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This is a wonderful Ray Bradbury story. Four men who believe a special suit will change their lives, set upon a plan to purchase said suit, and it does. But is it because of the suit or because they mustered the courage to believe that the change was possible. The fifth man wonderfully played by Edward James Almos is content as he is but gets sucked into the plan and ends up changing in spite of himself. Sid Ceasar and Howard Morris, two fine actors from the golden age television play the shop owners who sell them the suit. Gregory Sierra is too fine for words. Joe Montagna is wonderful in this. Clifton Collings is adorable. And Esai Morales.......you have to rent "The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" another fine work with Esai. One critique. I am extremely frustrated and disappointed that there is no sound track for this or DVD. The opening song done in English and Spanish is a very fine piece and the songs sung my Esai Morales are very much worthy of a soundtrack. Someone really goofed on that one.
This gem of a movie only came to my attention because of a back-problem I
had suffered a couple of years ago. My Blockbuster store only had 2 copies
in, and they were way down on the bottom-most shelf. Since my back had
seized in more-or-less a bending stance, it was in the perfect position to
catch my eye, and is now one of my favourite films.
It's always great to see Gregory Sierra (Barney Miler, Soap) act, and his portrayal of urban-poet Villanazul illustrates the breadth of his stage and screen presence, most notable during the masterful recitation of his character's work.
Edward James Olmos is barely recognizable in the early parts of the film, hidden beneath the accumulated grime and stink of the vagrant Vamanos. But after the transformation of a bath, shave, haircut and the magic of the white suit, Vamanos shines as bright as any of the others on their best day.
The sequences focusing on Esai Morales, Joe Mantegna and Clifton Gonzales Gonzales round out the fun with music, comedy and a little bit of drama as Mantegna's Gomez struggles with his greed and the thought of betraying his friends. In the end, the suit works it's charm on his conscience and sentimentality.
This is one of the best films released in 98 in my opinion. Don't miss it...
I refuse to even contemplate living in a world in which Ray Bradbury does
not exist. For within Bradbury's mind resides an entire universe filled
with metaphor and dreams; galaxies teeming with life and love and poetry,
with tales told and untold of such things as this world has never known and
would never know, except for that magic that flows from his heart, through
his brain and out through his fingertips, where they are born on the keys of
his typewriter. And within that very same, ever fertile imagination, that
wellspring of creativity, the words were formed, in a rush! and a swirl!,
then tempered on Bradbury's mental forge of the fantastic, that ultimately
came together and burst! forth as `The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit,' a
transporting film directed by Stuart Gordon.
Gomez (Joe Mantegna) lives in the barrio; a poor man, except in spirit, for Gomez has dreams, ah, such dreams! of something better, of a better life, of the magic that can happen if you but want it badly enough and will it to! And Gomez knows how to make that magic happen. There is a store, a certain clothing store, and in the window there is a suit; not just any suit, but a magnificent white suit, as white as the clouds, as white as the snow that falls in the mountains. Oh, such a suit! The kind of a suit that can make the man who wears it anything he wants to be. And the price? The cost of this bottle holding a genie who can grant your every wish, your every desire? $100.00!
Gomez has $20.00...
But, he has a plan! If he can only find four others like himself-- others with dreams but no means-- and of equal size and weight (and, of course, $20.00), they could buy the suit together, and share the magic! Ah, such a plan for such a suit! For one day at a time, taking turns, they could each wear the magnificent suit that's as shiny and bright and as white as ice cream; and for a time be able to realize their dreams. And so, very quickly, or even sooner, at that very moment! Gomez puts his plan into action, driven on by the vision he holds in his mind's eye of himself, wearing that wonderful ice cream suit.
Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay for this film, which he adapted from his own play of the same title, and this is vintage Bradbury. Under the auspices of director Gordon, the film successfully captures the very essence of Bradbury the writer, Bradbury the poet, Bradbury the genius, Bradbury the beautiful dreamer; this man from Illinois, who walks with kings and dines with gods, and dares to dream such dreams. More than a film, this is a celebration of life; an acknowledgement of the joys of living, captured exuberantly in music and song, poetry, performance and, of course, in Bradbury's words-- those exquisite, noble, transcendent words, born of some special, personal, inner muse-- that flow so splendidly in time with the rhythm of his heart and conjure up the images of his singular vision. All of which Gordon manages to grasp, grab hold of and transfer so resplendently to the silver screen.
The performances are first rate, beginning with Mantegna as the indomitable Gomez, who believes he can rule the world when wearing that wonderful suit; Esai Morales, as Dominguez, who dreams of enchanting beautiful women with his music and songs, and knows he can with the suit; Gregory Sierra, as Villanazul, who looks to the suit for the words of hope and encouragement he can take to his people; Clifton Gonzalez-Gonzalez, as Martinez, hoping that the suit will attract the girl of his dreams; and Edward James Olmos, as Vamanos, who just wants to have a good time! Respectively, their portrayals are alive, and with their collective breath, they bring this film to life, as well.
The supporting cast includes Liz Torres (Ruby Escadrillo), Sid Caesar (Sid), Howard Morris (Leo), Lisa Vidal (Ramona), Mike Moroff (Toro) and Mercedes Ortega as the beautiful Celia Obregon. From the opening credits, awash with dazzling color and brilliant imagery, `The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit' is an exhilarating, unique treasure to be embraced with the heart; a masterpiece of delights to be watched again and again. And most importantly, it honors the man who created it all, Ray Bradbury; a man who is, himself, invested with the same kind of life and joy his film brings to the screen. It's a fitting tribute to the inimitable Bradbury, Purveyor of Happiness, Magistrate of Joy.
--Then through an open window blew the winds of night, and creatures, dark they were and golden-eyed; and calling to the Son of Kong they whispered `Something wicked this way comes!' And then, a sound of thunder! She rises! She rises! And from twenty thousand fathoms came the dragon, as if summoned by his master from the deeps; and the Man from Illinois held his sword above the crowd, the blue flame cracked and sparked and leapt into our bodies! then, `Farewell, my friends,' said he as on the dragon's back he mounted, `Live forever!' `Live forever!' Live forever...
(From the poem, `Bradbury,' by JH Clues)
I rate this one 10/10!
The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, from the magical opening credits, to the heart-warming end, holds your attention with humor and music. This movie has the heart and soul of an old-fashioned musical. This movie rates a 9 out of 10!
This film is one for the family. The characters are fully developed in a very short time. The writing is such that my family was very quickly caught up in the lives and dreams of these men. The acting is warm and honest. This movie stayed with me for awhile. It is magical and inventive. We loved it.
I had read a review of this movie otherwise I don't know that I would
have ever found it. I brought it home and put it on for my rather
critical 16 year old son and joy-loving 17 year old daughter, not
knowing what they would think. It was rather late at night and we
should have been heading to bed, but I threw this on and we were all
caught up in the story. My cynic I think enjoyed it even more than my
joy-lover, and I enjoyed both the movie and my kids' reactions to it.
I love these off-beat (so-called because they don't quite follow the Hollywood formulae) fun movies. And what a shock to see Olmos in such an unusual part! He was always so deadly serious in anything I'd seen him in before.
It was a really fun tale and I recommend it!
This little low-budget jewel should become a classic. It's fun, intelligent, and hilarious. Bravo!
I only came across this movie just 2 weeks ago. It was on the shelf of
Tower Records in a shopping mall here in Malaysia. I would say the
movie is quite good. Of course Joe Mantegna would look much better in
some gangster movie. heh.
Edward James Olmos which plays Vamanos is quite funny. To me he looks like a cross of many of the street bum we see in movies. But when he talks, i could swear he sounds like some Mexican pirate. hahaha.
The premise of the movie is quite simple. 4+1 guys pool their money to buy a suit. And then somehow their lives change or somewhat they change it. Thanks to the suit.
It does make the suit seem glorified. Oh yeah the suit would not be out of place in movies for portraying angels. Satin and white as Toyota super white II (a paint color). hahaha.
To me the movie seem to ask you that sometimes, you do need something to push you to your dreams and aspirations. The suit is a way these people. I think many people do too.
When they put the suit on, every fear is overcome. Every borders is crossed. Its almost like when a superhero is in costume! If i were to watch this movie like a reviewer, of course everything doesn't make sense. Everything is not polished and waxed like every movie i have seen. But i looks at it as a self enrichment movie. It is just a simple feel good movie.
By the time it ends, all i wish for is the five men achieves more for themselves than just that night and hour. Gracias!
In a time when Hollywood can't seem to come up with anything, but
rehashes trash that was trash before it was rehashed. Along comes a
short story and some creative direction. If it had a bigger budget I
think it could have hit 11 or 12. We had to track this one down and buy
it, one of the rare gems...just open your mind to the unorthodox and
enjoy Of course if you don't like ti your probably a republican. You
can tell the difference between a novel adapted from a short story and
one that has been created in committee in some room where people have
degrees in accounting and couldn't be creative unless they're preparing
something for the IRS. Edward James Olmos steals the show with an
outstanding performance, I never saw him coming, the ending is so
un-Hollywood as is the pace and creative direction this very low budget
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you haven't lived long enough to get to point in life where you wish
your life could change then this film is just a great comedy. But if
you have, then this film is great comedy, drama, social commentary, and
quality entertainment all in one.
Simple plot, five guys, four dreams, one suit. The suit is not magical; but, as a placebo the first four men gain the confidence to express themselves as they have always dreamed and their lives change. The last guy, Vamanos, (masterfully played by Olmos) doesn't have a dream as he was forced into the "suit-buying club". On Vamanos, the suit again becomes a catalyst for life changing events but it requires a lot of help from the first four men.
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