March 25, 2021

Greetings again from the darkness. Making concessions to age is something all of us deal with … even former test pilots – although some of them might be a bit less inclined to adapt. Such is the case with Victor Martin. He’s in his 70’s and still enjoys ogling beautiful younger women and zipping around Palm Springs in his vintage Porsche convertible. Some might call it cliché or even pathetic, but Victor and his lifelong pal Sal Spinelli are enjoying life.

Director Giorgio Serafini is working from a script by co-writers Kurt Brungardt and Christopher Momenee, and the first thing viewers must overcome is the casting. See, Victor is played by William Shatner and Sal by Christopher Lloyd. Yep, Captain Kirk from STAR TREK and Doc Brown from BACK TO THE FUTURE are the senior citizen buddies living it up. Both actors seem to be having a good time, and seeing the two men on screen together is quite pleasing.

All good things come to an end, and when the city’s new DA cracks down on dangerous elderly drivers, Victor has his license revoked and his treasured car impounded. He’s frustrated, but by happenstance meets Caroline Summers (a terrific Jean Smart). The two are polar opposites, yet there’s a clear connection. She’s a former National Geographic photographer who now owns and runs the local Cuckoo Café – so named despite the titular time piece not being in working order. Caroline is a free-spirited former hippie, and her organic diet contrasts with Victor’s processed honey buns.

Victor admits he’s “still trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up”, but he soon realizes his attraction to Caroline has impacted him more than he expected. It’s an awkward romance made more challenging by the presence of artist Diego Lozana (Esai Morales) and Caroline’s mystical belief in the story attached to the cuckoo clock. The film is loaded with lunacy and is not one that benefits from viewers who prefer thoughtful messages. This is designed to be mostly light-hearted fun with an element of late-in-life romance tossed in for good measure.

As a gift to its target audience, Ruta Lee (SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, 1954) makes a brief appearance, and of particular note is the final screen appearance by Kaye Ballard (she died at age 93). Also appearing in the supporting cast are Don McManus, Joe Estevez, and Jack Wallace. Maja Stojan plays Sonja, Caroline’s daughter, Carlos Miranda plays Pablo Torres, and director Serafini’s wife, LaDon Drummond makes an appearance as one of Victor’s former flings.

The film has faced numerous delays since it wrapped, and lead William Shatner just recently turned 90 years of age. It’s rare when a movie involves a broken cuckoo clock and a tortoise photo, but it’s even less common for the focus to be on humor and a romance between senior citizens. This is one that plays to its intended audience, and doesn’t much care about the rest.

In theaters and On Demand on March 26, 2021



October 20, 2012

 Greetings again from the darkness. A tip of the cap to the independent producers who promised to make Part II despite the financial failure of Part I last year. My deep admiration for Ayn Rand and her classic novel label me as a believer in objectivism; however, as a movie blogger, my comments here are based on the movie, rather than the must-read book. Fully understanding the need and desire to tell this story and make the points via film, I am most disappointed in the lack of quality associated with the filmmaking process … just as I was with Part I.

On the bright side, the level of acting is a step up from the first entry in this series of three. Samantha Mathis is believable as Dagny Taggart and Jason Berghe is an improvement over Grant Bowler for Hank Reardon. Esai Morales adds a touch of class as Francisco d’Anconia, and we get the familiar faces of Diedrich Bader (Quentin Daniels), Michael Gross, Arye Gross, and Richard T Jones. There is even a quick speaking part for the usually silent Teller (of Penn and Teller).

 The key to the story and Ms. Rand’s philosophy is not to be judged by the film production quality, but instead of the actions of individuals. Value for value by mutual consent and for mutual benefit. This flies in direct contradiction to much of what we hear during this election year in the U.S. Instead we get thinly-veiled references to re-distribution of wealth and sharing with those in need for the greater good. In this Part II, we see more mysterious disappearances from the greatest minds and most creative people. These happen even as those responsible refuse to understand they are the cause.

Despite the barely TV-level production quality of Parts I and II, I would never discourage anyone from seeing the films. The message is too strong. I would, however, highly recommend reading the source material from Ms. Rand’s 1957 novel. It is a brilliant work of art, and though quite hefty, well worth the thought-provoking effort regardless of one’s political views.

Here is my review of Part I from April 2011:

watch the trailer for Part II: