Classic of the Week: Diner (1982)

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Diner is a 1982 comedy drama film directed by Barry Levinson. It stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin. This is Levinson’s directorial debut.

The story takes place in Baltimore, Maryland during the last week of 1959. It centers on a circle of male friends in their early twenties, who reunite for the wedding of the guys in the group. Part of the story also includes the Baltimore Colts winning the 1958 NFL Championship Game. This film is semi-autobiographical and examines the changing relationships with these friends as they become adults through what is mainly portrayals, rather than a typical narrative.

This is for the most part a very funny film. It does have its share of sexual innuendoes and jokes, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. There is no real plot, just a group of guy friends getting together at a favorite hangout before a wedding. They share laughter, sad stories, happy stories, memories and good food and drinks with a tabletop jukebox playing. It isn’t the most entertaining film I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the most boring either.

Levinson did a perfect job in casting, because every actor is perfect for their roles  and do equally great acting-wise. A good bit of this film takes place in the diner, but I wish it would have had more places. Not the director’s best in my opinion, but not his worst either, although not nearly as good as The Natural or Rain Man. This film focused too much on the male characters and not enough on the females, who are important too, even if they aren’t protagonists.

This is pretty much a guy film, so women may or may not enjoy it. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it was pretty slow in several parts and it needed more scenery. It wasn’t a complete two thumbs up, but it wasn’t just awful either, it was somewhere in between, it’s just good, not great. 18+ 3.5/5

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