1988, USA, 99 min.
Famed poet Levi Rockwell (Burt Lancaster) hosts his large family at his palatial beach house to celebrate his 77th birthday. But as the summer visit unfolds, the travails of his adult children and their spouses dominate; they seem more excited for the party than the widowed patriarch. Levi mostly spends his time alone, napping or listening to Billie Holiday albums. His eight grandchildren (including a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin) are the only ones who view Levi as a person, not as a charming, ersatz innkeeper. When the kids learn Levi’s health is failing, they scheme to give their grandfather a proper send-off, while their myopic parents amuse themselves. Lancaster’s regal performance, and the connection between the legendary actor and the kids, make this little-seen film a poignant, if not potent, reminder that a family’s elders are more than figureheads or weekend hosts.