For many insomniacs, watching TV or reading a book is a big help in falling asleep.
But when Billy Reilly 9W2 has trouble falling asleep, which is a problem he has had for years, he gets out of bed and writes stories. He finds this therapeutic and fun.
The Williamson painting and corrosion control graduate, who lived in Upper Darby most of his life, writes stories about the diverse people from his neighborhood he interacts with and hears about.
He has notebooks with hundreds of these stories gathered over the years and now they are being put to a different use than helping him fall asleep. The characters, mainly Irish who live in Upper Darby, are coming to life in a movie, “Last Call,” a comedy about the blue-collar denizens of Delaware County, better known as Delco.
The movie stars, Bruce Dern (Coming Home, Nebraska), Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull), Jeremy Piven (Grosse Pointe Blank), comedian Jamie Kennedy, Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black), Jack McGee (Moneyball), Zach McGowan (The 100), and Cheri Oteri (SNL). Several of the actors grew up in Upper Darby and many of the extras still live there.
It will be released by IFC Films on March 19 in select theaters and YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, XBOX, xfinity, DIRECTTV, Spectrum, and IFC Center at Home. To watch it at home go to: www.lastcall.movie.
Reilly got involved in the movie after sitting down with Greg Lingo, the executive producer of the movie and a successful real estate developer and businessman he has known since second grade. [Lingo also gives inspirational talks to encourage young people to pursue an education. Some may remember him from a talk he gave in Williamson’s chapel not long ago.]
Lingo had an idea for a movie, but needed help writing the story of the life and times of his youth in Upper Darby.
As they talked, Reilly said he had the solution to filling out the script, he had 250 stories about the people of Upper Darby who would make interesting characters in a comedy about lifelong friendships.
After reading them, Lingo said they were just what he was looking for. He filled out the script based on these characters and some of his own and then had Paolo Pilladi, a professional screenwriter and director of the movie, fine-tune the script. Filming was completed in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Some scenes were filmed in Upper Darby and Philadelphia, but most were filmed at Bayonne, N.J.
The story shows that the neighborhood you grew up in and the friendships you formed as a child stay with you for life. It also demonstrates the Urban Dictionary definition of Delco, “Delco isn’t just a place to live; it’s a way of life.”
It follows a man who left Darby Heights (Upper Darby) for bigger and better things and became a successful real estate developer. He returns after a long absence for his mother’s funeral and ends up staying longer than planned to save the family-owned bar that is failing. During his visit, he encounters an old friend who has an idea for making a lot of money by building a casino which would require tearing down the bar. He slowly comes to realize that his old hometown and friends were pretty nice and still mean a lot to him.
Reilly, who grew up without a lot of money, often went to movies for the air conditioning because he didn’t have any at home, leading to an interest in movies.
While attending Monsignor Bonner High School he was an average student with no idea what he would do after graduation. He loved playing football and his coach, the Delaware County legend John Waller (who coached many years at Williamson), talked him into going to Williamson.
He enrolled in the painting and corrosion control program and Williamson turned out to be just what he needed. He said, “Williamson turned me around. It was a natural fit. It’s small, hands-on, and the teachers are always there for you. It was a community with the support I needed.”
He earned a 3.6 GPA every semester and was captain of the football team under Coach Waller.
He fondly remembers his instructors Glenn Stevick 4W0, director of the painting program, Russ Harvey 5W0, drafting instructor, Bruce Bellerjeau’s (6W9) metal shop, and Tim Burbage, who is still director of food services.
He adds, “I’m proud to say, I only received eight hours my entire three years.”
After graduating, he worked in corrosion control for several years, then painted awhile, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at Neumann University evenings while working in medical sales. He points out that he earned his degree in one and a half years because Neumann accepted many of his Williamson credits. Since 2008, he has worked in insurance services.
Lingo began working on the script in 2007 and Reilly says, “I never thought we would get to this spot, with our stories incorporated into a movie that is going to be released.”
Reilly says he has enough stories for several movies and he continues to write. His newest endeavor is trying to write a song. “All my songs are terrible, but I keep trying.”
And, unlike the people in his stories, he has finally left Upper Darby for West Chester, where he lives with his wife Nicole, and children Shane and Sloane.
For a preview of the movie, go to: