Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1999. Baltimore Pictures, Spring Creek Productions. Screenplay by Barry Levinson. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle. Produced by Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein. Music by Andrea Morricone. Production Design by Vincent Peranio. Costume Design by Gloria Gresham. Film Editing by Stu Linder.
Another in the long line of Barry Levinson’s stories of growing up Jewish in 1950s Baltimore. Ben Foster makes an excellent debut as the main character, a teenager experiencing all the growing pains we’ve come to know and love in these types of films, and maybe a few more than you reckon on getting: not many Wonder Years-style films have a kid and his new girlfriend being held by gangsters in a back alley garage. Without giving too much away, there’s a sweet romance between Foster and the new girl at school, a friendship between Foster’s older brother (Adrien Brody) and the ultra-white star football player who meet because they’re both in love with the same girl, who is herself not the dream princess she appears to be. Bebe Neuwirth and Joe Mantegna are excellent as the parents of the boys, exasperated and constantly worried about their little guys who are constantly threatening to get into the worst trouble. Lovingly photographed and full of great period touches, this lush and graceful film succeeds so much because the people it depicts are all genuinely good and satisfying to watch.