Number of Times Seen – Twice (Cable in the 80’s and 18 Sep 2019)
Brief Synopsis – Two salesman in Baltimore in the early 1960’s, begin a small argument that snowballs into each trying to find a way to outdo and humiliate the other as much as possible.
My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing back in the 80’s on cable as a kid and obviously didn’t understand much of what was being presented to us.
The premise is actually an intriguing one yet the way things are presented here lack the right kind of momentum to sustain a storyline that is build on revenge due to personal vendettas between two salesmen.
The characters are created very realistically yet each of them take things much too far and over the top too early in the story.
The complaints and rants that each of them have get so blown out of proportion that it hurts things more than helps them.
Richard Dreyfuss ad Danny DeVito are both superb actors, but even they can’t helps keeping these petty characters interesting for such a long period of time which makes it pretty tiresome watching things unfold.
The main thing that this film gets right is the atmosphere of 1960’s Baltimore and it really feels as if we have been transported back in time to that place in an effective way.
The supporting cast is also superb and is filled with so many familiar faces that allow things to uplift the story at unexpected points when they find ways to continue to surprise.
Bottom Line – Interesting story that fails to have the right amount of momentum in order to keep things enjoyable. The characters are created quite well, but they both get a bit too over the top too quickly and their rants and complaints get a bit too much far too early in the story. Dreyfuss and DeVito are both great actors, but even they can’t help keep these characters and their situations from losing a lot of the fascination because they get too tiresome along the way. The film gets the atmosphere of the time really well and that helps transport us to this time and place quite effectively. The supporting cast is superb and is filled with so many familiar faces that helps keep things enjoyable and surprising at very unexpected points of the story.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Production designer Peter Jamison was having trouble finding the right kind of house to match Barry Levinson’s exact specifications, namely a three-storey wooden structure with a little lawn, set back from the road, and in need of a new frame. Levinson told him to go to 4211 Springdale Avenue, Baltimore, which was the house where he grew up. (From IMDB)
Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)
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