Carl Kurlander, the self deprecating, insightful scribe behind the 80's smash hit and plucky, teen sit-com Saved by The Bell, might have once made the best mistake of his life. This mistake: to leave Los Angeles at the height of a successful writing career, move back to Pittsburgh, and take a job teaching screenwriting at the University of Pittsburgh.
With an appearance on Oprah Winfrey-a segment highlighting Kurlander's unbelievable epiphany- he expressed how happy he was in regard to making the move back to the steel city. Carl went on to mention that he felt as though he had moved back into his own Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. But his return home, and his undying search of a meaningful life away from the competitive often exclusive Hollywood whirlwind, came not without irony, as the iconic Fred Rogers passed away.
In the humorous albeit brutally honest My Tale of Two Cities, Kurlander quickly realizes his move back to his hometown is one not without its ups and downs, mostly downs. Such as the state of Pittsburgh, a once thriving blue collar town enraptured by the fruits of its labors due to the lucrative steel industry. But now, with the smoke and soot a thing of the past, and the steel mills desolate and vacant, Pittsburgh finds itself on the verge of economical death.
Tale is the type of refreshing documentary film that exposes the realities of life on top as well as the bottom. From the top: the success of St. Elmos Fire, Saved by the Bell, and a wonderful family. But as expected, and highly necessary, the bottom: personal financial decline, marital strife, self doubt, crushing ultimatums, a home (Pittsburgh) just as depressed and desperate as Kurlander's once prized life.
But its personal ingredients, intertwined with the conundrum that is Pittsburgh, is what makes Tale an interesting, thought provoking piece of cinematic documentation. With Kurlander's witty, heartfelt look at his conflicted life, and vast knowledge of Pittsburgh and its connected roots in other cities across the U.S., Tale leaves you wanting to know more about the "other" Burgh and Carl Kurlander himself.
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