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Michael W. Watkins
Vicellous Reon Shannon
A bartender wants rid of an obnoxious drunk but not until the drunk has left a decent tip. So the bartender tells the story of two mobster families, the Minettis who work out of an Italian restaurant in the East San Fernando Valley, and the Mulroneys who work out of an Irish pub in the West San Fernando Valley. Mob war breaks out when one of the Minetti "boys" stiffs Big Paddy's daughter on her tip. We soon see why these hoods are called very mean men. Written by
Original script, great production values & fine performances.
This film is one of the most original I have seen lately. It simultaneously spoofs life in the LA suburbs, Hollywood culture and the modern mafia film genre.
The cast is loaded with heavyweights who lend legitimacy to what is otherwise a small, independent vanity project of Scott Baio's. Almost unrecognizable under his bleached buzz cut, Baio delivers a marvelously evil performance as Paulie Minetti, the boss' son.
Wisely, as producer Baio picked a script that allowed him to stretch his image but, did not require him to carry the picture. Instead, he surrounds himself with a menagerie of capable supporting actors. Ben Gazzara and Charles Durning legitimize the whole operation as the heads of the warring families.
Both mobs are stocked with quirky but memorable foot soldiers. Billy Drago is notably hilarious and creepy as Dante, the Minetti soldier who takes everything at face value. On the Mulroney payroll, Paul Gunning is deliciously dead-pan as "Coastal" Eddie, a hit man who is a bit too sensitive to the weather. Though these two stand out, the entire cast is solid and does great justice to this truly inspired script.
Terrific production values, including the award-winning editing, add just the right amount of polish to make this film something that should become an indie classic.
Although there are a few local references that might be lost on those unfamiliar with LA geography, all in all Very Mean Men is a very funny film.
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