I read Vanity Fair and enjoy the annual Hollywood issue. This year's issue had an article about the 1982 movie Diner. Apparently it's the 30th anniversary of the movie. If I weren't feeling old before, I really feel 'creaky' now! After reading the article I had to borrow the DVD I gave mom one Christmas to watch again. Diner is one movie mom and I usually watch during the Christmas holiday. I bet I've watched every year it's been out. It's set at Christmas in 1959 in Baltimore. When it first came out, I had just moved to DC, and later, by 1990, just outside of Baltimore. In fact, the scenes where 'Boogie' and 'Jane Chisholm' are horseback riding are just down the road from the Hunt Cup fields and from where Excy and I lived. We even ate at the 'diner' still situated (then) at Fells Point.
Not only do I cherish the memories of watching this movie with mom, but I fell in love with Diner from the first. The VF article argued it was the first movie that celebrated being 'about nothing,' and I guess that's right -- the movie is quiet; the guys are long-time friends, they hang at the Diner, one is getting married and gives his bride-to-be a football quiz she must pass before they marry, one has gambling problems he is trying to resolve...but I don't really see it that way...I see young men who are trying to grapple their way into adult hood and have one foot poised towards their future and another planted back with their memories and boyhood friends where it's 'safe.'
The movie made stars out of the leading actors: Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Steve Guttenberg...it was the first film for Tim Daly and Paul Reiser...all fine actors...it is a lovely film that resonates as much today as back in the day. One of those movies that when I first saw it, I knew it would become a classic. And it has...typically, the studio executives didn't know what to make of it and hadn't even decided to release it, when a copy was slipped to the movie critic Pauline Kael, who wrote a review for The New Yorker. From there it was picked as a darling by other critics, so the studio had to release it or they'd look like idiots. (Imagine that).
The other movies released that year that were 'hot' included the top-money ranking films Blade Runner (at number 1), The Thing (2), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (3), ET, Gandi, Poltergist, Tron, and Sophie's Choice. Far down the rank at Tootsie, An Officer and a Gentlemen, and, at 37th, Diner. Well, some of those are excellent films, some classics. But as far as watching and re-watching? Diner has them all beat, for me.