|Grumpy Old Men|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Donald Petrie|
|Written by||Mark Steven Johnson|
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Cinematography||Johnny E. Jensen|
|Edited by||Bonnie Koehler|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$70.2 million|
Grumpy Old Men is a 1993 American romantic comedy film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ann-Margret, along with Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak, Ossie Davis, and Buck Henry and directed by Donald Petrie. The screenplay was written by Mark Steven Johnson, who also wrote the sequel Grumpier Old Men (1995). The original music score was composed by Alan Silvestri. This was the sixth film starring both Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and their first pairing since 1981's Buddy Buddy .
In Wabasha, Minnesota, retirees John Gustafson and Max Goldman are feuding next-door neighbors. Living alone, they spend their time ice fishing and pulling cruel practical jokes on each other, including John leaving a dead fish in Max's truck. Their rivalry irritates their friend Chuck, owner of the town bait shop, and Max's son Jacob, who is running for mayor. Dodging the attempts of IRS Agent Elliot Snyder to collect a serious debt, John supports his daughter Melanie when she separates from her husband Mike.
John and Max both find themselves attracted to Ariel Truax, a free-spirited English professor who moves in across the street. Chuck has Thanksgiving dinner with Ariel, prompting John and Max to compete for her affections. Chuck dies, and Max discovers John's IRS debt. John spends time with Ariel, revealing that he and Max used to be childhood friends. John and Ariel have sex – his first time since 1978 – and a jealous Max drives John's fishing shanty into thin ice, which John narrowly escapes. He confronts Max, and the source of their animosity is revealed: Max resents John for marrying Max's high school sweetheart. John explains she was unfaithful and Max was happier with the woman he did marry, but Max reminds John that he will have nothing to offer Ariel once the IRS takes his house. With this on his mind, John ends his relationship with Ariel, who warns that he will regret the risks he did not take in life.
Jacob is elected mayor, and Max continues courting Ariel. On Christmas, Melanie comes to visit and John is upset to learn she has reconciled with Mike. Giving her the same warning Ariel gave him, John leaves for the local bar. At Melanie's request, Jacob asks Max to settle things with John, but the fathers are unable to mend their dispute and John storms out of the bar. Max soon follows and finds John in the snow, having suffered a heart attack. At the hospital, Max checks in by declaring he is John's friend. He tells Ariel what happened, and she reconciles with John as he recovers.
Max tries to resolve John's debt, but the unsympathetic Agent Snyder prepares to sell John's house and possessions. Barricading the house, Max leaves a fish in Snyder's car and buries him in snow, while Jacob is able to temporarily block the property's seizure. Spring arrives, and John and Ariel get married. As a wedding gift, Max informs John that he and Jacob have paid off the debt. The newlyweds drive off, but not before John finds Max has left another fish in the car. Max leaves to find a date of his own, as Jacob and an officially divorced Melanie begin a new romance with each other.
The screenplay of Grumpy Old Men was written by Mark Steven Johnson, a film student at Winona State University (Minnesota).
Grumpy Old Men was one of the biggest surprise hits of the year at the time of its release.The film opened on December 25, 1993, with a weekend gross of $3,874,911. However, its numbers gradually became stronger, earning a domestic total of $70 million, well above its budget of $35 million. The film was released in the United Kingdom on May 27, 1994.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 63% based on 40 reviews, with a rating average of 5.8/10. The site's consensus reads, "Grumpy Old Men's stars are better than the material they're given -- but their comedic chemistry is so strong that whenever they share the screen, it hardly matters".On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Caryn James of The New York Times called the film "the kind of holiday movie a lot of people are searching for." She went on to explain that this is because "It's cheerful, it's well under two hours and it doesn't concern any major social blights, unless you think Jack Lemmon tossing a dead fish into Walter Matthau's car is cause for alarm."
Despite rating it with two stars out of four, and giving it a mixed review about the film's credibility and diction, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times concluded his review by saying that "Matthau and Lemmon are fun to see together, if for no other reason than just for the essence of their beings."
Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times said, "Watching Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau sparring with each other in Grumpy Old Men is like watching an old vaudeville routine for the umpteenth time." Rainer added, "They play off their tics and wheezes with the practiced ease of old pros but there's something a bit too chummy and self-congratulatory about it all."
American Film Institute recognition:
Grumpy Old Men was first released on DVD on June 25, 1997. On August 22, 2006, the film was made available in a DVD "Double Feature" pack along with its sequel Grumpier Old Men . On July 7, 2009, the film was made available by itself on Blu-ray. The "Double Feature" pack was later released onto Blu-ray on February 23, 2010. The Blu-ray releases marked the first time both films have been available in widescreen since the LaserDisc releases. None of the Blu-ray releases contain any special features.
A sequel, entitled Grumpier Old Men , was released on December 22, 1995, with Lemmon, Matthau and Ann-Margret all reprising their roles and Mark Steven Johnson again writing the script.
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Grumpy Old Men or grumpy old man may refer to:
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Grumpier Old Men is a 1995 American romantic comedy film, and a sequel to the film Grumpy Old Men (1993). The film stars Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, and Sophia Loren, with Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak, Katie Sagona, Ann Morgan Guilbert. Grumpier Old Men was directed by Howard Deutch, with the screenplay written by Mark Steven Johnson and the original music score composed by Alan Silvestri.
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Grumpy Old Men: The Musical is a stage musical with book by Dan Remmes songs composed by Neil Berg and lyrics by Nick Meglin. The music was orchestrated by Emmy- and Tony-winning orchestrator/composer Larry Hochman with additional orchestrations by Phil Reno. It is based on the 1993 Warner Bros. film Grumpy Old Men by Mark Steven Johnson which starred Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. It tells the story of two childhood friends, John Gustafson and Max Goldman, now aging neighbors. An old grudge resurfaces when a mysterious woman moves in across the street.
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