The Idea May Not Be New, But This Film Is FRESH! (by gradyharp)
It seems like every year or so the cinema comes out with a 'road movie' - an extended revelation of character deficiencies and nobilities played out on the open road such as 'La Strada', 'Easy Rider', 'Thelma and Louise', 'About Schmidt', 'Motorcycle Diaries', 'The Adventures of Felix', 'Central Station' etc . They usually do well at the box office as a type of catharsis for the audience. That '$5 A DAY', given an excellent script by writing team Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky, a director with the comic timing such as Nigel <more>
Cole, and one of the finest groomed casts around, wasn't a major hit is puzzling. Timing, I suppose, but at least we have the great opportunity to see this little jewel of a movie on DVD. By all means pay attention. Richie Flynn Parker the gem of an actor Allesandro Nivola who can play comedy as well as he handles drama is unhappy: he is a conservative Health inspector of restaurants - fired when his police record is uncovered he had taken the wrap for one of his father's capers , married to Maggie Amanda Peet who is leaving him because he never communicates about who he really is, and discovers a letter from his gallivanting grifter huckster father Nat Parker Christopher Walken in a pitch perfect comedic role who claims he is dying from a brain tumor and needs a ride to New Mexico for a special treatment. Because Flynn's life is such a mess he consents to go and he and his father set out in a 'Sweet and Low' advertising little auto. Nat shows how he can live on $5 a day by sleeping in empty homes, pulling shenanigans to get free food, entry into parties Dean Cain plays an 'old acquaintance' , and money and gas. The two spar about why Nat was never there for Flynn, how their relationship is broken, and gradually Flynn discovers the realities of his background - realities he nightly shares on voicemail to his wife Maggie. Along the way the two make stops including a visit to Flynn's previous babysitter Dolores Sharon Stone, better than ever! , a woman who knows how to bolster Nat's morale and brighten his life - as well as fill Flynn in on some important truths about his parental past. Flynn questions whether Nat really is dying or is just pulling off a scam to get a trip to New Mexico. But in Albuquerque Nat meets up with an old debtor Kruger, now wealthy because of Nat's assistance years ago, and in the process of correcting problems with the past, Flynn's true identity is revealed. What began as a raw, near hostile relationship between Nat and Flynn is transformed in a very touching manner. It is such a pleasure to jump into the trip and go along with this entertaining ride with Walken and Nivola because they are so very fine in their roles that we feel like we know them well. The balance between hilarity and pathos is excellent and the quality of every aspect of this little Indie film is first class. Highly recommended! Grady Harp
A Fun Ride pun intended all the way across the USA! (by vickila12)
At the Palm Springs Film Festival a few years ago, I saw one of the best movies ever starring the "how can you ever go wrong" versatile and totally entertaining actor, Christopher Walken! That's the reason I opted for the film knowing nothing about the theme beforehand. I loved every minute and you will too and don't listen to the one bad review from an odd thinking person on here or that's my opinion . I LOVED the product placement, especially the Pink vehicle entirely wrapped with Sweet and Low ads all over it which added to the hilarity of the movie. I won't give <more>
away anything on the story line because the other reviews have outlined some of the moments. You will LOVE this movie for so many reasons and one of them is Sharon Stone but basically the story and acting by "father and son" on the road trip is just terrific. Rent or buy it, you will want to see it again, I know I do!!! Love you Chris!
A tip-top lowball roadmovie with grifts galore - excellent indie flick (by intelearts)
If the late 2000s are the new 1930s then this is the perfect movie. In a time of recession we need Christopher Walken's optimistic, unrealistic, opportunistic grifter...This was a real surprise - and a very pleasant one. I was expecting deep and sorrowful, but got hilarious, thoughtful, and even belly laughs - and enough grifts to make me wonder how or why we pay for anything anymore.By turns honest, hilarious, outrageous, and moving this is all wrapped up in a lowball low-fi package that smacks of good indie roots.Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. Walken's gives a <more>
masterclass in comic timing, and Alessandro Nivola is a great straight man as the son who never could. And some great cameos. This is at times snort your milk through your nose funny, at others tragic: but it is not buffoonish in your face slapstick and even better for it.All in all a really great little road movie that constantly sparkles with fresh ideas and little touches of originality that puts most movies to shame - I hope the Dobrofkys have got another 20 scripts like this - they deserve awards for the writing - a wonderful mix and they deserve lots of work on the basis of this.And if I'm raving it's because it deserves it - it stands out from the crowd by a mile: fresh, witty, sincere, slightly surreal and oddball, and by the end, exemplary. Get to see, you'll be glad you did.
First off I have to say that Chris Walken is one of my favorite actors, so for me this movie was a "reel" find at the Toronto International Film Festival. This film was also shot over 29 day, and has a feeling of a real campy type of movie. I hope the some movie company picks this film up because I have to say for an Indie film it was very well made.The plot happens when Nat, Chris Walken's character is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and his son is some what Shanghaied into going on a road trip with his father, who has really never been their for him. Alessandro Nivola plays Finn <more>
his son. Finn was let go from his job as a health inspector, his girlfriend as dumps him, Maggie played by Amanda Peet Their is also a cameo actually a bit more then one by Sharon Stone as well, who was Finn's babysitter. So this film is pretty much a road trip film. I hope someone will release this into the movie theaters, as I think Christopher Walken is one of the finest actors of the 20th and 21st century.
"$5 a Day" is the best of indie film-making (by napierslogs)
"$5 a Day" is a father-son road trip movie. You may think you've seen that done way too many times before, but it plays out as if it's completely original. This is, quite simply, one of the best indie films ever. It may not be completely independent as it does have an all-star cast behind it.The handsome and completely endearing Alessandro Nivola is Flynn, the son, who is just trying to live a normal life. Christopher Walken, still on top of his game, is Nat, the father, who schemes and lies his way into living and travelling on just 5 dollars a day. After Flynn loses his <more>
job and Nat insists he's dying, Flynn agrees to drive his father across the country for treatment. There are plenty of hilarious cons and schemes, but also some touching honesty, along the way."$5 a Day" is a fantastic dramedy. It is billed as a comedy and it does have some low-key humour and many laughs. But by just calling it a comedy, that doesn't seem to give the film full credit for the brilliant character writing. There is a lot of intelligent undertones in the actions of the characters as they each mature in the journey. And the writer did that with subtlety and humour, no melodrama here.This film was done better than I ever thought a relationship road trip movie could be done. I laughed all of the way, just enjoying the characters, and I didn't find all of the subtle lessons on relationships until after it was over. Walken and Nivola had great chemistry and completely won me over. I now expect them to play father and son in all of their future movies.
there isn't really much to say about this movie. the other reviewers have said about all that can be said. BUT i do not understand nor agree with the more negative reviews.this story is nicely told and at times very funny and thoughtful. there are implausible and plausible situations these two cross country travelers find themselves or rather 'get' themselves into. the dialog and character development are adequate and easy to follow. in other words it's an easy light hearted story that is strictly for entertaining you. not deep thinking or symbolism.this is an excellent choice <more>
for easy entertainment and having a few laffs along the way! give it a look - you'll like it.
Offbeat, touching, and enjoyable seriocomic sleeper (by Woodyanders)
Irrepresibly wily'n'rascally small-time con man Nat Parker a marvelously sly, vibrant, and charismatic performance by Christopher Walken attempts to reconnect with his troubled and estranged failure son Ritchie an excellent portrayal by Alessandro Nivola by forcing the reluctant lad to accompany him on a cross country road trip. During their journey the duo encounter a colorful array of folks and make amends while Nat pulls off a series of brazen and ingenious schemes. Director Nigel Cole, working from a smart and sweet script by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky, relates the funny, <more>
poignant, and entertaining story at a snappy pace, maintains a winningly breezy'n'quirky tone throughout, offers an amusing sense of inspired low-key and likable oddball humor, and pulls off a pitch-perfect blend of fresh comedy and affecting drama. The sturdy acting from the able cast rates as a real substantial plus: Walken and Nivola display a disarmingly natural and engaging chemistry in the leads, with top-rate support from Sharon Stone as sassy former beauty queen Dolores Jones, Amanda Peet as Ritchie's fed-up girlfriend Maggie, Peter Coyote as shifty rich jerk Burt Kruger, and Dean Cain as amiable sales rep Rick Carlson. Moreover, the nicely moving theme about reconciliation gives this picture a special extra heart, charm, and warmth. Kudos are also in order for Peter Donahue's smooth jazzy score and Alex Wurman's sunny cinematography. A pleasingly loopy little delight.
Not-to-be-missed comedy/drama -- wise and wonderful! (by hudsondeal)
I'm surprised at the relatively low rating of this outstanding comic drama. Very few films nowadays make me laugh out loud as this one did, in more than one place. I laughed not as you might expect at the antics of the great Christopher Walken but at the deft plots turns which make this film stand among others of its type, that being, a decadent father being reconciled with an angry son. This film, in my opinion, deserves to be listed among the most successful comedies of the past decade, and of course I say "comedy" in the original sense of a serious story -- that could have <more>
been a tragedy -- with a redemptive ending. Alessandro Nivola, whose face I have seen often but whose name I had not remembered, is a wonderful actor who I now will follow more closely. He has a broad range and moves naturally across the spectrum of emotions appropriate to this narrative. He's handsome, of course, but both director and actor made sure his good looks don't appear out of place in a "road movie" about two "failed" men.