More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.76%
Average: 7.32%
Pretty Bad: 2.44%
Total Crap: 2.44%

3 reviews, 23 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Knives and Skin by Jay Seaver

Rabid (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Irishman, The by Rob Gonsalves

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project by Rob Gonsalves

Kitchen, The (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Whistleblower, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

Aeronauts, The by Jay Seaver

Jessica Forever by Jay Seaver

Charlie's Angels (2019) by Jay Seaver

Harriet by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by Slyder

"Remembering the good old days and looking ahead in the future Part 2"
5 stars

If The Big Chill was the quintessential 60’s counterculture flick (though set on the 80’s), then Diner is the quintessential 50’s counterculture. Writer-director Barry Levinson’s first directorial effort inspired by his own childhood memories of growing up in old Baltimore in the late 50’s is quite a film, an enjoyable and fun ride from beginning to end… and Mickey Rourke is the shit, or was until he fucked himself over.

I’ll describe the plot as this: It’s already Christmas 1959, the 60’s are coming, and six friends already in their “university stage” and are bracing themselves for the change of times while hanging out at their favorite diner.

Edward “Eddie” Simmons (Steve Guttenberg) is about to get married but has doubts on whether or not doing it since he doesn’t know how it will affect him, plus he has a hidden secret.

His best man William “Billy” Howard (Tim Daly) also has to deal with his former girlfriend Barbara Kohler’s (Kathryn Dowling) sudden pregnancy and his willingness to marry out of true love and not only because of responsibility.

Laurence “Shrevie” Schreiber (Daniel Stern) is married to Beth (Ellen Barkin) but their marriage is on the rocks simply because they can’t adapt to married life, hence why he and Beth have nothing to talk about usually.

Robert “Boogie” Sheftell (Mickey Rourke) has a compulsory gambling problem and via his womanizing attitude is trying to come off cool and at the same time find the woman of his dreams.

Timothy Fenwick Jr. (Kevin Bacon) has hit a crisis since he doesn’t know what to do with his life while at the same time blames his father and older brother for not being there when he needed them most.

Modell (Paul Reiser) just weaves his way through while cracking a joke and an annoyance from time to time.

The film is more of a character study as well as an overview to the changing times. The only difference between this film and the problems laid out on The Big Chill is that the themes and problems that are raised here are more general and more universal since they all deal with coming-of-age and adapting yourself to adult life while leaving your teenage days behind whereas The Big Chill dealt with bigger and more complex (and dated) political issues. The film strikes a chord with everyone thanks to this, and it contains several fun moments that you can’t help but either laugh with the characters or at it. But more so, it reveals the rebellious aspect in all of us, neglecting the age factor and the willingness to continue to have fun and do all kinds of shit, and makes us understand and wonder about the reality that in the end, we all have to grow up, land on our feet and start seriously thinking about the future and what are we going to do about it; making your dreams come true. Otherwise, you’ll end up all alone and trapped in your own time, which is what the character of Bagel (Michael Tucker) represents. Levinson accomplishes that perfectly and also, just like Lawrence Kasdan in The Big Chill, delivers us a hip and cool soundtrack with several kickass songs from the 50’s, some which have aged, and others which are classics.

The cast is great, and everyone turns up a memorable moment in what would be their star-making performances. Kevin Bacon is a lot of fun, Daniel Stern is competent as well as Steve Guttenberg in one of the few good roles he’s ever had in his life and his dancing scene is a lot more fun and less irritating than his shitful turn in the shitty disco turd Can’t Stop the Music. Ellen Barkin is hot, and has always been hot. Paul Reiser gives us a prelude of what was to come on TV later. But if you ask me, Mickey Rourke mops the floor with all these people; the guy simply kicks ass and gives one of his best and most understated performances, not to mention that he is one of the coolest and classiest motherfuckers out there, or was until he dumped his career and his talent in the toilet. It’s a real shame, because I really dug the guy and he really had true acting talent.

In the end, this film is a classic. Thank heavens for the New York critics for saving this flick from being shelved due to its “un-commercial-ness” because it would’ve been a shame. It also would’ve shown the utter stupidity and greediness of studio execs that care more for the bucks than the artistic quality of their films. Anyways, rent this flick, along with the Big Chill and have yourself a blast while enjoying the good old pastimes left behind. 5-5

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/07/04 07:44:44
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

12/24/12 Old guy who should have known better If you didn't have friends like this at that age, you missed out 5 stars
7/24/09 Steve Superb. My favorite, along with "Local Hero." 5 stars
12/22/06 Eric Phelps Charming and funny. 5 stars
1/14/06 Indrid Cold Like a less colorful and less interesting American Graffiti. 4 stars
7/13/03 Dan Secrest Coming of age movie without much depth. 3 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Where else are you going to see someone put their dick in a popcorn box? 5 stars
1/02/03 Sam Potter Intelligent, but booring. Funny stuff was raunchy, hard to sympathize with the characters. 3 stars
7/15/02 upper middle class jew Required viewing for any guy who's seen his H.S. buddies grow up and move on. 5 stars
6/30/02 Huh? I guess if I was an upper middle class jew this'd be a masterpiece. Good acting though. 2 stars
4/12/02 Melissa Lakey Blinding film, one i will never forget. Thanx for recommending it dad!! 5 stars
2/27/02 matt carsel Dead on review, Abrams 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance eah 1 stars
1/02/02 Andrew Carden Din't You Just Love Those Diners??? 5 stars
7/14/01 fran herskovitz loved the movie looking for the name of the song daniel stern sang in the car ain t got no 4 stars
7/11/01 Boomshanka A good Levinson flick. Worth tracking down. 4 stars
7/10/01 Anne Awesome. Classic. A Must See. 5 stars
7/07/01 TLsmooth Bacon. Daly. Rourke. Guttenberg. Stern. Fucking Awesome my ass. 3 stars
6/20/01 Elvisfan What fucking Chisholm trail? 5 stars
9/23/00 Stewart Ball Diner is Barry Levinson's best movie. I love the rock'n'roll oldies in it. A cult classic. 5 stars
1/02/00 Saul Gordon very significant nostalgic experience 5 stars
1/31/99 Guess? Kevin Bacon kicked ass in this film 5 stars
12/24/98 Lou Pine, Jr. A classic that belongs in every video library. Barkin is the yummiest. 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  02-Jul-1982 (R)


  02-Feb-1983 (M)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast