Second Best

Watch Second Best

"Losing sucks, but it doesn't necessarily kill you"
  • R
  • 2004
  • 1 hr 26 min
  • 5.8  (458)
  • 44

Second Best is a gritty and emotional drama that explores the complex themes of masculinity, identity, and family. The film, which was released in 2004, stars Joe Pantoliano as Elliot, a struggling middle-aged man who is desperate to prove himself as a father figure to his estranged son Kyle (played by Nathan Dana Aldrich). However, when Elliot's ex-wife Karen (played by Jennifer Tilly) sends Kyle to stay with him in a run-down trailer park in upstate New York, Elliot quickly realizes that he is in way over his head.

As Elliot tries to reconnect with his son and find a sense of purpose in his life, he becomes tangled up in a web of deceit and violence that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. Along the way, he meets a cast of colorful characters, including Boyd Gaines as Chick, a gruff, no-nonsense handyman who becomes a mentor to Elliot, and Peter Gerety as Mr. Napo, a slightly unhinged neighbor with a mysterious past.

The film is a powerful exploration of the complexities of fatherhood and the difficulties of finding one's place in the world. Pantoliano delivers a powerful performance as Elliot, capturing both the character's vulnerability and his fierce determination to do right by his son. Aldrich is also impressive as Kyle, imbuing the character with a sense of wounded innocence that is heart-wrenching to watch.

Director Eric Weber does an excellent job of capturing the feel of the bleak upstate New York setting, with its crumbling buildings and sense of desolation. The film is shot in a gritty, naturalistic style that lends it a sense of authenticity and immediacy. The script, by Weber and John Buffalo Mailer, is sharply written and full of memorable moments, such as the scene in which Elliot and Chick teach Kyle how to fight.

One of the most striking aspects of Second Best is its exploration of masculinity and what it means to be a man. Elliot is a character who is constantly grappling with his own sense of inadequacy and striving to prove himself as a father figure to his son. However, his efforts are always undermined by his own insecurities and the toxic masculine culture that surrounds him.

This theme is epitomized by the character of Mr. Napo, a Vietnam veteran who is haunted by his experiences in the war and whose warped sense of masculinity leads him to act out in violent ways. Gerety gives a chilling performance as Mr. Napo, capturing the character's simmering rage and sense of alienation.

Overall, Second Best is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant drama that is well worth watching. The film tackles complex themes with nuance and sensitivity, and the performances by the talented cast are top-notch. While it is not always an easy watch, it is a rewarding one that will linger in the viewer's mind long after the credits roll.

Second Best is a 2004 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 26 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8 and a MetaScore of 44.

Where to Watch Second Best
Second Best is available to watch free on Peacock, Crackle and Plex. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Second Best for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 26 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.8  (458)
  • Metascore