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A down-on-his-luck, divorced father works the night shift at an Atlantic City casino. When his relationship with his young daughters and ex-wife is jeopardized by a run-in with the law, he struggles to get his life - and family - back together before it's too late. A moving and humorous look at the limits of unconditional love and what defines a family. Written by
LET'S TALK DIRTY IN HAWAIIAN
Written by Fred Koller and John Prine
Performed by John Prine
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group (BMI) / Spoondevil Music and Pink Sky Music
Administered by Bug Music, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Oh Boy Records See more »
Duane Hopwood is a film about ordinary people whose problems are no different than yours or mine. Hopwood is a man who loves his wife and wants to be a good father to his children, and is losing everything because of his penchant for hitting the bottle. Hopwood is not a mean or tragic drunk figure. He's simply a sad man whose days are sometimes joyful, oftentimes not. With his drunkenness Hopwood's wife Linda is not callous about it. She understands Duane has a problem. But, she can only put up with so much. And when he drives drunk with one of their daughters in the back seat, she goes to divorce court. What's done is done. Linda is finished with dealing with Duane's alcoholism; now it is about looking out for her (not their) kids' welfare.
David Schwimmer plays Duane Hopwood, and his performance surpasses everything he's ever done on Friends. Television shows are like that. When they become popular it is hard to separate the character from the actor. As Duane, Schwimmer has unfixed the stigma he got from being Ross all those years. He has friends in the film, but he's mostly by himself, trying to live his life in Atlantic City. During the wee hours of the morning he pedals his bicycle to his job so he can work a 3 to 12 shift as a pit boss at Caesars. Why the bicycle? The incident with his daughter in the back seat caused him to have his license revoked. Writer-director Matt Mulhernnails home the point of alcoholism. Those who are addicted to the bottle do not think they're alcoholics. "I drink too much sometimes, but Linda, come on, I'm not a drunk," Duane pleads with his ex-wife. Barflies may get drunk, but that's their thing. Duane endangered a daughter he loves, lost his family through divorce, and still cannot stop himself from going to a bar after getting off at noon. Duane can't control his drinking habits. He either drinks way too much or just too much. Sometimes he doesn't drink at all. Alcohol just wasn't becoming that day.
For all I have written about drinking and alcohol, one might think Duane Hopwood is a dreary movie. Well, it is dreary but not because of the subject matter. The grayness of Atlantic City during the winter gives off a ghost town vibe. It's the off-season for tourists, so the town lacks life. Taking away the obsessive drinking aspect, you are left with a guy who wakes up when many are asleep, trying to be professional working the late-night shift at a casino where customers are sparse, and hating that his one true love is now in love with somebody else.
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