Second Acts (Series Review: “The Kominsky Method”)

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Instantly addictive, The Kominsky Method proves that some talents just get better with age. Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin charm in this new series about an acting teacher and his agent.

SnapShot Plot

The Kominsky Method doesn’t look like much on paper. It’s a relatively simple plot line about a once legendary thespian (Douglas) whose second act includes running a respected acting studio in L.A, and his longtime agent (Arkin) whose irascible personality is the stuff of legend itself. They are want to admit it but these two are best friends. DO NOT miss this show.

It’s an easy to binge, 8-part series of 25 minute episodes that fly by in the wink of an eye. The story opens with Sandy Kominsky trying to imbue some hard-won wisdom about the craft of acting to his twentysomething, vapid students, with marginal effect at best. He meets his agent, Norman for lunch and it’s clear from the start that these two ‘dinosaurs’ have not only had the careers that millions could only dream of, but that they ‘get’ each other in a way that few people can. One of those people is Norman’s beautiful wife, Eileen, played by the illustrious Susan Sullivan. When tragedy rocks Norman to his core, it’s Sandy who is (quite literally) tasked with the job of caring for his friend in a way that only he can. Sit back and enjoy two of the greats in a heartfelt and hilarious treatment of the peaks and pitfalls of the golden years.

 

 

Parting Shot

Michael Douglas was destined to play Sandy Kominsky, a character imbued with so much of Douglas’s very own brand of deadpan humor tinged with sadness and a shot of mood-lightening slapstick, that his performance is close to perfect. Whole books can be written about the effortless quality of Alan Arkin’s lexicon of work over more than a half century. His characters can speak volumes with no more than a raised eyebrow, and when the writing matches his talents, magic ensues.

Although I haven’t seen it referenced, The Kominsky Method seems a likely homage to the legendary acting teacher Sandy Meisner, who in the 70’s created the renowned Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC and whose Meisner Method challenged the old guard standard of The Method, developed by Lee Strasberg at the more famous Actor’s Studio a few decades before. But whatever the coda, this show crackles with the kind of writing that blends old-world, Jewish-infused New York/Hollywood humor with a completely modern hipster sensibility, and it does it seamlessly. These characters will linger in your memory, just like the perfect Martini at Musso and Frank on Hollywood Blvd.

The Kominsky Method is presently streaming on Netflix.

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YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjuOTlf5Jb0

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