By Pat Burns – GRAND Magazine Film Reviewer
On a sunny, Sunday morning in Malibu I met first-time director Scott Ehrlich; Scott Grimes, who played the lead role, and their families for brunch and a conversation about their film Pearly Gates. I wanted to meet with them not only because of the film’s subject matter but also to hear about their experiences of fathers and daughters working together. It was truly a family affair.
The film begins by introducing us to Richard Whiner who, on his 45th birthday, finds out he has only three months to live. Sounds morbid, right? Not so much. After all, it is a musical. It could be said that it would be unusual to break into song after hearing such dire news but the music and lyrics carry the ominous news just fine. And, funny as it may seem, the song has you tapping your foot at the same time. It was that kind of a song.
The rest of the film Whiner is desperate to create a legacy and give his life meaning. Pearly Gates is a meaningful musical about wanting to be remembered and learning that the only way to truly live on is in the hearts and minds of the people around you.
Pearly Gates has plenty of familiar faces staring in the film. Just to name two, the leading man, Scott Grimes, credits cover many TV programs. ER as Dr. Archie Morris, Party of Five as Will McCorkle, and Band of Brothers as Technical Sergeant Donald Malarkey.
Lainie Kazan was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture for her performance in My Favorite Year and reprised the role in the musical adaptation of the film, earning a Tony award nomination. Over the years, she became known for her appearances as boisterous mother types, notably in Beaches, 29th Street, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Her guest television roles have included Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, King of Queens, and St. Elsewhere for which she received an Emmy nomination.
In the recorded conversation (click the link below to listen) I was able to find out how a successful real estate developer became a writer, director and produced a feature film musical. It’s wonderful story and worth the time to listen to Mr. Ehrlich discourse. It is especially interesting to hear him talk about his epiphany on writing Pearly Gates while standing inside a 750 seat theater that was about to be demolished.
Towards the conclusion of our conversation I asked the two young starlets about their experience of working with their dad’s and what their grandparents thought about the film and their performances. The girls were articulate and worth listening to. It gives you hope for the future.
Writer, Director, Producer – Scott Ehrlich
Starring: Scott Grimes
Pat Burns helps families save money – tax free, with no market risk while building compounding wealth which helps to guarantee their financial future. She is also the co-founder of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival; a film reporter, Regional Editor of GRAND Magazine, author of Grandparents Rock®, and the happy grandmother of four.