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the guys

The Guys

Starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia
Screenplay by Anne Nelson and Jim Simpson
Based on the play by Anne Nelson
Directed by Jim Simpson
no website

IN SHORT: An emotional wallop. [Rated PG for Thematic Elements and Brief Language. 88 minutes]

They were "ordinary schmoes. The kind you wouldn't notice when they walked into a room." They had ordinary names like Jimmy Hughes and Bill Dougherty and Patrick O'Neal and Barney Koeppel. One liked to cook. One liked to race bikes. One still lived with mom and dad. One was so new to the New York Fire Department's Ladder Company Number 60 that his Captain knew very little about him. All are fictional characters in writer/director Jim Simpson's The Guys and all represent with heart breaking emotional reality the sacrifices made by every real firefighter who went up into the stairwells of the World Trade Center's Tower One on a Tuesday morning in September and never came back down. They all had "the best job in the world." which is how Captain Nick Costello (Anthony LaPaglia, click for StarTalk) describes the gig to all the new men joining his Ladder. Now he must describe those men to a writer (Sigourney Weaver) who will help him write the first of more obituaries than he ever thought he would have to give.

The Guys played for a week last December in New York and Los Angeles, for Oscar consideration. Two people talking for an hour and a half about the most vicious attack on our country since Pearl Harbor. If that sounds like an impossible task for any ticketbuyer, let alone for those of us that review for a living, know that we sat for The Guys twice. We needed the second sit because we're native New Yorkers. When released for Oscar consideration and first seen by us last December, we knew the subject matter and thought we were ready for any kind of emotional wallop the film could deliver -- two members of our family worked in the WTC complex (both are OK) -- but we were wrong. When all was said and done, we were a mess.

A lot of weeks later, just prior to its wide release and fully composed, we sat for it again. We were fine. The first timers in our New York screening rooms, that means both times, were in puddles. The sobbing in the room was, at times, almost as loud as the dialog coming off the big screen. Truth.

The Guys is a heavy duty drama, perfectly acted by LaPaglia and Weaver and directed by Weaver's husband Jim Simpson. The only thing harder than directing two people in one room on film is directing two people in one room on stage, we'd suspect, so kudos to Simpson as The Guys doesn't flag for a second. Double kudos for his writing and the performances of Weaver and LaPaglia.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Guys, he would have paid . . .


The rating is based on the second seating of the film, which still delivered one major emotional wallop.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.