Set in Brooklyn, 1963, Jeffrey Willis has just finished high school and isn’t quite sure what the future holds. His parents expect him to go to college but he is starting to find his close-knit family stifling. He gets a summer job at the Flamingo beach club where he meets Phil Brody, a successful car dealer who fills Jeffrey’s head with ideas about how to make his fortune. Phil is everything Jeffrey would like to be – popular, rich and the best gin rummy player the club has ever seen. Jeffrey’s coming of age includes a romance with the very pretty Carla Samson, but the shine on Phil Brody’s philosophy of life wears off when he uncovers a significant flaw in his character.
This is a wonderfully entertaining story chock full of lessons in life. The lessons, are pretty universal and most have to be learned the hard way. The “kid”, played by Matt Dillon, enters the world of the well-to-do, more well to do than him anyway. He is from a blue-collar neighborhood in 1963 Brooklyn. His entry??? Employment at the “El Flamingo”, an upper-middle class beach club. Richard Crenna, wonderful as the slick, gin rummy playing member, befriends the kid. The lessons of the world revolve around the “big” gin rummy game. Lots of laughs, lots of fun, and Janet Jones make this movie a must see. I’ve seen it dozens of times myself, and will probably watch it dozens more.