Local Color (DVD Review)30 Aug, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Box Office $0.03 million
Rated ‘R’ for language.
Stars Armin Mueller-Stahl, Trevor Morgan, Ray Liotta, Samantha Mathis, Ron Perlman, Diana Scarwid, Charles Durning.
When young aspiring painter John Talia (Trevor Morgan) discovers that well-known reclusive landscape painter Nicoli Seroff (Armin Mueller-Stahl) lives nearby, he quickly seeks out career advice from the potential mentor.
Instead, the 18-year-old Talia encounters a bitter, vodka-swilling, foul-mouthed 70-something old man who rants about representational versus nonrepresentational art while harboring a heartfelt pain for the death of his wife years earlier.
Determined to extract his inner Van Gogh, Talia nonetheless spends the summer (in 1974) on Seroff’s Pennsylvania farm, much to the chagrin of his homophobe father (who else but Ray Liotta), who is convinced the old man wants to bugger his son.
When Seroff isn’t sleeping off a bender, he imparts upon the boy the intricacies of brush strokes, shadows and light (“Sun is like a woman,” he says. “When she kisses the land with warm lips, she leaves a little color everywhere”).
Interludes include Seroff fending off phony art dealer Curtis Sunday (a very non-Hellboyish Ron Perlman) and reminiscing about lost love reincarnated in blonde neighbor Carla (Samantha Mathis).
Based in part on director George Gallo’s own youth, Local Color plays like an endearing made-for-TV movie version of “The Waltons” with a transforming feel-good ending.
“If you see beauty everywhere and in everything, your soul is set free,” Seroff says.