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Johnny Berlin (2005)

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Simultaneously funny and dark, this documentary follows Jon Hyrns, a porter aboard a refurbished 1930s luxury train. Passengers on the Seattle to L.A. trip know him as "Johnny Berlin" - the... See full summary »

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Simultaneously funny and dark, this documentary follows Jon Hyrns, a porter aboard a refurbished 1930s luxury train. Passengers on the Seattle to L.A. trip know him as "Johnny Berlin" - the man responsible for making their beds and cleaning their toilets. We get to know him differently - as a middle-aged, struggling writer with a workaday job and as many dreams as he has beds to clean. Boyishly charming and with many stories to tell, Johnny takes us on a trip through his life. He's a true wanderer, a man without a home base, whose only plan is to spend his savings on a trip to Cambodia to write his long-gestating novel. The film is ultimately an intimate, offbeat, and humorous portrait of mid-life crisis presented as a traveling monologue. Written by Michael Perkins

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"I'm semi-happy... I imagine."

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17 June 2005 (USA)  »

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Followed by Johnny Berlin Part 2: Notes from the Dumpster (2008) See more »

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A Great Portrait Film
18 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a one-of-a-kind movie, a portrait of an individual so rarely seen in films today. This film played at a bunch of festivals and I had the opportunity to see it at two. It gets better with each viewing. The subject of the film grows on you. Johnny Berlin hearkens back to the Beats with his naive yet poetic commentary on the world around him. Trains are soon to become all but extinct in the United States, and the train porter is a rare breed indeed, but Johnny is no ordinary porter. I highly recommend this film to anyone who's interested in trains, people who like to observe life, and those searching for comedy in odd places. Johnny's personality may induce feelings of kinship or disownment, but I believe we all have a little bit of Johnny in us. He is indeed the everyman. IndiePix.net is slated to have this title for sale starting in December of 2006.


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