Sunday, November 23, 2014

On GOING IN STYLE

This was the comedian's most serious and best screen performance, in my opinion.
There was a poster of this movie on a restaurant wall during a key scene with Ben Affleck on John Goodman in the Best Picture Oscar winner for 2012, Argo.  I thought the choice of that movie poster was an inspired piece of set decoration.
Why?  Because in that 1979 movie, like in Argo, senior citizens proved that gray hair doesn't mean a loss of toughness, wit and street smarts.  The two veteran Hollywood insiders in Argo helped Affleck's character hatch a major scheme.  A rescue plot.   The three old men in Going In Style also hatch a clever plot.
George Burns, in the 1970s, was a movie star.  He was in his 70s.  After winning an Oscar, he had a big box office hit playing the title character in Carl Reiner's Oh, God!  That 1977 comedy co-starred John Denver.  I'm surprised it wasn't remade ten or fifteen years ago starring Betty White as the Supreme Being.
Burns, one of America's most beloved comedians, first won national fame as half of the comedy team, Burns and Allen.  He and his wife, Gracie Allen, were a successful comedy couple for decades.
      

After a long absence from films, his 1975 return -- Neil Simon's comedy, The Sunshine Boys -- won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  It revived his film career.  In that comedy, Walter Matthau played the other, shabbier half of a bickering comedy team.

In his 1979 dramatic role, Burns played a tough, lonely old man who plans a caper with his two friends.

Last week, Variety reported plans for a remake starring Dustin Hoffman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.  Here's my short podcast on why you should rent the original Going In Style.  (Note: The Sunshine Boys was 1975.  I mistakenly say "1985."):


George Burns died in 1996 at age 100.

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