I’ve been a big fan of director Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog, The Natural, Rain Main, Bandits, Bugsy) over the years, and one of my favorites from him is his 1987 dramedy Tin Men, which features a trio of fantastic performances from Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss as competing aluminum siding salesman who cross paths with each other, and Barbara Hershey as the woman who they compete for. Levinson wrote the humorous and fond-memories screenplay (it’s the second of his four “Baltimore Films”, with the others being 1982’s Diner, Avalon in 1990, and the very underrated Liberty Heights in 1999) and it’s abundantly clear that he’s always had a great ear for dialogue, especially in the films that he’s set in his home state of Maryland. Peter Sova’s unfussy cinematography is stylish without calling attention to itself, Stu Linder’s crisp editing keeps the comedic timing sharp and on-point from all the actors, and the wonderful supporting cast includes J.T. Walsh, Bruno Kirby, Seymour Cassel, John Mahoney, and Jackie Gayle. The Fine Young Cannibals contributed to the soundtrack and made an appearance during a nightclub sequence, and the film ended up grossing $25 million in theaters off of strong critical notices. Tin Men is currently available on DVD and via Amazon streaming and feels like the sort of film that a present day studio executive would laugh you out of their office for pitching to them.



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