RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
•From Zen Master to Shipmaster: The Life and Career of David Carradine
•Also from Lionsgate Trailers
Three elder statesmen take the Grumpy Old Men route in a period romcom.
Director/Writer: Daniel Adams
Cast: David Carradine, Rip Torn, Bruce Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Angelica Torn, Charles Durning, John Savage, Jason Allan Smith, Christy Scott Cashman
Three retired sailors(David Carradine, Rip torn, and Bruce Dern) decide that living together on the cheap ain’t all that great. The house is a mess and the food sucks. Between the three of them they decide one of them needs to marry and take in the other two as boarders, in hopes that they’ll find a great homemaker to take care of their shortcomings. Answering an add in the local paper, Martha Snow(Mariel Hemingway) shows up expecting to marry Capt. Ryder(Torn). Martha comes to nurse a sick friend of Capt. Zeb(Carradine) and Zeb and Martha realize they may be perfect for each other. Surprising stuff this ain’t.
Golden Boys is exactly the kind of movie you’d be apt to find playing every night on the Hallmark channel. It is meant to be cinematic comfort food, and people like my mother will eat this shit up with a spoon. Really, it’s easy to be critical of this since it has no intention of being challenging or terribly original. Anyone with a normal amount of history watching films in general will know exactly what is going to happen in this movie within the first half an hour. God knows, I’m still waiting on that film where Bigfoot comes in at the end and kills everybody. This isn’t that movie. What you do get is a romantic comedy for the older set.
David Carradine is Capt. Zeb, a calm reasonable type looking to settle into a comfortable retirement with two of his old shipmates, Capt. Ryder(torn) and Capt. Perez(Bruce Dern). Carradine and Dern seem to be the only ones given anything to do, though, as Rip Torn is left with simply appearing drunk and taking naps. Mariel Hemingway is the good Christian woman necessary for any Hallmark style production, she’s sensible, strong, and devoted to the care of a good man. Among the leads, Hemingway seems to be the only one who actually bothered to do much acting. Carradine gives his usual laconic performance without much nuance, Dern is meant to play the more humorous role in the film but hasn’t got many funny lines to deliver, and Torn, again, is simply is left to appear drunk(although if that is what the script asked of him, it was an Oscar worthy performance).
The story starts from what might have been a funny place, having the three old sailors dealing with a strong willed woman they want to use to take care of them. Unfortunately it doesn’t give any of the capable leads much of a chance to simply allow their natural charisma to shine through. The movie simply wants to hit too many of the expected beats that are given to this type of heart warming sort of film. Someone dies, people fall in love, there is a rescue at the end without a hint of tension.
It would have helped the film to remove a subplot or two so we could have more time to focus on the main characters. I dare anyone to give a shit about the older sailor friend of Capt. Zeb played by Charles Durning who after setting fire to a billiard hall he finds morally objectionable falls ill and dies, or his granddaughter(Christy Scott Cashman) who comes to town upon hearing of his illness and falls in love with a local man(Jason Allan Smith) whilst being blackmailed by the owner of the billiard hall(John Savage). The movie just spends too much time on too many people when this really should have been about the four leads, and at an hour and a half there just isn’t enough time to give to everything.
You don’t want to meet the man that can drink Rip torn under a table.
I don’t hate this film in any way. It’s wholly inoffensive. Viewers looking for something wholesome and mother friendly could do much worse(I know I’ve seen my share). This just isn’t something I could recommend to anyone looking for challenging cinema.
Included on the disc is trailers for other Lionsgate family friendly titles New in Town, Super Capers, and Battle for Terra. Also included is From Zen Master to Shipmaster: The Life and Career of David Carradine which is little more than a 40 minute behind the scenes featurette on the film(which they continually refer to as “Chatham“) with extra attention paid to interviews with David Carradine talking about himself, his father, and his career. Don’t be too fooled, though, this is mostly EPK level stuff here. There is English and Spanish subtitles and Dolby 5.1 is available.