Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The One and Only (1978, Carl Reiner)
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Henry Winkler? The Fonz, of course. To me however, the name Henry Winkler means Genius. The star of two of my favorite movies of all time (Heroes and Night Shift), Winkler broke out of his stereotyped role of a tough guy and became more of a pathetic type of loser that audiences couldn't help but love. After looking for more films from this "classic" era of Winkler, I stumbled upon The One and Only and had to watch it.
Andy Schmidt (Henry Winkler) is a man who wants an audience. Any audience. He'll do anything, anywhere to get people to watch him. From the time he was little he knew he wanted to be on stage performing. He loved and needed the adulation of a crowd there for him to perform to. After winning over his reluctant college sweetheart Mary (Kim Darby), they get married and move to New York to follow Andy's dreams of acting. With no luck in his job hunt, Andy has a chance meeting with Milton, a midget actor who has been wrestling to make ends meet. Could Andy himself try this route as a substitution for his dream of being an actor?
The One and Only is simply one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Winkler hits a grand slam as the attention-hungry schlep you can't help but root for. Winkler definitely steals the show and each of his silly outbursts are funnier than the last. The supporting cast is also great, with Kim Darby as Winkler's normal wife, Herve Villechaize as Milton and Gene Saks as Wrestling Promoter Sidney Seltzer, whose constant need to use the bathroom and reminders of his son's sexuality are, though crude and inappropriate, quite hilarious.