700 Sundays (2014)
Starring: Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal brought his long running one man show ‘700 Sundays’ that eulogizes his father and pays homage to his childhood. This one man show is above all else, a nostalgic trip to a time and place in this country that no longer exists, and perhaps never truly existed at all in the way it is remembered. But to here Crystal tell it, you’d never doubt it for a second. Crystal’s story is nothing if not fascinating. His father was a big time band leader in the days of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, all who befriend the young Crystal as a child. His monologue, which includes old family videos and portraits, traces this story from his earliest days all the way to the present day, and I will not attempt to go over it all for the sake of brevity. That said, I will say that this is one of the most touching and heartfelt one man performances I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Yes, this is the very epitome of saccharine styled commercial pap, but damn it, it’s very well done saccharine styled commercial pap and hits exactly all the right notes. Billy Crystal may be an acquired taste for many but even if his style of comedy is the opposite of yours I still recommend giving this one a shot. A lot of his bits here intended as comedy, such as an extended take about his grandfather’s scrotum come off as more embarrassing than funny, but those are not the moments you remember coming out of this. The lasting moments here are the genuinely touching stories of Crystal and his father, and giant hole it left in his life when said father passed away. Think of the feeling you get watching the final scene of Field of Dreams and extend that sweet sadness to an entire feature length show, add in a few laughs (and some groans) and you have a good idea of what you’re in for here.