Endings and Beginnings
I spent the early years of my life living in a bar (bedrooms in the back) owned by my colorful Irish-American grandmother. Much of the time, a caring bartender served as my babysitter. One of my first happy memories involves trying to tap dance on the ballroom floor and smiling as the friendly customers tossed pennies at me. No wonder I have a soft spot for Last Call at Murray’s, a film where all the action takes place in a karaoke bar during its closing night. Because of a dwindling business, owner Murray (Michael Gross) has decided to call it quits after many years. He’s planning on a quiet closing night. But fate steps in, and Murray’s last night becomes memorable after an unexpected heavy snowstorm brings a variety of zany customers into the bar.
A bar closing may not be news.
But Murray’s has a lot to lose.
What happens on that final night?
Will everything come out just right?
Last Call at Murray’s -- a slice of life
that’s filled with drama, love and strife.
Folks who need shelter from a storm
come into Murray’s to keep warm.
Director Palmer shows no fear.
Diversity shines loud and clear.
Last Call offers laughs, songs and tears.
Mature viewers will shout out cheers!
Murray’s employees and an old friend feel sad about his decision to close. During the course of the film, we get to know these characters and begin to care about them -- especially the waitress (Eileen Grubba), who has more problems than the closing on her plate -- as well as about the diverse customers who find shelter at Murray’s bar. And we enjoy the songs, mostly when Murray’s longtime -- and long estranged -- friend (John Savage, wonderfully appealing in this role) takes the microphone.
Slowly we learn that appearances can be deceiving. We also see love bloom and relationships begin, mend and end. The movie showcases beginnings and endings and what happens in between. It’s called life.
Once again, director Linda Palmer -- working from a savvy screenplay by Brian Beatty and Betsy Morris -- shows her skill at filming a fascinating story in one location. A bathroom served as her only set in Our Father, so she had more space to work with in Last Call at Murray’s. She used it well.
(Released by Runaway Films; not rated by MPAA -- but this movie is definitely for mature viewers only.)
NOTE: Last Call at Murray’s will be showing at the 2016 Smoky Mountain Film Festival (May 21) and the Big Island Film Festival (May 29).
For more information about Last Call at Murray’s, go to the film’s official site at this link: http://www.lastcallatmurrays.com/ .
Listen to my interview with Linda Palmer by clicking here.