Early twenty-something Baltimoreans Eddie, Shrevie, Boogie, Billy, Fenwick and Modell have been friends since they were kids, where the center of their lives has been and still is the Fells Point Diner. It's the last week of 1959. Baltimore Colts fanatic Eddie is scheduled to get married to Elyse on New Year's Eve, but may call off the wedding if Elyse doesn't pass his Colts quiz which he will hold two days before the scheduled wedding. Inexperienced Eddie turns to the only other married one among the bunch, electronics salesman and music aficionado Shrevie, for advice, he who may not be the best person from who to ask advice on marriage since he doesn't yet realize that he probably got married to his wife Beth for the wrong reasons. Indeed, Beth, who has lost her sense of identity, is unhappy in their marriage, and contemplates having an affair with someone who provides what she believes is a sympathetic shoulder. Hairdresser and law school student Boogie is the player of the bunch, ...Written by
Barry Levinson has said that none of the characters were actually him, but composites. The one he said he resembled the most was William "Billy" Howard (Tim Daly). See more »
When discussing marriage outside the diner, Eddie tells Shrevie that he and Elyse will be vacationing in Cuba, which had already been taken over by Castro on 1 January 1959. By New Years Day 1960, a honeymoon in Cuba would have been considered out of the question. See more »
You son of a bitch, you're a virgin, aren't you?
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The end credits run as we hear another diner conversation between the guys. See more »
Not much happens in the course of director Barry Levinson's film "Diner". A bunch of college-aged guys in late 1950's Baltimore gather over the Christmas holidays and eat french fries with gravy at their favorite local diner and talk about "stuff" . . . oh yeah, they also confront the painful necessity of making the transition from carefree adolescence to the responsibilities of adulthood.
The reason for the gathering: Eddie (Steve Guttenberg) is getting married. TV salesman Shrevie (Daniel Stern) is already married and prefers to cling to his single friends lifestyle instead of trying to understand his wife, Beth (Ellen Barkin). Fenwick (Kevin Bacon) is the smart and cynical black sheep son of a rich family, who seems to have a drinking problem. Boogie (Mickey Rourke) is a hairstylist/law student and a smooth-talking ladies man, but his mounting gambling debts are getting him into trouble. Billy (Timothy Daley) has escaped to college and gotten involved in a messy romance with a longtime platonic girlfriend. Then there's Modell (Paul Reiser), the soft-spoken philosopher/comedian of the group, who ponders the meaning of the word "nuance" and, in the film's funniest scene, torments Eddie over a roast beef sandwich. Eddie himself is a lazy, immature-yet-amiable lout who is making his bride-to-be pass a football quiz before tying the knot. The interaction between these friends sets in motion a story that is as deep as the meaning of life, and as shallow as the question of who's the better singer - Sinatra or Mathis? "Diner" is simply one of the best movies ever made about male-bonding. Working from a highly autobiographical script, director Barry Levinson has created a masterful comedy and an insightful character study. What he does so well is capture the way guys act when women aren't around - they smoke and drink and stay up all night and laugh and talk about cars and music and sports, and of course they rack their brains trying to figure out the opposite sex. Any woman wanting to understand the male psyche would do well to study this film.
More importantly he also perfectly captures the feeling of inevitable change hanging over these characters. There's this wistful desire to hang on to past relationships, to revel in familiar people and places before moving forward, before dealing with the anxiety of the approaching unknown. It's this quality that makes "Diner" such a special film. It can be enjoyed on a surface level for it's humor and nostalgia, or you can dig deeper and appreciate the profound observations it makes on the human condition. Either way it is an amazing film.
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