BWW Review: Sedona International Film Festival Features STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN
In STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN, a film that is deceptively insightful and unsparingly poignant, Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz team up to deliver stellar and compelling portrayals of two men at their wit's ends who forge an unlikely but revelatory friendship.
Scott Rollins (Schwartz) is one wit, a 34-year-old whose failed stab as a stand-up comic returns him to his Long Island home to face the music of a family who doubted his prospects in the first place.
His father (Kevin Dunn), chief skeptic and couch potato, hardly lifts a glass of beer to greet him. After all, his son could have joined him in the lumber yard business instead of chipping away at jokes and bits. His mother (Debra Monk) is only too glad to see him again and proceeds with abandon to dote on him. And sister Megan (Grace Gummer) is a cheeky but loving sibling who runs a pretzel shop at the local mall.
Finding refuge in an old haunt, Scott confronts an inebriated, irascible, and irreverent sot in the men's room. When he seeks relief the following day from stress hives, he learns that the drunk from the night before is his dermatologist, Marty (Billy Crystal), a 65-year-old razor-sharp wit of a different order and an inviting personality.
In the ensuing relationship, as Scott and Marty schmooze over drinks and a tape of the 1986 World Series, they begin to reveal the unfinished business of their lives. For Scott, it is the fantasy that he might revive the relationship with the girl he left behind (Eloise Mumford) and that he can make a comeback. Marty lives with the guilt and grief over two deceased wives and the unforgiving rejection by his son (Nate Corddry) for sins past.
Their impulses to rectify their situations lead to a series of comical and moving exploits that make for rich and memorable cinematic moments.
Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz make for a perfect match in an indie, brilliantly directed by Matt Ratner and backed up by an all-star cast, that resonates with emotion. Crystal captures the pathos of a man who realizes all too well that "regret is the only thing that is real" and whose addiction can't help to keep him from falling down. Schwartz likewise delivers a moving performance of a man for whom standing up requires more than a mic.
The film ends with a bittersweet twist of fate that will force a full and irrepressible smile. All told, a stand up film!
STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN is one of the featured films at this year's Sedona International Film Festival.
Photo credit to Tilted Windmill Productions
Sedona International Film Festival ~ https://sedonafilmfestival.com/ ~ 928-282-1177 ~ Saturday, February 22nd through Sunday, March 1st.
Purchase passes at https://sedonafilmfestival.com/purchase-passes/
Multiple venues: Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. Highway 89A; Harkins Theatres, 2081 W. Highway 89A; Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road