I saw Diggers tonight, a story set on the south shore of Long Island in the mid-1970s. It follows the fate of four friends, clam diggers whose livelihood is jeopardized by encroaching big business. All I knew was that it starred Paul Rudd, who I like, and that Stephen Holden in the New York Times had said that the movie "feels like life." I like that kind of movie, in the vein of Broadcast News or Diner (a movie to which Holden compares Diggers). The unchallenged king of the category, in my opinion, is You Can Count On Me.
Feeling like real life is a tall order for a movie. Diggers doesn't quite get there, but it feels like entertaining, constructed "real life," and with Spidey Doofus grossing a trillion dollars last weekend, that's more than enough for me. It lapses into mawkish moments, and it goes a bit too far out of its way for a few broad jokes, but Rudd is good in the lead role, and the cast around him is much stronger than I had known going in -- including Maura Tierney, for whom I would cross oceans. Rudd's friends are played by Josh Hamilton, Ron Eldard, and Ken Marino. (Lauren Ambrose is in it, for whom I would cross at least a medium-sized sea, and so is Sarah Paulson, who we saw walking on Houston Street afterwards with her girlfriend...headed to the theater?)
Both Eldard and Marino were born on Long Island, which perhaps helped create the movie's pretty consistent sense of authenticity. Marino (far left, above) wrote the script, and I thought he was remarkable as Lozo, the type of character rarely seen in movies -- a smart mook; a crass, immature guy who's not a particularly good father or husband by the textbook definitions, but who has genuinely good humor, fierce loyalty, and no lack of energy. He begins the movie as meathead comic relief, but by the end he provides its heart.