The Saga Continues…
The Last New Yorker!
Saga Movie Review
By Nevin Jefferson
The Last New Yorker begins with Lenny getting a shoeshine while complaining about how things have changed; traditions are a thing of the past. Lenny is a grand schemer in a suit and hat that touches off his being a Businessman. Lenny is aggressive with charisma and has charm down to a science. He is also loud, rude, and arrogant who shows no respect for his lifetime friend or those who he comes in contact with. He’s a force not to be reckoned with and who’s his own law with his own rules.
Ruben is angry and upset about the state of affairs in his life. His wife of 25 years has been unfaithful to him; he’s not happy camper after finding out about it. It becomes apparent that Ruben has a hard time adapting to the changes of their haunts and stomping grounds.
He and Lenny are the few who are the last of the last from the days of old New York who don’t fit in with the New York of New. He’s fed up with corporatized NYC that he wants to move to Alabama or someplace warm and fuzzy. He wants out! He’ll do it only if his Lifelong Bud will join him at the somewhere new.
It is at this point that the fast paced physical comedy and running gags passes the laugh baton to next scene in this race of the cleverness of humor. The two men are in their 70s and have no problems keeping up into the hustle and bustle of New York. They are non-stop, keeping up with the rapid movements and frantic pace of the city, as they become a part of the crowds of the street without missing a beat.
Lenny and Ruben pass a down on his luck man drowning in the sea of people on the streets of New York offering “Stock Advice” for cash. The middle aged man tries his best to keep up with the two elders who don’t stop they keep moving their way through the crowds. In a New York minute he manages to bend Lenny’s ear with a stock option tip that would make him a millionaire. Under the same New York minute he slows Lenny down to write down the stock symbol without missing a beat.
The beat goes on as Lenny asks Ruben to pay the Hot Tipster $2.00.for the stock tip that would make him a millionaire. All Ruben has is a $20.00 bill and can’t comply with this bequest. Without missing a beat Lenny grabs the $20.00 turns and buys a tee-shirt from a street vendor. He gives the man $2.00 and the I Love New York tee-shirt then gives Ruben his change. Out of curiosity he’s asks the Wall Street psychic what did he do for a living prior to this? Upon hearing the answer of Stock Advisor Lenny stops in his tracks and misses a beat!
Ruben’s warns Lenny about doing bad things that are upsetting to the cosmic of the Universe with bad karma resulting from it. Lenny blows this off of gibberish as the two are seated on the sidewalk of a restaurant. Lenny detests being seated outdoors instead of indoors with the service lacking a personal touch. He tells Ruben about his Mystery Woman (Kathleen Chalfant) who goes to the shop directly across the street from where they’re seated with a good view. The warning becomes a true fact after an incident makes Lennythe center of attention. The apple of his eye is blackened while spying on his Mystery Woman (Kathleen Chalfant) who’s across the street looking towards the commotion and at Lenny with a coy smile.
Lenny’s nephew Zach Sugarman (Josh Hamilton) is a successful Stock Broker with a lavish office on Wall Street. He’s the next younger generation of a businessman who dressed in very loud Hawaii shirt with Dockers slacks topped off with a baseball cap. His uncle rips him a new one while ranting and raving about his appearance and laid back demeanor as a profession. Zach braces himself for the next storm after informing his Uncle that his investment in pork bellies had bellied up leaving Uncle Lenny flat broke. It was at his Uncle’s insistence that he invest all of his money in Pork Bellies. This makes Zach feel bad about it because he didn’t intervene with the better investments.
Zach tries to an honest effort to make things right between himself and Uncle Lenny by offering him a stack of cash that would make him financially secure for the rest of his life. This is where the Last New Yorker passes the baton to Ruben who ties a bow on it to as he races and jump hurdles of his plots and plans towards the finish line with his lifetime friend.
This is where the Last New Yorker passes the baton to Lenny in his race for love! This is also where the Last New Yorker tells it tales of a first love that’s real love. Lenny found love at 70 and feels on top of the world. Lenny and Mimi’s love life begins on the corner of 38th and Lexington in the big heart of New York. The scenes of his courtship of Mimi, an elegant retired department-store buyer touches the romantic in all of us. New York is the perfect background for a love story and falling in love with elegance. (Remember Moonstruck?) Lenny feels alive with the zest and zeal of Mimi who’s a class act with style and debonair. Lenny compliments Mimi with gifts as a token of his affection towards her.
Mimi is a class act who’s polished with a high gloss that reflects elegance that’s laced with charisma that can charm the skin off of a snake! She wows Lenny with her character that has soul, style, charm, while cycling in her own comfort zone with everything under control. She’s flattered and touched when Lenny presents her with a token from the heart that says; “I love you!”
The Last New Yorker goes through plot changes, spins, and twists that build up to a surprise ending that’s a real surprise. Lenny, Mimi, Ruben, and Zach all have a “Happy Ending” and get what they wanted and more!! The acting is superb; New York looks its best, the writing and directing seals the Last New Yorker as a classic.
This fantastic independent feature film is a first for Harvey Wang who’s a documentary photographer whose book of portraits, “Harvey Wang’s New York” inspired him to do The Last New Yorker.
The Last New Yorker is a rare comedy filmed in the style of Vaudeville; it has a 70ish top banana Lenny (Dominic Chianese) and bottom banana Ruben (Dick Latessa) banana that gets stuck holding the bag and tabs for all duo’s ventures and misadventures. It’s scripted with quick witted lines that are pure-d-camp. It’s corny with slapstick humor that’s packed with punch lines. These are the comedic elements that build upon the foundation of this hilarious comedy by Harvey Wang.
The Last New Yorker has won awards from City Scape, Finalist First Feature, and the Winner of Audience Favorite Awards.
The Last New Yorker is a great film that’s now on DVD. This is a must have DVD that sheds a different light on becoming an Elder at 70 and still live a full rich life! The Special Features are 2 slide shows, trailers, ringtones, and a booklet on how to buy a suit by Lenny Sugarman.