The Last Movie Star, formerly known as Dog Years, shows us what would happen when an aging celebrity in the third act of their life decides to accept an invite to a basement film festival.
Burt Reynolds stars as Vic Edwards, an aging celebrity who receives an invitation to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nashville Film Festival. Thinking that it’s a legitimate film festival, the former college football player decides to accept the award in person after his friend, Sonny (Chevy Chase), convinces him to do so. Upon his arrival to Nashville, the actor soon realizes that it is barely even a festival, if at all. After taking the long trip, Vic feels humiliated to have shown up for an event put on by a few nobodies like Doug (Clark Duke)
Doug’s sister, Lil (Ariel Winter), is assigned as Vic’s his personal driver and assistant for the weekend. Feeling out of place at the film festival, Vic asks that Lil take him to take him to his old stomping grounds in Knoxville. Lil isn’t the most stable person at the moment but the odd couple make for good company during the drive to Knoxville. The trip allows for Vic to take a walk through memory lane as he revisits his past and starts to understand his life and the values that he’s forgotten about.
Adam Rifkin wrote the film with Reynolds in mind for the lead role and he wasn’t going to make it without the actor. For the sake of the universe, Reynolds said yes to the role and it’s a beauty of a film. It’s akin to Sam Elliott’s performance in Brett Haley’s The Hero.
For a film that offers a good premise, it’s crazy to see the studio pass on a theatrical release and send it straight to home video. While it’s true that it’s an indie movie that won’t appeal to a mass audience, it’s a chance to give movie goers an opportunity to watch Reynolds on the big screen for what may very well turn out to be one of the final times. If it’s good enough to play several film festivals, why wouldn’t it be good enough for a theatrical release? The Last Movie Star serves not only as a showcase for Reynolds towards the end of his film career but Modern Family’s Ariel Winter is able to show that her acting range extends beyond Modern Family.
With the home video release, a few bonus features are offered: deleted scenes, audio commentary with writer/director Adam Rifkin, and “The Best Is Yet to Come: Adam Rifkin of The Last Movie Star” featurette.
The Last Movie Star offers Reynolds a way to play a thinly veiled version of himself. More than that, the film shows how aging actors come to terms with growing old.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Adam Rifkin
CAST: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane, Nikki Blonsky, Juston Street, AL-Jaleel Ishaq Knox, Kathleen Nolan, and Chevy Chase