Two New Tribeca DVDs Starring Veteran Actors in End-of-Life Roles
Each month, NewVideo releases several Tribeca Film’s titles on DVD that represent the cream of independent films. On April 17, 2024, two very different movies hit the racks, each starring a respected, veteran actor portraying men nearing the end of their lives who are still trying to make their dreams come true. One, a retired literature professor dreams of being less inhibited and more dangerous; the other, an aging con man, dreams of making that one big score.
The Last Rites of Joe May (2011) stars Dennis Farina as a petty criminal (short money hustler) who spends seven weeks in hospital with pneumonia only to find that when he returns to his old life, it’s gone. His landlord assumed he was dead, threw out all of his belongings, and rented his apartment to a young woman and her seven-year-old daughter. His car, after being plastered with numerous parking tickets, was impounded by the city, then sold; the cost to redeem it would have been far greater than its value. He has little more than $400 in the bank, somebody stole his homing pigeons, and all his friends—like his landlord—thought he was dead.
Estranged from his son, homeless, with no prospects, Joe is taken in by Jenny (Jamie Anne Allman), the woman who rented his apartment, and her daughter Angelina (Meredith Droeger). Besides his collection of opera records that Jenny found in a closet when she moved in, and an old photograph, Joe’s life is empty and spiraling downward. As Joe becomes more involved with Jenny and Angelina, his one great moment turns out to be unlike anything he hoped. The Last Rites of Joe May is beautifully acted, sensitively written and directed by Joe Maggio, and painfully realistic. There is little happiness in this downbeat tale, and many viewers will wonder if Joe deserves to be happy, but will sympathize with him just the same.
The Man on the Train (2011) stars Donald Sutherland as an overly talky, seemingly optimistic, retired professor living in an idealized small town (Orangeville) where doors and gates need not be locked, and Larry Mullen, Jr., as a man who arrives in town with plans to rob the bank. While “The Professor” may not be a compulsive talker, those who find people who talk too much tedious will find him to be especially so. Expounding on the past, literature, and his many disappointments in himself, the Professor utters ten thousand words to every one of the Thief’s, making the viewer that much more appreciative of the new man in town, and making him seem—through his reticence to share reminiscences—the more interesting of the two characters.Continued on the next page