"Suddenly, life was more than french fries, gravy and girls."
Barry Levinson's debut film, Diner, is a truly remarkable semi-autobiographical start to his great career. The movie has no real plot, but it is just the everyday goings on for a group of friends. The group is right on the edge of adulthood. They are at that point where it is time to grow up, but they can't quite summon the courage to do so. They gather at the local diner and show that they are still teenagers on the inside. They still have that immaturity that every high school student has. They can't get together without their conversations turning to the unimportant or the immature. They'll start talking about moving on in life, getting married and all this other crap that goes along with growing up, but they will always come back to the same core issues. I definitely watched this movie at the right time of my life, as I am very much on that same edge of immaturity and adulthood; not quite wanting what I have now, but not ready to move on. It is an interesting time.
I really enjoyed watching this slice of life film. I loved listening to the characters conversations because they are so true to life. When people this age get together this is what they are going to talk about. They are going to make bets to see if they can get a girl to touch them on the first date. They are going to fight over who the best musician is. This is life at that age. Even the one married character in the film can't grow up. He whines about how his wife messes up his record collection. Oh my God, she but Jackson Browne in with the Rock N' Roll. That's what the characters really care about.
The cast was amazing in this film, which would become a staple of most Levinson films. Mickey Rourke is always the standout in my opinion, especially in his younger days. He is just the definition if cool in almost every role he had. You can't beat his dick in the popcorn scene either; extremely hilarious. He plays a lady's man gambler. He gets himself into some trouble when he runs up a big betting debt and he has to scramble and make more bets to try to pay it off.
Diner is a really enjoyable time. If you enjoy the type of movie, where nothing much happens plot wise, but it is all character driven; this is for you. If you are one of those people that needs a lot of action to keep you entertained and can't just watch people talk back and forth, then I would stay clear of this one.
Boogie: I like Presley.
A coming of age comedy about a group of guys on the verge of truly becoming adults. Its set in 1950s Baltimore, and revolves around this group mainly hanging out in a diner.
The group includes Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, and Paul Reiser. It is the natural chemistry that all these guys have together, providing for a lot of improv, that makes this an enjoyable movie to watch.
Director Barry Levinson doesn't try to break much new ground here. A similar formula has been done in a number of films, namely American Graffiti, let alone the show Happy Days. The mix of an episodic structure about a few days in the life of these characters, accompanied by some timely hit songs is almost its own genre, but its an entertaining one.
There is not so much a plot as there is a series of events that develop over time. Guttenberg is about to get married, granted his wife can pass his football test. Stern and his wife, played nicely by Ellen Barkin, are trying to work out the marriage thing, which is new to them. Bacon is mostly drunk throughout. Reiser doesn't really do anything, but has a few good lines and a nice bit at the end. And Rourke is a gambling man.
This is a fun movie about male camaraderie, and that's all its supposed to be.
Modell: You know what word I'm not comfortable with? Nuance. It's not a real word. Like gesture. Gesture's a real word. With gesture you know where you stand. But nuance? I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.
It revolves around christmas time in 1959 where 5 boys spend their time at the diner. When the gang realizes that they have to spend a few days without the comfort of their favorite restaurant, they try to settle their lives by showing their responsibilities while sharing their details.
Thinking about this movie makes me want to watch it again to keep on making me laugh my butt off. I mean, it is that good there's absolutely nothing negatvie to say about it.
The premise about spending their lives explaining their details without the diner was very interesting. The acting was pure masterpiece. Every actor you see, Steve Guttenberg from the Police Academy series, Daniel Stern from Home Alones 1 and 2, Mickey Rourke from Iron Man 2, Kevin Bacon from Apollo 13, Balto, Mystic River, you name it.
The comedy was pure genius. The jokes that I like the best were Fenwick pretending to be dead from his car accident and the part where Fenwick gets drunk while goofing off near a church.
The soundtrack was great and the 1959 period setting was very creative.
Diner is one of the greatest films ever made from the early 80s that defines the 50s and it is in my list.
5 out of 5
I only barely recognized Rourke here, interestingly I wouldn?t have recognized him at all simply from seeing The Wrestler, it was only because I saw him at award shows that I could just make out which of the guys here was Rourke, so in that sense I have a newfound respect for his work as Randy the Ram. The work he delivers here was not what I was expecting, he seems less like a character actor and more like a movie star. Almost like a young Sean Penn, ironically. He had a great screen presence, but this isn?t quite Oscar caliber work, he pretty much blends into the
As for the movie itself, it didn?t really do a lot for me. It?s almost like an unofficial sequel to American Graffiti, its set in the fifties but the characters are twenty-somethings instead of teenagers. Like that film, there isn?t really much of a narrative here, it?s a mostly episodic affair which focuses on an ensemble interacting with each other over the course of a couple nights. It also reminded me a little of The Big Chill, also a movie that didn?t do a lot for me. This sort of structure could potentially work for me, but I wasn?t all that predisposed to relate to these guys. With another set of characters and another setting I would have liked this approach, but this particular film was just didn?t do it for me.
Shrevie: Ok, now ask me what's on the flip side.
Shrevie: Just, just ask me what's on the flip side, OK?
Beth: What is on the flip side?
Shrevie: Hey, Hey, Hey, 1958. Specialty Records.
[Beth nods blankly]
Shrevie: See? You don't ask me things like that, do you? No! You never ask me what's on the flip side.
Beth: No! Because I don't give a shit. Shrevie, who cares about what's on the flip side about the record?
Shrevie: I do! Every one of my records means something! The label, the producer, the year it was made. Who was copying whose style... who's expanding on that, don't you understand? When I listen to my records they take me back to certain points in my life, OK? Just don't touch my records, ever! You! The first time I met you? Modell's sister's high school graduation party, right? 1955. And Ain't That A Shame was playing when I walked into the door!
Well worth a rental.