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|Index||15 reviews in total|
I'm not a film critic, but I had to comment on this film, and urge you
to see it when it's released. It's touching, sad, uplifting and very
Every character's performance was brilliant, from an exquisitely understated Lee Merriweather, to the "challenged" Uncle, who could have ONLY been played by Brad Doriff, to the father, played by the incredible Ed Harris. You hate him, you feel sorry for him, you hate him again and finally your heart breaks for him. Even those with smaller roles were completely believable (thanks to an outstanding script).
How did these "kids" manage to assemble such a cast for their first film! And they can act, too!
I wasn't watching a movie... I was allowed to share a family's precious and not-so-precious memories. I will not forget this experience. And I look forward to saying "I knew them when..."
Watch for it. Go see it.
I'd read the Miller brothers book (YOU'RE EITHER IN, OR YOU'RE IN THE
WAY), when it first came out a few months ago and have been itching to
see their film ever since. I was finally able to catch the film at a
wonderful sneak preview screening, in the awesome Smith Rafael Film
Center. And I was even able to chat with the filmmakers afterward. What
The Miller brothers have created a work of art out of literally nothing. As a feature film producer myself, I know what kind of determination and stamina this takes and my hat goes off to them for a job (extremely) well done. The long hours, sleepless nights, anxiety and frustration all becomes worth it, when you sit in the theater and see your finished product screened before an audience.
Ed Harris was remarkable (as always), the story was simple yet complex and emotionally poignant. The cinematography was beautiful and subtle. I liked that it wasn't over stylized and just allowed the characters and their journey to be the main focal point of the film. TOUCHING HOME is a great little 'slice of life' movie, that touches the heart and speaks eloquently to the depth of human relationships and loss.
I hope that this calling card piece ignites the careers of these talented guys. Bravo to the entire cast/crew!
After attending a screening of "Touching Home" I can't say enough about this movie. This is a true tale of how twin brothers honor their commitment to their homeless father, showing both the good times, which were few, and the other times and how they learned to live with it. The Miller brothers not only wrote the story, but they produced, directed and starred in this film. The end product is simply amazing, particularly since they had no prior experience doing any of these things. This is the epitome of a labor of love with a thoughtful, heartfelt portrayal of their life with their alcoholic, homeless dad. It is remarkable that these brothers managed to function in such a dysfunctional family but they never lost hope that things would get better. In many ways these situations can apply to anyone with an alcoholic love one which left the audience quite thoughtful even after the film was over. I found myself thinking about the film and the act of making this film for days after the screening. I must add that the film, based in Marin County, in the San Francisco bay area, does a nice job of capturing the beauty of this rural area. I am seldom this enthused about a film of this nature but this is a must-see. Run to the theater when it opens in your area.
I went to this film thinking I was going to see a movie about brothers trying to play baseball in the majors, but the film is much deeper than that and blew me away. Although there is a baseball theme in the film, the film is more focused on the brothers returning to their home town and dealing with their father, who is a homeless alcoholic. The adversity that these brothers faced while growing up is truly inspiring because they are so upbeat and determined to reach their goals. I'm truly grateful that I was able to attend their screening, see them in person, and to observe that they are happy people because I am still shocked by how much they have overcome. If more people had the same determined outlook that these brothers have at reaching their American Dream, our country would be a lot more successful. I would also recommend reading their book "Your Either In or In the Way" because it divulges even deeper into their lives, and describes all of the obstacles they had to face to create this film, the biggest ones being that they had no experience in the film industry as directors, writers, or actors, zero industry connections, and no money. I plan on seeing this film again when in comes out at the end of April, and I definitely will be bringing some tissues for the waterworks.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, I just want to say how much I admire the Miller Brothers for
the trials and tribulations they were able to overcome in producing
this film. That said, I was actually kind of disappointed after seeing
Touching Home, I really was. After reading "Either You're In or You're
In the Way", hearing about the awards Touching Home received on the
film festival circuit, and absorbing a considerable amount of hype
about the Miller Brothers locally, I was expecting to see something
groundbreaking. Instead, I got to see a movie that just didn't quite
live up to its full potential.
Now, I don't want to dock the movie too much, because, it was after all a valiant effort, and I think more low budget indie flicks like this should be produced. Although, if the Miller Brothers want to be considered respectable film makers, they need to realize this film wasn't pretty. So, rather than most of the people on here awarding 10 out of 10 sympathetic odes of praise to the Miller brothers, I hope to offer a more objective analysis for my fellow IMDb users to consider before seeing this film.
Visually, despite minor lighting problems, the movie was acceptable. In fact, there were several instances (such as the helicopter fly over of the Nicasio church) where I was actually somewhat impressed with the cinematography. However, in my opinion, the script lagged far behind. I felt like the movie didn't know whether it wanted to be a drama, baseball movie, or a love story. The thing is, the love story and baseball plot are left completely unresolved. That leads me to believe it was a drama, about their father. But, if it was a drama, it was kind of a corny drama, because there was several instances during the movie where I found myself laughing, and then realized that I wasn't supposed to be after the fact. For example, the excessive use of the line "Shut up!" in supposedly dramatic situations just wasn't having the chilling effect it should have had.
Don't get me wrong though, it's both tragic and inspiring what these guys went through. However, I just think that writing the book as well as the screenplay, and directing and acting in the movie, showed the Miller Brothers were perhaps a little bit too self indulgent. Especially when it comes to their acting in Touching Home; come on guys, leave the acting to the professionals, because that was awful. On the other end of the spectrum, one major redeeming factor of this film was the casting and subsequent performances by Ed Harris, Brad Dourif, Robert Forster, and Evan Jones (who I thought stole the show.) If the Miller Brothers do go on to direct more films (and I hope they do), chances are this won't be remembered as one of their best. I think, instead, it will probably be remembered as one of their most raw, and honest pieces of work, which is a nice addition to their portfolio. Cinematically, the Miller brothers could have done better on this one. However, If they keep working and making films with the same focus and determination they used to channel towards baseball, they will achieve success in the film industry.
I received a last minute invite thru Yelp for a private screening of
this movie in San Rafael last week. I am not an avid movie reviewer,
just a graduate student who was impressed with the film! Needless to
say, I came into this movie without knowing much about it, thinking
this was just going to be some strange indie flick. I was pleasantly
surprised at how well made the film was and this film more than
exceeded my expectations.
The actors/writers/directors Noah and Logan Miller tell a very heart wrenching tale about their alcoholic father and their dream of playing professional baseball, which hit a lot of personal notes with me as I too come from a family where members have suffered from the same disease. My boyfriend also played baseball professionally so we were both pleasantly surprised with baseball being a major theme in the movie. I found myself tearing up at some of the scenes! Ed Harris was wonderful in the role of their father. Brad Dourif was also very believable as their uncle.
I highly recommend reading their book too, You're Either In or In the Way, which goes behind the scenes to explain how the film came to be, it really is a story of pure luck as well as people being genuinely impressed with the Miller brothers.
Best of luck to the Miller brothers, this truly was a story that needed to be told and they did an awesome job telling it.
For me this movie is a hit or miss. The pitch is coming towards the
hitter and anything is possible.
Ed Harris plays the father of two boys who grow up with major league baseball dreams, only to have them crushed by their father who's alcohol problem seems to stem from, well, I don't know, it's never really dealt with. The boys are inexorably tied up with their father's problems. But what those problems stem from is anybody's guess. There's no big speech, no big explanation, no big scene which is standard in drama's like these where the characters come together, yell, and either sort things out for the better or make them worse.
If the directors/writers/producers, who are two brothers who have some personal and family stake in the film, since they dedicated it to their father, if they just went into a little more depth with the Harris character and use his acting abilities even more, maybe deal with the psychological problems that make him drink, then this movie would have been substantially better. Instead, all we see him do is drink, then not drink for awhile, then drink some more, without any rhyme or reason as to the cause.
Things go well for the boys for awhile, then bad, good again, then bad, were perpetually going back and forth from balls to strikes with no in depth pitch to drive the audience home. Were left with a full count, the pitch heading towards the batter, is he gonna hit it, is he gonna miss, and then..........the end. How we got to that point in the game, the hit, runs, errors, everything before and in between that all led us to this movie, were just not told. Watching just the end of a game is not as exciting as watching it all the way through.
Touching Home is just one of those movies destined to become a classic and part of Ed Harris' best work as an actor. Right along movies such as Radio, Stepmom and Pollack, this ranks among his best work as an actor and it wouldn't be a surprise if he is nominated or even wins the Oscar for Best Actor for his touching and excellent performance as Charlie Winston, an alcoholic who is struggling to keep himself alive for his day to day existence. Debut directors Noah and Logan Miller make this film as realistic as it can get and their performances as Ed Harris' sons struggling to accept their father's disease. Overall great acting and a heart tugging script make this small indie film worth seeking out and seeing.
A very worthwhile movie.
I was fortunate to be given a chance to see this film before its general release. By now, many of you will have heard the story about twin brothers with an alcoholic and homeless father, about how the brothers made a movie about their story etc. It might sound a little like a strawberry pie kind of scenario. No spoilers here - but you should not let past experiences influence your future opinions.
The acting in the movie takes a little while to warm-up. I do not know if the entire movie was shot in sequence (unlikely) but I found that as the movie progressed, particularly after the 30 minute mark, all the players seemed to interact more comfortably and naturally together. In other words, in the first 30 minutes, I was in the theater to watch a movie - after that time, I was completely wrapped up in the story.
The brothers did an amazing job of ignoring all those who told them that they could not do what they did. They should be considered a genuine inspiration for all film students and existing film makers who seem to find it oh so easy to complain rather than facing a situation, and dealing with it the best way they can.
Ed Harris - well, what can I say? Being from England, I have skepticism woven in to my DNA. Some people go to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse. I see an hourly wage earner in a plastic uniform. But Ed's performance was, really, incredible. Seriously, really incredible. For fans of Ed Harris, you will not be disappointed. For those who, for some reason, dislike Ed Harris, if this movie does not make you a fan, there is something wrong with you.
The casting of Ishiah Benben was also inspired. A beautifully played piece - I am sure we will see a lot more of this talented actor in the near future.
The movie locations are beautifully shot, camera work fits together very well (although some too obvious filtering was a minor distraction), and the editing and soundtrack pull it all together.
Go and see this movie - not just to support two young men who have already done more than many will do in a lifetime, but also to experience a very well executed production.
And congratulations to the sponsors of the movie, and the California Film Institute for seeing the potential, and making this production a reality.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Touching Home" is a clever title for this 2008 film by twin brothers
who then were novices in Hollywood. Brought up on baseball, their
driving hope was to become pro ball players. That's how they would make
something of themselves and escape the clutches of an all but
nonexistent family and home life. Once grown, they come to grips with a
dysfunctional family and alcoholic dad who has never been there for
The twin boys in real life are Noah and Logan Miller. After five years of minor league baseball in the southern mid-section of the U.S., they went back home to California. They held different jobs always together as brothers, and eventually wound up in Los Angeles. They had jobs that introduced them to the seedy side of nightlife indulged in by many of the wealthy of Hollywood. They then decided to write a screenplay, and after reading "Lew Hunter's Screen writing 434," they wrote one. Soon they had written half a dozen. They then began work on a movie about their story growing up. And, in 2009, they wrote a book, "Either You're in or You're in the Way." It tells about their experiences leading up to the production of this movie, "Touching Home."
Although new to Hollywood, the Miller twins are in rare company already. Very few others have done what they did with this film. They produced it under the Winston name of their characters in the film. They are the sole writers of the script. They direct the film themselves. And they are the co-stars of the film, along with Ed Harris. I don't know that there's a record or list anywhere that has individuals who did all four major tasks in making a film: producer, director, screenwriter and actor co-star.
Besides Harris, they got some very good talent for the main supporting roles. Brad Dourif gives an outstanding performance as their uncle Clyde Winston who is mentally handicapped. And, Robert Forster does an excellent job as Perk Perkins, the local sheriff who is their baseball coach when they are little and friend and helper to their dad, Charlie (Ed Harris) later. Harris is excellent in his portrayal of the alcoholic father.
The story of Logan and Noah Miller is amazing in itself. They stuck together through great adversity and neglect. Today, probably very few people don't know about dysfunctional families. Many people have grown up in one themselves. Many know other people who have. "Touching Home" is a story about surviving such an upbringing, and in a way perhaps the only way in which the victims can find peace and consolation.
This movie has all other aspects done very well the direction, filming, settings, camera work, etc. But what makes it stand out is the story itself. We never learn why the twins are growing up without a mother. But, their dad is an alcoholic from the outset when we first see the boys at around age 10. There's no apparent physical abuse of the boys, but he comes home drunk late at night. Later, we see that their grandmother appears to be a reclusive alcoholic herself. And, they have a slightly mentally handicapped uncle whom the boys both like. Their dad is known as a hard worker, but he drinks and gambles away all that he earns. He now is living in the back of his covered pickup, which he parks at night near the edge of a forest or park.
The movie opens with the boys at a junior college in Arizona where they play baseball on a school team. Their hopes are to be noticed by pro scouts who regularly attend collegiate games looking for talented players. But their plans fall through when one of them can't maintain his grade level to stay qualified for sports. So, they pull up stakes and head back home where they plan to work, save money and continue training on their own together. Then they will return south to try out for the majors during spring training camps.
The bulk of the movie takes place from that point on. I won't describe the details. But this is where this film goes in a different direction than most. With their dad, Charlie's continued drinking, Lane and Clint (the brothers' characters) would be socially and morally right to stay away from him, and not let him influence their lives. But, because of the heartstring pull of one brother, the twins rise to a heroic love and empathy for their father. They don't enable his habit they confront him on it. And because they don't shut him out of their lives, they see what many people do not. Charlie truly loves them. The film just gives us a glimpse of his remorse, and it shows his broken promises, denials and lies. In doing that, the film shines a spotlight on the insidiousness of addiction. How it holds a power and control over a person that an alcoholic or other addict can't counter and overcome alone.
The movie has a bittersweet ending, but one where the brothers find peace and consolation. They dedicate the movie to their dad, in the last clip before the end credits. A photo has a caption that reads, "For our Dad, David Arthur Miller." Unlike the movie, he actually died in jail. One thing apparent from the twins' experiences is that they have a healthy sense of humor. In part one of their book, they describe their moves and many jobs they had along the way. After describing what happened at one job they wrote, "We were fired from a bingo hall. Not many people can claim that."
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