The Goodbye People (1984) Pamela Reed, Judd Hirsch,
A charming, talky flop, THE GOODBYE PEOPLE is the movie based on writer-director Gardner's stage play of reminiscences of his Coney Island family life. Balsam is a jaunty man in his 70s who has just recovered from heart surgery and is thrilled to be alive. Many of his friends have retired
and promptly passed away, so Balsam won't allow himself to be put out to vegetate. When he was 50, he closed his hot dog stand, and now he dreams of reopening in the same location. Max meets Hirsch, a man who yearns to sculpt heroic statues that would be placed in the city's parks. Life demanding
what it does, however, Arthur has taken a job designing elves and pixies for a display firm. When Balsam tells Hirsch about his desire to reopen his business, the younger man is drawn into the plan. Then Balsam's long-missing daughter, Reed, shows up. This gentle comedy has many sharp lines and
good acting from all involved. Gardner didn't open up the play enough for it to work as a movie, and the result is that it seems somehow confining, even though it takes place outdoors.
Director: Herb Gardner
Writers: Herb Gardner (play), Herb Gardner (screenplay)
Stars: Judd Hirsch, Martin Balsam, Pamela Reed