In George Gallo's wise and warm coming-of-age tale, a young artist seeks inspiration from an experienced painter and liberation from his father's worn-out ideas. Quiet, dreamy John (Trevor Morgan) would rather visit museums or paint than play baseball or chase girls, and this worries his rough-hewn, homophobic, fire-breathing father John Sr. (Ray Liotta). When a local art aficionado turns John on to the impressionist paintings of reclusive Russian immigrant Seroff (Armin Mueller-Stahl), who just happens to live nearby, John impulsively decides to find Seroff in the hope that the Russian will take him on as a student. Unfortunately, their first meeting doesn't quite go as planned: "I don't teach and I don't paint," Seroff huffs, before slamming the door in John's face. But John's perseverance, coupled with his gifts of vodka, soon sways the gruff old maestro. As the summer progresses, both men discover new ways to see the world and all its colors. Mueller-Stahl anchors the film with wisdom and sly rage as the prickly, embittered Seroff, while Morgan conveys an appealing, youthful charm as John. In his youth, director Gallo studied with the landscape painter George Cherepov and was later featured in three one-man exhibitions in New York. His love for painting, and for the respite it provides, is apparent in every frame of this gentle, inspired film.
Originally from Mamaroneck, New York, George Gallo moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to pursue a career in film. In 1986 he wrote the screenplay for Wise Guys with Danny Devito and Joe Piscopo and then penned Midnight Run which featured Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in 1988. He wrote and directed 29th Street in 1990, which starred Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia. The film received many accolades from critics nationwide. Gallo's other writing credits include 1995's Bad Boys which starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, The Whole Ten Yards with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, and See Spot Run. His next feature, The Cleaner, is currently in post-production.