Sunday, January 16, 2011

#233 Diner (1982)


Director: Barry Levinson

Cast: Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin, Paul Reiser, Kathryn Dowling, Michael Tucker, Jessica James

A bunch of college-age buddies gather together at the Fells Point Diner to shoot the shit until sunrise in the winter of 1959. Walking into the scene, you know they are the regulars: hollering at the waitress and looking as comfy in the booth as they might in their own beds. The group of six chums, despite their individual trials (an upcoming marriage, a pregnant friend with benefits, a gambling problem, a marriage going stale), the camaraderie between the guys remains the solid baseline of the film's plot.

Supposedly a semi-autobiographical account of director and writer Levinson's own experiences, the film's mini-plots are almost entirely irrelevant. The mood of the film is truly its core: nostalgia and the nerves that accompany a coming-of-age period. Supposedly, all of the scenes shot in the diner were saved for last after the cast had had time to get to know one another on a comfortable level– a clever move by Levinson to bring genuinity to the scenes. It's more fair to call the film a series of comedic vignettes as opposed to a full-on narrative, which only heightens the nostalgic sensation. Their memories become ours.

Although I am by no means a horny man with 6 best friends in 1959, I am nevertheless a post-college girl with a fond diner history of my own. The film is merely a popcorn, feel-good comedy, but with the heart that most of these 80s era movies also inexplicably pack. Safe for repeated viewing, and in fact, I even encourage it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Mickey Rourke.....

    PAUL REISER!!?? They look so young. I must add this to my list.