passengers seemed either too involved in their own world to care what kind of suffering this man was going through and how he was reaching out to everybody he could to find some human connection in a time when that is obviously gone with the wind. The story of the retarded janitor is disturbing, especially in the sense that it indicates that characters like this shouldn't be entrusted with responsibility. Overall, the movie is depressing and melancholy, an artistic failure that I basically sat open-mouthed through waiting to find other likable characters than the wealthy Avari and the emotionally drained cab driver.