Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Through flashbacks, a movie special-effects designer tells the story of four days with his family that changed his life. Back in 1984, his father was terminally ill and wanted to see the Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle one last time before he died. Vast in scope and execution, this operatic series demands a marathon-like level of endurance even from the listeners. Furthermore, the convoluted plot of the operas resembles nothing so much as the combined plots of all the Godfather movies set in a legendary world resembling something out of Conan the Barbarian. The father's four sons all know this, and some of them are even opera fans themselves. They decide to put on a lip-synched, much-abbreviated version of the operas for their dad in the living room of their home and recruit friends and acquaintances (mainly bikers) to enact the parts. Even in highly abbreviated form, this generous amateur performance will take the better part of four days. In this amiable and well-received first feature, the boys help their dad enjoy his last performance of the cycle and have a pretty good time themselves. The exposition of the operas' complicated plots is so accurate and concise that some reviewers recommended that music teachers use this film to introduce them to Wagner neophytes.