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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.33%
Average: 9.52%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.76%

1 review, 15 user ratings

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One Last Thing...
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by Scott Weinberg

"Marijuana, supermodels, football stars, and cancer. I love it."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: One of the absolute coolest things about spending time at a film festival is the small handful of out-of-nowhere surprises that sneak up on you, grab you by the neck, and make you cry (twice), thereby requiring your stalwart reviewer to wait until the end credits are done rolling so that the publicity folks don't see how moist his eyeballs are... Anyway, "One Last Thing..." is a fantastic little movie, and it's one I hope to guilt you into seeing so you can drop me an email stating "Dude, I cried too!"

Sophomore effort from Prey for Rock and Roll director Alex Steyermark, One Last Thing... is somewhat of a rarity: It's a tearjerker for guys, and yes I also mean the sort of guys who pretty much never cry at movies. This is a sweet, funny, insightful, and entirely lovable tale that clearly comes from a personal place, showcases a large handful of excellent performances, and aspires to accomplish something rather important: It wants you, the movie-watcher, to go out and appreciate your life before it's all over. Because, someday, (hopefully far in the future) it certainly will be.

Superlative young actor Michael Angarano (best known from Sky High, Almost Famous, and Lords of Dogtown) plays a cancer-ridden 16-year-old named Dylan Jamieson, an effortlessly adorable adolescent who refuses to let the raw deal he's been handed get him down. Dylan does his best to keep his courageous mother (Cynthia Nixon) from breaking down, and he entertains his two loyal pals by sharing his medicinal marijuana with the boys.

Recipient of some attention from the "United Wish Givers" association, Dylan asks to spend one of his final days fishing with NFL superstar Jason O'Malley (Johnny Messner). But his loyal sidekicks, Ricky (Matt Bush) and Slap (Gideon Glick), inspire Dylan to ask for something a whole lot more ... rewarding -- a weekend alone with the vibrantly beautiful supermodel known as Nikki Sinclair (Sunny Mabrey). This announcement causes a media sensation up and down the East Coast, and pretty soon Dylan is the toast of his hometown of Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

Thus begins the bittersweet, wryly amusing, and frequenly satisfying tale of One Last Thing..., and those expecting some sort of ultra-weepy manipulation-fest on par with the Lifetime Channel masterworks (ha) will find themselves more than pleasantly surprised by what Mr. Steyermark and screenwriter Barry Stringfellow have put together here.

First and foremost, One Last Thing... is a comedic drama, which means that very little gets in the way of the sincere and heartfelt emotion, and the presentation works so damn well because the filmmakers were canny enough to keep the humor quietly realistic and always grounded with unfeigned emotion. (The screenplay was inspired by Mr. Stringfellow's father's battle with cancer.)

One might suspect a premise about a young kid who wants to nail a supermodel before he kicks the can would be maudlin, tasteless, or obvious, and it's a testament to the filmmakers that One Last Thing... is so consistently touching. But they (and their casting directors) were also smart enough to populate this flick with a rock-solid ensemble from stem to stern. Young Michael Angarano takes yet another step toward being known as the best teenage actor working today; Cynthia Nixon contributes a performance that's both heart-breaking and warm; Sunny Mabrey creates a wounded and self-destructive beauty who really needs some help; Johnny Messner proves he's a hell of a lot more than just "game show host" handsome; and the pair of unknowns hired to portray Dylan's loyal pals (Glick & Bush) are pitch-perfect throughout.

Some might dismiss One Last Thing... as an obvious and transparent testosterone tear-jerker, but I consider myself somewhat of an expert on artificial treacle and push-button platitudes -- and this movie exhibits nothing but heart, wit, warmth, and sincerity. It's funny, it's tragic, it's sweet, it moves at a brisk clip, and it closes the curtain precisely when it ought to. One Last Thing... stands as one of TIFF05's finest surprises, for me, anyway, and I suspect that it'll find lots of appreciative audiences wherever it ends up playing.

It would have been so easy for "One Last Thing..." to wallow in obvious sentimentality or opportunistic schmaltz, but instead it's a slyly intelligent, deeply moving, and warmly appealing little movie. It's the sort of movie that I WANT other people to check out so I can see if it moves them as much as it did me. And if it doesn't, oh well, I'll still be buying a copy on DVD as soon as I can.

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originally posted: 09/12/05 15:08:45
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/15/11 brian So much wrong here I don't know where to begin. 1 stars
7/02/10 haley an amazing movie, original & amazing storyline. i dont cry during movies, i was hysterical. 5 stars
12/21/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
11/20/06 Minotaur Its a pretty good idea that falls short of inspired 3 stars
11/15/06 William Goss Uneven dramedy teeters on verge of mawkishness. 3 stars
10/06/06 will A deeply moving and suprisingly funny film. MUST SEE 5 stars
5/11/06 Daniel I laughed and cried for all the right reasons. 5 stars
5/04/06 Suzie Good but predictable & Arlene is 10x hotter than the supposed supermodel she reps 4 stars
5/04/06 John Pietrunti Saw it last night at Tribeca Festival with my 18 y-o daughter. A great "family" movie in 5 stars
4/14/06 ken horne the use of larger than life close-up shots draws your into the scenes emotionally 5 stars
9/25/05 lynnie absolutely loved this movie! makes you appreciate your life :) 5 stars
9/21/05 ginger wicked great movie. funny, sweet, sad. perfect. 5 stars
9/18/05 Brian McNamee Best movie I've watched in my 45 years on Earth! 5 stars
9/16/05 Paul funny, touching perfect date movie 5 stars
9/13/05 Mark I love this movie !!!! 5 stars
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  05-May-2006 (R)
  DVD: 23-May-2006



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