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The Jewish Film Institute presents a "Best of the Fest" series from the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in partnership with the Osher Marin JCC. To see all the films in the series (running from January - March, 2020), click here.
It's a movie about stand-up starring Billy Crystal, but not in the role you'd expect. In the refreshingly original Standing Up, Falling Down, Crystal plays decidedly against type. Set in the present day, the film centers around an aspiring comedian named Scott, played charmingly by rising-star comedian Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation). Having failed to launch in Los Angeles, Scott has reluctantly moved back in with his parents in Long Island. Well into his 30s, he struggles to reconnect with childhood friends who have moved into adulthood without him. Feeling abandoned and lonely, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Marty, his much older dermatologist, played by Crystal. The icon tamps down the manic energy of his Oscar hosting to turn in a controlled, layered performance as a shattered man trying in vain to put the pieces of his life together, largely through alcohol and karaoke. Fueled by his understated performance, the film is refreshing in its lack of irony, capturing the genuine affections of the pair as they search together for redemption. The ode to home and family - in all its forms - is helped by a strong supporting cast that brings a family feeling all its own: Scott's sister is played by Grace Gummer, daughter to Meryl Streep; Crystal's son by Nate Corddry, brother to Rob. The film also doubles as a love song to small-town Long Island, capturing the beauty of its beaches and deserted malls that serve as the story's backdrops. But it's the authentic connection between the co-stars that gives what could otherwise be a mere buddy movie its unexpected resonance. - Emily Kaiser Thelin
After studying theater at Northwestern and spending several years working in politics and at theNational Security Division at the Department of Justice, Matt moved to Los Angeles and founded Tilted Windmill Productions. Ratner has produced eight films under the Tilted Windmill banner, and all have premiered to critical acclaim at top-tier film festivals.His first film as a producer, Match,(Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino, Matthew Lillard) based on the Tony-nominated play of the samename by Stephen Belber, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. A lifetime as a Cleveland sports fan prepared him for the volatile nature of the film business. Standing Up, Falling Down is his directorial debut