What makes film a delightful (and essential) art form is its multipurpose capacity — it can, among other things, entertain, inspire, distract, enthrall, and enlighten; some movies achieve several of these things at once. For example, Going in Style, a comedy heist directed by Zach Braff (Garden State, Wish I Was Here), aims not only to charm but also to educate viewers about kidney disease, a serious ailment that affects 26 million people in the U.S. each year.
A remake of the 1979 movie of the same name, this 2017 iteration was written by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures) and stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin as retired steelworkers whose lives turn to crisis when their pensions are cut by their former employer. Fearing destitution, the three men decide to rob the company’s bank to get “what they’re owed.” A secondary plotline involves Freeman’s character, who needs a kidney transplant but keeps his health struggle a secret from his friends and family.
Going in Style opens in Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 6, with a fundraising event for the National Kidney Foundation, which features a screening of the film followed by a panel discussion about the ailment. The panelists include Metropolitan Theatres’ Bruce and David Corwin, author Gwyn Lurie, and nephrologist Dr. Darol Joseff. Actor Billy Baldwin will moderate.
David and Bruce Corwin have intimate knowledge of how kidney disease affects a family. Nearly three years ago, David donated one of his to his father, Bruce, who had a kidney removed due to cancer 12 years prior when his remaining one was failing. “Until it affects them, [people are] not really clear on the risks that do or don’t exist as far as donating,” said David. “It’s not always an easy conversation to have, but the more people that are aware of it, I think, the easier it becomes … You can live a perfectly normal, full life with just one kidney.” His hope for the event is that it will walk “people through how to talk about it and ask people for help … and get them to understand that you have two kidneys but you don’t really need both of them.”
Event moderator Baldwin also has personal experience with kidney disease. “Gwyn Lurie, who is a show-business friend of mine, asked me to get involved because her father passed away from renal failure [recently],” said Baldwin. “Also, my wife’s — who is Chynna Phillips — stepfather … died of renal failure about four or five months ago. And Chynna’s sister is on her way to Chicago this week to have a kidney transplant. My wife will be going back and forth to Chicago, taking care of her sister, Bijou, for the next couple of months,” he continued. “It’s something I don’t know a lot about — I’m anxious to learn more about — but it’s definitely touching some people in our community and certainly people in my family.”
With one in three Americans at risk of developing kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation, now seems the right time to learn about its causes and remedies. And what better way to do that than an evening of wine, film, and community discussion?
4·1·1 The Going in Style fundraiser takes place Thursday, April 6, 6-9 p.m., at Paseo Nuevo Cinemas (8 W. De la Guerra St.), with the wine reception at 6 p.m., screening at 7 p.m., and panel discussion at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at bit.ly/2nmsrJf. All proceeds from the event go to the National Kidney Foundation (kidney.org).