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Love and Death on Long Island Movie Review

ronnie bostock giles richard

The title of the movie is Love and Death on Long Island, or is it Love and De'Ath on Long Island, as in Giles De'Ath, drolly played by the delightful John Hurt? De'Ath is an obscure Brit writer and a distinguished looking gent in his late 50s who deplores anything developed in his own lifetime or, indeed, at any time throughout the 20th century. And then he's persuaded to see a film adaptation of that young whippersnapper E.M. Forster (1879–1970), so off he trots to the multiplex to see it. Alas, he winds up at a screening for Hotpants College 2, which most definitely owes nothing to Forster. As Giles tries to slip out of the theatre, his eyes behold the image of the one and only Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley), and it's love at first sight. Soon, Giles finds himself doing all sorts of 1998 things: purchasing a videocassette recorder (although he hasn't a clue that a television monitor is required), renting such previous Ronnie Bostock titles as Skid Marks and Tex Mex, and pinching fan magazines so that he can scour them and cut out Ronnie Bostock's pictures for a series of scrapbooks he stores in a locked filing cabinet labeled “Bostockiana.” Giles’ literary agent persuades him to take a rest and what better place for a holiday than Chesterton, Long Island—where, as the fan magazines reveal, Ronnie Bostock actually resides? The stylish Giles is warmly received by the female owner of the motel in Chesterton and by Irving Buckmiller (Maury Chaykin), the proprietor of Irv's coffee shop. In search of Ronnie Bostock, Giles strolls through neighborhoods, stalks the postman, and makes friends with Ronnie Bostock's girlfriend Audrey (Fiona Loewi) and dog. It isn't long before he's finally shaking the hand of Ronnie Bostock himself. Flattered that he's “so big in England,” Ronnie listens attentively to every word he says, especially when Giles recommends inserting Walt Whitman's Untold Want into a funeral sequence for Hotpants College 3. You see, Ronnie Bostock wants to be a serious actor and if Giles develops a meaningful script for him, he may very well BE one someday. Audrey, however, recognizes the lust in De'Ath's heart and develops an idea or two of her own about the future of Ronnie Bostock. Richard Kwietniowski's Love and Death on Long Island, a very clever adaptation of Gilbert Adair's novel, is a delicious, hilarious experience; it's sad to think that Beverly Hills 90210 fans, who watch Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh everyday, won't go near this movie, ditto the grown-ups who look down on his career and thus missed his sharp 1994 satire as an assassin opposite Peter Reigert in M. Wallace Wolodarsky's Coldblooded. If you take yourself and the world very seriously, Love and Death on Long Island may not do it for you. Otherwise, you'll have an absolute ball!

1997 (PG-13) 93m/C GB CA John Hurt, Jason Priestley, Fiona Loewi, Sheila Hancock, Maury Chaykin, Gawn Grainger, Elizabeth Quinn; D: Richard Kwietniowski; W: Richard Kwietniowski; C: Oliver Curtis; M: Richard Grassby-Lewis. VHS, Closed Caption

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