The Man in the Chair
The two most forgotten groups of people in our society today are adolescents and seniors. Both seem to be the object of spending and not the spenders, themselves; the members of society who use up money instead of earning it. The film, The Man in the Chair which opened December 7 in Los Angeles, tells a part of their story with sensitivity and intelligence.
Writer, Producer and Director Michael Schroeder has assembled a marvelous cast including Christopher Plummer as Flash, a bitter, down and out drunkard who has forgotten most of his glory days working in film; Michael Angarano as Cameron Kincaid who will help reawaken Flash's genius by asking his help in creating a student film; M. Emmet Walsh as Michael, a top screen writer, whose acting here will surely earn him an Oscar nomination as the writer Hollywood forgot; and Robert Wagner as Taylor Moss, older but still very much composed and handsome, as the roué who stole Flash's wife and will serve as the financial assist for the production.
While the plot line is simple, the story is told with miles and miles of heart. Cameron yearns to be the "Man in the Chair" (Director) of a student-made film in order to win a scholarship to college. After meeting Flash, he decides to make the film about the difficulties and abuses heaped on our aged. Enlisting members of the Motion Picture retirement home and forgotten writer, Mickey, plus a grant from Taylor Moss, Cameron points the way to portray these problems.
Sidelight vignettes showing Cameron's home life with a step-father who doesn't really care about him and the subsequent troubles he gets into with the police, help broaden our understanding that this movie will be a saving grace for Cameron and help all the forgotten masters of the film industry achieve self-esteem and positive notoriety from their efforts.
In all cases, Michael Schroeder's camera as the authentic "Man in the Chair" expresses tenderness, sympathy and understanding, shedding a glorious light on the plight of the elderly. And, while we're thinking about Christmas and Hanukkah, at this time of the year, this movie has the meaning of those holidays as its underlying current. You will think of such names as "Scrooge" or words such as "redemption" while viewing this film.
Those people living in Los Angeles will find many recognizable scenes throughout. Street locales served Schroeder well and the scenes at the Sepulveda Basin were quite effective in bringing extra depth and dimension to the screen. Without cosmetic surgery, many of our favorite actors have aged, visibly. You have never seen Plummer, Walsh or Wagner looking more real. All three act their roles with vigor and the expertise derived from many years of experience. The real star of the show is Michael Angarano on his bike, stealing a car or assuaging his mom or step-dad. As he runs the camera, he becomes "The Man in the Chair". We, in our chairs, watching the film, can take pride and joy in having selected this film to come and see. It will not disappoint.
Open December 14. For more information, visit www.maninthechair-themovie.com