The Golden Boys
The Golden Boys is a simplistic story of three sea captains who decided to live together, but soon realize they’ve bitten of more than they can chew. Now they must go to great lengths to add a female touch to their lives.
Set in 1905, Captains Zeb (David Carradine), Perez (Bruce Dern) and Jerry (Rip Torn) have decided to settle down in a small village after years on the open sea. The three seamen are set in their ways and as time goes by, the house slides into disarray. They soon hatch the plan that one of the three must marry and take the others as boarders in order to have someone take care of them.
Martha Snow (Mariel Hemingway) answers their ad, but a case of mistaken identity at the train depot results in the trio seeking shelter in a fishing shack. When the true vision of Martha is revealed, the three captains welcome her into their home and the waiting game for Jerry to pop the question begins.
Also, the town is divided over the opening of a billiard hall and when it receives a license to begin selling liquor. The development is too much for John Barlett (Charles Durning), a religious zealot, so he takes matters into his own hands.
As the story plods through its second half, it becomes clear that the plot was less important than paying tribute to a trio of aging actors. The tale winds downs in predictable beats and to no one’s surprise, one captain pops the question – and it’s not Jerry.
The Golden Boys seems to be an excuse for writer/director Daniel Adams to gather a collection of character actors whom he has admired over the years and attempt to give them a vehicle they could star in. The result is less than amazing, but much better than terrible. It’s an opportunity to see quality actors do their thing.
The focus will undoubtedly be on David Carradine, who provides his usual effortless acting effort. The retrospective that is featured on the discs supplemental materials is wonderful. It’s nothing more than Carradine speaking about acting and the experiences of life. Far too often, filmmakers fall into the trap of producing “Anatomy of a Scene” type featurettes that deliver little in the way of insight and do more harm than good. Believe me; no one wants to see the man behind the curtain.
The real treat in Boys is Dern. He’s an actor who’s had his hand in so many things over the years and pulls off performance after performance that is full and complete. Not many actors pull off slimy like Dern, but in The Golden Boys, he’s sincere, lovable and full of charm.
While overall not the best work of any of the three leads, The Golden Boys shows that despite a difficultly bad script, good actors are able to weave a little magic, even in the twilight of their careers.