Driveway and All My Life
Driveway and All My Life are two recent films that bring real-life situations to viewers with exceptional delicacy and deep emotion.
For the many fans of Brian Dennehy, Driveways happens to be his final lead role in a feature film, and he is magnificent to watch. He and his young costar Lucas Jaye absolutely own this film. Driveways tells the story of a single mother, Kathy, played by Hong Chau, and her eight-year-old son, Cody, who travel far from their home in Michigan to clean out the house of the boy’s recently deceased aunt. Their task is more complicated than they originally had imagined, and that gives the pair opportunities to interact with the folks that live in the neighborhood.
Most significant is the warm relationship that develops between Cody and Del, the elderly veteran who lives next door. While so many TV and cinema friendships between the young and the old turn into cloying conversations, syrupy interactions, the exchanges between Cody and Del are unpretentious and occasionally, meaningful.
One could describe the entire plot of Driveways in a sentence or two. Many a fine film has had a thin plot. What makes this movie a keeper is the development of characters, the interesting personalities and their deepening relationships. Even though the occasional F bomb is dropped, Driveways is very much a family film, with insights for children as well as adults.
Another film that brings together well-written, affable characters is All My Life, a well-conceived feature built upon the actual events of a young couple in love but having to face a battle with cancer. Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. star as a couple who are filled with what used to be called the spark of youth. They are bright, sweet, and loving. Does this sound like the makings of a Hallmark channel movie? Sure. But what’s wrong with that?
They meet cute, and he proposes in an elaborate fashion that is even cuter. They have friends, they have budding careers, enough money to pay the rent and buy groceries. What more does one need? Plus, they have wedding plans. Then it all falls apart. Yes, it’s one of those films, a three- tissue weepie.
Like the best of happy-sad romance films, one is left with the feeling that love is a gift. You can take the gift and relish it or spend a long life of bitterness.
Both these films are available for home viewing.
Thanksgiving is coming up and All My Life has a brief but enjoyable Thanksgiving Day dinner scene. Thinking about it, it’s surprising how many films include Thanksgiving sequences. So much of Thanksgiving Day entertainment is given over to football, but suitable holiday-themed movies also can be part of the festivities. Just google Thanksgiving films for long lists of titles.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has Peppermint Patty and friends instigating a big turkey day party at the home of Charlie Brown. But poor Charlie… he can’t offer more than toast and jelly beans!
Among the many films with Thanksgiving sequences are Nobody’s Fool, Home for the Holidays, Grumpy Old Men, Little Women, The Blind Side, and Pieces of April. Two of the more quirky Thanksgiving scenes occur in Avalon -- and, of course, who could forget that brief scene with the turkey leg in Rocky!
Have a good holiday!
Audrey Kupferberg is a film and video archivist and appraiser. She is lecturer emeritus and the former director of Film Studies at the University at Albany and co-authored several entertainment biographies with her late husband and creative partner, Rob Edelman.
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