Reviews for Kotch ( ) 720p

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Kotch quick review includes Deborah Winters interview selection

The mostly unknown KOTCH is one of those pretty-good time fillers, but what it's known for is the different kind of collaboration between multi-screen-buds Jack Lemmon and title star Walter Matthau, who shares nice chemistry with Deborah Winters, an intense and lovely young blond-haired actress who makes a cozy odd couple, and here's what's on her mind about the production:

DEBORAH WINTERS: I went in and read for Jack Lemmon: this is the only picture that Jack directed. You know, actors don't usually end up liking to direct and the reason is it's extremely difficult to direct a picture. It's very, very hard work and the work begins before you're filming, and then of course during filming, and it's long after filming: doing all the editing and post-production...

It's too much work. They like to go in and memorize some dialog for the day's shoot... The make-up man and the hairdresser makes them up and makes them look good, and then they shoot for one day and they go home, and when the picture's over they relax.

It took Jack six years to get this film finally made... And I came in, of course, more on the tail end of it. Nobody would give him the money and he really loved the story and thought it should be made. So he kept working on it and working on it...

And it was something where I went in to audition and Jack felt I really understood "Erica Herzenstiel," and I was the one he wanted from the very beginning... It was a great compliment and I loved working with both of them. They were fantastic men, and characters, and very funny together.

Lemmon and Matthau: always a reliable team

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were one of cinema's most notable teams. They co-starred in a number of comedies over the years, always entertaining audiences. But there was also a time that Lemmon stepped behind the camera. The result was "Kotch", based on a book by Katharine Topkins. Matthau plays an elderly man in the LA area who feels useless in the changing world. His son and daughter-in-law consider him a nuisance, but he would rather not spend the rest of his life in a retirement home. But his life takes a new turn when he hooks up with a young pregnant woman.

We're used to seeing Matthau play curmudgeons, but here his character gets a new outlook on life. There's a scene towards the end that's a shocker (let's just say that Walter Matthau is the last person whom you'd picture doing that). All in all, a good movie. Not a masterpiece, but I still recommend it.

A So-So Movie

I saw this movie when I was a teenager. From what I remember of it, it was a waste of good talent. Walter Matthau did his best acting and Jack Lemmon did his best directing. However, somehow the script just didn't do justice for either one of these two celebrities. I've seen Deborah Winters in other movies and back then it seemed as though she gravitated towards controversial roles such as a 16-year old drug addict or pregnant teenager. I absolutely hate that song "Life Is What You Make It," because they played it throughout this entire movie over and over again; and seeing the pregnant teenage Deborah Winters and hearing Walter Matthau's New York accent as this unusually compassionate older man somehow reminded me constantly of how much I absolutely hate deadbeat teen fathers. I always got the feeling throughout the film that I just wanted a scene in which the teen father of this girl's baby got the tar knocked out of him for being such a jerk. I vaguely recall one scene in which he actually spoke with Deborah Winters after he had gotten her pregnant, but he was more annoying than anything. The kind of teen father that would create a precedent in our court system to make justifiable patricide perfectly legal for all youngsters who have the indignity of having someone like him for a biological father. By the way, I disagree with the title of that stupid song, "Life Is What You Make It." I can't believe that song even won an award. It's crass and callous in its lyrics, because some people are born more privileged than others in the real world and the lyrics of that song just don't own up to that same reality of life. If you have nothing better to do with your time, you may want to give this movie a peek. However, if you have limited time like me, it's probably not worth watching.

Kotch is Top Notch ****

What a wonderful movie. For a change,Walter Matthau plays a sympathetic rather than a cantankerous character. He is just wonderful here in his Oscar nominated performance.

What makes the movie so good is that it doesn't really stress the attempt of his son and daughter-in-law to put him in a home and then show the misery of homes. Rather,it deals with the coming of life anew for Matthau when he takes a profound interest in the very pregnant babysitter for his grandson. What an interesting idea and it is so well developed.

Deborah Winters gives a fantastic supporting performance as the pregnant girl,orphaned, raised by an uncaring brother who finds meaning in her life when she aided by Kotch.

There is a totally winning song dealing with what you do with your life.

This film was definitely an under-rated gem. Too bad.

Bonding With The Oddest People

I had not seen Kotch for a long time before viewing my VHS copy today and I was really moved with how good it was. Too bad Jack Lemmon never wanted to try directing again. Maybe had the film won an Oscar or two, he could have been persuaded to try.

I think I finally figured out who Walter Matthau modeled his Oscar nominated performance on, it's Casey Stengel. Casey without the double-talk, but the same non-stop garrulousness that I remember from my youth.

But Casey had his captive audience of baseball writers and fans. Poor Joseph Kotcher is a retired salesman who lives with his son and his family. Though he's an excellent babysitter for his young grandson, he's generally underfoot according to his daughter-in-law Felicia Farr. Son Charles Aidman gently persuades him he ought to move into a retirement home.

But Matthau is just a lonely old man, looking for someone to bond with. He finds someone quite unlikely in the person of Deborah Winters, the new babysitter who finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend Darrell Larson. She moves in with him and not in a retirement home and they have some interesting experiences.

Matthau lost the Best Actor Award to Gene Hackman and Kotch similarly lost as Best Picture to The French Connection. Still I think this one has stood the test of time a lot better.

Marvin Hamlisch and Johnny Mercer wrote the song Life Is What You Make It for Kotch and it lost for Best Song to the Theme from Shaft. That one was truly unfortunate.

Kotch is a picture about the person who's your grandfather, old and a bit crotchety and some times a pain in the posterior as Deborah Winters says. But he's also the one with enough life experience to come through in the clutch.

Come to think of it, one of the things that drove Deborah crazy was his insistence on a car with an old fashioned clutch as opposed to automatic transmission.

Serious-comedy with some carefully-considered pathos

Bittersweet film directed by Jack Lemmon features real-life pal Walter Matthau as an unwanted old codger in Southern California who befriends an unmarried, pregnant teenager. The film makes points on several topics (retirement homes, married life in suburbia, the value of the elderly), yet it doesn't use this material to build momentum--and since the film isn't a satire, the humor (often condescending or sarcastic) comes off as smirking. Matthau does a very fine job--he even convinces us he's a baby lover!--but his relationship with the troubled girl doesn't ring true (worse, Matthau's pinched, icy daughter-in-law is a one-note caricature and nearly unbearable). At one point, Kotch goes on a road trip by bus and sends back lots of postcards to his son, but director Lemmon doesn't use this segment to bolster the plot (it's too sitcom-y with that silly music, like a geriatric version of "Midnight Cowboy"). Lemmon is careful not to flood the movie with teary sentiment; he's generally gracious and attentive, and many of his details are wonderfully wry, but overall the picture feels rather fatigued.

A hidden gem

When this movie first came out I was in college and must have taken 4 or 5 different dates to see it. This movie was a mini cult phenomenon on campus, at least where I was, so I have always been surprised that it didn't get more publicity and acclaim. I saw it so many times because I felt it was a very worthwhile and meaningful film as a view into aging, the way we take care of elderly people, especially when it might be inconvenient for us. It was a good look into the feelings and hang-ups of people interacting among themselves: a retired man feeling increasingliy irrelevant in the environment he is compelled to live in, his spineless and uncomprehending son who doesn't offer much support at all, and his post-natal depressive daughter-in-law who can't understand why she has to put up with this codger who complicates her alreay-more-complicated life.

The movie also has a lot to say about the power of the human spirit to cope with change and make the best of things that aren't always going the way we always want them to.

I would like to see it again after 30+ years, but I can't find it at the usual rental stores. Having thought about it, though, I will continue to seek.

pretty tedious

I had doubts about this movie the moment it started. I recorded it because it was rated highly in the TV listings and starred Matthau, who I always like, but during the opening credits' bucolic scenes of Matthau playing with a little boy to the movie's unutterably treacly score (the sort of thing you heard in TV movies of the 70s) I thought, oh god, what am I in for? Matthau's windbag character also instantly turned me off. So I came here to see what people thought, and saw one glowing review after another. And that inspired me to watch another hour before giving up.

Besides the truly abysmal score, Kotch suffers from a surfeit of annoying characters. Kotch himself is genial but tedious, his son is bland and his daughter-in-law plays the requisite bitch. The girl he eventually helps is about as annoying as the title character.

I can't figure out why people like this movie so much. I think it's a movie for people who like comforters with teddy bears quilted into them or something. It's simple-minded and just plain dull.

Thank you JACK LEMMON...

I watch this movie all the time I love it they don't make em' like this anymore. I like this movie mostly cause the music it's very comforting you can watch when your sad when your happy when your angry mostly it calms you down. I saw it first when I was 13 and I still watch not on a daily basis I dont even own it yet YET I'm going to bye it soon cause one of the only feel good movies I've ever seen. Thank you JACK LEMMON.

Loved the knocking engine in the old car...

I first saw this back in the late '70's on TV. We loved it in the family, great fun, heart and performances. Matthau's intrepid, smart if slightly 'out There' Kotch is a unique character, well acted, and always someone we root for. It's not much different from the roles he would go onto play in the 90s, but...done by a younger man.

Sometimes the makeup and haircoloring doesn't quite look convincing, but that's okay too. The performance is put across as much by body language and posture as anything else.

The car is a great added touch-the knocking engine and etc a counterpoint to Kotch's own creaky body.

I liked Ellen Geer as the crabby daughter too-was surprised that she wound up in 'Phenomenon' and several other flix(Patriot Games) that I have seen before. Never made the connection.

It is dated sure, but that is inevitable with films. It's worth yer time.

*** outta **** Nice job by Lemmon, too.