Tin Men is the second of four Baltimore films from that area’s native son Barry Levinson. This is Levinson’s fourth film.
The 1987 film features a wow of a cast- Richard Dreyfuss (in the best role he had in the 1980s) and Danny DeVito star. But the supporting cast includes Barbara Hershey at her zenith (in the middle of a terrific stretch that included The Natural– also from Levinson- in 1984, Hannah and Her Sisters and Hoosiers in 1986 and The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988), John Mahoney, JT Walsh, and Seymour Cassel.
The film is set in 1963 and features the same side-by-side housing complex used in Levinson’s film Avalon. Apparently a member of the crew asked Levinson for an example of the type of home he was looking for and Levinson suggested an address of the house where he grew up.
The centrifugal action is the car accident between BB (Dreyfuss) and Tilley (DeVito). They are both aluminum siding salesman (hence the title). They both have their crews and Levinson is clearly in love with the era (this film is an ode to Cadillacs), the costume and the décor. The feud between the two seems right out of Wes Anderson (this is before of course) in Rushmore. 2002’s Changing Lanes with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck feels similar- but this is a little lighter.
The small talk in a diner about the show Bonanza is gold—clearly the same director/writer as 1982’s Diner– Sinatra vs. Mathis vs. Nat King Cole- this is superior writing.
Michael Tucker is back (playing the role of “Bagel” in Diner)- the Barry Levinson Universe.
A sensational frame as DeVito’s yellow Cadillac sits near the water with the Domino Sugars sign at the 98-minute mark
What would you say are Dreyfuss` best performances?
1. Close Encounters
3. The Goodbye Girl
4. What About Bob?
5. American Graffiti
@RujK- I like this – have not given it much thought but I like your 1-2, would put American Graffiti third, and then 4-6 (including Tin Men) are pretty close. He is good in Tin Men.
@Drake- I still need to see Tin Men, but if I can judge from previous Levinson`s efforts that I saw (Rain Man, The Natural) I am pretty excited.
@RujK- thanks for the help on the Levinson page
Watch Diner, Best Levinson film for me.
@Malith thank you for the help here