David: Hello and welcome to DFP! If you are new to the site, welcome and thank you for joining us. If you are a regular reader, we continue to appreciate your support! Today we are discussing Going In Style, which is directed by Zach Braff and stars Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. It will be released in theatres on April 7th - it’s actually a remake of a film from the 70s.
That being said, a rough summary is that these three men all worked together at a steel plant. Their pensions are now being liquidated, and they have next to nothing left. After Caine has an experience where the bank he was visiting was robbed, he has the idea to rob a bank himself. So essentially, we’re dealing with a heist movie that has many comedic elements. Shannon, do you have anything to say about the movie to start us off?
Shannon: I thought the film was pretty funny. The three leads worked off each other extremely well and the relationship that their characters had were great. The cranky old man, the one who is sick, and the one who wants to take care of his family.
The story I thought was good. The struggle in the beginning with money, the planning of the heist, and doing it. I know the story was about them robbing a bank at the age of almost 80, but somewhere in my brain was wondering if they were actually going to go through with it. What were your thoughts David?
David: I liked the film overall. The plot wasn’t anything to write home about, and the characters and their motivations are simple. But simple motivations are still motivations, and it’s easy to see why these men have had such storied careers. Essentially, what it boils down to is this: family is important, corporations are bad, and the working man is good. It’s a retelling of Robin Hood in a sense, as evidenced by some of the final scenes.
That being said, it wasn’t something I think I would recommend to most people. I’d easily recommend it to its target audience - aging Baby Boomers and their parents - ie, my own parents and grandparents. It’s got all the things they’ll want to see - easy humor that is choreographed and targeted from the start. There’s nothing complicated here, and that’s a small detractor for me because these actors are so, so good. But overall it’s a good movie.
Each character is given their own room to move in a particular humor style. Each one essentially plays himself - Alan Arkin plays the dry humored, sarcastic, will die soon man; Freeman is more down to Earth with a few humorous jabs at other’s expense; Caine is the everyman who will stand up for what’s right. But, what works is the humor. As I’ve stated, it’s easy to see the jokes coming, which lessens it a tad, but it’s still funny. Was there a particular moment that worked best for you in the way of humor? I have mine and I want to see how well they line up.
Shannon: It’s sad to say, but I’m thinking the most funny parts were the ones that had Kennan. To kind of go along with it, I would think my favorite part with the three leads was when they were in the supermarket stealing. From the time they parked the car and Arkin’s character had no clue what was going on, to the fact that they were stealing things that were NOT easy to steal (Like Willie and the whole pork roast), and then them trying to get away was pretty humorous for me. All leading up to the part where they are in the room with the supermarket manager, Kennan. Or even the scene when they are high - those are always funny scenes (like in Horrible Bosses - Charlie Day - that was the funniest) - and the fact that they are old just kind of added on to the humor.
Aside from those scenes though, all the little jokes, as you mentioned being perfectly timed and all, were good in my opinion and allowed for the humor to continue throughout the entire film. I enjoyed each actors’ one liners and quirky attitudes. Did you have a funny moment?
David: I really loved the moment when they were in the supermarket. It’s easy to see that these guys have no idea what they’re doing, and the chase scene there… well I won’t spoil it but it was quite memorable. Along with that, I really liked the finale, when it’s clear how well thought out the plan was in regards to everything. And of course, Christopher Lloyd steals nearly every scene that he is in.
I honestly think the best part apart the humor was how organic and real it felt. It incorporated some real pop culture that you don’t think about senior citizens enjoying (like the Bachelorette). So that may lead to the weed scene (which has lost a bit of its luster to me since it has been done over and over), but it also leads to other scenes that are fun, like the shooting range scene.
Overall, Going in Style was exactly the type of movie I thought it was going to be: funny, enjoyable, but not much in the way of content that breaks ground. If you need a popcorn flick for a Friday night, you could do much worse. It’s great to see men like this celebrating their age and allowing it to carry them into the future with their careers.
Overall for me, I think the movie is a solid “B-”. What about you Shannon?
Shannon: I’ll give it an “okay” rating. It was exactly what I expected it would be as well, David, and I did also like the whole Bachelorette watching scene. I would definitely recommend it to the demographic that the writers were going for here, and I thought it was funny for sure. But I probably would not want to watch it again.
David: Thanks for joining! Watch on!
David and Shannon write about movies.