Windy City (1984)

“I have nothing to say. I am not a writer.”

Windy City Poster

Synopsis:
An aspiring writer (John Shea) enlists the help of his childhood buddies in supporting their dying friend (Josh Mostel); meanwhile, he reminisces about a former girlfriend (Kate Capshaw) who has since become engaged to another man.

Genres:

Review:
Two years after penning the uninspired screenplay for Francis Ford Coppola’s otherwise impressive One From the Heart (1982), Armyan Bernstein wrote and directed this dull ensemble piece about a group of lifelong friends growing up in Chicago and facing a variety of concerns. The film is eminently forgettable on every count, given that we don’t care about any of the poorly developed characters, who spout trite dialogue (“I guess some people aren’t replaceable”) and generally act like overgrown adolescents. There’s potential for something heartfelt in a subplot about a dying friend in the gang, played with pathos by Mostel (the one live spark in the bunch) — but this is swallowed up by the shallow central narrative about Shea’s longing for his now-engaged former girlfriend (Capshaw).

Bernstein is clearly a film buff, given how many cinematic allusions he incorporates throughout his movie — i.e., the film opens on a scene of the boyhood friends watching an Errol Flynn swashbuckler on television, and at one point the camera pans strategically past a revival theater marquee advertising A Guy Named Joe. However, these allusions simply highlight how shallow Bernstein’s own picture is. Ironically, Shea’s character (an aspiring writer, ostensibly based on Bernstein himself) breaks up with his girlfriend after they argue about his failure to work on his craft; she insists that he “has stories to tell”, while he yells back, “I have nothing to say” — a point we (sadly) can’t help immediately agreeing with.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Not much.

Must See?
No; definitely feel free to skip this one.

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