January 20th: Mickey Rourke was gorgeous back in the early 80s

31. Diner (Barry Levinson, 1982)

Over the course of a week six friends make some pretty important decisions and go through a few life-changing events. Diner stars some very fresh-faced young talented actors Steve Guttenberg, Ellen Barkin, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon and Paul Reiser. Set in 1959 it takes in these friends as they begin to move into adulthood and the mistakes and confusion influence their choices. But that’s an incredibly dull way of describing the film. It doesn’t do it justice. What’s really impressive about Diner is the extent to which you can fall in with this group of friends, how far you feel part of their dynamic. It reminded me of the similar scope and effect of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused – shamelessly nostalgic without resorting to mawkish sentimentality. There is a genuine warmth and friendliness about the film that creates a sensation of belonging. It keys back into your life and reminds you of the dynamic you can have with a group of friends, with the lads (sadly I can only really approach this one from the male perspective folks). The films conclusion is the payoff, Levinson just lets the camera drift over the friends interacting. It’s beautiful and brilliant – it should remind you that your friends are a constantly evolving group and that every now and again you could look around them and just enjoy the banter.