I'm Not Rappaport (1996)

I'm Not Rappaport Poster

Old Nat Moyer is a talker, a philosopher, and a troublemaker with a fanciful imagination. His companion is Midge Carter, who is half-blind, but still the super of an apartment house. When he is threatened with retirement, Nat battles on his behalf. Nat also takes on his daughter, a drug dealer, and a mugger in this appealing version of a really 'odd couple'.

"I'm Not Rappaport" is a 1996 American comedy-drama movie composed and directed by Herb Gardner. The movie is an adaptation of the two-act play of the same name which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1986. The film stars Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis in the lead roles, portraying 2 eccentric old males in their eighties navigating through life in New York City.

Matthau plays the character of Nat, a senior Jewish male and Ossie Davis plays Midge, an aged African-American structure superintendent. The movie revolves around their unlikely relationship as they sit, talk, dispute, and share life stories on a park bench in Central Park.

Nat is a dynamic storyteller, spinning tales of his fictional career as a secret representative and union organizer while warding off his full-grown daughter's efforts to put him in a retirement home. Midget, on the other hand, is struggling to keep his task by hiding his failing eyesight from his employer. Between these two buddies, their lively bickering, endless storytelling and discussions about life form the essence of the film.

Key Themes
Among the major styles in "I'm Not Rappaport" centers around aging and society's mindset towards the senior. The movie brings to light the struggle of old age-- the effort to preserve self-reliance, pride and worry of becoming irrelevant. It discreetly explores how society often dismisses its elderly members, either by overlooking them or pushing them into assisted living houses.

Supporting Characters
The movie provides a colorful ensemble of supporting characters who provide comic relief. There's a drug-dealer called "The Cowboy" (Craig T. Nelson) who bugs Midge, a senior artist Clara (Martha Plimpton) who opposes against eviction, Nat's long-suffering daughter Clara (Amy Irving), and a tough, elderly occupant (Guilbert), all of whom are brought to life by Nat's convincing storytelling and Midge's deadpan reactions.

Style and Tone
Gardner's adaptation from stage to screen retains its theatrical discussion and pacing, giving the movie a sentimental and timeless appeal. The efficiencies by Matthau and Davis are deeply appealing, embodying both the knowledge and vulnerability of their characters.

The final act of the film culminates in an exposition of Nat's flight of fancies and the acceptance of their own truth. Yet, in spite of the extreme truths of their lives, the duo hangs on to their friendliness, humor, and enduring humankind. As the film concludes, they continue to assert their existence in a world that is so excited to forget them, symbolically stating, "I'm not Rappaport, I'm me".

"I'm Not Rappaport" presents the struggles of aging with a touch of humor and a great deal of heart. This amusing, poignant film beautifully showcases the sustaining friendship between 2 old guys who decline to be marginalized by society. Their life-affirming stories, told through evocative discussion and spectacular efficiencies, make "I'm Not Rappaport" an unforgettable film about durability and identity in the twilight years of life.

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