Early twenty-something Baltimoreans Eddie, Shrevie, Boogie, Billy, Fenwick and Modell have been friends since they were kids, and the center of their lives has been and still is the Fells Point Diner. In the last week of 1959, Baltimore Colts fanatic Eddie is scheduled to marry Elyse on New Year's Eve, but might call it off if she doesn't pass his Colts quiz on the 29th. Inexperienced Eddie turns to the only other married one of their bunch, electronics salesman and music aficionado Shrevie, for advice, but Shrevie might not be the best marriage advisor since he doesn't yet realize he probably married his wife Beth for the wrong reasons. Beth has lost her sense of identity, is unhappy in her marriage, and contemplates having an affair with someone who provides what she believes is a sympathetic shoulder. Hairdresser and law school student Boogie is the player of the bunch and has major financial problems because of his quest for the fast buck. Generally strait-laced Billy, Eddie's ...Written by
All of the scenes in the diner were filmed last after the cast got to know each other. The dialogue in those scenes is a combination of scripted and improvisational. See more »
Baltimore and Ohio ended rail service from NY and Philadelphia to Camden Terminal in 1958, so Billy would not have arrived at that station. See more »
Shrev, you happy with your marriage or what?
I don't know.
What do you mean, you don't know? You don't know?
How could you not? You don't know? How could you not know?
I don't know! Beth is terrific and everything, but, just, I don't know. I tell you a big part of the problem, though, when you get married. You know, when you're dating, everything is talking about sex. Right? Where can we do it? You know, why can't we do it? Are your parents gonna be out so - so we can do it, you know? Trying ...
[...] See more »
The end credits run as we hear another diner conversation between the guys. See more »
ABC edited 16 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »
"There's not that much of a story, really. What do we do? We drive around..." Kevin Bacon
Diner, Barry Levinson's writing and directing debut belongs to so-called "small" or "minor" movies and it indeed does not have spectacular locations, breathtaking action sequences or even dramatic story. As Kevin Bacon comments in the Behind the Scenes Documentary, "There's not that much of a story, really. What do we do? We drive around..." What the movie has is "a very honest portrayal of a group...of guys that people relate to on a very personal level." The different generations of viewers react to film with devotion and recognition, and Diner has become one of the beloved long time cult favorites. Based on its writer/director's memories of growing up in Baltimore, the film takes place during the week between Christmas and New Year in 1959, and tells of the friendship of five guys in their early twenties. During the course of the film, we will get to know the young men, their fears of growing up, facing responsibilities, and making decisions, their fascination and insecurities with the girls.
From his Oscar-nominated script, BL makes the study of young men who hesitate to grow up but rather hang out in their beloved Diner. Daniel Stern's 'Shrevie' is an owner of LP collection that he seems to value more than his young and pretty wife (Ellen Barkin in her film debut). Mickey Rourke, played his best role (at least, IMO) as Boogy, the cynical womanizer with the most charming smile. Steve Guttenberg's Eddie puts his fiancée through the enormously difficult football quiz and the passing score is the must for the marriage because he is scared to get married. Kevin Bacon plays Fenwick, a permanently drunk and lost kid, the character much darker than the rest of the guys. Timothy Daly is Bill who seems to be the most successful of the bunch, and know what he wants but can't make the girl he loves to love him. By making Diner, Levinson actually put his native city, sleepy and provincial 1959 Baltimore, on the cinema map, and that's just one of movie's pleasures. And there are plenty. Diner is filled with authentic and believable scenes, situations, and conversations that everyone can relate to. The Diner's menu has a lot to offer to the grateful viewers and fans of the insightful, ironic, entertaining, small but bright and shiny gem. Barry Levinson does not flatter six protagonists but he understands them and loves them because he sees in them the indelible part of his own life, his experiences, and his own childhood friends. As another great film about childhood friendship says, "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
Barry Levinson went on to create many good and very good films after Diner. These are just a few: The Natural, Good Morning, Vietnam; Bugsy; Avalon; Sleepers, An Everlasting Piece, Disclosure, Wag the Dog, and his Oscar winner "Rain Man" but Diner will always have a very special place for me. This is the film I keep coming back to again and again, and as the time passes it only gets better.
25 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this