Perry is a happily married father of two living a comfortable but sedate life in the suburbs. On the occasion of his 40th birthday, he seeks to revisit his former life as the lead singer in a popular punk band though his middle-aged reality quickly (and hilariously) clashes with the indulgences of his youth.
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In a secluded house in a small seaside town live four unrelated men and the woman who tends to the house and their needs. All former priests, they have been sent to this quiet exile to purge the sins of their pasts, the separation from their communities the worst form of punishment by the Church. They keep to a strict daily schedule devoid of all temptation and spontaneity, each moment a deliberate effort to atone for their wrongdoings.
Arthur Simon Simpson is a small-time crook biding his time in Greece. One of his potential victims turns out to be a gentleman thief planning to steal the emerald-encrusted dagger of the Mehmed II from Istanbul’s Topkapi Museum.
Jerry Ryan wanders aimlessly around New York after giving up his Nebrascan law practice. His wife asks for a divorce. He meets Gittel, a struggling dancer from Greenwich Village and they try to sort out their lives. An extended conversation piece with a static camera, but reflects the moral climate of the time.
During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable reformist politician Ralph Henry. When Ralph’s son, Taylor Henry, a gambler and the lover of Paul’s sister Opal, is murdered, Paul’s right arm, Ed Beaumont, finds his body on the street. Nick uses the financial situation of The Observer to force the publisher Clyde Matthews to use the newspaper to raise the suspicion that Paul Madvig might have killed Taylor.
Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the summer. He reappears at a friend’s pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story.