The Golden Boys(released April/09)stars,among others,David Carradine as Captain Zeb Hedge,Rip Torn as Captain Jerry Burgess,Bruce Dern as Captain Perez Ryder,Mariel Hemingway as Martha Snow,Charles Durning as John Bartlett,John Savage as Web Saunders,Angelica Torn as Melissa Busteed,and Christy Scott Cashman as Elizabeth Preston.This is a nice tour de force performance by three acting vets in the form of Carradine,Dern and Torn.Along with these three,late actor Charles Durning was on hand to lend his great talent to the proceedings and Mariel Hemmingway.The film is a nice film with touches of the romantic and humourous,which naturally flow out of the interaction of all the characters concerned.
The story finds the three main characters as old sea dogs,living together in the sleepy town of Chatham,Mass,on old Cape Cod back in the year of our Lord 1905.They have all gotten along well leaving most of the chores and "cooking" to Torn.Well good old Torn's duties aren't up to snuff anymore and the three decide that they should put an ad in the paper for a woman,and Torn gets to marry her!They of course get many replies but one intrigues the three.It is a plucky response from a lady in Nantucket.She is due to arrive a in few days time and the three are going to turn out at the station to greet her.When the appointed time comes a homely,heavy and mustachioed woman disembarks the train carrying the suitcase of a Mrs.Snow,the woman who wrote them.They all flee for their lives to an old fishing shack by the water and wait a good part of the day before they decide to mosey home.Waiting for them there is Mrs.Snow,but not the lady they first saw.It is a comely Hemmingway,who smiles and tells Carradine the lady they saw had picked her suitcase up by mistake.She says she will spend the night in a local hotel and return the next morning to talk turkey with the three.
Carradine attends a church service and meets his old friend Durning.During the service mention is made by the father of sin in their own community.Durning stands up and tells everyone in no uncertain terms his dislike for the local billiard hall that is now serving liquor.He wants others to join him in stopping it,but gets no takers.Instead that night the billiard hall is set ablaze.The whole town turns out to help and Carradine finds Durning laying face down at the back.In his jacket pocket he finds an empty bottle of kerosine and puts two and two together.He hides the jacket and turns Durnings body around to make it look like he collapsed trying to run to help,instead of running away.
Durning is brought to Carradine and the boys home and they look after him.He has suffered a paralyzing stroke and Carradine immediately sends a letter to his grand daughter who arrives shortly thereafter.Between her and Hemmingway,who is settling in helping the three around their home,the men`s lives have been made alot easier.Also,her betrothed,Torn,keeps putting off asking her to marry him.Dern is now warning that he will step in if Torn doesn`t,much to Carradine`s chagrin.In the meantime the owner of the billiard hall has found the jacket belonging to Durning,along with the empty kerosine bottle.Putting the puzzle together he now starts to blackmail Durnings grand daughter for money,or he will go the sheriff.Durning eventually succumbs to his condition and passes away.Carradine confronts the billiard hall owner ,telling him to give the girl her money back or he will call the sheriff.The two have a stand off until Carradine drops the bombshell that Durning has died,taking away any leverage the hall owner had.The owner relents.
The next day there is a shipwreck just off shore and Carradine and Dern go to help.Carradine risks his life to get across a lifeline to the wreck to rescue a lone member of the local ship rescue team stuck there.The man went on board to rescue sailors that weren`t there to begin with.Carradine becomes a local hero for a time.Back home Dern,who originally had fallen hard for Hemmingway,has now reconsidered his old feelings for the local town gossip,and plans to marry her after her persuasive present of clam chowder.Carradine also has a heart to heart with Hemmingway.Hemmingway had been developing feelings for Carradine but they were unrequited.Now he is coming out and expressing his feelings for her.She accepts his hand in marriage eagerly.Carradine breaks his`betrayal`to Torn,who pretends to take it hard.Once Carradine leaves the room he jumps for joy.The film comes to a close showing Dern and Carradine both enjoying married life.
This film with these three pros,five counting Durning and Hemmingway,would seem like a no brainer of a winner of a movie.But the film`s script and pace is as slow and easy going as the town they live in.No one exudes alot of emotion,except for Durning during his church tirade.Most of the time everyone is very polite and easy going.One thing none of the actors had down was that very distinctive Massachusetts fisherman`s accent.Each actor approached it in their own way but none actually nailed it.In fact the billiard hall owner sounded like a refugee from ``Joysey``.That took away from the``realism``and/or believability of the film.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:78:1 and is clear and crisp.Included is a featurette and the trailer.
All in all,the film has a great cast but unfortunately it doesn`t live up to its potential.All the major actors concerned did a fine job with what they had to work with,which just wasn`t enough.It`s a nice simple story and that`s all.2 1/2-3 stars.