|Genre: Drama, Coming Of Age|
Plot: Veteran character actor Joe Mantegna makes his directorial debut with this big screen adaptation of David Mamet's semi-autobiographical play about a young man who learns some valuable life lessons aboard a ship one summer. Dale Katzman (Tony Mamet), an eager grad student in his early twenties, joins the crew aboard the Seaway Queen, a freight boat crossing Lake Michigan. Settling into his new world, he meets the crew: the bickering Skippy (Charles Durning), the storytelling Pierman (Peter Falk), the porn-loving Fireman (Denis Leary), the loudmouthed Stan (J.J. Johnston), and the sensitive Joe (Robert Forster). As the summer unfolds, Dale listens readily to the endless stories, arguments, and jokes that spew forth from the belligerent mouths of the lonely crewmembers. Eventually, Dale's honest, amiable presence cracks the hard surface of Joe, who shares a story that will remain with Dale forever.
Mantegna, a Mamet regular, allows his actors to find the humanity in their characters, breathing life into the film's potentially stagey environment. The relentlessly crackling dialogue, both crude and hysterical, is pure Mamet, expressing repressed male behavior with an honesty (and vulgarity) that most writers dare not put down on the page. As the weathered Joe, Forster turns in
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