By Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
Somewhere on the desk of filmmaker Daniel Adams lies a battered copy of The Old Salt’s Guide to Pithy Sayings, which Adams has taken, shaken and dumped unedited into his shockingly inept, tedious film about three crusty old sea captains seeking a bride to take care of them. Originally titled Chatham — more fitting and less modern for a movie set in 1905 Cape Cod — The Golden Boys is so laden with crusty sayings it’s laughable and painful at the same time. In church, people are ”a-kneelin’.” A house is ”as dirty as the fo’c’sle on a cattle boat,” and a man ”makes as much sense as a duck in a henhouse.” I might be mistaken, but I am almost positive I heard Mariel Hemingway say, ‘Land o’ mercy.”
Hemingway plays Mrs. Snow, the unwitting and saintly woman who answers the ad penned by Captains Zeb (David Carradine), Jerry (Rip Torn) and Perez (Bruce Dern), who are weary of living in the aforementioned filthy old house and eating their own lousy cooking. The plan is for Jerry to marry whomever answers the ad and for the other two to live as boarders in the house. But bad boy Perez take a shine to the widow Snow, too, and even old heroic Zeb finds his head a-turned by her.
Adams throws in a token side plot about Zeb’s old friend (Charles Durning) who burns down a billiard parlor, but it only serves to pad out the movie. The movie has no sense of plot or style or pacing, and none of the actors is comfortable with the archaic language (though the sly Dern, who has been brilliant on HBO’s Big Love of late, fares best). Trying to sit through The Golden Boys is like trudging across the Cape Cod sand in galoshes during a nor’easter with a mule on your back. Stay home by the hearth (or HDTV) instead.
Cast: David Carradine, Rip Torn, Bruce Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Charles Durning.
Director/screenwriter: Daniel Adams. Based on the book by Joseph C. Lincoln.
Producers: Daniel Adams, Brian Gilmore, Ethan Gilmore, Matt Janes, Howard Katz, Michael Mailer.
A Roadside Attractions release. Running time: 97 minutes. In Miami-Dade: Aventura; in Palm Beach: Shadowood, Delray.