.

Unstrung Heroes

John Turturro

Directed by Diane Keaton
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 15, 1995

Steven Lidz, a 12-year-old growing up in New York during the '60s with a dying mother and a distracted father, turns to his loony but life-affirming uncles. Sugar shock? Wait. Jump ahead to 1991. Steven, now Franz Lidz and a writer for Sports Illustrated, wins acclaim for a childhood memoir that doesn't choke on whimsy or schmaltz. Wait again. The film version, directed by Diane Keaton from a script by Richard LaGravenese (The Bridges of Madison County), isn't above a little tear-jerking. There's also the matters of reducing Steven's four unstrung uncles to two, Danny (Michael Richards) and Arthur (Maury Chaykin); casting Andie MacDowell as Selma, Steven's Jewish mother; and shooting this Lower East Side story in Pasadena, Calif. Guess what? The movie works like a charm.

McDowell and young Nathan Watt, who plays Steven, are tenderly funny and touching. John Turturro pierces the armor of Sid, the inventor father. And the uncles, who take Steven to live in their rattrap apartment, are pips. Chaykin finds the endearing innocence in Arthur. Richards, though some of Seinfeld's Kramer lingers, is very fine as Danny, a paranoid who imagines anti-Semitic conspiracies everywhere; he insists that "Idaho is a Cherokee word for Jew hater." Keaton has crafted something rare: a screwball comedy that cuts to the heart.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Nightshift”

    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com