Having left New Hampshire over excessive demands by the locals, the cast and crew of "The Old Mill" moves their movie shoot to a small town in Vermont. However, they soon discover that The Old Mill burned down in 1960, the star can't keep his pants zipped, the starlet won't take her top off, and the locals aren't quite as easily conned as they appear.Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
During the closing credits, after the end of the song, "The Song of the Old Mill," a fictional interviewer speaks to Howie Gold (played by Jonathan Katz) about the song. Gold says the song can no longer be called "The Song of the Old Mill," since the movie's title has been changed from "The Old Mill" to "The Fires of Home." See more »
The reviews of this film seem to be mixed and I am confused on how that can be? This is one of my favorite movies ever and may be the best (not slapstick, Chris Farley-esque comedy, but smart) comedy. You must pay attention to this movie to get the jokes, because most of them are running (as in recurring) jokes that pick up on items that may have been just mentioned once ("Go you Huskies!") and again and again and again and then are explained later as a tag-on in the dialogue. This basic comedy technique works on an early Mel Brooks type level and makes for a movie that should be watched many times in order to pick up everything, but is still (maybe even more) enjoyable after each viewing.
The writing is unquestionably the best comedy screenplay since those early Brooks films. It's just funny, but you have to pay attention. If you aren't listening to every line of dialogue, you will miss jokes, it is that simple. Each line is crucial to the script either as a story/plot building device or as a joke building device or both. There is not one wasted word in the script.
The cast is classic. Rebecca Pidgeon, Mamet's wife, plays the matter-of-fact-talking girl perfectly. She is the heart of the film and deserves praise for being able to perform that well. The other person that deserves high praise is William H. Macy. His performance is on par with his Fargo performance. He emits this sense of control as everything falls apart around him and delivers some excellent lines.
Baldwin gives a better than average performance, as does Durning and Hoffman and the rest of the cast is quite good.
The direction is great. The movie seems to last 15 minutes because it is that interesting and fast paced. The perceived fast pace is created by the actors saying their lines so quickly and crisply. This can only occur with a director that knows the script but since the script was written by the director, the point becomes moot. Everything else also flows so well and the credit for that has to be given to Mamet's directing and writing ability.
I really like this film. I like the way "The Old Mill" mirrors the actions of the actual film and how deep the film goes. This is like one of those classic novels that can be dissected in every way for symbolism and thought, which is quite rare in today's cinema. The film may be too smart for it's own good and may have overshot the general movie audience, but makes for a gem of a movie to watch. Mamet pulls no punches making fun of Hollywood by comparing it to small town America or more importantly Hollywood "values" to small town American values. Watch this movie if you want to think and be entertained, and if that doesn't sound appealing, please go find another movie to watch.
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