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The Pallbearer (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 3 May 1996 (USA)
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A young man's life is thrown into a loop when he is asked to be a pallbearer for the funeral of a classmate he doesn't remember, and his old high school crush temporarily returns to town.

Director:

Matt Reeves
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Schwimmer ... Tom Thompson
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Julie DeMarco
Michael Rapaport ... Brad Schorr
Toni Collette ... Cynthia
Carol Kane ... Tom's Mother
Michael Vartan ... Scott
Bitty Schram ... Lauren
Jean De Baer Jean De Baer ... Suzanne DeMarco
Elizabeth Franz ... Aunt Lucille
Mark Margolis ... Philip DeMarco
Barbara Hershey ... Ruth Abernathy
Edoardo Ballerini ... The Job Interviewer
Matthew Faber ... Jared
Robin Morse Robin Morse ... Sylvie
Tony Machine Tony Machine ... The Undertaker
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Storyline

Chaos unfolds as Tom is roped into being a pallbearer (and delivering the eulogy!) by the mother of a recently deceased "friend" from high school that he just can't remember. In the meantime, an unrequited love from high school (NOT the dead guy's girlfriend) reappears in his life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something magical is about to unfold in the most unexpected place. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amigo Desconhecido See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,319,236, 5 May 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,656,388, 31 December 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax,The Chess Club See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the music tracks that composer 'Stewart Copeland' wrote for the film, "Bill is Dead", was later remixed for the 1998 video game "Spyro the Dragon", which Stewart also composed. It was used as the music for the Lofty Castle level, where it played at a faster pace and with a few minor differences in instrumentation. See more »

Goofs

When the mother is making instant coffee, the jar label is turned between shots. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Abernathy: [In restaurant, in front of Julie and her parents] So, this is Julie! Why don't you tell her, Tom, what you did to your best friend's mother?
Tom: He wasn't my best friend. I hardly knew him!
See more »


Soundtracks

Cantaloupe Island
Written by Herbie Hancock
Performed by Herbie Hancock
Courtesy of Blue Note Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under lcense from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Often overlooked, but delightful film
23 May 2005 | by rpbauerSee all my reviews

Maybe it was the great, eclectic soundtrack with the likes of Django Reinhardt, Herbie Hancock, Perry Como, Curtis Mayfield, Neil Young and Richie Havens, or maybe it was the dark and subtle bits of humor that pleasantly surprised me throughout the movie, but I really enjoyed this one.

We meet Tom, a forlorn twenty-something man-child still living at home and struggling to take control of his life, played by David Schwimmer of "Friends" fame. Tom gets a call from a woman who mistakenly believes he knew her recently deceased son. He goes along with it, presumably to save her the added grief of knowing her son had no close friends. Of course, Tom's accommodating nature backfires and he's asked to give the eulogy for a man he never knew. This sets up a scene with the kind of dark humor seen throughout the movie that audiences are either delighted with or immediately turned off by.

At the funeral, Tom meets Julie, his unrequited high school crush, played with genuine emotion and winsome grace by Gwyneth Paltrow. Thus begins two relationships that play out over the duration of the film --one with Grace, the bereft mother of the friend Tom never had, played by Barbara Hershey, and the other with Julie.

Yes, this movie owes much, in terms of plot and characters, to "The Graduate," with Hershey playing the counterpart to Anne Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson. But it turns out to be much more than just an update of the '60s classic. The audience really gets to know the inner turmoil both Tom and Julie are going through -- Tom, both for the guilt of becoming unwittingly involved with Grace, and for also being involved with Julie at the same time, and Julie, for being torn between striking out on her own to escape her overbearing parents and getting into a deep relationship with Tom.

There are a couple of sideplots going on with Tom's friends -- Michael Rapaport's character getting married to a woman his friends don't like, and Michael Vardan's married character, making a move on Julie, which obviously infuriates Tom. And Carol Kane as Tom's mom, is precious. In one scene, he is livid after she bursts into his room unannounced. After she receives a brief scolding for not knocking, she replies "I only wanted to see if you wanted some ice cream," to which he replies "A little."

Schwimmer nails the role, with his underplayed, tacit sadness about his so-far-failed attempt at making a responsible life for himself. And Paltrow, well, can she ever miss? Whether for the dark humor, spot-on acting, or superb soundtrack, this one is definitely worth a viewing.


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