In Amazon Studios’ The Tender Bar, you’ve got the combined A-list might of director George Clooney and star Ben Affleck, and surprisingly it’s not some swaggeringly cool film ala Ocean’s Eleven. Instead, you’ve got a coming-of-age story about a fatherless boy who looks up to his bartender uncle Charlie, played by Affleck…
“In life, you gotta have ‘it.’ If you don’t have ‘it,’ you’ll never get it. And I say you got it”, Charlie tells the kid, J.R., played first by Daniel Ranieri and then later as a teen by Tye Sheridan.
The film is an adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s 2005 memoir about growing up in Long Island, cared for by a single mother played by Lily Rabe. Also in the cast are Christopher Lloyd, Sondra James, Briana Middleton, Max Casella, Rhenzy Feliz, and Max Martini. The Departed writer William Monahan adapted Moehringer’s book.
This is part of Clooney’s continued turn towards streaming, after directing last year’s quickly-forgotten The Midnight Sky for Netflix. It’s his eighth film behind the camera, overall. Affleck is coming off rave reviews for his performance in The Way Back, and can be seen this week in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel.
The Tender Bar opens in NY and LA on December 17th, followed by a national rollout on December 22nd and finally Amazon Prime Video beginning January 7th.