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Fred and Vinnie - Not Just Another Buddy Film

Not Just Another Buddy Film By Kimberly Deisler

We’ve all know this guy. Mine was “Buck-Fifty Bob.” We’d met on the beach in Jupiter, Florida and immediately had something in common, I was minding my own business and he was too.

Let me back track. As usual, my day/life was in the shitter and I’d decided to spend some retrospective time on the beach. It’s always been my place of refuge and solace. With miles of beach to be had this guy decides to get all up in my grill ignoring obvious boundaries, because when you’re feeling ugly, depressed and alone the last thing you want is attention from a good looking man. Right? Talk about desperate and vulnerable. Was I wearing a sign?

$1.50 was attractive, older, I like both of these things, and the best part of all, he liked me. Ok, like is a strong word. Tolerated? Endured? Lusted? As losers go, we were a ‘match made in heaven.’

Several hours later I left the beach and went to work. Within an hour or so, he showed up. I was smitten. That’s all it took in those days. Depressed, lonely, ugly girls are easily soothed with the attention of a man and easily justify things like rap sheets, ex-wives and matriarchal subterranean accommodations.

We became inseparable, well as inseparable as one could be with two jobs, me not him. But I found things to love about him. He loved to read, was in ok shape, his kitchen skills were impeccable and matched only by the heat in the bedroom. He was so very thoughtful (cheap) like the time he made me stuffed shells for Valentine’s Day and kept the pot at his house so they wouldn’t go bad in the car ride to my place. You just don’t find guys like that every day. A guy who sleeps on his friend’s couch, doesn’t have a job, lies about being divorced, lies about having a kid, and got his nickname because the only place he ever took me was the $1.50 movies. What a catch!

“Fred and Vinnie” written by Fred Stoller and directed by Steve Skrovan, is a quiet, lovely, hilarious, heartfelt film study of characters we all know and probably are. Two friends, Fred and Vinnie have known each other a lifetime, spend hours upon hours talking and sharing intimate moments. In other words, minding each other’s business and yet, never really know each other at all, well that is until Vinnie moves in.

From here we watch the internal struggles as two grown men set in their ways, attempt to keep their relationship afloat while refusing to resurrect from the individual pigeonholes that suffocate them. Theirs is a relationship of mutual respect, compassion, disappointment and frustration. There are moments of understanding, anger and resentment.

Fred Stoller is the “Freddie” who plays himself(?) in this film, an actor, stand-up,writer guy with intermittent work who lives a modest life, has trouble with women, and looks to Vinnie (Angelo Tsarouchas) for comfort with phone calls recounting his daily misery. Vinnie, Freddie’s $1.50 Bob is a self-imposed recluse of sorts who sleeps all day on ‘his’ couch, eats mountains of candy, smokes, weighs about 350 lbs, give or take, and lives vicariously through Fred hanging on his every word. Fred’s life propels him to need Vinnie’s attention and Vinnie needs a lot, but he’s just happy needing Fred at the moment, well, Fred and baseball cards.

What’s most disturbing is we’ve all been either one or both of these guys, we’ve been the functionally working but not really working guy barely making ends meet, we’ve been the generous-to-a-fault-guy who resents friends for taking advantage and resent ourselves for being dumb enough to give away more than we have in exchange for acceptance, validation and worse, company. We’ve been the couch potato, the overeater, the smoker, the lonely guy who can’t get laid, we’ve been both of them. Now put those guys in small quarters and watch this beautiful relationship unfold as a character study of the heart.

This poignant film sublimely paradoxes the average buddy film by being both refreshing and familiar. “Fred and Vinnie” are both ‘fish out of water’ offering insight into the machinations of men who really are good at heart, but also misunderstood misfits whose quirks and seemingly “loser” nuances set them apart from the rest of the world, that being Los Angeles.

This is a relationship film. A commitment to being the best you can be when you feel like being an asshole. I’ll bet dollars to M&M’s you won’t be able to watch “Fred and Vinnie” and not to see yourself in this film and someone you know. But, in case you don't, just know you’re in denial and either way I win.


Fred Stoller, Angelo Tsarouchas, Fred Willard, Sarah McMaster, Harriest Rose, Scott Chernoff, Michael Richardson
Kim Deisler


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