Its 8:07 pm
Clam chowder weather
The cheetah and I have been watching the first season of “The Librarians” on DVD and really enjoying the hell out of it. Well we are down to the season finale and I was hoping we would be watching it today but since Paladin decided he needed 10 hours of sleep under his blanket,I had to wait,so I decided to take a peek at “Silver Skies”.
“Silver Skies” features a whole slew of great actors in their 60s,70s and 80s who once were among the brightest TV and film stars in their younger days. Hollywood has shamefully earned its reputation as a causal toss on the trash pile any actors over a certain age but thanks to writer-director Rosemary Rodriguez,she has shown just how short-sighted that point of view is.
On the surface,the plot is pretty basic,an apartment building called “Silver Skies” is home to several retired folks from all walks of life. Their sedate peaceful lives are threatened when the owner of the building chooses to sell and thus displacing the senior citizens,many who not be able to find new affordable rents.
The central characters are as follows:
Phil (George Hamilton) a smooth ladie’s man who used to work for Dean Martin,he is in the early stages of Alzheimer and thinks he IS Dean Martin. His best friend is Nick (Jack McGee) who stays with Phil out of both friendship and guilt over being swindled and losing Phil’s savings.
Mickey and Eve (Jack Betts and Barbara Bain) are a devoted husband and wife who lead the way in trying to stop the sale of the building. Eve is forever baking cookies for everyone.
Ethel (Valerie Perrine) is a woman who has made her own way in life,by any means she has to her.
Frank (Alex Rocco) is a widowed gentleman who takes a interest in the elusive Ethel,he is determined to catch her and doesn’t really know if can he can handle her if he does.
Harriet has just moved in to Silver Skies but she is a mystery to the others as she only goes to church,is seen talking to a younger well dressed black man and doesn’t come out of her apartment.
While the property manager is a pig,the residents have a ally in the building’s handyman,Miguel (Phillip Andre Botello) who helps the folks anyway he can.
As the sale of the building draws closer,the residents react differently,Ethel attempts to seduce a old flame who has recently lost his wife,Mickey and Eve want to hire an attorney and sue while Frank seemingly doesn’t worry. Phil keeps on telling Nick that “the money is coming” even as Nick loses his job at the race track and doesn’t see Harriet witnessing him steal a steak.
When I put this film on,I expected a gentle,Hallmark Channel type of film but Rodriguez respects her cast greatly and Silver Skies is about as adult as one can expect.
Its in part very charming but also incredibly dark as Harriet’s backstory is revealed and Eve’s drive to get the property manager fired has terrible results.
The struggle of fixed income senior citizens,especially in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco,is very real and putting the recent elections in California where rent control was voted down,gives a film like “Silver Skies” an extra amount of gravitas.
Watching the various residents intermingle is like watching a masterclass of acting.
Just because these actors are older doesn’t mean they have lost anything and in respects,some of their stories mirror their careers and how they were seen.
Top to bottom,the cast was excellent,this includes Micah Hauptman as the slimy Kevin the property manager and the lovely Heather McCombs as Francine,who rediscovers her humanity when she sees what selling the building will do to some of these folks with little or no options.
This isn’t a complete doom and gloom film,there are a LOT of funny moments in here as well to help keep the film on a even flow. While the ending is a cop out,I was rather happy that Rodriguez ended Silver Skies the way that she did. She is fine director with a hell of a resume as she directed some of the biggest shows on TV,she definitely knows how to get peak performances out of her veteran cast in “Skies”.
This is a sweet little gem of a film and for many of these folks,it was either their last role or maybe the only role they got that year. They all worked their asses off and made it easy. The younger cast also worked hard and Botello stole every scene he was in as Miguel. He and George Hamilton were especially charming in their scenes together.
“Silver Skies” is unrated but should be considered a hard “R” for language as well as disturbing images. The run time is 97 minutes long and sadly,there are no extra features.
So while the cheetah slept through this one,I give “Silver Skies” two big thumbs up.
What recent film has completely surprised you by being so much better then you expected? Drop us a comment below and let’s talk about it!!