Shot on a shoestring budget, most of which likely went to securing clips from Mister Ed and Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, writer-director Donna Kanter’s slight but sweet documentary Lunch is an ode to Hollywood of yesteryear, specifically the writers, directors, and comedians who shaped the “Golden Ages” of TV and film. Every year for the past 40 years, a select group of old-timers (including Caesar, Carl Reiner, Monty Hall, Hal Kanter, and director Arthur Hiller) have gathered for twice-monthly luncheons, now at the Sherman Oaks Valley Inn, where they sit and talk for hours, anecdotes about their time in the trenches and conversation about politics and the state of Hollywood. The gatherings are legendary in their own right, with people clamoring to join. (You have to be invited.) The film largely cuts back and forth between scenes of one lunch at the diner (moments that are both raucous and moving) and one-on-one interviews with the men who outline their individual career trajectories and personal lives. The appeal of Lunch might be limited to Hollywood-nostalgia buffs, but they will be enthralled not only by the stories told, but also how they’re told. These guys are still some of the sharpest wits in town.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 7, 2012