It is the summer of 63′ and Jeffrey Willis (Matt Dillon) wants to escape the boredom of his old neighborhood in Brooklyn. His friends lure him to the glitz and glamor of the El Flamingo Beach Club in Long Island. He is offered a job as a parking attendant/cabana boy where he makes good money in tips. He is very impressionable and taken under the wing of Mr. Brody, (Richard Crenna) a self involved, wealthy business man. Mr. Brody’s advice for life in the fast lane conflicts with his father’s old fashioned values. His father, Arthur Willis,(Hector Elizondo) wants him to attend college and become an engineer. He struggles between finding the life he wants in Long Island or staying with the life he has in Brooklyn; but which life will he choose?
Jeffrey and his father have the type of relationship where the father is overbearing and does not listen. While Jeffrey believes that at 18 years old he knows everything. Arthur Willis raised his son to be honest and responsible. He is a hard working plumber who believes in ‘a dollars work for a dollars pay.’ He does not believe in getting rich quick or earning tips instead of wages. His son becomes, so taken with Mr. Brody’s lifestyle that he is afraid he will lose his son.
When Jeffrey meets Mr. Brody, who is a champion gin player at the club and sports car salesman; the complete opposite of his father. He is so impressed by his lavish lifestyle that he does not see past all the smoke and mirrors. Mr. Brody is very smooth talking and wants to teach Jeffrey how to achieve a better life. Mr. Brody believes that ‘God put certain people on this earth to give you money and your responsibility is to take it.’ He believes because he is rich his advice is more valuable than Jeffrey’s dad.
This movie is underrated and definitely worth watching. The music really makes this film and helps remind us that it is the 1960’s. It is directed by Garry Marshall who puts Hector Elizondo in almost all his films; which is understandable because he is such a great presence. Also, the assemble cast is really fun it has: (John Turturro) as Ted, one of the Pinky’s Pet shop bully’s, (Bronson Pinchot) as Alfred, from the club, and (Fisher Stevens) as Hawk, Jeffrey’s friend; just to name a few.
Favorite Quote: ‘My father told me there are only two important things in living; finding out what you do well and finding out what makes you happy and if God is smiling on you they’re both the same thing.’
Where to find it locally: The Modesto Library and Video 1.