Greetings again from the darkness. Fulfilling the dying wish of a long-ago childhood friend is the basis of this story from screenwriter Ryan McDonough and director Sean Gannet. It’s the feature film version of their own 2017 short film with the same title.
Jeremy Sisto (WAITRESS, 2007) stars as Joey Donovan, a crude man just waiting to die in his hospital bed. Out of the blue, he calls his childhood buddy Ronnie Russo (Neil Brown Jr, “SEAL Team”). The two haven’t spoken for 25 years, and Ronnie is now an attorney in New York City. He’s the one who “got out”, while Joey remained in the Roslindale area of Boston, a working class neighborhood. It’s an awkward reunion for the two men whose last connection was their Little League team. Joey asks for Ronnie’s help in fulfilling his final wish.
We soon learn that Joey is not the most straightforward and truthful of individuals. In fact, he’s downright deceitful at times, and director Gannet includes flashbacks to give us some background on why these two turned out the way they did, and what event from so many years ago ties them together. Joey’s request forces Ronnie to re-connect with his childhood crush Pattie (Nicky Whelan, HALL PASS, 2011). And of course there’s more complexity to the situation than Joey discloses.
The film has been well received at film festivals, but I can’t help but think that more attention to the background of the three main characters could have added a bit more heft. Supporting actors include Kevin Chapman as Joey’s father, Greyson Cage and Ryan Canale as young Ronnie and Joey, and James DeFilippi as Patti’s son, JJ. The film touches on a few interesting topics – childhood friends, split second decisions, regrets and final wishes, as well as the reasons behind lies.
In select theaters and on VOD beginning September 17, 2021