Friday, September 11, 2009

The Last Lullaby

I hope I have this genesis right: Max Allan Collins' short story "A Matter of Principal," about his hit man character, Quarry, was the basis for a short film directed by Jeffrey Goodman with a screenplay by Collins. Collins' novel The Last Quarry is also based on the short story. And Goodman based his longer film The Last Lullaby on the novel and the story with Collins contributing to the screenplay. Okay, that's about as close as I can come. If you want to read more, check out Collins' afterword to The Last Quarry.

Now about the movie. I loved it. Tom Sizemore may have his off-screen problems, and it's a little ironic, I suppose to see him rescuing a young woman from an abuser, but he's perfect as the retired hit man (named Price in this movie version). In fact, if somebody wants to make a Mike Hammer movie, Sizemore would be the man to cast. I think he'd be the best Hammer ever.

Price rescues a young woman from her kidnappers, then demands a ransom from her father for himself. The father decides to hire Price for a little job, and Price finds himself becoming interested in the intended victim. After that, even more complications ensue. I won't spell them out. If you've read the novel, you won't be too surprised. If you haven't, you might be.
This movie's hardboiled to the core, and the violence, when it comes, is sharp and effective. The opening shoot-out is one of the best I've seen in a while.

Great photography, excellent score. If this is a low-budget film, you'd never know it from the look. Or from the acting. The whole cast is fine, and Sasha Alexander is super. She and Sizemore should get a lot of acclaim, though maybe not because apparently the movie went direct to DVD. Believe me, it's a lot better than nine-tenths or what's showing in your local mall shoeboxes. Rent it and see if you agree.


Cullen Gallagher said...

I caught this at the Brooklyn International Film Festival and really enjoyed it as well. The director was present and spoke all about the making of the movie.

Gerard Saylor said...

I read about this on Collins website a few months ago. I did not know it was released already.

Gerard Saylor said...

Sizemore does some great work. Too bad he has some anger management problems.

Max Allan Collins said...

The chronology of the film's existence is this: my short story "A Matter of Principal"; a short film of that name that I wrote which Jeffrey Goodman made, and did well on the festival circuit; a feature-length screenplay I wrote that Jeffrey took out for funding; a novel I wrote based on the screenplay for Hard Case (THE LAST QUARRY). Then Jeffrey got funding and his producer brought in another writer to do a draft after I'd done two drafts; I did a final polish on the screenplay and Jeffrey shot it in Louisiana.

It's been out on the festival trail for well over a year racking up awards. It has indeed had a limited theatrical run, including three theaters here in Iowa, and a number in Lousiana, Texas, California and elsewhere. The DVD that will soon be available is a limited edition Jeffrey is putting out himself and I'm not sure yet where it will be available.

He has not taken it out to market for a conventional DVD sale or taken it to cable TV yet. There have been foreign sales. Jeffrey's unconventional handling of the film has attracted a lot of attention (positive) in the indie film community.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ain't netflix great!

Gerard Saylor said...

Dang it. It's on Netflix but that Goodman character needs to get it out to some different vendors.

Terrill Lee Lankford said...

Netflix states it's not yet released. You can reserve it, but not receive it yet. And I don't see it listed on Amazon at all. Any idea when any of that will happen, Max? I keep reading reviews for this movie, but I'm assuming they are from people who have been able to get their hands on screeners. How can we, the great unwashed, see this?

Jeffrey Goodman said...

Thanks for all the great comments!

There will be a limited edition DVD available in the next four or five weeks. It will be available off the film's website ( Then, hopefully, in the next four or five months, we'll have a DVD available in all of the more usual places (Netflix, Amazon, Best Buy, etc.)

We also send out monthly updates on the film. I would love to add anyone who is interested to the update list. Simply send an e-mail to This will be the best way to find out about the first run DVD release and any other Lullaby-related news.

I very much appreciate all of your support!

Jeffrey Goodman
The Last Lullaby

Graham Powell said...

Well Jesus H. Christ. So it's THAT Jeffrey Goodman, the kid brother of a friend of mine just down the block. Congrats on a fine film!

Jeffrey Goodman said...

Hey Graham,

Great to hear from you here! Yeah Caroline (and maybe Paige), too saw it when it showed at the theater in Shreveport. Hope to see you soon. Thanks for all the support!

Jeffrey "Balmoral" Goodman

Gerard Saylor said...

Bill Crider, bringing people together since 2002.

D. B. Gaston said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I just put this on my Netflix queue.

While we're on the subject of Tom Sizemore, I remember enjoying Robbery Homicide Division, the short-lived Michael Mann produced series he starred in a few years back. I wish that that series was on DVD.

Lee Goldberg said...


It's a great movie that deserves a lot more attention and acclaim. It's better than just about anything that's come out of Hollywood lately...unless your idea of a great film involves giants throwing cars at each other in Times Square.