'WHITE IRISH DRINKERS': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
This is one of those low budget indie films that audiences loved but critics hated. The attention the movie did receive at festivals and other screenings was that of applause and overwhelming approval where as critics mostly trashed the film for being 'overly clichéd'. This is yet another example of what appears to be the system trying to keep everything in it's place. Like any other business Hollywood is ran by corporations and the money makers decide how things go. A large percentage of critics are most likely paid off and untrustworthy. This is a quality film, not a great one but it's definitely a decent well made movie. It does have it's fair share of clichés but so do most films of this genre. The story revolves around an 18 year old aspiring artist in 1975's Brooklyn, who's brother has resorted to crime and friends have turned to taking soul crushing working class jobs. He's ready to move on but doesn't know which way to go. The film was written and directed by veteran TV filmmaker John Gray. The story could have easily been developed into a popular TV movie of the week but Gray adds a nice touch to it that definitely makes it stand out from the rest of it's type.
The film stars Nick Thurston as the wantabe painter. He lives with his mother Margaret (Karen Allen) and father Paddy (Stephen Lang) and practices his art in the basement beneath their apartment, keeping it a secret from everyone but his big brother Danny (Geoff Wigdor). Danny has always taken the beatings of their abusive alcoholic father while Paddy has never laid a hand on Nick. Nick tries to stay away from Danny's criminal plans but he also doesn't want to end up like his soon to be blue-collar friends or his buddy Todd (Zachary Booth),who took a college scholarship (which was unheard of in his neighborhood). He works for a local theater helping the owner, Whitey (Peter Riegert), book local bands. When Whitey books the Rolling Stones for a one hour gig on their way through town it seems like the theater's income problems could be over. Then Brian feels influenced into helping Danny rob the show's loot. He has to deal with tough family love, deciding what he wants to do with his life as well as a possible romance with an old high school crush (Leslie Murphy).
The film is somewhat routine and clichéd but it's involving none the less. The actors are great, especially Thurston and Wigdor (who bears a striking resemblance to Ben Affleck). The more well known supporting players are great as well, especially Lang. It's nice to see Allen and Riegert in another movie together as well (after playing love birds in 'ANIMAL HOUSE' so many years ago, although they don't have any screen time together in this). Gray's writing could use a little polishing maybe but his directing is right on target. He and his cast really make this movie something special, despite it's clichés and somewhat overplayed storyline. It's a fun little character study. Nothing spectacular but I can see why it's a crowd-pleaser and it's not nearly as bad as the critics make it out to be. Never trust the critics.
Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rzBIHq5e3E
White Irish Drinkers
Action / Drama
White Irish Drinkers
Action / Drama
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It's early autumn of 1975 in Brooklyn and 18-year-old Brian Leary (Nick Thurston) is killing time, pulling off petty crimes with his street tough older brother Danny (Geoff Wigdor),whom he both idolizes and fears. He doesn't really want to be a criminal, but he doesn't share the dreams of his old friends from their working class neighborhood either. They all yearn for the culturally approved 9-to-5 Civil Service jobs with benefit packages that will carry them through weekends of beer into lazy retirement. Brian doesn't want to end up in a soul-numbing job like his buddies, but he's sure he doesn't want to be like his best friend Todd (Zachary Booth) either. Todd has betrayed their blue-collar roots by accepting a scholarship to college. But Brian has a secret -- he's a talented artist. In the basement of the bagel shop beneath his parent's apartment, he creates impressionistic charcoal and watercolor images of the stifling city that surrounds him. When he puts on his headphones and paints, shouting matches between Brian's longshoreman father Paddy (Stephen Lang) and world-weary mother (Karen Allen) fade into the distance. But even his private world can't block out the brutal beatings a drunken Paddy inflicts on Danny. Though Paddy has never been physically abusive to Brian, every time he sees his brother's suffering, his heart breaks a little more. Besides his art, Brian finds respite in working for Whitey (Peter Riegert),a kindly curmudgeon who runs the failing Lafayette movie theater in Bay Ridge. Brian's been helping Whitey pay his debts to local mobster Jimmy Cheeks (Ken Jennings) by bringing in rock groups to play gigs at the theater. With money problems mounting, Whitey decides to call in a lifelong favor from an old friend, now the tour manager of the Rolling Stones. The Stones will stop to play the Lafayette for one hour only on their way to Madison Square Garden...a plan Whitey hopes will solve his loan shark problems forever. The small Brooklyn neighborhood buzzes with anticipation of the Stones' arrival, which gives Brian the courage to talk to pretty Shauna Friel (Leslie Murphy),the girl he was too shy to approach in high school. Shauna, a travel agent, is awaiting transfer to a glamorous new job in Los Angeles, and dreams of traveling the world before she's 25. She and one of Brian's other friends, the college-bound Todd, begin to plant new seeds of hope in Brian's doubtful mind. Perhaps his art could be a ticket for him out of his dead end life and into a future of possibilities. When one excessively violent beating from Paddy convinces Danny he can't stay at home anymore, he tries to enlist Brian in one last scheme - to rob the Lafayette on the night of the Rolling Stones concert. Danny sees this as their only chance to get enough money to skip town and start them both off in a new life, somewhere far away from Brooklyn. As the theater fills with revelers, Brian is torn between his love and loyalty to Danny and his real fondness for Whitey. In the twists and turns that follow, both brothers must reexamine their dreams, and make decisions that will change their lives forever.
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