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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  13 October 2006 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 20,871 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 82 user | 109 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Diane (as Julia Garro)
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Young Nerf (as Peter Tambakis)
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Anthony Tirado ...
Erick Rosado ...
Steve Payne ...
Beach Chair Guy (as Steven Payne)
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Storyline

Dito, a writer in L.A., goes home to Astoria, Queens, after a 15-year absence when his mother calls to say his father's ill. In a series of flashbacks we see the young Dito, his parents, his four closest friends, and his girl Laurie, as each tries to navigate family, race, loyalty, sex, coming of age, violence, and wanting out. A ball falls onto the subway tracks at a station, small things get out of hand. Can Dito go home again? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Queens, New York, 1986. Sometimes the only way forward, is back. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, sexuality, and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 October 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tus santos y tus demonios  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$94,784 (USA) (29 September 2006)

Gross:

$516,139 (USA) (17 November 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Dito (Shia LaBeouf) and Mike (Martin Compston) are talking about what music they should play, Mike says that they should sound like Black Flag or Major Conflict. Major Conflict is a NY hardcore band in which the director of the movie actually played when he was young. See more »

Goofs

Boom mic shadow in the 26th min on the lower right hand side of the screen, in the scene were the father beats Antionio. See more »

Quotes

Young Dito: My name is Dito... and I'm gonna leave everybody in this film.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, after the logo graveyard, there is a short bit with the real Monty. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.45 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby Come Back
Written by Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley
Performed by Player
Courtesy of Polydor Ltd. (UK)
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Emotionally honest
20 November 2006 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

What kind of writer reveals his troubled childhood, then directs a semi-autobiographical film about it, using a character with his own name? Bold, foolish or maybe both, that's exactly what Dito Montiel did.

Reminiscent of Larry Clark's Kids in Manhattan, it depicts adolescents growing up in a tough neighbourhood, in the borough of Queens. For some of these youth, the dangers lay not just on the streets, but also in their own homes. Dito only knew he had to get away.

At first the film is a little difficult to watch visually – the editing and hand-held camera are abrupt. As the film develops, and the story shifts into the present, it becomes evident that this was a deliberate device to depict the nature of recollection. As Dito makes the journey across the continent to visit the ill father he hasn't seen in 15 years, a montage of childhood memories flood his mind.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints at times is not an easy film to watch but is more accessible than Kids. Both films depict the dangers faced by adolescents. While Kids depicted the consequences of those dangers, this film portrays how one boy escapes from them, but ultimately needs to confront and reconcile his past.

The performances in the film are strong. The actors are all very credible. The dialogue is saturated with authenticity. Melonie Diaz, who previously appeared in Raising Victor Vargas, beautifully portrayed Dito's childhood girlfriend Laurie. Rosario Dawson plays the grown up Laurie, and incidentally made her film debut in Kids.

Producer Robert Downey Jr. who encouraged Montiel to make the film, was excellent in an understated role as the adult Dito. The transition of actors between 1986 and the present was depicted effectively. Special mention to Chazz Palminteri, who always has a strong but unforced screen presence.

A film made with a small budget, it pays off with a strong, emotionally powerful and worthwhile story. I was surprised how the emotional impact crept up towards the end, as Dito dealt with his past as best he could.

This film is highly recommended for those who enjoy human drama in shades of grey. There's no good guy/bad guy thing happening here. It's people dealing with the hand that destiny has given them, and trying to find their way. It is full of emotional honesty and plausibility that you can buy into. And don't leave until after the final credits.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
God DAMN. banditaxis06
Best Performance In This Film fallinep
WOW has everyone lost their mind?!?!?! capitalgreen99
A 1986 movie placed in the 1970's was distracting? esboat1
What was 'so moving' about this film? nazogrande
I grew up in astoria and know about these guys!!!!! gravy31104

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