THE FISHER KING (1991)

TMG Scale 8.0   MPAA Rating: R
Starring Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl, Robin Williams, Amanda Plummer

Bridges plays Jack Lucas, local cult radio DJ (read: Howard Stern type) who dishes out caustic daily advice on life and living…as if he has any real clue about it.  A frequent caller gets a full plate of Jack ranting on the radio about Yuppies and then goes out and shoots up a local New York bar and kills seven people.  Jack is overcome with remorse and falls into drinking and seclusion. He wishes there was some way to simply “pay the fine and go home.” He takes up living with a cute but smokey-rough and too understanding woman named Anne (Ruehl) who runs a local video store.  Anne puts up with Jack for the sake of wanting to be loved. Jack is searching for meaning anywhere he can find it.

After a bad drunk, Jack finds himself under a bridge being mugged. He is rescued by a homeless paranoid schizophrenic named Parry (Williams).  Parry is sort of a smacked out, smart Robin Hood of the below the bridge crowd of delusional, despondent, depressed and filthy dregs of society that have  been tossed away like social trash.  Parry is a former professor who lost it after his beautiful wife met her violent end in the very bar shooting Jack may have set in motion.  Parry has delusions of a grim reaper, a fire exuding spirit horse and of finding the Holy Grail in some New York billionaire’s house. Jack seeks redemption by helping Parry to win the heart of a local homely accountant named Lydia, whom Parry has been stalking for months….and capture the Grail.  Okay, this movie is all over the place, but somehow it works.

Anne and Lydia are in search of true love. Jack and Parry are in search of the meaning of life. Just who is responsible when bad things happen to people? Can anyone just look the other way while human beings are tossed to the trash heap of life?  Do the disenfranchised, homeless and depressed need money, shelter, food or just someone who cares? Are we obliged to be our brother’s keeper?

The fact is, we all seem caught up in search of the Holy Grail. But where is it? Is it truly a special chalice or an ideal? It might just be in the person who cares about you and appreciates you for who you are. Is that the message of this film? TMG is not really sure. Maybe.  Or, maybe we should all take time to lay naked in a park with someone we care for and think about it all. Well, maybe not. This is just a charming but erratic film that raises some all important questions without trying too hard to answer them.  As Jack Lucas says simply  “Thank God I’m me.”  We all should. And maybe that is the point.

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