Twenty Dollar Drinks
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Fifteen years ago, Star (Sandra Bernhard) and Betty (Cady Huffman) shared the stage of an off-off Broadway theatre company. Today, Betty is a New York single mom, doing voiceover work for denture commercials, and Star has just won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. When the two actresses reunite for a drink, the conversation spins from cordial chitchat to catfight to existential crisis.
Director's Statement Collapse
Twenty Dollar Drinks, for me, has always been a film about the ever-changing vision of self. At its core, it is not a story about confronting someone from the past, but rather a story about two women's confrontations with themselves.
Betty (Cady Huffman) and Star (Sandra Bernhard) came of age together, pursuing the same goal of success as actresses. And the more naturally talented Betty, who appeared to be poised to achieve it, failed, while Star-more driven, more specific, or perhaps just luckier-got it all. In a simpler story, it might just end there: A little bitterness, harsh words, some gloating, and the women move on. But in playwright Joe Pintauro's rich and layered original text, neither Betty nor Star is able to reconcile their present-day achievements (or lack thereof) with the former versions of themselves. Their reunion forces them to come face-to-face with who they were years before. For Star, this raises feelings of inadequacy, forcing the question: "Do I deserve this?" She looks to Betty for validation and respect. For Betty, the mother of a young child, the question is somewhat more complicated: "Did I make a mistake?" In order for Betty to justify her choices, she must cut all ties to the past, of what might or should have been, and convince herself that she never really wanted Star's type of success. If she doesn't, her son will become a source of resentment, something Betty simply cannot live with. Set in the dark and glittering world of the latest hot Manhattan bar, Twenty Dollar Drinks is also a quintessential "life in New York" story: two struggling actresses on similar paths, one hits it big while the other is left behind, one exists in the world of velvet ropes and sycophants while the other runs from audition to audition. As subtly played by two undeniably brilliant resident NYC actresses, Sandra Bernhard and Cady Huffman, Star and Betty are brought vividly to life as two of the millions of characters who walk New York's streets every day. The final moments of the film define it all for me: Betty's face as she takes Star's hand, giving her friend a glimpse of the melancholy behind the pose; Star left shell-shocked, blown outside of the world of her own creation, and momentarily unable to return. It was a pleasure to bring this film to life, and a further pleasure to premiere it here, in the city that inspired and allowed for its creation.
Film Information Collapse
[WESTS] | 2006 | 15 | Narrative Short
Foreign Title: (Twenty Dollar Drinks)
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About the Director(s)Collapse
David Brind earned his B.A. from Yale University. He has directed the films Up-and-Coming and Stay, which premiered at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. Brind wrote and produced the short Dare and also wrote an award-winning feature-length screenplay for the same film. Brind has worked as a research assistant to novelist and screenwriter Delia Ephron. He is currently completing his M.F.A. at Columbia University's Film School.