From the scene in the framing store I was already brewing with curiosity about this story line. (Ray Liotta)John Talia Sr. and his son John Jr. played by Trevor Morgan enter the local framing store. John Jr. wants to be a painter. His passions overflowing with curiosity over the arts. John Jr.recognizes a painting by an artist Nicoli Seroff in which the owner Yammi has just framed. The young impressionable youth asked further if he knows the great virtuoso of the canvas and Yammi in a matter-of-fact tone response, "Of course." John Jr.inquires further but his Dad tells Junior not to pry and leave this alone but husky Yammi intercedes and says he knows the famous painter. Yammi gives the boy an address of Nicoli Seroff. John Jr. drives over to the residence. Like a panic-stricken little boy dawdles,hesitates and just down right prolongs ringing the front doorbell of this master of the canvas. Finally John rings the bell and the elderly man opens the screen as John asks, Are you Nicoli Seroff? Nicoli looked annoyed as John stumbled a few compliments and Seroff could care less. To the great artist it could have been a boy selling him magazines . He wanted no part of him. John saw his chance to learn from one of the great masters. Looking for a personal mentor so to speak. Seroff told the poor soul to get lost despite his complimentary praises. Back to the framing store as Yammi (Charles Durning) calls Seroff to sort of give the kid an introduction explaining he's an aspiring artist. Back to the Home of Seroff as the boy brings his paintings and puts them across the porch for Seroff to observe,critic and get his perspective. Seroff gave his opinion saying there was some talent but he doesn't teach and said goodbye again.Frustrated John attempts a new approach to his goal of unlocking the secrets of a great master . The only way through a man's heart is a good bottle of vodka as the two go inside and Seroff begins to loosen up and give his feelings and opinions on how an artist can convey his sensitivity from brush to canvas. Seroff offers his summer home in Pennsylvania and what comes about he can't promise to the delight of the amazed teen. Now how does John explain this to Dad? John Jr. enters the house and tells his Father about his plan of spending the summer with this estranged painter. John Sr. rants that you don't know what his motives are. John Sr. went on to imply pedophilia. Beside he wanted Junior to work with him this summer and save up for Art school in the fall. Against his fathers demands John went over to Seroff's house and off went the two in a station wagon to rural Pennsylvania. The repartee between John and Seroff is distance at first in addition to Seroffs wry sense of humor. As the film progresses it's hard to distinguish when Seroff is serious or frivolous. The basic premise of Seroff's credo is that life is hopeless but John tells him that he must share his talent but Seroff insists that you haven't had life thrown at you yet. The cinematography by Michael Negin was superb with vibrant colors shouting at the screen as we watch the trees, clouds and fields of a summer's afternoon just waiting to put on the young artists canvas. They settle in this country home as John performs chores around the house and I see a parallel Karate Kid Movie brewing. But the film thankfully goes in a different direction as Seroff opens up his paint brushes and feeling of lost love and the meaning of life to the young novice. In return Junior shares his innocence with the crusty old painter. Other characters are introduced in this breath taking countryside. Ron Pearlman as the local art critic who comes and visits socially from time to time. Next store neighbor the attractive Carla (Samantha Mathis) who has along term friendship with Seroff. Just the kind of film you get lost in the long summer days of yesteryear. Wondering if John can find his way in painting and life and Seroff could come to terms with his grief.Director/writer George Gallo's personal life story on his earlier days learning the craft of painting shared with you,the viewer. The casting of Armin Mueller-Stahl was brilliant. An accomplished writer, Painter and musician in his own right Stahl comes to life on the screen as in tribute to both the creator and the actor. You can learn from this picture but really examine the objects closely.
A successful artist looks back with loving memories on the summer of his defining year, 1974. A talented but troubled 18-year-old aspiring artist befriends a brilliant elderly alcoholic painter who has turned his back on not only art but life. The two form what appears to be at first a tenuous relationship. The kid wants to learn all the secrets the master has locked away inside his head and heart. Time has not been kind to the old master. His life appears pointless to him until the kid rekindles his interest in his work and ultimately gives him the will to live. Together, they give one another a priceless gift. The kid learns to see the world through the master's eyes. And the master learns to see life through the eyes of innocence again. This story is based on a real life experience.
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September 18, 2013 at 11:34 PM