Ten Benny (1995) Poster

(1995)

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15 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
6/10
Call It NOTHING TO LOSE, Call It TEN BENNY, or Call It Derivative
This kitchen sink drama directed and co-written by Eric Bross of RESTAURANT fame follows a group of boyhood pals from suburban New Jersey -- chiefly charismatic Adrien Brody as Ray, a young shoe salesman (the original title, TEN BENNY, is shoe store slang for size 10B, supposedly the size one time customer Paul Newman wears) whose overestimation of his own sharpness leads to gambling debts, p***ed-off loan sharks, and overall misery. The film is as realistic as it is glum and predictable. I felt like I was watching a documentary about younger contemporary versions of my gambler/bookie dad and his goombah pals. I knew the film was striking a chord when, despite Brody's cocky charm and good looks therein, I spent much of the film smirking, shaking my head, and muttering, `Dumbass!' every time Ray made another bad judgment call or generally acted like a jerk. Still, despite its better moments, this story is nothing that folks like Martin Scorsese haven't done earlier and more powerfully. NOTHING TO LOSE (not to be confused with the 1997 Tim Robbins/Martin Lawrence flick) is worth a look primarily if you're a Brody fan and/or an aficionado of Italian-American angst, and you happen to stumble across this one on cable. (I find it interesting, though, that writer/director Bross went on to direct ON THE LINE with those two N'Sync guys.)
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10/10
A Must! A Ten! A Jersey Gem!
Peggy-1014 February 1999
Would that this film had wider distribution. Those of us who have see it, are indeed fortunate. A Jersey Gem.
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10/10
Great film for Adrien Brody fans.
colosseumsj2 June 2003
This was the first movie that I saw Adrien Brody with a major role. He gave an excellent performance. The movie is above average but Adrien stands out above everyone else and makes the movie better than it should be. Very few actors have made such an impression with me. Robert DeNiro, Betty Davis and Montgomery Clift are the others.

The thing that impressed me most about Brody was that he was so damn convincing as someone with a serious gambling problem. His interrelationship with his girlfriend and drinking buddies was fascinating to watch. This movie is in a class with "Diner" and "Mean Streets"
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10/10
ADRIEN BRODY IS SENSATIONAL - A MUST SEE MOVIE!
anna-7223 May 2003
This movie is a must see for the riveting performance of ADRIEN BRODY. Though the writing and directing may be average, keep in mind it was the first film for writer/director, ERIC BROSS. Bross does get better with age and experience. I enjoyed the performances of all the cast, however, I wish the character Mrs. Deturo, played by actress ANNA MANFREDI, would have had a more significant part. Whenever she appeared in a scene she lit up the room - She is talented, has star quality, is interesting, and I would like to see more of her in future films.

Mr. Bross would have been wise to utilize Ms. Manfredi in the party scene -developing her character and defining her as Joanne's mother - he neglected to develop a relationship between mother and daughter. (When you are wandering all around looking for your boyfriend, it is a knee jerk reaction to ask your mom if she has seen him when you walk right past her. Joanne never once talks to her mother or acknowledges her as her mother. This made the entire scene lacking in content. Bross has the party scene so cluttered with people that it is distracting from the events taking place, as if the party takes place in Grand Central rather than Mrs. Deturo's (Joanne's mother) home with a gathering of relatives.

One should never under-estimate the importance of a "mother" in developing a character. You learn early on that Ray, played by Brody, grew up without his mother who left when he was a child. This helps explain why Ray was so messed up. We completely lose all empathy for Joanne, played by Sybil Temchen, during this scene, as she is cold and menacing as she totally ignores her mother, played by Ms. Manfredi, as if the character is just a stranger amongst a bunch of strangers.

So to sum it all up - - ADRIEN BRODY IS FANTASTIC and LET'S SEE MORE OF ANNA MANFREDI IN UPCOMING FILMS!!!
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5/10
Ten Benny = 2 stars
George Parker23 April 2002
"Ten Benny" is a slice of life flick about some young working class Italian-American men in New Jersey who are desperately trying to merge life styles with dreams. Brody, who went on to better forums for his talent, is at the center of this less than engaging and somewhat clumsy melding of melodrama and reality from first time director Bross and a small army of producers. An okay C- small screen watch for those with a taste for guy dramas though don't expect much action, sex, nudity or common sense.
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5/10
Just as bad as The Lords of Flatbush
Jay Jefferson Cooke20 December 2001
This film is another boring, so-called coming-of-age story.

If I have seen these characters once, I have see them 100 times.

This film and those like it have little relevance or appeal to anyone who recognizes ethnic stereotypes and unoriginal writing.

Sybil Temchen is the only bright spot. Sadly, she'll probably end up in the same club as Adrienne Shelly (good actress performs well in indies, goes on to perform well in a few bad mainstream films and then disappears into films no one who is asleep at 3 a.m. ever sees).

Maybe Temchen will get lucky with a good cable-TV series (that's what rescued Edie Falco from Shelly's fate).

Cross your fingers (and your toes) for her.
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10/10
"Ten Benny"--a wonderful film, rates a "10"!
PDW14 November 1998
"Ten Benny", formerly entitled, "Nothing To Lose" is a surprising if not shocking directoral debut for Eric Bross. Mr. Bross has written, directed and produced a remarkable independent film, starring Adrien Brody as the hapless lead, "Ray", attempting to recover from a serious mistake, while using and abusing his long-time friendships along the way! This film is worth seeing if only to see the great performance Mr. Brody turns in.

"Ten Benny" tells a story of love, greed, betrayal, the limits of friendship, growing-up and taking responsibility. Mr. Brody displays acting skills similar to Al Pacino as he leads a first-rate up-and-coming supporting cast. The background to their interactions and a growing menace is "Donny" (James Moriarty)--a local mobster, while a counterweight is "Ray Sr." played by Frank Vincent, a former low-level mobster trying to "go straight" after an earlier brush with the law, and raise his son as a single father.

Technically, this independent film is excellent, with a musical score quite appropriate to the subject matter, and visually, the film is sharp and exciting. The writing is supurb, very emotional and convincing. The dialogue is spiked with the profanity of the film's locale, and is incredibly realistic. The movie was filmed on the turf where the story is set: the roads leading from downtown Newark to the suburbs and mansions of western Essex County, NJ.

Although, "Ten Benny" itself does refer to a particular unit of measurement (that I will not reveal), there are other interpretations of the title which are not so obvious to those not from this part of the world (NJ). The first is "ten" as in perfect, like the move "10"--with Bo Derek, while "Benny" is a street term for a particular kind of drug, and, as slang, "Benny" refers to New Yorkers, who typically travel the roads of New Jersey to Atlantic City, or other New Jersey Shore destinations in vehicles overloaded with people or luggage to gamble, swim or just escape from New York (it is a slightly derogatory or mocking term as in "Hey, Benny! That's a toll booth, not a urinal!". Many of these themes are explored or mentioned within "Ten Benny" as well as the obvious measurement reference.

Part of the focus of the film is New Jersey itself, if only as background to the tale. With Director Bross, it pays to look deeper and to not assume its "superficial" because the viewer is too lazy to do more than scratch the surface. Bross holds his best cards close to the vest, and plays them methodically and to great effect as he draws the audience into his subject matter.

This a wonderful independent film, that is dramatic, thoughtful and intentionally humorous at times. Most of us know someone like the characters portrayed, and sometimes it is refreshing to take a step back and see these types from another perspective. Mr. Bross has done a super job integrating all of these very interesting and sometimes scary characters into this very enjoyable film. It is worth seeing more than once to grasp the full nuance and depth of this film.

I have read a number of reviews of this film, which have not been made available through the IMDB. I would recommend the following reviews: Emanuel Levy in "Variety Weekly" of 4/17/95, "Playboy" magazine of 10/19/96 (2 1/2 bunnies), The Newark Star-Ledger Newspaper "The Ticket" magazine of 11/13/98 (2 1/2 stars), as just three examples of very favorable yet generally fair reviews of "Ten Benny" or its former title, "Nothing To Lose".

I will admit, however, that this film will either be loved or despised, depending upon one's point-of-view or station in life. The film is intended for a mature audience, but not so old that they have forgotten what is is like to be young and reckless! The movie, "Ten Benny" is a lot of fun to watch, and sometimes it will make the audience squirm, but in the end it is a crowd pleaser.

No, it is not a big Hollywood production like "Titanic," there are no helicopter shots of couples dangling on the point of a great ship, but "Ten Benny" is a great Independent film, and a much better film than the shlock most of the big Hollywood studios serve.

If possible, FIND this film, VIEW this film, then DECIDE for yourself if you agree with me that "Ten Benny" rates a "10".
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10/10
ADRIEN BRODY IS SENSATIONAL - A MUST SEE MOVIE!
anna-7223 May 2003
This movie is a must see for the riveting performance of ADRIEN BRODY. Though the writing and directing may be average, keep in mind it was the first film for writer/director, ERIC BROSS. Bross does get better with age and experience. I enjoyed the performances of all the cast, however, I wish the character Mrs. Deturo, played by actress ANNA MANFREDI, would have had a more significant part. Whenever she appeared in a scene she lit up the room - She is talented, has star quality, is interesting, and I would like to see more of her in future films. So to sum it all up - - ADRIEN BRODY IS FANTASTIC and LET'S SEE MORE OF ANNA MANFREDI IN UPCOMING FILMS!!!

Mr. Bross would have been wise to utilize Ms. Manfredi in the party scene -developing her character and defining her as Joanne's mother - he neglected to develop a relationship between mother and daughter. (When you are wandering all around looking for your boyfriend, it is a knee jerk reaction to ask your mom if she has seen him when you walk right past her. Joanne never once talks to her mother or acknowledges her as her mother. This made the entire scene lacking in content. Bross has the party scene so cluttered with people that it is distracting from the events taking place, as if the party takes place in Grand Central rather than Mrs. Deturo's (Joanne's mother) home with a gathering of relatives.

One should never under-estimate the importance of a "mother" in developing a character. You learn early on that Ray, played by Brody, grew up without his mother who left when he was a child. This helps explain why Ray was so messed up. We completely lose all empathy for Joanne, played by Sybil Temchen, during this scene, as she is cold and menacing as she totally ignores her mother, played by Ms. Manfredi, as if the character is just a stranger amongst a bunch of strangers.
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Like dark chocolate -- bittersweet and satisfying.
pattyjones10 April 2003
This very underrated film was my first experience with the astoundingly talented Adrien Brody, and though the story is dark and unsettling, his performance makes up for a myriad of faults. The character of Ray is hard to like, but Brody makes him so human and recognizable he pulls you in and gets you rooting for him anyway. What is amazing is that he was all of 22 when he made this film. Do we have a new James Dean?
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7/10
the brilliant Brody
slystone6227 June 2000
A story you might have already heard is shot in the chest with a flash of something new and electric. That something is named Adrien Brody. After having seen his work in "The Thin Red Line" and particularly "Summer of Sam", it became a point to check for his name in conjunction with any new film being released. I had not been disappointed by any of his work when I first saw the film, and "Ten Benny" was no exception. Not the most original story, but definitely worth watching if for no other reason than Brody's fabulous turn as Ray, an addicted gambler who struggles with life, love, friends and finances. **** for Brody. *** Overall.
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