September 20, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Brian Dennehy Stars In The Tender DRIVEWAYS – His Final Film

What makes DRIVEWAYS particularly poignant is that it was Brian Dennehy’s last film before he died and his cinematic presence will be sorely missed. Written by Hannah and Paul Thureen, and superbly directed by Andrew Ahn, this is a tender story about new beginnings and how friendships can relieve the pain of isolation.

Kathy, soulfully played by Hong Cha, who was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, arrives in a suburban New York town from Grand Rapids, Michigan with her son 8-year-old son Cody, played by a very gifted Lucas Jaye. Their mission is to clean up the home in which Kathy’s sister April lived until her recent death. The home is cluttered with stuff piled up from floor to ceiling with not an inch of open space – a daunting task of getting the house ready to sell. To give you a visual point of view, think along the lines of Grey Gardens where Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin lived. Although the bones of April’s home might be salvageable, it is hard at first to see through the debris. As mother and son arrive, the next-door neighbor Del, a lonely Korean War vet, brilliantly portrayed by Brian Dennehy, who gives a powerfully interior performance, watches quietly from his porch. A widower, he eats alone every night, intimately captured by Paul Thureen’s delicate cinematography, which closes in on Del’s loneliness. His daughter Lisa is a judge in Seattle and is trying to find housing for him so they can be closer to each other. The initial relationship between Kathy and Del doesn’t start off so pleasantly, but Cody, a very sensitive, vulnerable child, immediately bonds with him and that relationship is the basic building block of the story. One way that Del fills his time is to play bingo with friends at the VFW and when Del’s friend Rodger, played by an adorable Jerry Adler, forgets to show up to drive him to the center, Kathy jumps in and takes him there. Now because bingo is a form of gambling, the “caller” insists that Cody must leave. There is a big “discussion” and he finally relents and allows the young boy to stay. It is at the VFW center that we meet Del’s other good friend Lester, well played by Stan Carp. However, the relationship between Del and Rodger is particularly close and there are some funny scenes between them. Meanwhile, Cody and Kathy, who does medical transcriptions and is studying to be a nurse, have been staying at a motel but soon it becomes too expensive. She and her son clean out the front porch and that becomes their sleeping quarters. The task of getting rid of the clutter begins in earnest and little by little, they begin to clear out the mess. In between times, Cody would walk over to Del’s porch and each of them would get absorbed in their reading material while looking over once in a while to make sure make everything is okay. Another neighbor named Linda (Christine Ebersole) shows up one day with her two grandsons, Brandon (Jack Caleb) and Reese, (James DiGiacomo) who you just know are not nice kids. She invites Cody over to play with them and the evening does not end well.

Kathy (Hong Cha) with her son Cody (Lucas Jaye) get ready for a garage sale.

This is an emotionally, quietly powerful affecting film, depicting how Del and Cody’s loneliness becomes a pathway to forming a quietly loving relationship. The writing accomplishes this with a minimum of dialogue. It’s also about life’s transitions and friendship which, in only an 83-minute film, captures the essence of each. Ahn’s subtle directing allows his characters to basically find each other and we see how they bond out of a sense of loneliness. One of the joyous moments of the film is the birthday party Kathy organizes for her son at the local skating rink, which turns out to be a failure. Del comes to the rescue and transforms it into a joyous celebration of this special kid.

So here we are with new beginnings and endings – for each of these three principal characters have experienced both. What is particularly sad, is that one of our great American actors, Brian Dennehy, who appeared in 180 films as well as television and theatre productions, is no longer with us, but his body of work, especially his Oscar-worthy performance in “Driveways,” will live in cinematic memory.

Brian Dennehy as Del with Cody, the boy next door played by Lucas Jaye in Andrew Ahn’s “Driveways.”

Distributor: FilmRise
Release Date: Current
Where: USA – VOD
Language: English
Music composed by Jay Wadley
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Rating: PG

Related Posts

Is Cash Coming Back for the Big Blue Bus?

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Santa Monica City Council discusses possibility of restoring cash service for buses  By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers recently discussed...

UCLA Study Suggests Nearly Half of LGBT Renters Behind on Rent Fear Eviction Within 2 Months

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

UCLA study sheds light on concerning issue  By Susan Payne According to a recent UCLA study, nearly half of the...

Santa Monica Police Conducting DUI Checkpoint Friday Night

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

DUI and license checkpoint coming to undisclosed location  By Chad Winthrop Santa Monica police will conduct a DUI checkpoint Friday...

Veteran Killed in Stabbing at Encampment Alongside West Los Angeles VA

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Wednesday morning incident under investigation    By Sam Catanzaro A homicide investigation is underway following a stabbing at a homeless encampment...

Santa Monica Partners with McCabe’s Guitar Shop for a Reimagined Annual Concert Series

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

Americana in the Park, a New Free Concert Series Launches this September and October By Sam Catanzaro The City of...

Vaccine and Mask Mandates for Santa Monica College In-Person Classes this Fall

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

As Santa Monica College returns for the fall semester new protocols are in place, learn about campus capacity, vaccine and...

Santa Monica Beat – Will Big Blue Buses Accept Cash Fare Again?: September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Will Big Blue Buses Accept Cash Fare Again? * Video Game...

Report Urges Against Splitting Santa Monica-Malibu School District

September 9, 2021

September 9, 2021

LA County Office of Education Division of Business Advisory Services releases report ahead of September 18 meeting By Sam Catanzaro...

Distinguished Speaker Series Expands to Long Beach, Celebrates 24 Years of Candid, Relaxed Evenings With Renowned Changemakers

September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021

Series features Former President George W. Bush in September, 24 years after his mother and former First Lady of the...

Two Classic Car Shows Are Coming To The Westside To Support Hispanic Heritage: Santa Monica Beat – September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Two Classic Car Shows Are Coming To The Westside To Support...

Road Rage Leads to Shooting in Santa Monica

September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021

Santa Monica police investigating September 6 incident By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police are investigating an incident of road rage...

Auditions Open for HVS Conservatory’s Inaugural Vocal Program

September 5, 2021

September 5, 2021

Hollywood Vocal Studios and Adreana Gonzalez are proud to announce the founding of Hollywood Vocal Studios (HVS) Conservatory—a post-secondary school...

Santa Monicans Frustrated After Getting Ticketed for Return of Weekly Street Sweeping

September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021

Residents say they were not notified resumption of regular sweeping this week  By Sam Catanzaro Many Santa Monica residents are...

Pacific Park’s Ferris Wheel Salutes American Workers With A 130-Feet Tall Waving American Flag Over Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier will honor American workers with the Ferris Wheel’s dazzling display of red, white...