12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
Odd couples can be great movie subjects, if handled in a creative and intelligent manner, and there are plenty films in Hollywood which explore these relationships. A recent successful effort in this risky field is the original and funny "Fred & Vinnie," helmed by first-time film director and veteran TV producer Steve Skrovan.
The movie opens by telling us that "this is a pretty much true story," and we almost right away go to a hilarious scene in which Fred (Fred Stoller) is having a "romantic" dinner with a lady that tells him, "I hope no one sees me here with you. You drive like a pussy. Only a pussy signals when they are going to change lanes." Fred happens to be a lonely, struggling actor in Hollywood, whose closest friend, Vinnie (Angelo Tsarouchas), lives back east. Vinnie is overweight, and also happens to be a loner. They talk a lot by phone, and Vinnie enjoys listening to Fred real-life boring stories - he even records some of his phone messages. It is an amazing, yet weird friendship. One day, Vinnie decides to visit Fred in Hollywood, so that maybe he can find a job in show business. He arrives to Vinnie's apartment swearing that he was going to be "invisible" and that he was not going to be an inconvenience to Fred. Sadly, that is not the case, and Vinnie's daily habits slowly begin to annoy Fred, who lives a calm, structured life. Here, the movie moves to dark humor as these two fellows friendship is truly tested.
"Fred & Vinnie" will remind you about some friends that you have, and what you have to do to remain loyal and understanding. It really delves into the psychological and physical effects of relationships that are deteriorating, and it is based on the real-life friendship between Stoller and his late friend Vinnie D'Angelo (1947-2001). It's all about what true friendship means. At times, however, it reminded me of the Saturday Night Live segment "The Creature that wouldn't leave," with John Belushi. The DVD includes some of Vinnie's phone messages, Park City (Utah) interview, deleted scenes, and more. (USA, 2011, color, 89 min plus additional materials)
Reviewed on January 29, 2013 by Eric Gonzalez for Horizon Movies
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2015
Contains some spoilers…..
As we are told at the beginning, this is mostly a true story.
I was expecting a twist that did not happen. There was no twist.
I could feel for Vinnie. He was depressed and uncomfortably overweight, and yet, he was always in a good mood and polite. He needed someone to help him to make positive changes in his life. He needed someone to help him to eat healthy, lose weight, quit smoking, get some job skills, get some therapy. People took him in, but no one cared enough to help him to change his life so that he could do well on his own.
Vinnie didn't want to do anything but have his relaxing morning routine, smoke, watch TV, eat junk food, admire his baseball card collection, and sleep.
His love for his baseball cards was the only love in his life. He never went anywhere without them. He would rather be homeless than sell one single card because, as he said, would you sell one of your cats. He would rather spend time looking over his cards than spend time with another person because his cards were his love.
He didn't want to work. He loved being on Unemployment. He wanted to win the Lottery just so that he could spend the rest of his life staying in his apartment doing all of the above and nothing else.
He lived with friends for free, as a houseguest with nowhere else to go, for years, going from one friend to another, each time wearing out each friendship. Fred seemed to be the last one.
A few things didn't make sense to me. Vinnie left his apartment in Philadelphia. I think that it was said that he was evicted, unless he was talking about a different apartment from a long time ago. What happened to his pet bird? How did he have the money to get from Philadelphia to Los Angeles? I assumed that he drove all the way, because he had his car when he arrived in Los Angeles. Where did he get money for all of his cigarettes and junk food and gas for his car? Even if he went to the "dollar store", his dollars would have to run out if he never worked.
I expected it to come out at the end that Vinnie really was rich or had money stashed somehow, but that didn't happen.
Fred was very lonely. He was in therapy because he was so unhappy with his life. Fred enjoyed Vinnie's friendship because Vinnie laughed at all of Fred's jokes, Vinnie found everything that Fred said fascinating, and Vinnie found all of Fred's ideas brilliant. Vinnie was being sincere because he actually appreciated hearing everything that Fred said to him. But Fred just needed someone to adore him.
I did not see Vinnie as a lonely person because he enjoyed his own company, he enjoyed being alone and sitting on the roof with his cigarettes and his baseball cards. It is really sad if someone believes that going to the post office to buy stamps is an adventure. I did not find that funny, but just really sad. Vinnie wore out his welcome everywhere, with Fred being the last "sucker", according to Karen. But when Vinnie told Fred that he was leaving because Fred had a bad attitude, I first thought that Vinnie was scamming Fred, but I then realized that he really meant it, that he didn't care if he lived in his car because he just wanted a stress-free existence. Fred needed Vinnie more than Vinnie needed anyone. Fred was the lonely one who really didn't want Vinnie to leave.
Vinnie had some things that Fred didn't have. Vinnie was able to enjoy being alone. Vinnie had self-esteem and self-worth and self-respect. It was like Karen said, that he will spend an hour blow-drying his hair just to sit alone and watch TV. Vinnie respected himself, and, like he said, if someone didn't want him, then he would leave, even if he had to Iive in his car. Vinnie really didn't want to be in Fred's way, by asking if Fred was done in the bathroom, smoking on the roof to give Fred his space, sleeping on the floor, and not taking advantage when Fred offered to treat him to dinner. Vinnie brought his own food (even if it was candy). He didn't try to take the remote and he watched whatever Fred put on the TV. He couldn't help it that he snored. I did not see Vinnie as a user or a freeloader. I saw Vinnie as needing to be taken care of because he couldn't take care of himself, probably because of his weight, and because of his depression (as the quitting smoking group leader said). When Vinnie stayed with friends, it was when he was invited, he never forced anyone to have him, and when he felt unwelcome, he would leave. When Vinnie said that he wanted to visit Los Angeles, Fred was thrilled to have him stay.
The movie does not say how long Vinnie stayed with Fred. It was said that other friends had Vinnie stay for a year, three years, six years, but that was their choice, whatever was going on with them, they could have thrown him out.
When Fred was sick and asked Vinnie if he could look for an apartment alone, Vinnie actually went and actually found a place, when a freeloader would have done something like spent the day in the park. Vinnie did move out, he did get a job, and he did pay Fred back.
Vinnie had the ability to change his life, but he didn't have anyone to help him by giving him direction. If he had medical insurance, he could have been put on a healthy diet, quit smoking, got a CPAP machine, got therapy.
The end shocked me.
I didn't expect Fred to get a phonecall telling him that Vinnie just died.
Fred's reaction shocked me.
What is funny is opinion.
I did not see anything funny in this movie.
It was very sad, and it really touched me.
I think that everyone who watches this movie will get something different out of it.
I thought that both Vinnie and Fred had such sad lives, and everything about this story was so sad.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2014
I only recently became a fan of Fred Stoller after listening to his excellent storytelling on a podcast. I figured that same quality would make this a decent movie to watch but it exceeded any expectation I had. I fell in love with this movie. To some, on the surface it may seem to be a story about unlikely roommates, but it is so much more about friendship, expectations, and the impact we have on those in our lives. There are moments captured in this movie that made me remember people and things Id forgotten; and moments I will remember for a long time to come.