Adolpho Rollo (Buscemi) has finally finished his masterwork - a screenplay with the title 'Unconditional Surrender'. Trouble is, he's got no money and a vicious landlord, so he puts it up for sale. The offer is taken up by aging small time hood Joe (Cassell), who buys the script with Adolpho attached as director, although his means of raising finance are somewhat unorthodox.
A Sundance Festival hit from the time when Sundance was making its mark, this indie feature is a wonderful oddball pleasure. In a film chock-full of great performances, it soon becomes clear which one is standing head and shoulders above the rest - Seymour Cassell deservedly won the Sundance best actor award as the pushy old kook, Joe.
A very astute screenplay about not only getting screenplays made, but in the battle between commerciality, integrity and pretentiousness, Rockwell delicately balances the story, for the most part never playing too hard for tears or laughter - overly serious climax aside. It does have a few saggy sections, but generally works as a collection of smaller, lovely moments.
Rockwell's story is a winner, but it's Cassell, showing he's lost none of his acting chops since his days with Cassavettes, who shines.