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|Index||26 reviews in total|
I grew up in Brooklyn. I knew Spike and his friends. Their names and faces were different, but their lives were the same. If you treat this movie as a political statement you will be offended. If you treat this movie as entertainment you'll suffer. But if you treat this movie as a sociological exercise, you will be enlightened. No movie made before or since, has captured the essence of Brooklyn so effectively. Story, plot progression, and emotive content are deliberately sacrificed to the end of painting a realistic portrait of both the subjects and their neighborhood. At the film's conclusion, the characters, like their environs, develop little. Such is Brooklyn.
This is one strange movie, and that's why I love it so much. The actors overact, the lead actor is a jerk, his Portuguese sidekick is a riot, and the last scene is strangely touching and uplifting. Oh, and the dialogue has to be heard to be believed. No, this is no Godfather, but I doubt that that was Paul Morrissey's intention. If you don't take it too seriously, you're in for one strange, fun viewing. Oh, and the Spanish pop music soundtrack by Coati Mundi is just great! I'm not joking, either. . . Gus Van Sant should have remade this instead of Psycho.
Alan Bowne, sadly, will not be around to enjoy SPIKE's reemergence
(assuming that Image gets off its ass and publishes a long-awaited
anamorphic DVD release); but the film's many fans will rejoice. Image
published a pan-and-scan transfer on LaserDisc in 1989.
In other reviews of the film on this site, some (perhaps myopic?) individuals skewer SPIKE for its depiction of certain Italian characters - failing to notice that the foibles of women, Jews, gays, Puerto Ricans and W.A.S.P.s share equal billing. Morrissey & Bowne's targets were hypocrisy and bigotry. The score - a double bullseye.
Viva Spike Of Bensonhurst. While we're asking, may we have an official DVD release of Andy Warhol's BAD, another classic of the period?
Sasha Mitchell stars as Spike Fumo a boxer who want to be a champion
but not mess up his pretty looks in the process, Fumo gets along well
with the mobster Baldo Cacetti (Ernest Borgnine, in a great
performance) however it's when Spike starts eyeing Cacetti's daughter
Angel (Maria Pitillo) he's forced out of his neighborhood and forced to
live with his Puerto Rican friend Bandanna (Rick Aviles) and there he
starts his own boxing circuit, however when Cacetti finds out Spike has
gotten Angel pregnant, As well as Bandanna's sister India (Talisa Soto)
things heat up to confrontation in this hilarious and sly satire of
Rocky and mobster flicks. The best joke is of course that Sasha
Mitchell doesn't want to actually earn his title as champion but rather
have it fixed by mobsters so he doesn't have to work so hard. Sasha
Mitchell displays real acting talent and real sharp comic skills,
something that would surprise you if you saw him on that awful TV show
he was on. This without a doubt Mitchell's best movie and it's thanks
to the humor derived from Mitchell and Borgnine's chemistry which
provides the most enjoyable moments. The only complaint is Talisa Soto
who comes off like a deer in the headlights. Still it's shocking that
the best Mitchell could do after this was Kickboxer 2, 3 and 4.
3.5/5 Matt Bronson
This movie was great, especially if you grew up in that time period in those neighborhoods. A lot of this movie was filmed in my area, Ridgewood, Queens. Most of the acting was a little cheesy, and some were even awful. But overall it was a great movie. I haven't seen this movie in a long time, and finally found a copy somewhere out west, at a store that went under. I was just reading the actors profiles, and saw the the actor who played the bandana died in 1995. That is a tragic loss. Great actor and funny guy. If there are any people out there who felt the same about this movie, let me know. And if you haven't seen it, you should, but just remember, don't be too harsh with comments, it's an old movie..LOL
Former Factory alumni Paul Morrisey's Spike of Bensonhurst(1988) is a
funny film about the streets of Brooklyn. Like most of his other films,
this one's an acquired taste. You either love Morrisey's work or you
hate it. Spike is a punk kid who also happens to be a lousy club
He's always in and out of trouble, making life miserable for every one around him. Then one day, Spike makes a very stupid decision that'll nearly destroy his life. You might want to call this movie a lowlife Rocky. I highly recommend this film. I enjoyed it and you might too! Sasha Mitchell is Spike, Ernest Borgnine, Talisa Soto, Rick Aviles (R.I.P.) and Sylvia Miles also co-star.
Check it out. If you can find it!
I have been an advocate of this movie since it came out. It is charming and endearing. Sasha Mitchell exudes a natural warmth that grabs your attention and leaves you smiling. The movie is well written, well acted and well produced. On its own terms, this is an entertainement that gives much pleasure which lingers long after you've seen it. It is well worth renting.
Unlike the majority of my fellow reviewers, I really like this movie and am proud to say I own a copy. It's very funny in part and everyone gives a good performance. Even Geraldine Smith is hysterical. Whoever did the casting did a great job.
In life, just as in boxing there are rules that one must abide by.
Despite knowing these rules, Spike Fumo chooses to march to the beat of
his own drum. Unfortunately, at times the beat is out of synch with the
tune of reality.
Sasha Mitchell plays Spike Fumo; a native Bensonhurst Brooklynite whose grasp out seeds his reach. His father is serving a prison term for a crime he took the fall on to protect a local mob boss. His mother has taken up with another woman in her husbands absence and moved her lover into the house. Despite tall this, Spike has aspirations of becoming a boxing champion/mobster and thinks his Italian heritage is enough to carry him on the road to both. And such begins Spike of Bensonhurst. Paul Morrissy of the Andy Warhol fame directs this picture but try not to hold that against the movie. To his credit, during filming; Sasha Mitchell almost broke his back trying to carry the entire project on his shoulders with little to no avail. But, if you pause step back and look at the story line as a whole; the plot is amazing.
Spike is a club fighter who tries to impress local mob boss Baldo Cacetti by throwing fights. When he sees that is getting him nowhere fast, he quickly decides to get Baldo's daughter Angel pregnant and carve out a niche for himself. As a result, Spike gets him exiled from Bensonhurst. He is forced to move to Red Hook with Bandana (a fellow boxer) and his Puerto Rican family. Things then really start to spiral out of control when Spike falls for Bandana's sister, India and gets her pregnant as well. He finds himself between a rock and a hard place with a pregnant girl on each side pushing both in on him. If William Shakespeare were a filmmaker, this is the type of film he'd be making! It has everything: familial drama, sly comedy, prearranged marriages, unrequited love, crime, and a refreshingly flawed lead character who for once does not have all the answers and is free to make his own mistakes. (But trust me, The Bard would have done a far better job than some washed-up reject from Andy Warhol's factory.)
I believe that this film went wrong in 2 places. First off, there wasn't enough of an on-screen relationship developed between Spike and India. In fact, it seemed that Spike's furlough into Red Hook as a whole was more delegated to comic relief status when it could have been very revealing to Spike's character as a whole. I never felt I knew if Spike was involved with India because he just wanted a piece or if he actually found comfort in her arms. In one scene, Spike stared at India from bar of the club they were at while she was dancing with another man, and you knew that Spike felt a sense of guilt but you never know why.
Secondly, this film without a doubt possesses the worst soundtrack of all time. I'd rather listen to a tape an endless tape of Gilbert Godfried reading the phone book than to pop the soundtrack to this bad boy in my CD player. Trust me, mere language cannot convey how bad the music is. All in all, Spike of Bensonhurst is a film that deserves viewing. It's a film that is a dying breed. Part Anti-Rocky and part Shakespearean tragedy that is largely uneven and possess lots of the drawbacks of both. What it does possess, are enough genuine moments throughout to make you realize that his could have been so much more. Don't listen to any of the negative reviews on this for this film that other people have written. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much throw the positive ones out the window also and make up your own mind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a fan of Sasha, from Cody to David Sloane. But this was his first
full featured film. I can tell Sasha was a breakout and good actor from
this movie. He plays Spike, an Italian decent aspiring boxer who takes
a shine to a Mafia daughter, Angel gets her pregnant.
But the Mafia father played by the recently late Ernest Borgnine doesn't like Spike being with his daughter uses his Mafia ways to keep them apart, meanwhile Spike life in Bensonhurst went downhill.
So he makes his life in Red Hook by the Battery Tunnel, a heavy Puerto Rican rundown neighborhood. Befriends Bandana (Rick Aviles - Willy Lopez on Ghost) and starts another life in Red Hook. He meets India takes a shine to as well and eventually got her pregnant. So he is torn between two ladies.
Even Sasha's fake Italian accent is cheesy, but he makes it work. One final thing, the movie moves too quickly paying little attention in the storyline so this is why I make it a 7. It has potential.
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