Quick Posts

This past week was the most stressful and anxiety inducing I’ve had in this post-Covid world. There were a lot of unknowns and variables (a general source of anxiety for me), but by the end of the week everything fell into place. I physically felt relief (like literally, felt my chest loosen up and my body relax like it hadn’t in months) once it was all over. Still, not much mental capacity left for blogging this weekend. I wanted to just take the time to recharge before resuming my normal schedule (no more three day weekends) and finding out what my new normal is. Long story short, still speaking in vague terms, everything is looking okay and stable for now.

Arkansas – Last week’s rental from Alamo. Kinda unremarkable crime thriller. Vince Vaughn and Liam Hemsworth were great (I do love Vaughn’s turn towards dark and serious). Clark Duke looks too much like an ex I don’t wanna be reminded up, so that was offputting. Just predictable enough that the fresher storylines weren’t very impressive, but still engaging to watch. I think I’m gonna slow down on the rentals going forward tho. I’ve pretty much seen all the MUST movies, and the technology is still a little lacking. I still wanna support the theater tho, so I’ll try to figure out some alternatives.

But I’m a Cheerleader – Very long overdue first time watch, and I didn’t care for it. I recognize why it’s a cult classic, and I absolutely support that this film exists, especially when it was released during such a dearth of queer films (not that we’re doing all that much better). It was just too absurdist and ridiculous for my taste. Partly because that humor is not my style and partly because so much of the absurdity was rooted in truth, it was a little unnerving for me. Still, props for LGBTQ+ stories being told.

Birdman – You ever watch a movie and the only thought running thru your head is “This is AMAZING” on loop, over and over. I’ve seen this before (hell, three times in theaters), but it had been long enough that it was almost a new experience. The acting, the writing, the symbolism, the cinematography, the directing, all of it is truly truly a masterpiece.

The Crying Game – I wrote the other day about the documentary Disclosure, which focused on the portrayal of the transgender community in film, and I talked at length about how The Crying Game fit into that. I rewatched it the other day, with that new context, and it’s like a whole different movie from me. On previous views, I was just so excited to see LGBTQ+ represenation, I didn’t think about the bigger picture. Jaye Davidson gives such a moving performance, but this time it was even more heartbreaking. I was paying more attention to Dil’s story, and the way that she accepts so much abuse because she thinks it’s all she can get is devastating. Plus knowing the affect that this film had on Davidson and his reception and ultimate rejection in Hollywood, it hurts so much more watching him give everything to this role. He deserved better.

Airheads – I’ve been in need of really good laughs lately, and this movie provided. It’s one of those dumb comedies that’s actually much smarter than you’d expect. And I don’t even know which of our trio I love most. Fraser, Buscemi, and Sandler give such endearing performances, all a bit against type, I just can’t get enough.

Boiler Room – TIL (actually yesterday) that this is based on the same source material as Wolf of Wall Street. It just takes a different approach to it, sees it from a different angle. It has a little less bite tho, more like the stray dog of wall street. Ben Affleck steals the film, Giovanni Ribisi is fantastic, and I’m still undecided on if I either really like Vin Diesel or just can’t buy him. It’s worth checking out the alternate ending on the DVD extras too. The theatrical ending feels like proper closure, but the alternate is far less expected (albeit maybe too subtle in its execution). Still, a good choice for when I was in the mood for a talky and dark drama since my pile had way too much light fare in it (I’d taken the positivity rule so far, I was getting numb)

Meet the Parents

Okay if I’m having to implement a positivity rule for my movie watching, it’s only fair I implement it for my blog posting. Cause oof they’ve been heavy lately. It’s been well over a month since I’ve watched this, so we’ll see if I can pull out a full post for it.

But yeah, a few weeks ago, I had to call in an emergency comedy. I don’t know what was going on that day or why my anxiety was high and my mood was low, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in quarantine it’s to recognize those feels and remedy them with a happy movie. I wanted something that would guarantee a rise in spirits, but that I hadn’t seen so many times I would be numb to it. Lord only knows the last time I had seen this one, but sure, it was worth a shot. Turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Ben Stiller is typically known more for his over the top characters, in films like Zoolander or Dodgeball or Tropic Thunder. Generally speaking, I prefer my comedians in more grounded roles and I adored him as Greg Focker. It toes the line between realism and extreme silliness just right. Yeah some of the situations are a little tough to suspend disbelief, but his reactions to them are very human, so it keeps it in balance. And he’s not afraid to let himself be humiliated. He takes every gag in stride and carries the film with grace.

I would also list this as one of Robert DeNiro’s best performances. Yes, he’s known almost exclusively for serious roles, particularly tough guys. No one ever talks about his comedy skillz, but man he’s got chops. It’s a travesty that he doesn’t take advantage of it more often.

Ultimately this film works so well, and has lasted so long, because it’s all well intentioned. Nobody is out to get anyone else or use its comedy in a disparaging way. It’s a very heartfelt story with relatable (if somewhat extreme) characters, and it’s genuinely funny. The sequels sorta drop off in quality, but who’d blame ya for wanting to spend more time with the extended Focker family

Quick Posts

Oh man, now I’m really wishing I had started this at the beginning of quarantine. So much easier to write and I’ve been watching upwards of 15 movies a week. Despite all that content, I’m still struggling to bring myself to post regularly. Anyways, what are some highlights from this week?

Jack Goes Boating – I was on a bit of a Philip Seymour Hoffman kick, grabbing any of his films that I didn’t know well. This one is his only directorial credit. It’s a sweet story of two relationships, one beginning and one ending. He and Amy Ryan are absolutely adorable, and this movie will make you fall in love with PSH like never before.

My Friend Dahmer – Last week’s Alamo rental. It’d been on my watchlist for a while (we know I love my serial killers, all the better if they’re IRL). I found it kinda bland. He did come off slightly better adjusted than you would expect given where his life would turn, by which I mostly mean he actually had friends. But there wasn’t anything particularly exciting. We Need To Talk About Kevin does the teenage psychopath thing much better, esp since this leaves off right as Dahmer goes in for his first kill

Happiness – I wouldn’t say that I like this movie. I very much like that it exists. It deals with some heavy subject matter, but in a way that’s not heavy and difficult to watch. Uncomfortable yes, but you’re not left wondering if it’s even worth living in a world where these things happen. I’ve said this before, but given how many movies I watch, I want something that ‘s different, that goes places other movies don’t. On that front, this movie wins.

Friday – I was having a socially distanced picnic with a couple friends last week, and one was giving the other shit for not having seen this movie. I sat there quietly because I hadn’t either. I picked up the 3 film set for 7 bucks. And watching it confirmed why I hadn’t seen it yet, but also why I’m absolutely supportive that this movie exists: it’s just not for me. But that’s cool, because it is for the Black community (who love and embrace this movie) and we need more of those. Not every movie should be for me. Diversity in film gives everyone a chance to be represented.

Love and Basketball – Continuing to catch up on classic Black films. This one I did very much enjoy. I’d avoided it before because I don’t do romances, and having “Love” in the title is a big stop sign for me. But I liked it because while the romance was the central storyline, it wasn’t what most drove the characters. No one was sitting around waiting for the love of their life. They were living for their passion (in this case basketball) and trying to see how the love fits in with it. I can dig it. I also just really like basketball. And I enjoyed watching Omar Epps in something other than House (which I’ve been rewatching lately).

All That Jazz – Mixed feelings. It’s Bob Fosse, so I should love it. And the musical numbers were fantastic (I particularly loved the mother/daughter one). The storyline from the theater’s perspective was interesting to me, getting to see behind the scenes of how producer types think. My problem was our lead character, the lothario director who was supposta be a stand in for Fosse. He was too much of a sleazy womanizer for my tastes, I could not get behind him. And I think that’s why I couldn’t maintain much interest in the film outside a few dance sequences.

Gran Torino

I’ve learned a lot recently about the “white savior” trope. I’d first heard the term when Matt Damon’s The Great Wall was released, and it came up a lot during Green Book discussions. Simply put, it’s when a white character rescues a non-white character (or often an entire community) from some dire circumstances. The Great Wall is a pretty cut and dry example, but Green Book is a little more complicated. It throws in the protagonist learning about and overcoming his own racist ideals, so the film comes off with a seemingly positive message. It’s a trope that I’ve been fairly blind do, but I’m now more able to recognize and understand some of the harm that it can cause. I recognized it immediately in Gran Torino.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be an expert on the subject. I’m merely trying to process my thoughts watching this film with the new information I’ve learned in recent years. I identify as Hispanic, but am half white (and mostly pass as such) and recognize that I have benefited from lots of white privilege.

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this film as the angry old white guy in a quickly diversifying neighborhood. Most of his neighbors are now Hmong, who have immigrated from southeast Asia. You know how people use the “get off my lawn” phrase a lot nowadays? Yeah that started with this movie. Anyways Eastwood is super racist towards his neighbors, but then things happen (like they do in movies) and he befriends the two teens next door. He takes a particular interest in the teenage boy, and takes him under his wing, teaching him all sorts of life skills as well as how to be a man (at least by his uber macho definitions).

To fully go into the themes, I’ll hafta spoil it a bit, but it’s a 12 year old movie, so deal. Eventually the boy and his sister’s lives are in danger, after several growing attacks from neighborhood gangs. Eastwood sets his affairs in order, and confronts the bullies in full view of a neighborhood full of witnesses. The thugs kill him, but there’s enough evidence to send them to jail for a long time.

On its surface, and on my initial viewings, I thought it was a beautiful story about a man overcoming his own racist ideas and accepting his fellow man. To some extent, it still is. But the danger of the white savior trope is thinking that’s enough. (My go to joke about Green Book is saying that it solved racism completely. ) The other danger is in showing POC as victims who need a white person to save them. I also recognized this time that a lot of what Eastwood is teaching the boy is rooted in toxic masculinity, which is a whole other beast to tackle.

Still, despite its flaws, I think it’s a very moving film. I was in tears on this recent view. Why? Something else I was taught, this time since childhood: Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. That very Christian ideal is illustrated to its full extent in this movie. And it is beautiful to see. But what I’ve learned is to not get complacent with that, but rather to recognize that films like this are complex, and there’s still a lot more work to do.

Unstoppable

Sometime back, I saw an article that mentioned that Quentin Tarantino highly regarded Unstoppable as one of his favorite films of the past ten years. Srsly, that movie? Isn’t it kinda basic? I added it to my watch pile anyways. In Tarantino we trust.

There’s a runaway train, loaded with hazardous materials, and headed for population. A couple good guys on a second train try to catch it. Even with Chris Pine and Denzel Washington in the lead roles, I’d skipped it in theaters. It just seemed to simplistic, and I couldn’t believe there’d be anything great about it. I eventually got it as part of a Black Friday haul, and very much enjoyed watching it. Then I mostly forgot about it. Tarantino’s comments made me remember that this was a good movie, I just didn’t remember how good.

Yes, the story is straight forward and simple. It’s also very real and grounded, in a way that few Hollywood movies are. On top of that, it’s hella suspenseful. As in one of the best thrill rides of my quarantine viewing. You don’t get that combination of realism and suspense in too many films. Maybe my boy QT was on to something.

I’d even argue that this film fits the positivity rule. Yes I was stressed watching it, but it was a good stress. And there was no existential crisis or bad guys that make me question my faith in humanity. It was very human, and showed the good in people (mostly, cause there were some less than good ones). It was true escapism at its best, with just about everything I’d want in a film, even if it came in a rather unassuming package. I’ll hafta remember this one as a go-to recommendation in the future

21

How have I not written up this movie before? Hell, I coulda prolly written it up cold, without a rewatch, but the rewatch this week made it required. Why is this movie such a big deal? Because it’s the one that most captures (not necessarily best captures) MIT. Yeah moreso than Good Will Hunting, which really only mentions it in passing. 21 actually got to shoot some scenes around campus, and it was about real life MIT kids. And it was filmed while I was in school there. Me and the bestie even went down to the casting office to try and get on as extras (word on the street was they were taking any MIT kids that came in) but we were too late and most shooting was wrapped.

21 is about some real life MIT kids who figured out a card counting scheme and took Vegas for all it was worth–on the weekends, when they weren’t in class. The events were written down in a book called Bringing Down the House. I never got around to reading it, but you couldn’t go more than a couple days on campus without seeing it in someone’s possessions. The movie heavily fictionalizes the story. Or at least I assume it’s heavily fictionalized, because my rewatch came off as really Hollywood-ized–contrived and over the top with drama.

Not long after graduating, I showed this at a movie night with my fellow Beavers (yes that’s MIT’s mascot). The game was “Take a drink every time there’s something wrong about MIT”. Things like how in the opening scene he rides his bike in one direction across the Mass Ave bridge, then rides it in the same direction across the BU bridge that runs parallel. Or how they keep referring to THE 2.09 (there’s no “the” when you mention course numbers), and treat it like it’s this big deal on campus (it’s not, and I kept thinking they meant 2.007 which is more of a competition), and they even have banners up advertising it (there never were). Oh and while exterior shots were on campus, all interiors were at BU.

Some stuff is right. The math prof is in building 2. The clothing store where our lead works really exists in nearby Harvard Square, and even had a movie poster in the window for years after. The little details that you’d have to have gone there to know are there, but the bigger details that everyone else will notice are mostly off. No matter. It’s still a fun game.

I remember really enjoying the thrill of the game before, but now as I’d said before, it does feel so overdone. Manufactured drama and extreme situations. I mean of course you gotta jazz things up, but it just feels so fake now. The cast doesn’t really help. Jim Sturgess is out of his depth. Kate Bosworth doesn’t sell the smarts. And Kevin Spacey has too much baggage to ever enjoy a film with him again. I do like Liza Lapira, and am always happy to see her pop up in other small roles.

So yeah, maybe other films capture the spirit of my alma matter better than this one. Hell, half of the movie takes place in a different state. But given that I was there when it came together, it’s the one that makes me most nostalgic for my old home.

Quick Posts

Just figured out I should have taken this quick post approach to lockdown. At least it’s worth trying. I’m watching LOTS of movies (around 15 a week) but only a handful warrant a full post. But there’s still lots of thoughts I have on the others. So let’s give this a go?

St Elmo’s Fire – The least loved of all the 80s brat pack movies, and for good reason. It’s just not as interesting. I for one have a really hard time buying these characters. You’ve got 3 Breakfast Club actors in a film that was released the same year, but they’re meant to be about ten years older. Sure, they’re acting their real age, but their high school characters are so iconic, I can’t help but see them as babies. Babies doing adult things, because adulting as a twenty something was different then than it is now. Hell, I still haven’t done half of what they attempt (and fail at).

Pump Up the Volume – I saw someone tweet in defense of physical media the other day, saying that this movie wasn’t on streaming anywhere and the scarce DVD’s were pretty limited. This had been on my watch list for a while, so in a panic I quickly ordered it off Ebay. I didn’t notice that it was an import copy, so all the text on the box was in Korean. All good though, it still played. In English. I very much enjoyed it, but I get how it can get lost in the shuffle of all the great 80’s and early 90’s teen comedies. Still, I love me some Christian Slater. Between this and Heathers and Interview, I think I’m officially declaring him my favorite heartthrob of the era. Throw in today’s Mr Robot for good measure too

Real Genius – If MIT had a favorite movie, it would be Sneakers. But Real Genius is pretty high on the list too. A DVD permanently sat by the tv in my hall’s lounge, although I don’t know that I saw it used that often. The early scenes where the new kid is touring the dorm brought back so many feels. That craziness of smart kids running around building things and experimenting and having fun is exactly the vibe of my undergrad, at least at East Campus, my dorm which was known for its free spirited craziness. I was talking with another friend recently about dorm things, and his frat boy self was shaking his head at my stories. So maybe it wasn’t all of MIT, but it was my home.

Scarface – I only made it about forty minutes into this movie. Actually, I was ready to turn it off after less than ten, but this is one of those movies that I SHOULD know. I fell asleep at that 40 mark, snuggling with my cat, and was awakened by a phone call a little later. I opted not to continue the movie. Why was I so quick to turn it off? The whole thing was just glorifying toxic masculinity. It shouldn’t have come as quite a shock, but Tony Montana’s machismo was unbearable. And then I started thinking about how many IRL guys idolize him and aspire to be him, and I literally started to feel sick. It was so uncomfortable to watch thru that lens, I just couldn’t take it. I had to reinstate the positivity rule for the rest of the night

Now and Then

Do any of you (all three of y’all) have songs or phrases that are irrevocably linked with a movie? You hear it, and the scene pops into your head. You can’t untangle them? I’ve got a lot of such links to Now and Then. Lord knows how many times I watched it as a kid, prolly on some worn out VHS tape recorded from the tv. The other night during Zoom Trivia our trivia guy was playing “No Matter What” by Badfinger. My brain adds in the girls singing the song over the sound of the band, with their extra emphasis on “I will give it to YOU”. I think this will be a good movie for the watch pile. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past week, so the positivity rule is in play. Except I search the wall and it’s not there. What?! How do I not own this movie? I quickly rectified the situation.

It’s not just that one song that’s stayed with me. It’s the whole soundtrack. This was my original Awesome Mix of 70’s pop hits. And it’s not just the soundtrack. It’s the dialog too. I hear words out of context that trigger entire scenes to play out in my head. I just know every frame of this movie. Sidebar, I realized that as a kid, I had no concept for how long a movie was. I’ve noticed with rewatching childhood favorites like this, I have no clue how long they are. And whereas now, I check the timing and figure out when it’ll be done to plan my day, back then I’d just throw them on. Could be the hour forty of Now and Then, or the two and a half of Forrest Gump (yes I watched that a lot as a kid, we’ve been over that story before).

Four childhood best friends are reuniting as adults (Rosie O’Donnell, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson) for the first time in years. This brings them to reflect back on their best summer ever, as children in the 70’s (the children being Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, and Ashleigh Aston Moore). They had free reign over their suburban town, saving to build a treehouse and avoiding the Wormer brothers’ torments. But what they spent most of the summer on was investigating the mysterious death of Dear Johnny, a boy their age who passed away decades earlier. It’s a sweet story of sisterhood and innocense.

One thing I feel makes this film special is how distinct each of the characters are. Four different personality types with four different upbringings. Personally, I always identified most with Roberta (Ricci). She was the tough girl tomboy of the bunch. Although, sadly I never got to kiss Devon Sawa like she did, or anyone remotely close to him. Watching it now, I still feel like personality wise I’m Roberta, but I’ve got a lot of Chrissy in me too. I never cared for her before because she’s the big girly girl (so not me) but she’s the one with the sheltered upbringing and unbroken home. This also makes her the worrier of the bunch, and the one they trust with their treehouse fund (yeah that detail hit close to home). I suppose now it makes sense why the two of them are paired off as besties. I don’t think I ever quite got it before.

This nostalgic swim was exactly what I needed this past week that I’ve been in a funk. I still remembered nearly every beat of the film, while still feeling like I was watching it for the first time. It’s one of the great family movies of the 90’s and one that I don’t think gets enough attention anymore these days.

Disclosure

I am proud to be an LGBTQIA+ ally. Or at least, I try to be an ally as best as I can. But despite my best intentions, I know there’s still so much more I could do. I’m pretty good with the G’s in that acronym. Some of my closest friends are gay and I’m very plugged into their culture. I’m friends with some B’s and L’s, but I don’t know too many others that make up the beautiful pride rainbow. What this documentary made me realize is how far I’ve fallen short when it comes to supporting the T’s–the transgender community. I’ve especially failed simply by doing what I love most. Watching movies.

Disclosure is a documentary about the portrayal of the transgender community in the media, specifically film and tv. The stat that’s being given right now is that 80% of Americans don’t know anyone who is transgender. I’ve known a few transgender people, but none that have been more than acquaintances. No particular reason, just not every person you meet is destined to be your best friend. Therefore, for most of us, our greatest exposure to these beautiful people is thru the media. And the portrayal that they’ve been given is often not only wrong, but dangerous.

The film interviews members of the transgender community in the film industry. Mostly actors, but some writers and other filmmakers as well. People like Laverne Cox (who produced this), Alexandra Billings, Lilly Wachawski and others. They go thru various films and tv series, many of which were very highly acclaimed, and talk thru the impact that their depicitions of trans individuals had.

First we see trans people as the jokes. Comedians donning drag just for laughs at their expense. Then there’s the films where people (usually men) are disgusted at meeting a trans person. From there it gets really dangerous as we see trans people as psycho killers or as perennial victims. Films that I’ve known and loved that I never realized had such far reaching negative consequences on real people’s lives. It hurt to understand how complicit I’ve been, but I’m sure that hurt is nowhere near the pain that the trans community feels.

Let’s take The Crying Game as an example. (Skip this paragraph if you don’t want that spoiled). I saw it for the first time maybe ten years ago, and I loved it. I was actually excited to see a transgender character on film, stupidly thought that was victory enough. But when the new boyfriend finds out that his girlfriend is trans (not that it even uses the proper terminology at all, another shortcoming) he reacts by vomiting and getting sick. Now think about how many movies since where you’ve seen that reaction? First one that came to mind for me? Ace Ventura.

I’d actually just rewatched Ace Ventura recently. When I remembered the homo and trans phobic ending, I felt disgusted myself over how much I used to love and praise this film, without fully understanding how hurtful it was. The first time I saw it after watching The Crying Game, I remember laughing even harder at the scene where Ace figures things out, because The Crying Game theme song was playing. Now I get that it’s not funny, and not something we should condone any more.

There’s so many examples like this throughout the doc, things I’d never even thought to notice. I can only hope that I’ll be more mindful and sensitive going forward, and that I’ll do whatever I can to lift up the trans community. Give my money to Hollywood for films that portray them in realistic manners instead of those that disparage them. And just understanding how a seemingly throwaway joke or moment in a movie can have far reaching impacts on real people’s lives. I’m not gonna be perfect at it, but I can try.

The King of Staten Island

With the ‘rona closing down theaters across the globe, lots of movies have pushed back their release dates. Others have opted to go to streaming or VOD. For the most part, my reactions to the movies moved to the net have been either “eh whatever, I’ll get to it at some point then” or “oh thank God, I didn’t really wanna see this but was prolly gonna anyway”. If nothing else, I figured that some of these would find their way to a screen once things started opening (I’d heard Trolls was one of the few new things playing at the theaters that have reopened). But it’s looking like the widespread reopenings are being pushed back (which I’m torn about because I don’t wanna go see a movie while I feel unsafe, but also theaters being open means my job working on their software is more secure) and it’ll be sometime until I do get to see those lost films. Well some are on streaming that I have access to, but we know I don’t prioritize those. However, there’s one movie lost in the VOD shuffle that I did need to see. The King of Staten Island. Why? In Judd we (I) trust.

Huge huge fan of Judd Apatow (and his films like 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up), and it’s been a while since he’s had a new movie. Right there, that moves it up the priority list. But was the movie actually was is what made me want to shell out the 20 bucks for the VOD rental. The film stars Pete Davidson and is sorta loosely based on his life as a world class screwup but overall nice guy who doesn’t really try because he doesn’t really know how to. He’s just doing his best. Early buzz was jokes about how with this year’s Oscar pool all screwy, we might see Davidson’s name on some short lists. Except they weren’t really jokes because he really was that good.

Anyways, I’d been budgeting 5 bucks a week to rent a movie from Alamo, and after I’d skipped one week cause I wasn’t feeling it, I realized I could just skip a couple more weeks to pool my budget and justify the steep rental price. I know, there’s times where I’ll gladly play twenty bucks to see something at Alamo, but renting a film to watch at home doesn’t quite seem as worth it. Especially due to attention span issues we’ve previously discussed. But I was willing to give it a go. Besides, dialog driven films (as I expected this to be) tend to go better at home than action driven ones. It’d be worth it. And it was.

I gave a high level summary, but I’ll dig in a bit more. As I said, Davidson’s Scott is a world class screwup. Can’t do anything right. No job, no high school degree, lives with his mom. He spends all his time smoking weed and giving crappy tattoos. He has no direction and frankly wouldn’t even know what to do with it if he had it. His firefighter father passed away when he was young, and he’s given up on trying to live up to his saint-like memory. Then Mom starts dating a fireman from the same company, which stirs up all kinds of issues for him. On top of that, Mom now wants him to get his act together and move out. But where does he even start?

The thing that Apatow is most known of his is humor, and it’s certainly woven throughout the film. But it’s not a laugh a minute type of comedy. I say that not as a criticism, but to set expectations. More important than the humor is the heart that carries the movie. I’d recently rewatched 40 Year Old Virgin and I realized that heart is what carries that film too. Everyone remembers the funny lines and awkward scenes, but it’s ultimately a very sensitive and thoughtful character story. So was Staten Island.

When I did my Stardust reaction, I’d said that Davidson was born for this role. I realized later that it’s kind of an inaccurate statement because this role was literally written for him, with his input and bits of his biography. So it’s not that he was such a good fit it’s like he was created for it, but rather it’s like his whole purpose of being here was to inspire and create this film. He really is as good as everyone is saying, and it’s because he’s lived this. I heard Apatow telling Colbert or some other late night host that Davidson was sending him other actors’ resumes right up until shooting started because he didn’t think he was capable of acting this role. He was more than capable.

Oh also sidebar about Davidson, I think I kinda get the appeal. It’s been such a mystery how he’s been able to get girlfriends like Ariana Grande and Kate Beckinsale. The whole BDE idea started because of him. Speaking as someone with a bit (maybe more than a bit) of a Messiah complex (by which I mean a strong desire to help or save someone), I was drawn to him here. He’s a total wreck in desperate need of “saving”, but he’s also just such a good guy. You don’t wanna save the guy who’s gonna be a total ass. You wanna save the puppy dog who deserves it and who will be grateful. You wanna save Pete Davidson.

I will say that while I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it did take a while to get going. When we met our character, he spelled out some of his mental issues and roadblocks in life. “Awesome!” I thought. “We need to spotlight and destigmatize these things.” Then it felt a little stalled, which I think is just the nature of writing around a character who is doing nothing. Nothing happens until he starts making it happen. Once the ball did get rolling tho, this became one of those movies that I loved more and more with every passing frame. By the time we reached the end, I didn’t want it to end. I knew he’d been set on a path, but I wanted to see him follow it. It prolly did end at the right moment, but I wanted so much more.

I don’t typically rate movies I watch at home, but seeing as how I totally would have seen it in a theater (and payed theater prices for it)…
The King of Staten Island – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/