Limit Up

I made this film in 1989.   The other day, a technician at a lab and I were chatting about it, and he asked to see it.  He's 26, African American, grew up in the projects and made his way to LA.  I gave him a copy and he raved about it; he wants to show it to his church, he wants to show it to his pastor father in law; he wants everyone in his life to see it.  Needless to say, I was moved.  Twenty years ago, a group of people came together to make a little fable about capitalism, about how hard it was for a woman to become a soybean trader at the Chicago board of trade, about racism. The cast includes the amazing Danitra Vance (Colored Girls on Broadway in the 70's), who plays the guardian angel of Nancy Allen.  Ray Charles plays God.  It's a paean to Chicago, an homage to the soybean pit where my brother toiled for many years.  The original cast was Daymon Wayans and Sharon Stone, but the producer wouldn't let me cast them.  Either way, it's a PG13 family flick, Brad Hall, Ron Howard's dad Rance are hilarious - Dean Stockwell, Nancy Allen are a hoot - "cornball" as Ebert puts it, but hey, something to be said for the only film ever made about soybean trading.. I still have no idea why anyone would hate this film.  Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+ - but sadly, it's disappeared into the great cinema vault in the sky.

Here's a clip I put on youtube of Danitra and Ray in the final scene, sadly, both not on the planet anymore:

Here's a clip from the ending with Danitra and Ray:

Here's the Entertainment Weekly Review:


Limit Up (1990) B+


Brian Rodahaver said...

What was Luana Anders like at the time she worked in some of your films until her passing in 1996? Curious. Thanks!

Rich Martini said...

That's a fairly big question Brian. I can only tell you that everyone who worked or knew Luana was profoundly affected by her. And that includes her oldest friends Jack Nicholson, Robert Towne, Dennis Hopper, Charles Grodin and others - many of her closest friends and I still share stories about her, and a day doesn't go by where she doesn't pop into my head. She has her own blog page at - she and I appear in a scene together in Limit Up - I ask "Is it true soybeans could end world hunger?" and she answers it. Funny.

Limit Up Facebook fan forum said...

Limit Up is so special to me. Thanks for making such an amazing film. Please feel free to like our page, Brad Hall and Sandra Bogan are supporters. Any behind the scenes pictures or anecdotes that you could share would be wildly appreciated.

Rich Martini said...

Limit up fan forum? Cool! Hey its one of the few films Siskel and Ebert gave "thumbs Way Down" to, although Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+. Sandra and Brad were hilarious, saw him today. Nancy Allen was great, Danitra Vance, Rance Howard.. All great in their roles. I'm only sorry my role as writer director wasn't strong enough to make it the classic I wanted to make - in the tradition of "trading places" or "breakfast club" - the original cut was different, more fun, but a studio squabble took it out of my hands. Still. Is it was it is - Ray Charles plays God - what more can you want? Thanks for posting and I will seek out this forum on Facebook! Best, Rich

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