The Dan Wakefield novel upon which this film was based has been hailed by critics as another Catcher in the Rye, but you wouldn't know that from this unenlightening adaptation. Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan) plays a s... more »uperneurotic, Korean War veteran who develops an unlikely friendship with another, Neal Cassady-like vet (Ben Affleck) as well as a taste in art, New York City, and college girls. The trouble with the film is that it refuses to yield important information about its central figure. Davies's character has some kind of undefined problem with his mother, religion, ambition, masturbation, and much else, but without access to his internal dialogue, we only see him as a twitchy insect for whom regular sex with a beautiful girlfriend inexplicably does nothing for his ego. Don't blame Davies: he does this nerve-damaged bit all the time, and in the hands of a good director his performances are controlled and economical (see Spanking the Monkey). However, his director on Going All the Way--Mark Pellington--has no idea of how to shape the actor's abilities. --Tom Keogh« less
A great film becomes a DVD heavy on extra features!
Jeffery K. Matheus | Indianapolis, IN United States | 11/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore Leonard Maltin's whiney review! Mark Pellington's "Going All the Way" is ANYTHING but a "familiar seeming" coming of age story! In fact, ignore the synopsis on this very DVD package that describes the film as a "romantic comedy"! Although the characters may have sex on their minds, there is not much real "romance" to be found in this particular tale! Based on Dan Wakefield's 1971 novel of the same name, "Going All the Way" is a somewhat darkly-shaded character study of two unlikely friends in 1950's Indianapolis. One of the charcters, Sonny Burns (played by "Saving Private Ryan's" Jeremy Davies), is the complete antithesis of a glamorous Hollywood leading man, and Davies completely brings to life the character described Wakefield's original book. His brooding, half-mumbled performance perfectly captures Sonny's underlying anger, confusion, and insecurity. Actress Amy Locane (who previously appeared in "School Ties") also shines in a smaller part as Sonny's longsuffering girlfriend Buddy Porter. Although she does not have an over-abundance of dialogue, Locane conveys a lot of emotion with her expressive eyes and facial expressions...and as it turns out in the end, Buddy is probably the most "with it" character in this entire story. This new DVD release is a virtual tresure trove for fans of this film! The original rough cut of "Going All the Way" ran 3 hours and 10 minutes, and was cut down to less than 2 hours for its theatrical release. The DVD provides us with well over an hour of that "missing" footage, presented here as "deleted scenes". In fact the first deleted scene is an entire 45 minute subplot that was excised from the film. (Fans of Wakefield's novel will recognize this section as the tale of Gunner Castleman's ill-fated beard!). This lengthy outttake alone makes the DVD worth owning! Some of the other "missing footage" shows us that Sonny's mother (played by film veteran Jill Clayburg) played a bigger part in the original storyline, as did Gunner's sassy girlfriend Marty (played convincingly by British accress Rachel Weisz), and Locane's character Buddy. There is also a more graphic take of the scene involving Sonny's attempted suicide, and it will probably be a little too intense for some viewers! A little less satisfying than the extensive "outtakes reel" is director Mark Pellington's commentary track, spoken in a deep monotonous voice. Pellington does give some useful insights into the film, but he also has the habit of saying "we shot this on location", without ever telling us WHERE the location is! The director also fails to talk about the relation of the music to the film, although many of the 50's-era tunes heard on the soundtrack draw obvious lyrical parallels to the action on screen. (See Sonny and Gayle's "love scene" together for a great example of this.) Pellington mostly just comments on the performances on the actors, and how he could have shot scenes differetly. In fact Pellington reveals on the commentary track that he plans to re-edit and re-release "Going All the Way" within the next few years, adding some voice-over narration from Davies, and restoring some of the lost footage for an extended "directors cut". Does this mean that I'll have another "Going All the Way" DVD to buy a few years down the road? That's OK, this unique film is well worth it!"
A battle-scarred Vet comes home again, and tries to adjust.
Leftypenny@aol.com / Penny Barnes | Monterey, California | 01/24/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This dark, angst ridden film depicts the anxieties of both Veteran's and their families after returning from war. It is the story of one young man's adjustment back into society and the bosom of his family. Between flashbacks, and grating overtures from Mom and Dad and Girlfriend to make things right, it seems like nothing will ever be right again. But with the help of his best-friend, (played by Ben Affleck) he begins to slowly, but surely put things back together for himself, and to enjoy life again, but on his own terms. Moving, emotional and relatible as the boy who never quite fit in, but is now a war hero, this film tells an interesting, compelling story. Ben Affleck plays a "good ol' boy" type, who shuns that image after being exposed to the realities of war. I would recommend it for anyone who would like the opportunity to see Ben in one of his best and biggest performances."
A film with real depths to it
Fady Ghaly | Calgary, Alberta | 06/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The lowdown:Going All the Way is a touching story about learning to let go, coming to terms with yourself, love, and the power of friendship between two young men whose relationship "is the core of the movie," says MTV Award-winning music video director Mark Pellington, whose debut film shows that he clearly knows what he's doing, and that his talents can be set on more than one profession. Pellington tackles the challenge of presenting two authentic young men who we can relate to, and passes with flying colours. Jeremy Davies is perfect for these kinds of rolls, where he plays a shy, secretive, insecure young man trapped in a boy's body, who's trying to escape his parent's domination... having played two such intriguing rolls in one year, in Going All the Way and in John Patrick Kelley's equally enchanting and moving (but ultimately a little too broody) The Locusts. And although at war with his parents, he also wants to try and make up for all the lonely years he spent in high school masturbating over fevered fantasies beyond the reach of fulfillment. I mean, sure he's got Buddy (just the name makes me cringe) but she's much too available and overall not the sort of woman out of his skin mags who'll sweep him off his feet. Sonny Burns' life is enough to drive anyone to the rubber room, and you truly share his pain. At times, it may have seemed as though he has finally reached that flight of stairs, merely to once again find himself at the very bottom of where he started, of his ultimate goal... to happiness. Jeremy's brooding, partially-mumbled performance perfectly captures his underlying disarray, insecurities, and anger. The thing that's so unique about him is that, while he'll make you sympathise for his suffering at times, he can be so funny at others, that he'll also make you laugh like there's no tomorrow; not many actors have the capability to do that.This may not be the film that claimed Ben Affleck to fame (Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy was) but it sure was enough of one to really get him noticed (after that, it was no more playing the vileness bully for this guy, I'll tell ya that right now). The man's very presence commands the screen. You watch him, and he's just so cool and casual, that you feel as though he's not even acting at all; he's an expert. When you observe his character, Gunner Casselman, you basically have to look through his physical features, because that rebellious, tough-guy looking image he's given doesn't really say a lot about him since his visit to Japan. We see him depart from his rowdy old high school buddies in a bar to hang around with little old Sonny (even Sonny himself was surprised, as we were, seconds prior to them leaving the scene, driven to a surreal trip inside his head and learned that he thought he was being made fun of), who he'll drag along to art galleries and also take pictures with since Sonny shared his love of picture taking with him. When I look at Gunner, what I see is a hunk with a heart of gold and a fresh outlook on life, who's really begun to discover himself and whose goal is to go to New York because that's not only where he thinks a future career awaits him but it's also a place where he won't have to deal with his naggy mother and her discrimination against his Jewish girlfriend (and Jews in general). I also perceive that he's quite impressed by Sonny, thinking that, while he scored all those touchdowns and lured the girls with his bod and charm back in his high school years, he was an intellectual, when really he spent those very years masturbating if not watching him with awe.Aside from the catchy oldies tunes, I really enjoyed the dialogue the two young men shared with one another, which was as absorbing as it is true. Among all, one in particular comes to mind, where Gunner was trying to prove a point that "peach pie is fine, but that's all you get? I mean, morning, noon, and night, peach pie? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, peach pie. Peach pie, day in, day out. Day in, peach pie." Jeremy and Ben were terrific together. As improbable a coalition as their character's had, I thought that they, nonetheless, had perfect chemistry together, and were very enjoyable to watch. Going All the Way is based upon Dan Wakefield's enormously popular novel (one of my favourites, as a matter of fact). Mark Pellington read it at the early age of thirteen after he discovered it sitting in his father's shelf, and immediately fell in love with it. Sixteen years later, he showed his love with the making of the film, which I thank him for, because it's one of a kind. It's a film with real depths to it, that is of a true depiction of the male mind."
Not Great But Entertaining!
John E. Blazier | Carmel, Indiana, USA | 07/30/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The critics were not too kind to this film and probably a little too harsh. It is not a disappointing film as some would have you believe and brings to life how bad things happen to good people. I thought the acting by Jeremy Davis and Ben Affleck was very good as they brought their characters to life. I not only enjoyed the film but i was in it playing a bar patron along side Davis and Affleck. If you don't have anything better to do on a rainy day, rent or buy this move, sit back with some popcorn, and enjoy!"
Sally Jane Paulsen | BÝmlo, Norway | 04/05/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The book was one of the most funny I've read, and the film just didn't do it justice. One improvement is that Sonny's character is much sweeter and more likeable in the film than in the book, but the finer points of the story have been lost. The part about the beard, for example, which wasn't just very touching, and funny, but incredibly shocking to someone born in 1964 and had never known a time when beards were downright subversive! All the actors were excellent--but more of the book could have been written into the film. Also, to a previous reviewer, the time frame of the story is in the early '50's--they were NOT returning from the Vietnam War! The Korean War was in the early '50's; the Vietnam War didn't begin till 1964!"