Alcoholism invades small town America
Schtinky | California | 02/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tommy (the amazing Steve Buscemi) is an alcoholic, perhaps not ready to admit it to himself. He lives in a tiny apartment over a local dive named Tree's Lounge. Tommy shows up everyday and knows all the regulars, specifically an old man named Bill who sits in his favorite seat all day, and an elderly couple who come in to gossip and play cards. Tommy has recently lost his job as a mechanic for "borrowing" money from the business for gambling reasons. He's bothering those who still work in the shop by hanging across the street, including ex-friend Rob who is now with Tommy's ex-girlfriend Teresa who's quite pregnant. It's never sure if the baby is Rob's or Tommy's.
Then appears a new guy in the bar, Mike. He hangs out and drinks as regularly as the rest, but it turns out Mike has a family, wife and daughter, and a rather nice Moving Business that he runs from his barstool. Mike and Tommy become friends, which doesn't stop Tommy from hitting Mike up for a job. He's been cruising for mechanic work (while unable to keep his own car running) and finally takes a job running Uncle Al's Ice Cream Truck after Uncle Al suffers an unexpected and fatal heart attack.
Debbie "Deb" (Played by Chloe Sevigny - Kids), related to Tommy though his past relationship with Teresa, helps Tommy run the truck, and though she's only seventeen they form a bond. Jerry (Daniel Baldwin) and Patti (Mimi Rogers) are Deb's parents and still treat Tommy like family. This puts his relationship with Deb, especially after it spins out of control, on the dark edge of friendship with what little family he has left. Tommy is a disappointment with everyone, even Connie the bartender at Trees Lounge (played perfectly by Carol Kane) and he can't afford to loose family from wherever it comes from
The most poignant scene in the film is Tommy sitting in Bill's regular chair after Bill has been taken to the hospital (and no one has gone to see him, not even his "bar" family), and you can see the look on Tommy's face wondering if he is becoming the next "Bill" in the bar.
This film was written, directed by, and starring Steve Buscemi, one of my favorite actors. The movie shows his talent doesn't lay in just acting alone. It's a great story and beautifully directed. The role of Tommy was (of course) written for Buscemi and he plays it to perfection. You can clearly see Tommy's playful side, and why he's liked so much by his friends. The film is surprisingly visual, capturing the way people look and act when they're under the influence or simply not taking care of themselves. My only problem with the rental DVD I watched is that there were no subtitles for hard of hearing, and no extras on the DVD. I bought it anyway, hoping for extras and possibly an interview with Steve Buscemi on the triple role he played in this movie. I highly recommend this movie. Enjoy!