• PG, 1 hr. 32 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Richard Benjamin
    In Theaters:
    Oct 1, 1982 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jul 9, 2002
  • MGM Home Entertainment

Opening

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My Favorite Year Reviews

Page 2 of 13
April 28, 2012
First Errol Flynn was the consummate Hollywood action hero, and then he was the consummate Hollywood has-been. The substance abuse, the wrecked relationships, the legal scandals; by the end of his life he was a guy who needed a lot of rehabilitating. "My Favorite Year" is a posthumous rehabilitation of Flynn, and it is also a sweet and funny tall tale about what his redemption might have looked like had it happened during his lifetime. Flynn's actual appearance on the 1950s variety show where Mel Brooks was a young writer came and went without incident, but in "My Favorite Year" that forgettable television moment is reimagined as one huge, crazy, boozy incident worthy of Peter O'Toole in his hellraising days. O'Toole infuses all of Flynn stand-in "Alan Swann"'s lines, every flourish of his hands, every drunken stagger, with a precise mixture of charm and pain.

The story is mostly a buddy comedy of the sort that thrives on the emotional closeness of its characters. Maybe a supremely irresponsible person like Swann, whose insecurities cause him to limit his relationships to the categories of one-night stands and autograph sessions, wouldn't really tolerate the presence of a straight-laced worrywart like the Mel Brooks stand-in for days and nights on end. But in the movies, opposites attract, and here they make a good pair. The young writer gets to meet his hero, and although Swann is a case in point of why it's not always best to do that, the movie argues that the hero is always there, in a way, inside the less-than-heroic has-been. Swann is self-destructive, yes, but with each new failure comes a chance for one more last hurrah, one more horse to jump on and ride into the sunset, one more crowd to win over. O'Toole is heartbreaking when he shows Swann's weakness and vulnerability, and this makes each new triumph, however modest, all the more inspiring. At the high points, the young writer is the necessary sidekick, a witness to a performance that exists solely to be seen and applauded, and when the cycle returns to darkness and doubt he is the hero's conscience. It's an old formula, but it works.

Between the party-crashing, horse-stealing vignettes, there is a by-the- book romance storyline and an organized crime farce. Both are simple fare, but they do a lot to raise the stakes of Swann's television appearance and to set an amiable atmosphere through a vibrant supporting cast and obvious but endearing jokes and set-pieces. The movie's various threads all crash together in a big finish that is predictable, and not believable, but very satisfying, entertaining, and moving--not unlike a great Errol Flynn movie.

Replete with tributes to Flynn's filmography, "My Favorite Year" is a must-see for fans of the Australian-born swashbuckler. "Captain Blood," "Dodge City," and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" are repeatedly and lovingly referenced, under thinly-disguised alternate titles, and the iconic scene from the ending of "Robin Hood" is recreated in astonishing detail, complete with a Basil Rathbone lookalike.
March 29, 2014
Have seen it and I love it to bits
February 9, 2014
I wonder why critics regarded it as a great movie. It lacks everything, even O'toole lacks his charms.
February 26, 2014
"My Favorite Year" cleverly depicts early television shows of the 1950's and follows charming Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) junior comedy writer for the "Comedy Calvacade" and his promise to keep his movie hero, former swashbuckler Alan Swann and guest star, out of trouble. Swann, wonderfully played by Peter O'Toole is a washed out movie star infamous for his drinking and making unsavory headlines. This leads to some very funny scenarios as Stone works overtime to watch over his colorful hero. There are also wonderful heartwarming scenes between Benjy and Swann and both quickly find out they have things in common. Benjy is embarrassed by some of his relatives and wants to hide his mother's offbeat marriage. Swann shares his secret of Tess, a daughter he has never visited. "My Favorite Year" has a wonderful cast including Lainie Kazan as Stone's mother and Joseph Bologna as King Kaiser, the star of the television show. After a mob boss wants the sketch parody of him scratched from the show, accidents start to happen. Keiser refuses to do away with the characterization for the show and the outcome is hilarious as it enfolds live on the show. Hiding his insecurities especially around K.C.Downing (Jessica Harper) a coworker Benjy has a crush on, Swann gives Benjy romantic advice. These two unlikely characters bond over the course of the film. Reminiscent of shows like "Your Show of Shows with Sid Ceasar," Screenplay writer, Dennis Palumbo was inspired to write this enjoyable screenplay when he found out producer Mel Brooks worked as a comedy writer for the show and had to watch over movie star Errol Flynn. "My Favorite Year" takes place in 1954 when television shows were shot live. This leads to some very funny scenes especially when Swann finds out. Swann, use to doing several movie takes, panics and leaves the studio just minutes before the show opens. "I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!" Richard Benjamin's directorial debut is a hit with a wonderful nostaligic feel to it. "My favorite Year" is a joy to watch from start to finish!
January 24, 2014
Such a delicious Peter O'Toole performance, Oscar-worthy (an nominated - but lost to Ben Kingsly for "Ghandi" so that's OK). The rest of the actors are so well cast and the script is bright and funny and just delightful. This movie is simply comfort food.
January 24, 2014
Fond goodbye, Peter O'Toole.
starlett2005
January 22, 2014
My Favorite Year is an excellent film. It is about a dissolute matinee idol is slated to appear on a live TV variety show. Peter O'Toole and Mark Linn-Baker give fantastic performances. The screenplay is well written. Richard Benjamin did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the humor. My Favorite Year is a must see.
January 7, 2014
Loved it. Great classic watch with a great performance from O'Toole. Can definitely be seen as a model for comedies coming out today.
December 30, 2013
One of my favorite movies with my favorite actor, who proves he can do comedy as well as drama with grace, charm and panache. The terrific cast and script carry on in the same spirit. One of the best!
December 16, 2013
This is the way heroes should be! Loved the performance given by O'Toole.
December 21, 2013
After the passing of Peter O'Toole, and seeing various clips of his acting and interviews I decided to dive into his filmography and see what tickled my fancy. So when I saw an 80's comedy that was a tribute to the golden age of TV/Movies where he plays a character based one of my favorite actors of all time, I was sold. I Loved this thing. The sharp wit of the script made me glow. The characters from the major ones such as as Alan Swann, to very minor ones like Lil the costume lady, i latched on to all of them. I really dug Mark Linn-Baker as an up and coming writer given the task baby sitting O'Toole. He is the heart of this film. He has a speech towards the end that is so perfect. This guy LOVES films, LOVES the roles that Swann played and it ozzes out of him without it ever being hero worship or keeping him from telling the guy when he's being lame . And if he is the heart then O'Toole is the soul. You are hooked on his every line,glued to his every action. This role is fantastic, funny and tragic, charming and pitiful, and he NAILS it. It's romantic and cynical all at the same time. This is easily going on 'one of my favorite movies ever' list.
November 26, 2011
One of my favorite movies of all time. It's just the right combination of comedy, snark, realistic cynicism, and hopeless, romantic heroism. Top that with a tour de force performance by Peter O'Toole and an amazing ensemble performance the likes of which we haven't seen in decades, and this is a movie that ranks up there with Casablanca for me.
October 21, 2013
So funny. The musical is good too
August 2, 2013
Just an absolute gem of a movie. It's a crime O'Toole didn't get an Oscar for this film (or any of the other six times he was nominated). The is a series of scenes in the middle of the film where O'Toole goes on a drunken adventure with his Sancho Panza that is one of the funniest episodes in film. I challenge you to watch this movie and not like it or not simply fall in love with O'Toole. Some have argued this film is semi-autobiographical. What I would really like to see is the true autobiography of Peter O'Toole.
July 29, 2013
Certainly worth watching if you are a "Perfect Strangers" fan (and who isn't). That nervous, panicked character that Mark Linn-Baker played so well on that show was born here. His interaction with the wild, crazy drunk Peter O'Toole gets some pretty good laughs. Unfortunately there are some other subplots that do not work as well.
BatMime
July 12, 2013
A charming comedy with a fantastic central performance by the great Peter O'Toole. Joseph Bologna isn't shabby either and gets the film's biggest laughs as the cantankerous show-runner and star of The King Kaiser Show.
July 3, 2013
This is one of my all time Favorite movies...I have to sit and watch it occasionally. Not only is it well written, but the actors are perfect in their roles. Cameron Mitchell as Boss Rojack is hilarious, Joseph Bologna is the hard-knuckled but fair star of Comedy Cavalcade. Mark-Lynn Baker and Peter O'Toole are a great 1-2 punch, and great supporting and special characters like Lainie Kazan as Belle May Steinfeld Carroca, and Jessica Harper as K.C. Downing, the subject of Benjy Stone's ( Mark-Lynn Baker) romance. If you can get this online and watch it, you'll have the time of your life. If you miss it, well, shame on you for six weeks.
March 28, 2013
I have watched trhis movie at least 5 times now and it gets better each time I watch it. Peter O'Toole's portrayal of Alan Swann is a masterclass. Some may say it is self indulgent or exaggerated but I believe it to be based largely on Errol Flynn and the golden age of Hollywood flamboyance. As well as the comedic set pieces the film is tinged with pathos. Swann's inability to come to terms with who he has become; his unwillingness until the end to visit his daughter and finally Swann overcoming all his demons to be who he really is and who his adoring public think he is and want him to be are all heart warming moments.
Adrian B.
February 27, 2013
A studio that struggles to maintain a successful variety show wants to recruit an actor, Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole). This actor is irresponsible, heavily attracted to alcohol and loves hanging with the ladies. He also takes after the late Errol Flynn. One of the crew members (Mark-Linn Baker) attempts at all costs to lure him into the show. With another astonishingly high rating on RT attached to a Peter O'Toole film, I have to disagree with other critics AGAIN because I thought this film sucks! I found the comedy fairly non-existent and the movie to be quite boring. O'Toole seems to have established a generally empty, over dramatic performance during the 1980's which has worn out thin with me. Not a very good film what-so-ever. Incidentally, 1954 is the year the title is referring to and in terms of movies, this is a great year ("Rear Window," "The Seven Samurai," "Sansho the Bailiff," etc.).
February 21, 2013
Fantastic comedy with a great performance by Peter O Toole.
Page 2 of 13
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