Elliot Kelman (JOE PANTOLIANO) is a failed publishing executive who can't get back into business. He supports himself selling suits at the local mall and relies on hand-outs from his mother, ex-wife, and son. He also self-publishes a weekly newsletter on the perils of self-delusion. Afraid his writings will be rejected, he hires a high school kid to post them on supermarket bulletin boards and stuff them under windshields in his New Jersey hometown. After he meets the sexy Carole (JENNIFER TILLY) and his newsletter begins to find an audience, things start looking up for Elliot. However, the return home of his oldest friend Richard (BOYD GAINES), a prominent movie producer, and the only one of his friends to have found success, brings Elliot's feeling of inadequacy and squandered potential back to the surface. With Richard in town, the competitive tensions rise, and once Carole takes an interest in his friend, Elliot must confront his envy of Richard's success and his disenchantment with his own failure. Second Best is a dark comedy that offers insight into men's expectations of success, financially, sexually and otherwise, and provides a glimpse into what men actually talk about when women aren't around. This is a film that explores how a generation of men who were expected to achieve their dreams can ultimately overcome the reality of falling short of them.

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Second Best (2003)

Comedy

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Description

Elliot Kelman (JOE PANTOLIANO) is a failed publishing executive who can't get back into business. He supports himself selling suits at the local mall and relies on hand-outs from his mother, ex-wife, and son. He also self-publishes a weekly newsletter on the perils of self-delusion. Afraid his writings will be rejected, he hires a high school kid to post them on supermarket bulletin boards and stuff them under windshields in his New Jersey hometown. After he meets the sexy Carole (JENNIFER TILLY) and his newsletter begins to find an audience, things start looking up for Elliot. However, the return home of his oldest friend Richard (BOYD GAINES), a prominent movie producer, and the only one of his friends to have found success, brings Elliot's feeling of inadequacy and squandered potential back to the surface. With Richard in town, the competitive tensions rise, and once Carole takes an interest in his friend, Elliot must confront his envy of Richard's success and his disenchantment with his own failure. Second Best is a dark comedy that offers insight into men's expectations of success, financially, sexually and otherwise, and provides a glimpse into what men actually talk about when women aren't around. This is a film that explores how a generation of men who were expected to achieve their dreams can ultimately overcome the reality of falling short of them.

Where to Watch

Cast
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Joe Pantoliano

Elliot
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Boyd Gaines

Richard
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Peter Gerety

Marshall
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Bronson Pinchot

Doc Klingenstein
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Matthew Arkin

Gerald
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Jennifer Tilly

Carole
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Stephen Bogardus

George
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Barbara Barrie

Dorothea
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Polly Draper

Paula
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James Ryan

Danny
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Stephen Sable

Lum Chin
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Damian Young

Robert Stern
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Melody Pantoliano

Waitress
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Irma St. Paule

Beth
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Frank McCombs

Frank
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Jacob Weber

Checkout Person
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Patricia Hearst

Alana
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Fiona Gallagher

Tiffany
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Marcella Lowery

Nurse
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Richard Barnes

Pakastani Man (as Milton James)
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Paulina Porizkova

Allison
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Tara Gropt

Karolina
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Jessica Weber

Saleswoman
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Jonathan Jones

Voiceover
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Robert Montano

Mike
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Brooke Campbell

Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
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Debbie Lang

Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Crew
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Eric Weber (III)

Director
Disc Releases
Disc Title Front Cover

Second Best

(DVD)

11/15/2005

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