I’ve never been too motivated to see out the later Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau vehicles, despite being a fan of both of them in their earlier years – unconscious ageism? Probably. Anyway, I should’ve expected these two to play well off each other, given their respective talent and proven chemistry back in the ’60s, and they do. In a way, watching this felt comfortable, because even as John (Lemmon) and Max (Matthau) feud and play tricks on each other, it’s clear the two actors are having a bunch of fun just hanging out together on screen again.
It’s winter in Minnesota and they’re having a heat wave, or so the oft-repeated song keeps telling us, but John and Max spend their days bundled up ice fishing and chatting with bait store owner Chuck (an always-wonderful Ossie Davis) and their nights ogling new next-door neighbor Ariel (Ann-Margret). And if you thought these two grumpy old men were old and grumpy, wait until you meet John’s dad (Burgess Meredith), a 94-year-old firecracker whose frankness embarrasses John as if he were still a teenager.
My grand plans to get blogging regularly again over here are still working themselves out, but in the meantime, I recorded an episode of the Movie Club Podcast with a bunch of colleagues from Row Three (and a friend from the Director’s Club Podcast), discussing Walter Hill’s 1978 The Driver and John Frankenheimer’s 1986 52 Pick-Up, two thrillers showcasing the sleazy side of Los Angeles. I hadn’t seen either film before, so it was fun to experience them for the first time and chat about them with Kurt, Andrew, Bob, and Jim.
We did it via Google+ Hangouts and recorded it to YouTube, so you can watch the entire podcast embedded below, or you can click over here for an audio-only version. Or just subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. It’s a sporadic podcast, originally meant to be once a month, but it’s been a bit more spread out than that, thanks to everyone’s schedule, with an ever-changing cast from various websites (usually Row Three and Film Junk, though the Film Junk guys were busy this month). The next one is planned for February, discussing divisive metaphysical love stories Mr. Nobody, The Fountain, and Cloud Atlas.