Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|You Can Count on Me-Dvd |
You Can Count On Me starts with a terrible car crash that instantly orphans a little boy and his older sister. At film's end, that boy, now a grown-up nomad and ne'er-do-well, takes off by Greyhound after a brief reunio... more »
A moving family story
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am glad that "You Can Count on Me," the wonderful film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, was given a higher profile in the wake of its Academy Award nominations. This is a classic "small" film: it takes place entirely in or around a small town, and focuses on a small group of ordinary people. But the emotions of this film are powerful, the story is relevant, and Lonergan gets outstanding performances from a wonderful cast.Laura Linney plays Sammy, a single mother and bank employee. When her troubled brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) returns to town, Sammy's life and relationship with her young son (Rory Culkin) become complicated by Terry's influence. Sammy has to juggle this domestic situation with controversy at work, where her anal-retentive boss (Matthew Broderick) is making lives miserable.The story sounds simple, but Lonergan's intelligent script really brings us into the lives of these characters. And the performances truly make this film worth seeing. Linney carries the lead role with passionate grace, and has great chemistry with her screen brother Ruffalo. Broderick delivers a wonderfully multilayered performance as a character who is at times pathetic, at times sympathetic, and at times downright infuriating. And Culkin is a revelation as the young son; this is one of the best performances by a child actor that I have ever seen."You Can Count on Me" deals insightfully with a number of relationships: mother/son, brother/sister, boss/employee, pastor/churchgoer, and more. Lonergan deftly blends moments of both heartbreak and hilarity into a richly satisfying whole. If you want to see a serious adult drama with some sparkling comic moments, check out this film--it's one of the year's best."
Yup, that's how life is!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 03/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Often a film is an escape. It's fantasy with larger-than-life characters. Not so with this small gem. In "You Can Count on Me" we meet real people - people whose lives aren't perfect, whose dreams aren't fancy, and who make mistakes. Nominated for two academy awards in 2000, this can be called a story about relationships. But before you roll your eyes in boredom, thinking this might be too talky, and full of pat psychological answers to every question, just wait. Even if easy answers are not forthcoming, you'll get a chance to glimpse some characters that are so real they could be the neighbors next door or members of your own family.The key relationship here is between a brother and a sister. Orphaned as children, they've grown up counting on each other. Now they are in their thirties. The sister, Laura Linney, is a single mother of an 8-year-old boy, played by Rory Culkin. She works in a bank in their hometown in Upstate New York, and has made arrangements with her boss to use part of her lunch hour time to pick up her child from school and bring him to a baby sitter. The brother, played by Mark Ruffalo, has left home years before. He's a drifter who always needs money, impulsive and boyish and loveable all at the same time. His young nephew adores him, especially when he takes him to a pool hall one night.The sister has stuff to contend with. There's a new branch manager Matthew Broderick, where she works, the kind of idiot boss who forces the staff to refrain from using bright colors on their computer screens because it doesn't represent the dignity of a bank. There's her son wanting to know more about his real father than she wants to tell him. And there's a marriage proposal from her long-term boring boyfriend. The brother's arrival is a catalyst for turmoil. How it all plays out is real.Kenneth Lonergan wrote, directed and even plays a small part of a minister. He's a master of understatement and accuracy of landscape as well as emotions. It's like he just stood back and let the characters drive the plot. It seems simple. It isn't. Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo give performances so fine that they don't even seem to be performing. And young Rory Culkin is perfect as just a regular kid who craves a father figure. The story moves fast, holding my interest throughout. I felt I was right there with these characters and identified with them completely. Highly recommended for everybody. You'll smile wistfully afterwards and think, "yup - that's how life is.""
BEST FAMILY DRAMA IN 20 YEARS
Andy Todes | 07/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here are the most compelling reasons to buy this film, especially on DVD:Words such as "masterpiece" and "genius" are incredibly overused these days, but I'm prepared to make the following statement: The screenplay is a masterpiece and Mark Ruffalo is a genius. (And Laura Linney, bless your soul, you are a damn fine actress.) Let me take a quick crack at supporting this statement, so that you can get on with the business of watching this movie instead of reading my review.1. THE EDITING: Lonnergan's orginal screenplay chalked up 125 pages, which translates into roughly 125 minutes screen time. AFTER the final edit, Lonnergan RETYPED the screenplay (only a devoted writer and parent would do such a thing) and it yielded 95 pages. Now anyone who has written anything at all can tell you THIS IS SOME MAJOR CUTTING. And for the viewer it means a TIGHT, DIRECT, and WONDERFULLY VISUAL movie. To see what the hell I'm talking about, just check out the crash scene at the beginning of the film and specifically the moment when the policeman struggles to get a word out on the front porch. CUT!! You don't need to see anymore. Lonnergan trusts the audience to put the pieces together and the film moves on. It was at this very early point in the film when I saw it at the theater that I sensed the brilliance to come. And was not let down. You can probably find 20 moments where the scene ends EXACTLY WHERE IT NEEDS TO. (A comparable film in this respect is "Days of Heaven.")2. BELIEVABLE CHARACTERS. That means complex characters. Characters who are not ALL GOOD or ALL BAD. Characters who behave in predictable and sometimes highly unpredictable ways, much like you and me.3. SUPERB ACTING. You just don't see such nuanced performances like this every day. Watch Ruffalo carefully. Watch everything he does, even the way he listens to other characters. It's electrifying. His body language is a revelation and his delivery is perfect. I could watch him all day. The first three times I saw the film I was so enthralled by him I almost missed Laura Linney's performance. It is the equal of Ruffalo's.4. THE SCREENPLAY. Everyone raves about the screenplay, so I've put this section near the end so you won't miss the other great qualities of this film. Lonnergan, I understand, wrote every single itty bitty word in the movie, including all the um and ahs. His appreciation for character is so deep, he KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT THESE CHARACTERS WOULD SAY, AND HOW THEY WOULD SAY IT.5. THE DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY. The beauty, the absolute beauty of DVDs, is that from time to time you get the director's commentary on the audio track. In this incredibly generous and down-to-earth commentary, Lonnergan drops gem after gem, telling us all manner of large and small things, from insights into the characters, the movie-making process, and the incredibly sappy and small-minded film industry itself, to pointing out which character is his real-life wife (!) and which scenes he had Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo direct! Final analysis: A must-own DVD. Especially for budding actors, editors, and screenwriters."
This is the real thing
Allan Ostermann | Portland (the one on the left) | 05/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the hardest review I'll ever write.My mother recently committed suicide. My father died seven years ago of cancer. I'm 34 years old, and I am seen by my two sisters as the f-up brother. I can honestly say that I can totally relate to this film.Laura Linney is dead-on as a sister who is trying to live a "normal" life; work at the bank, pick up the son in her SUV, and believe in God, about 15 years after the sudden tragic death of her parents. Her brother is immature, unreliable, can't hold a job, and smokes an awful lot of pot. She is the "caretaker" in the sibling relationship. But, as the film unveils, she certainly can't take care of herself. And the f-up brother isn't as worthless and stupid and selfish as he is supposed to be.This is a real film about real people dealing with the extrodinarily frustrating and painful task of carrying on after a tragic family loss. And they go on. They continue, the best they can.There is dysfunction and then there is dysfunction. Some of us know what a real dysfunctional family is. And we're not whiners. We're heroes. And this film is for us."