Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Barbara Hershey.
Uncross the Stars (2008)
Directed by Kenny Golde
Written by Ted Henning
After his wife, Corrine’s, sudden death, Troy (Daniel Gillies) is given a letter with her last request: to build his Aunt Hilda a porch and, with luck, to figure out how to “uncross the stars.” Troy isn’t sure what she means by the last step but he does know how to act on the first, driving to Happy Valley, where his aunt lives, for a secluded desert backdrop.
For fans of The Originals, Gillies is another serious, nice guy here, albeit one that doesn’t wear suits. What’s cool about his character, Troy, is that the film doesn’t waste any time having him play shocked, or superior to the activities at his aunt’s retirement community. You know the movies I’m talking about, where the leading man or lady starts out condescending of the older residents, or can’t get over how much fun or active they are. This is such a tried conceit and Uncross the Stars doesn’t even touch it. That isn’t to say that Troy is enthusiastically volunteering for every game of bingo but he doesn’t make fun of them either. There’s no learning to respect and treat them like the competent adults that they are. He starts out treating them that way.
Some gimmicks are classics, though, and perhaps none more so than learning lessons from the experience of elders. Hilda is wonderful as the unorthodox “cat lady,” who has no time for B.S.. like writing thank you notes for empty grievance cards. A force to be reckoned with, she gives her nephew space, but is always around when he needs her. Less giving of space is neighbor, Bobby (Ron Perlman) whose anxiousness to hang out and help Troy build has him popping up all over the place. It’s highly enjoyable.
Characters are often multi-hyphenated in this movie. Hilda is a water aerobics instructor-clinic doctor at a Native American reservation-KISS fan-and general ring leader of a beautiful group of signature gal pals. In addition to his knowledge of how to build a porch, Troy can help deliver a baby, as he learns when he finds a pregnant women pulled over on the side of the road and has to help deliver her baby (it’s a harmless enough scene but I have no idea why this happens). But when it comes to Renaissance men, no one tops Bobby. Gardener. Reciter of platitudes. Vietnam vet. Retired police officer, and the best is saved for last. In addition to being the driver of these wheels,
Bobby is a pilot.
Verdict: Buried Treasure
TV movie’s get a cheesy rep (and not without reason), but feel-good, family-friendly fare done right can be the warmest soul food in the world. Uncross the Stars surrounds its cheesier moments in genuine dearness, leaving this grinch’s heart properly puddle-ized after.
If you’ve been looking forward to today’s release of Miss. Peregrine’s like I have, next week’s Buried Credits should be a treat. Hope to see you there.