Handsome Harry (2009)

Handsome Harry (2009)

Directed by: Bette Gordon

Starring: Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, Mariann Mayberry

We all know that there are certain genres of film that tend to have a lot of cookie-cutter entries, films with a very specific formula that’s easy to recognize. Slasher films and kid’s movies are good examples. Well, it took me a little while to realize, but this sort of dramatic ‘exploring the past’ film is just as formulaic as any Friday the 13th movie.

The titular Harry is an old man who’s summoned to the deathbed of his friend, Steve Buscemi. Buscemi regrets an incident in their Navy past where they beat up a guy because he was coming on to Harry in the shower. Harry goes around to visit all the old gang who were involved in the beating and slowly assembles the story for the viewer. In the end, it’s revealed that he and the guy they beat up were actually gay lovers, and they got caught fooling around in the shower, so he told everybody he was being molested. He finally talks to the guy, who forgives him and still feels for him.

It’s a pretty good reveal that it wasn’t a molestation, but that’s pretty much the only interesting part of the film. The rest is just going through the paces, with the right “shocking” dramatic twists at all the right places. Each of his friends he visits reveals the exact same amount of information to get the final picture at the end of it, and they each have one singular character trait which let’s the guy talk about a specific different aspect of the event. It’s like a dramatic mad lib. I think the thing I dislike most about these kinds of movies is that it feels like it’s a movie made for actors to show off their chops more than it is for the viewer.

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