One of our readers contacted me last night about a reference in yesterday’s post: What is this film, “Late for Dinner?”
I don’t expect her or you to know this movie. When it was released in 1991 it didn’t exactly shake the world. It received a 58%-fresh rating from the website Rotten Tomatoes, 2+ stars from Roger Ebert, and took in just under $9 million at the box office—fair, but not great.
Yet it is one of the Top 10 Favorite Films I have ever seen.
Maybe I first saw this film at a particularly vulnerable time in my life when I had just lost my wife and wished that things could be different—the film offers the fantasy that a love between a man and a woman, if eternal, can overcome impossible obstacles.
Maybe it is because this was the first screen credit received by American screenwriter Mark Andrus—who went on to receive the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay, a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for As Good As It Gets (1997) and an Entertainment Industries Council PRISM Award for Best Feature Film for Georgia Rule (2007)—and I like to flatter myself that I am pretty good at recognizing talent.
Roger Ebert says that the first hour of the film “could have been polished off in a pre-title sequence”—in other words, that it was a waste of our time—but this was one of the most entertaining parts of the movie. The premise of the movie is that two men are on the run from police and are cryogenically frozen for 30 years and return without knowing how much time and how many changes have passed. Seeing them struggle with the growing realization of what happened to them and resolving their situations is a real hoot. I loved it.
The New York Times said: “It is literally at the last minute that this mild, modest film becomes anything more than slight.”
I shared the DVD with one of Holly’s friends and she couldn’t see what I liked about the movie—but then, I can’t see why she made many of the choices in her life that she did. But maybe your take on the film will be different than hers.
Late for Dinner is so undervalued by the film company that owns it, the entire film is available on YouTube. It’s not the highest resolution, but it is free and appears below.
Tell me what you think. If you like the film, do yourself a favor and view it in higher-resolution on Amazon (stream for $2.99, or buy it for $17.84).
Groove of the Day