Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later

Twenty years after "Best Boy" received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in "Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later." Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film subject.

Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film subject. But as pic retraces familiar ground, the material feels somewhat contrived and lacks the original’s first-person immediacy. The film is likely to gain some theatrical exposure, but its primary appeal will be in TV and cassette sales.

Director provides a brief intro and clips from the first film. Phil Wohl had lived his entire life with then-elderly parents when “Best Boy” was made. Concerned for his welfare, Ira Wohl convinced his relatives to allow Philly to attend a school and eventually to move into a special facility.

The filmmaker, who segued into clinical psychology and moved to Los Angeles, states that people continued to ask him about his cousin, so he decided to do this postscript, assembling the same crew to document the new chapter.

With Philly’s parents now dead, his sister, Frances, has assumed his mother’s role — gentle, supportive and very reliant on him. In addition to chronicling his everyday life, the film gets a dramatic lift when the subject takes his first plane trip to visit the filmmaker in L..A. We also see his preparation for and the service of his bar mitzvah, the Jewish religious ceremony commemorating the passage from childhood to maturity.

The service, which concludes the film, fits a little too snugly and feels more convenient than emotional. But when the filmmaker states that we would all be happier if we had lives as joyful as Philly’s, he cannot be accused of hyperbole.

Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later

Production: An Only Child Motion Pictures production. Produced, directed, written, edited by Ira Wohl.

Crew: Camera (color), Tom McDonough; sound, Peter Miller. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 9, 1997. (Also in AFI/L.A. Film Festival.) Running time: 88 MIN.

More Film

  • Todd Brown, XYZ Films

    African Finance Under Spotlight at Durban FilmMart  

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • Ryan Reynolds'Deadpool' panel, Comic-Con International, San

    Ryan Reynolds Wants to Explore Deadpool's Bisexuality in Future Films

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9243328q)From

    Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Restaurant Critic, Dies at 57

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • Johnny Depp Amber Heard

    Johnny Depp, Amber Heard Appear Moments Apart at WB's Comic-Con Panel

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • Patty Jenkins, Chris Pine and Gal

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Team Talks '80s Setting, Chris Pine's Resurrection

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • Aquaman

    First 'Aquaman' Trailer Makes a Splash at Comic-Con

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

  • 'Shazam!' Trailer Debuts At SDCC

    'Shazam!' Trailer Debuts At Comic-Con (Watch)

    Twenty years after “Best Boy” received a best documentary Oscar (and top prize at Toronto), Ira Wohl continues the story of his cousin Philly in “Best Man: Best Boy and All of Us Twenty Years Later.” Now 70 years old, the mentally retarded man is still an engaging and inspirational figure and a compelling film […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content