7.2/10
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68 user 46 critic

Trees Lounge (1996)

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Tommy is an unemployed mechanic who spends most of his time in a bar (Trees Lounge) in a small blue collar town. He seems to always be thinking, "If only X then I could stop drinking".

Director:

Steve Buscemi

Writer:

Steve Buscemi
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carol Kane ... Connie
Mark Boone Junior ... Mike
Steve Buscemi ... Tommy
Bronson Dudley Bronson Dudley ... Bill
Anthony LaPaglia ... Rob (as Anthony Lapaglia)
Michael Buscemi ... Raymond
Elizabeth Bracco ... Theresa
John Ventimiglia ... Johnny
Steven Randazzo Steven Randazzo ... Vic
Suzanne Shepherd ... Jackie
Rockets Redglare Rockets Redglare ... Stan
Joe Lisi ... Harry
Debi Mazar ... Crystal
Eszter Balint ... Marie
Richard Boes Richard Boes ... Freddie
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Storyline

Things aren't going so well for Tommy Basilio. He lost his job because he "borrowed" money from the register, his girlfriend left him for his boss and is now pregnant, and he can't find work because of the incident. His life revolves around the Trees Lounge, a neighborhood bar over which he lives, full of the colorful eccentrics one finds in such places, like the estranged husband, or the old boozer drinking himself to death. He drunkenly wanders through his life, still in love with his ex, desperate for some sort of meaning beyond the bar, some sort of meaning to his life. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story about one man's search... for who knows what

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for plentiful strong language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bizim kafe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,830, 13 October 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$695,229
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Steve Buscemi's brother Michael Buscemi and son Lucian Buscemi appear in the film. Buscemi's father also appears as well, although he is only in the background. See more »

Goofs

When Tommy reminds Debbie to collect her bag when he is dropping her off, you can see a crew person in corner of screen as well as in the window reflection. See more »

Quotes

Jackie: Billy, Stan got new glasses.
[to Stan]
Jackie: Show him your glasses.
[to Bill]
Jackie: He don't like 'em.
Stan: Get ready, Bill.
[puts glasses on]
Bill: You look like an idiot.
Stan: Go fuck, Billy!
See more »

Connections

References Mister Magoo (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

THAT WOMAN'S GOT ME DRINKING
Written by Shane MacGowan
Performed by Shane MacGowan & The Popes
Published by Shane MacGowan, Perfect Songs Ltd. and SPZ Music Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Buscemi Does It All, and He Does It Well
19 April 2002 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

Steve Buscemi has long been one of the premiere character actors in the business; his resume reads like a veritable Who's Who of interesting, complex characters who run the gamut from psycho hit-man to regular guy, all of whom he has brought vividly to life in film after film. And whether or not a particular project is a hit or a flop, Buscemi is always good, and can always be counted upon to add that extra something to any given film, as he has in `Trees Lounge,' an affecting drama he not only stars in, but with which he makes his debut as a writer/director-- and an impressive debut it is.

Tommy Basilio (Buscemi) is an out-of-work mechanic who lives alone above a bar called Trees Lounge in Long Island, N.Y. He's more than a bit down on his luck; not only did he lose his job, but his pregnant girlfriend of eight years, Theresa (Elizabeth Bracco) recently dumped him for his former boss, Rob (Anthony LaPaglia). He wants to pick himself up and get his life back together, but he doesn't seem to know where to start, and the garages to which he's applied for work aren't exactly knocking his door down to hire him. So he gravitates to the Trees, where he can at least interact with others who seem to be in situations not entirely unlike his own, though at different stages and for different reasons. But they all have one thing in common-- they're people just trying to get through the day; they're trying to get through life. If they can only figure it all out.

With this film, Buscemi proves that he is more than just a talented actor, but rather a true artist in every sense of the word, with his chosen medium being film. He has an eye for detail which complements his insights into human nature and enables him to effectively translate his material to the screen. His characters are finely drawn and complex, and with each and every one he manages to successfully avoid the stereotypes to which a setting like this could easily lend itself (and no doubt would, in lesser hands). Even with the minor characters, he succinctly gives you enough of who they are that it allows you to see beneath the surface and know what makes them tick. And he does it imaginatively-- by filling a room with photographs or items that reflect who a certain person is, for example, or simply by training his camera on someone's face and allowing that extra beat that affords the viewer a telling glimpse of what's hiding behind a character's eyes. Buscemi has an innate sense of knowing how to convey what he's trying to say, and he does it in a million small and different ways that are subtle and incisive. Simply put, he knows what works-- including how to get what he wants out of his actors-- and he presents it all with a pace and timing that are right on the mark.

In Tommy, Buscemi creates a character to whom many will be able to relate and identify on any number of different levels. To say that Tommy is a `loser' would be too much of a simplification, because the character is too complex for that tag alone to be accurate. Tommy is blue-collar, down on his luck, and like so many people in real life, just can't seem to put it all together, can't figure out how `life' is supposed to work. And that's what Buscemi conveys so subtly and so well, and it's the key to the success of this character-- it's what makes Tommy believable and real. Obviously, Buscemi knew exactly what he wanted when he wrote this character, and he puts it across with a brilliant, memorable performance which also demonstrates his ability to star in and carry a movie on his own. Certainly, he has a wonderful supporting cast that gives him plenty of help, but few character actors have ever been able to step into a lead role with such facility and achieve the level of success Buscemi has here. And it's work that deserves to be acknowledged.

There are a number of notable supporting performances in this film, as well, beginning with Mark Boone Junior, who as Mike captures the essence of a guy who is successful, but a loser nonetheless; LaPaglia, who gives a solid performance as Rob; Bracco, with a performance that is introspectively revealing; Debi Mazar, who with very little screen time leaves an indelible impression (and her eyes are absolutely mesmerizing); Kevin Corrigan (another of the finest character actors around), as Matthew; and especially Chloe Sevigny, as Debbie, Theresa's mature-beyond-her-years, seventeen-year-old niece.

Rounding out the ensemble cast are Carol Kane (Connie), Bronson Dudley (Bill), Michael Buscemi (Steve's real life brother, playing Tommy's brother, Raymond), Suzanne Shepherd (Jackie), Rockets Redglare (Stan), Seymour Cassel (Uncle Al), Annette Arnold (Sandy), Michael Imperioli (George), Mimi Rogers (Patty), Daniel Baldwin (Jerry) and Charles Newmark (Puck). An involving story presented with a rich assortment of memorable, convincing characters, `Trees Lounge' is a drama about life-- about the things going on in your own neighborhood, or downtown or two streets over, no matter where you are in the world. Wherever people are, there are situations like the ones depicted in this film, problems that have to be solved and life that has to be lived. And that's what makes this film so good; it gives the audience a chance to connect with, or at least examine, things that anyone anywhere will be able to recognize. It may have taken a collaborative effort to make this one what it is, but in the end, it's Buscemi's film from start to finish, and a satisfying little gem of a movie it is. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 8/10.


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