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Classic Selection for the Weekend of
April 14 - 16, 2000

40% off at!

      The Goodbye People

Sometimes, I'll be searching through the video store with the intention of renting one film, but something else will catch my eye. That's what happened with The Goodbye People.

Martin Balsam stars as Max, the proprietor of a rundown hot dog stand on Coney Island. Once the gem of the boardwalk, the stand has deteriorated as Max and his partner have grown older and ill. In fact, Max is sicker than he will let on and wants to take one last chance at restoring the hot dog stand to its former glory.

Judd Hirsch plays Arthur, a middle-aged man who is tired of his life. His job is very boring and unfulfilling, so he rushes to Coney Island to watch the sunrise in hopes of finding inspiration. While there, he meets Max and his daughter, Nancy (Pamela Reed). Arthur decides to invest his life's savings in the hot dog stand and the three become partners.

Will the hot dog stand succeed?

The plot is simple, but the acting talent raises the film up to a level that will get your attention. I have always been a big fan of Judd Hirsch. As you know, he starred for several years on television's Taxi and had his own NBC program, Dear John, for a few more. However, he also has had a stunning career on the stage and in film. You probably remember his big screen appearances in Ordinary People and Independence Day. On the stage, he won a Tony award for his role in I'm Not Rappaport, also written by Herb Gardner. Currently, he is appearing at Washington's Kennedy Center in the play, Art.

Also, I like Pamela Reed. Like Hirsch, she has a very natural acting ability that makes the job look easy. She is very likable and you will find yourself rooting for Nancy as she tries to find a new path in life. Like the character of Nancy, acting is Reed's second career.  She embarked on an acting career after running a daycare in Silver Spring, Maryland and working on the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Reed worked in television and on the stage for several years before securing roles in film.

If you want a heartwarming tale, check out The Goodbye People this weekend.

Grade: B

Directed and written by Herb Gardner


Judd Hirsch ……………… Arthur

Martin Balsam …………… Max

Pamela Reed …………….. Nancy

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