That great The Treasure of the Sierra Madre life lesson about how something can be more precious than gold comes to mind while watching My Brothers, the feature debut from longtime Shane Meadows collaborator Paul Fraser.
Just like in John Huston's parable, we've got a bickering trio down south on a quest in this movie too; but they're ages 17, 12 and seven and instead of Mexico they're driving 'round Cork in a clapped-out Ford Transit bread van, hunting for a very different, but no-less-valuable prize. It's Halloween 1987, and we're back in an Ireland that will bring a tear to many an eye.
Siblings Noel (Creed), Paudie (scene-stealer Courtney) and Scwally (Griffin) are facing one of life's greatest horrors all too soon: their father (Wycherley) is dying. And, as with many an Irish clan, they're doing everything but talking about it. Leaving Cert student Noel busies himself with school work and the family bread round; arch messer Paudie just keeps messing and the only question Scwally has for his big brothers is whether they'll still get time off when they go back to school if their dad dies while they're on their mid-term break.
But when Noel's actions result in their father's prized digital watch being broken beyond repair, this new crisis forces the brothers to band together and head for the seaside town where the watch was won on a family day out. Noel tells the other two they'll be back in time for tea, but they've a long way to go - on the roads and in their hearts.
Fraser penned Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, A Room for Romeo Brass and Damien O'Donnell's Heartlands, so it's easy to see why the Western elements in Cork-born writer Will Collins' script for My Brothers would have such a pull for him. From the Dukes of Hazzard-style way our heroes are sometimes forced to get into the bread van to the things left unsaid in a dying man's room, Collins and director Fraser blend the comic and the poignant in this special little film, celebrating how families are more than the sum of their parts and how they can be at their best when things are at their worst. With great performances from the central trio, this is an all-too- brief portal to an earthier, more innocent time of tape recorders, homemade lightsabers, anxious radio waits for football scores and movies on TV being a very big deal - although the brothers aren't using a map for this road trip, their route is down all our Memory Lanes.
Heroes from your own life are somewhere on screen here, and if you're not blessed to have them join you for this adventure, you'll be remembering the ones you did share. Who knew November in Cork could be quite so warm.