Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Going in Style (1979)

Director: Martin Brest

Starring: George Burns, Art Carney, Lee Strasberg, Charles Hallahan, Pamela Payton-Wright

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Out of sheer boredom, septuagenarian roommates Joe (Burns), Al (Carney) and Willie (Strasberg) plan a daring bank heist. But after they pull off the caper, problems begin to crop up -- beginning with the death of one of the three old codgers. Hard choices and some even tougher introspection follow as the remaining two head to Las Vegas for a wild fling.

Plot: Joe, Al, and Willie are three old men who have resigned themselves to dying. One night, Joe hatches a scheme to put a bit of excitement back into their lives: robbing a bank....

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Man, I haven't seen this picture in 30 years. What a great flick. It's funny, it's poignant and it makes me feel human. All you really need to know is who the stars are and what it's about and you've got a picture that practically writes itself only this doesn't play like you'd think. There are some very tender moments and the manner in which they're handled is something that's lost on today's film makers. You don't have to have sad music to get your audience to be sad.

There's a wonderfully touching scene where Burns is sitting in his easy chair going through a box of old photos and memorabilia and he comes across a photo of him and Gracie (his real life wife who died in '64). It brings tears to his eyes and to mine (I'm getting all choked up just thinking about it). In real life he loved her more than I expect any man could for his girl. I envy that. It'd be nice to have something like that someday.

Director Brest handles this with such care that you don't see anymore and that's too bad for all of us. If this were remade today it would be a completely different picture. I expect someone like Adam Sandler will do it in 25 or 30 years and suck the heart right out of it. This picture has it and in spades. Do yourself a favor and go out in style.

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