34-year-old aspiring comedian Scott Rollins (Ben Schwartz) has spent the past four years trying to launch a career in Los Angeles, but he’s become cynical, and finally ready to give up on his dream. So he moves back into his parents’ home in Long Island as he tries to figure out what to do with his life. When Scott took off for L.A., he left a few of his relationships in the lurch. Scott’s father was upset that his son didn’t want to pursue taking over the family lumberyard, and Scott also abruptly broke up with his girlfriend Becky (Eloise Mumford). Scott still thinks of Becky and contemplates trying to rekindle that relationship, despite the fact that she’s now married. Meanwhile, Scott’s dad barely strikes up any conversation with his son—though he always has many great things to say about Ruis (David Castañeda), Scott’s sister Megan’s (Grace Gummer) boyfriend.
Scott doesn’t really have any friends to hang out with in Long Island—everyone has moved on with their own lives. However, he ends up striking up a friendship with 65-year-old dermatologist Marty (Billy Crystal). After his second wife passed away, Marty became an alcoholic, which caused a rift in his relationship with his children, Adam (Nate Corddry) and Taylor (Caitlin McGee). His children have grown distant, and don’t return his calls. Both Scott and Marty are lost in their lives, but their new friendship may just be what each other needs to help get things back on track.
Standing Up, Falling Down is a heartwarming friendship drama with some really humorous moments. It primarily explores this new relationship between Scott and Marty, which feels quite real and genuine. Marty becomes the surrogate father that Scott needs since he can’t really talk to his own dad. Marty gives Scott life advice and shares his own wisdom and mistakes to help him find a better path—though Marty can also be a bit of a bad influence. And Scott is like a surrogate son to Marty, allowing him to have someone to talk to since his own children don’t want anything to do with him. Both of these characters are good people at their cores, even though they sometimes make the wrong/poor decisions. Scott and Marty are constantly trying to help one another get their lives on track and support one another, though for every step forward, they also experience several missteps. There is this nice back-and-forth between these two characters, allowing each to take on the more adult role in their relationship.
Standing Up, Falling Down has a wonderful cast. The Schwartz and Crystal really make you care about Scott and Marty. The viewer becomes invested in these characters’ futures, rooting for both of them to successfully turn their lives around. I am used to Ben Schwartz’s more comedic roles, but he delivers an amazing dramatic performance, easily holding his own against acting legend Billy Crystal. Crystal also delivers a strong dramatic performance—you really feel his heartbreak as he desperately tries to reconnect with his children, who want nothing to do with him. He also lets his humorous side shine through, cracking fun jokes throughout the film to help lighten the mood. There is a delightful chemistry between these two actors—their characters become fast friends, but it feels like these two have known each other for a decade, and are able play off one another really well. The film’s supporting cast also includes many talented and recognizable actors. I especially enjoyed Grace Gummer as Scott’s sister—Megan and Scott constantly have this fun verbal sparring as siblings that feels quite genuine.
Shout Factory’s Blu-ray release features a solid presentation. The picture is crisp and clean throughout, even in the darker scenes, and captures the film’s Long Island scenery beautifully. This is not a big action film filled with explosions and sound effects, but the audio track does provide clear dialogue, and makes some good use of the surround channel to add a bit of an immersive ambiance to the film—things like a barking dog in the background of one scene, and the sound of a storm brewing in another. The Blu-ray comes packed in a standard HD keepcase without a slipcover. The disc contains an entertaining audio commentary with the director and stars, the film’s trailer, and about 30 minutes of featurettes with the cast and filmmakers.
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Audio Commentary with Director Matt Ratner and Stars Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal (1:31:16)
The director and stars of the film provide a highly-entertaining and fun commentary throughout the film. They are always on, cracking jokes while providing insight into the story and characters, and sharing fun behind-the-scenes stories about the production. Billy Crystal also constantly discusses the food he had delivered while recording the commentary track.
- Falling Into Place — Creating Standing Up, Falling Down (10:32)
The cast and filmmakers talk about how the project came about, the writer’s autobiographical inspirations, the film’s tone, blending comedy and drama, the story and characters, and filming in Long Island. Includes clips from the film, and interviews with writer Peter Hoare, director Matt Ratner, producers Chris Mangano & Rick Rosenthal, and stars Ben Schwartz (“Scott”) & Billy Crystal (“Marty”).
- Standing Together — The Cast of Standing Up, Falling Down (11:21)
The cast and filmmakers talk about the characters, working with Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz, and the chemistry that quickly formed between the two actors. They also discuss the film’s amazing supporting cast. Includes clips from the film, and interviews with writer Peter Hoare, director Matt Ratner, producers Chris Mangano & Rick Rosenthal, and stars Ben Schwartz & Billy Crystal.
- It’s Been a Joy — The Crew of Standing Up, Falling Down (7:08)
The cast and filmmakers talk about their favorite moments on set, working with one another, and with the first time director. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with writer Peter Hoare, director Matt Ratner, producers Chris Mangano & Rick Rosenthal, and stars Ben Schwartz & Billy Crystal.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:13)
I really enjoyed Standing Up, Falling Down—it is a sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heart-crushing drama with some really fun moments of humor. Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal are amazing, and have tremendous on-screen chemistry. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and includes a fun audio commentary and 30-minutes of cast/filmmaker interviews. If you’re looking for an entertaining drama, with interesting characters and strong performances, then this film is definitely worth checking out. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release comes highly recommended.