|Index||5 reviews in total|
I saw this film at the Austin Film Festival and enjoyed it immensely. It is much superior to most Hollywood schlock and slash. It has a literate script, interesting characters, witty banter, and a fine blend of tragedy and comedy (or was it comedy and tragedy?) that is difficult to finesse. Although some of the subject matter is dark, it remains comic -- not in the broad, rowdy M*A*S*H sense, but in a charming, everyday, real-life sense. The film's courage to be honest about how someone's self-inflicted tragedy doesn't necessarily consume everyone around him was refreshing, and the life-goes-on message is honest and not cliched. There are fine lead performances by Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Stoltz, and Caroleen Feeney, and a great turn as a comic villain by Tom Sadoski. His comedy is wickedly balanced by a more darkly villainous Robert Vaughn. The tone of the film hangs in between, in tipsy harmony. This film deserves a well-publicized theater run. See it!
The acting of both Anthony LaPaglia as the alcoholic and Eric Stoltz as his loyal friend Levine is faultless. Anthony LaPaglia in particular is stunning in the lead role of Ryan Tulley Jnr. and more than matches his superb performance as Leon in "Lantana". He imbues the character of Tulley with such charisma that one can readily understand why Levine and Tulley's girlfriend Natalie are so willing to care for him when his health breaks down.The story revolves around a disaffected middle aged man with a writer's block of seventeen years duration, his only recourse being to the bottle. But be warned the graphic detailing of his consequent health problems including vomiting, hemorrhages and colostomy bags may be too harrowing for some. Do not fear though, the movie is not without its humorous interludes. Plus the most tender love scene ever!This is an excellent,absorbing and moving little film, and an absolute must-see for all those Stoltz and LaPaglia fans out there!!
"Happy Hour" is a well-acted but dated feeling portrait of an
Far less harrowing than addiction films from "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Lost Weekend" to "Permanent Midnight," writer/director Mike Bencivenga makes a heavy drinker and his enablers out to be genial wasters of talent until the physical ramifications become unavoidable.
Anthony LaPaglia is a charismatic alcoholic, if a mean supervisor at work, and we have to accept that is enough to justify the noble loyalty of a teacher he picks up in a bar and his best friend, a long-time co-worker. The triangle is also old-fashioned, barely hinting at the kinds of depths as are in "A Home at the End of the World." There's a brief mention in passing that his mother is also an alcoholic, but the friends seem to be social drinkers who were just keeping him company drink for drink, and can give it up at will and be inspired by LaPaglia's character to change their lives.
The voice-over narration is a bit "Sunset Boulevard"-ish, but is fit into the story line of the central character as a writer finishing his book.
Nice NYC touches: to have LaPaglia be a kind of Delbert McClinton in Mary Lou Lord's band and to have his dad, as played by Robert Vaughn, be part of a circle at The Algonquin that includes such noted commentators on heavy drinking as Pete Hamill and Steve Dunleavy.
i never pick out movies i know nothing about but this time i did... and
I dug it. Sure it felt like a made for TV movie. Sure the filming was
rather bland, predictable... but the writing was really good! Not
perfect, but fun and entertaining, and the acting was very good. Stoltz
was surprisingly low-key.. I guess he always is, but in this one he was
super low-key. I was touched.
Story did have overtones of many other alkie movies I've seen, which at first put me off, but it was still set apart by the genuine feel of the story.
Overall, it was a humble little movie. Smallish production values. But sweet and sincere...
But when they were drunk, they really didn't seem that drunk... except once or twice... and the DTs are always hard to watch (remember Nicholas cage in leaving las Vegas?)
Hey Mike, I can't have an objective point of view about your movie,
that's really amazing, you know, I think you have had a lot of
inspiration from Woody Allen with the music, the artistic quality of
the image etc... your movie made me cry at the end (just like
Christophe, remember? hey). I don't know what to say except that you
gave us a film that people was not really waiting for, I guess and this
movie is just an enjoyment for me (and for many people, I hope)but all
that I can say
is that you're the most original director of these times.
I wish I 'll see you soon again, Mike, and I'm really waiting for your next movie !
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