Pallbearer

Overview

This dark comedy is a clever homage to classic generation gap comedies such as The Graduate 1967, The Last Picture Show 1971 and The Big Chill 1983, filtered through an ironic Generation X lens. Tom Thompson David Schwimmer is unemployed and aimless, hovering between childhood and adult responsibilities. A year out of college, Tom can't land a decent job -- he still lives with his mother in Brooklyn. He receives a call from Ruth Abernathy Barbara Hershey, who informs Tom that her son Bill, Tom's best friend in ...
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Overview

This dark comedy is a clever homage to classic generation gap comedies such as The Graduate 1967, The Last Picture Show 1971 and The Big Chill 1983, filtered through an ironic Generation X lens. Tom Thompson David Schwimmer is unemployed and aimless, hovering between childhood and adult responsibilities. A year out of college, Tom can't land a decent job -- he still lives with his mother in Brooklyn. He receives a call from Ruth Abernathy Barbara Hershey, who informs Tom that her son Bill, Tom's best friend in high school, has killed himself. She wants Tom to deliver the eulogy and serve as a pallbearer, and flustered, Tom agrees, though he has no recollection of Bill. After delivering a lackluster eulogy, Tom meets the grieving Ruth and begins an impulsive affair with her. He also encounters Julie DeMarco Gwyneth Paltrow, a beautiful classmate for whom he's long carried a torch. Although Julie at first mistakes Tom for someone else, they begin dating, while he keeps his relationship with Ruth a secret. First-time writer-director Matt Reeves work-shopped the script for The Pallbearer with writing partner Jason Katims at the Sundance Institute. Reeves went on to create the TV series Felicity.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Clearly intended to be a Generation X version of The Graduate (1967), this dark comedy is a notable debut for writer/director Matt Reeves. An intelligent attempt at a meaningful examination of the slacker set, Reeves' picture belongs pretty much in the same league with other good examples of that 1990s subgenre: Singles (1992), Reality Bites (1994), and Before Sunrise (1995). While thankfully avoiding the annoying blitzkrieg of pop culture references that often punctuate slacker cinema, The Pallbearer (1996) is no less obsessed with the iconography of mass media, employing its fixations with more subtlety. David Schwimmer is engagingly funny in his debut as a neurotic leading boy/man even as he overly channels his Ross character from the TV hit Friends, while Gwyneth Paltrow is a nice romantic foil, although her character remains slightly underdeveloped despite some hinted-at complexities. The film's biggest hurdle is overcoming a central character that is passive and acquiescent, a similar obstacle in other stories about members of what is seen as a reticent, gloomy generation. As much as any other filmmaker, Reeves succeeds in achieving a balance between representing his peers accurately and sticking to the rules of sound storytelling.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/1997
  • UPC: 786936018493
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Schwimmer Tom Thompson
Gwyneth Paltrow Julie Demarco
Michael Rapaport Brad Schorr
Barbara Hershey Ruth Abernathy
Carol Kane Tom's Mom
Toni Collette Cynthia
Michael Vartan Scott
Jean de Baer Suzanne DeMarco
Mark Margolis Philip DeMarco
Bitty Schram Lauren
Matthew Faber Jared
Robin Moore Sylvie
Greg Grunberg Abernathy Cousin
Edoardo Ballerini Job Interviewer
Technical Credits
Matt Reeves Director, Screenwriter
Jeffrey Abrams Producer
Peter Afterman Musical Direction/Supervision
Stephen Alesch Art Director
Kerry Barden Casting
Michael Barosky Sound/Sound Designer
Stewart Copeland Score Composer, Songwriter
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Jon Herron Camera Operator
Billy Hopkins Casting
Jason Katims Co-producer, Screenwriter
Nellie Nugiel Producer
Todd Pfeiffer Asst. Director
Meryl Poster Executive Producer
Stan Salfas Editor
Suzanne Smith Casting
Robin Standefer Production Designer
Paul Webster Producer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Kate Yatsko Set Decoration/Design
Donna Zakowska Costumes/Costume Designer
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