DVD: The Steve Martin Movie Collection
Another great boxset release from Fabulous Films which contains plenty of laughs with 4 movies from Steve Martin.
The other movie in this boxset is Parenthood.
Director Ron Howard lays out every strain and stress that the white middle-class parenting population went through in in the late 80s. He puts a spotlight on the agony these people ‘feel’ then asks if it really is worth all that agony. Well of course it is. Now that may sound trite and the thing is, despite its age and its ‘they live in mansions’ story, is actually still funny.
The film attempts to examine the everyday pains and anxieties of bringing up children (in a mansion), sibling rivalry, the pressures of home versus work and the effects of divorce, abandonment and mental illness are lightly tugged at. The story revolves around Gil Buckman (Steve Martin), a cheerful but stressed out businessman, his nearly perfect wife, Karen (Mary Steenburgen) and their three children, the oldest of whom, Kevin (Jasen Fisher), suffers from an ‘emotional disturbance’ (now it would be Aspergers). The extended family include Frank (Jason Robards), two sisters, Helen (Dianne Wiest) and Susan (Harley Kozak). Helen is divorced with two teenage children. Julie (Martha Plimpton), is secretly sleeping with her drag-racer boyfriend, Tod (Keanu Reeves), under the family roof. The sullen possibly disturbed Gary (Joaquin ‘Leaf ‘ Phoenix), is a skateboard fanatic who carries around pornographic videotapes in a crumpled paper bag. Susan, is a schoolteacher whose ‘perfect’ husband, Nathan (Rick Moranis), is obsessed with raising perfect children
Things really ping once Gil’s ne’er-do-well younger brother, Larry (Tom Hulce), arrives with his with his black, illegitimate son, Cool.
There are a lot of characters in this film and none of them are given much time and all of the subplots are very hastily resolved. For example after being dramatically plonked into the film, Cool all but disappears! And Nathan and Susan’s rocky marriage is miraculously patched up by Nathan singing her a song.
Gil is devastated when school officials inform him that his 9-year-old son has serious emotional problems. Hoping that the boy won’t have to be sent to a special school, he heroically sets out to bolster his son’s shaky self-esteem by impersonating a singing cowboy at his party. This is probably the most famous scene of the film and one which even now makes you laugh.
The movie’s best scenes belong to the wonderful Dianne Wiest, who, as a nervous, frustrated mother (with hidden dildo) tries not to project her personal bitterness onto her teen-age children, and fails.
Still has its moments and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely give it a go.
Another boxset from fabulous Films that is worthy of any collection.
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