Second Best (2004)
as Doc Klingenstein
as Lum Chin
as Robert Stern
as Checkout Person
as Pakastani Man
Critic Reviews for Second Best
Second Best tries too hard for sincerity, when it's actually more sincere when cynical.
While the dialogue and characterizations frequently resonate with uncomfortable truths and some genuine humor, the central character's quirks are far more irritating than illuminating.
Might have made a good stage monologue, but as a film it's overstated and barely baked.
Unfortunately there's nothing very sympathetic about Elliot, or even interesting.
A sour and pointless exercise.
Though the essays are smartly written and Pantoliano manages to make Elliot vaguely sympathetic, Second Best is a long slog in the dumps.
Audience Reviews for Second Best
Much underrated when released, "Second Best" has the advantage of a sure sense of time and place that embeds its characters in a very real world. This is northern New Jersey, Soprano-land, if you will, without the wise guys. It is a culture drawn without cloying affection but without malice--it appears to be what it is, a place which enables ordinary people to live out thier lives in certain unspectacular ways. The undeserved critical failure of this film derives, I suppose from the bad news it brings, news which really should be unsurprising, but which is never welcome: Most men live lives of quiet deperation. I emphasize "men" because that's the gender that gets the most scrutiny, the most sympathy (for what its worth) and the harshest fate overall. There's not much "story" here. Elliott is a bright, well educated man whose upper-level job in New York publishing vanished when his shaky and uncertain commercial judgment came to light. At that point, his marriage failed (leaving his successful wife to pay the alimony), and he was reduced to padding his meager earnings as a mens-wear salesman by scounging from friends and relatives (including his gay son) who remain fond of him. Ambition has quite deserted him, except for the forlorn hope that he will someday sell a screenplay to his old pal Richard, a successful Hollywood schlockmeister. Apart from that his life revolves around the feuillitons he self-publishes and scatters around the county, anatomizing the excruciating humiliations of loserhood. He pals around with old friends and golfing buddies (golfing only at the scrubby public course, of course) who are just as badly off as he: one is slowly dying of cancer, another is a realtor with no knack for selling houses, and the third an MD with a faithless wife who has sunk to the lowest ranks of his profession. His love life-such as it is, consists of the occassional bimbo as bored and desperate as he. The pattern is broken by the arrival of the much-envied Richard for a brief visit, which, even in losers like Elliott, summons a renewed dose of testosterone. A quiet clash of egos (and libidos) ensues, growing tenser by the minute, though not beyond the bounds of comedy. The surprising thing is that Elliott, the professional, self-proclaimed loser, pretty much holds his own, though all the money, power, and celebrity remain with Richard. This episode produces, if not wisdom and resignation, then a sense that loserhood, of one kind or another, is the common fate of all of us, making it possible for Elliott to enjoy the small pleasures that always lay unrecognized beneath his crotchitiness.
[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/95/135895.jpg[/img] :fresh: [b][color=red]Great movie.[/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/70/197570.jpg[/img][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000]:fresh: Not nearly as good as Happiness, but all right. PSH is great in it. [/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/31/173231.jpg[/img][/color][/b] :fresh: [b][color=#ff0000]Great film. Really fucked up. [/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/66/250566.jpg[/img] :fresh:Like the concept.[/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/84/191384.jpg[/img][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000]:fresh: Decent, but not as good as I was expecting.[/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b] [b][color=#ff0000][/color][/b]
Second Best Quotes
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