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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  13 October 2006 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 21,440 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 86 user | 111 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:

In the end, he left everyone and everything... but no one really left him. 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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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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of George DiCenzo. See more »

Goofs

When Antonio attacks Reaper in the convenience store, it is night time. Immediately after this happens, Dito and Mike go to Frank's apartment. The lighting and view outside the windows make it obvious that it is daytime when they are at Frank's, but as soon as they leave, it is nighttime again. See more »

Quotes

Guiseppe: [after walking in on Antonio and Jenny having sex] Hell yea - when can I get in on that shit?
Jenny: Fuck off, Guiseppe.
Guiseppe: All I'm sayin' is that if I was an ugly bitch and two hot dudes like us wanted to fuck me, I'd be into it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Images of all the main actors are shown as the credits begin. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 21 October 2006 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Welcome Back
Written and Performed by John Sebastian
Courtesy of John Sebastian Music
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User Reviews

 
One of the True Sleepers of the Year
27 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS may not be on everyone's list of great films of 2006 but it most assuredly should be. In a time when the bulk of films that come across the marquis are empty headed fluff (with of course notable exceptions), little films like this autobiographical coming of age story in Queens in the 1980s by the accomplished yet very humble Dito Montiel make an initial impact on the viewer, then hang around the psyche with memories of cinematic moments as well as fresh looks at our own lives like few other films can achieve.

Dito Montiel wrote his memoir, adapted it for the screen and directed it, each step being a first one for this very talented young man. His story on the surface is simple: a childhood and coming of age of Dito and his friends as they face the crime and drugs and love affairs and deaths of living in the line of poverty. Dito (an astonishingly fine Shia LaBeouf) has a cadre of friends that include Scottish Mike (Martin Compston), crazy Nerf (Peter Anthony Tambakis), firebrand Antonio (Channing Tatum in yet another fiery and sensitive performance), Antonio's unfortunate brother Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), and girls Laurie (Melonie Diaz) and Diane (Julia Garro). The boys face gang trouble with the Puerto Rican gang Reapers, parental abuse as in Antonio's father (Federico Castelluccio), parental love as with Dito's parents Monty (Chazz Palminteri) and Flori (Dianne Wiest).

As their world in Queens comes tumbling down with tragic consequences Dito decides to leave for California. And leave he does, not returning for twenty years to the place where he successfully survived a childhood due to the 'saints' he didn't recognize until the father with whom he has not communicated in the interim has reached his end. The past and the present are woven together throughout the film with the flash forward, flash back sequences: the older successful writer Dito is played by Robert Downey, Jr.; Antonio (imprisoned for his beating death of the head of the Reapers) is Eric Roberts; Laurie now married is Rosario Dawson; Nerf now is Scott Michael Campbell: and Dito's parents remain makeup-aged Palminteri and Wiest. It is this blend of the past as revealed by the present that makes Montiel's film work so well. They manner in which he creates the magic of near extemporaneous speech with this amazing cast creates a sense of grit, verismo, and profound love and loss. Conversations such as the ones between little Dito and Monty, between the mature Dito and Flori and Lauri and Antonio

  • all are minor miracles of writing and acting. Montiel may be a first


time director but he has drawn some of the finest work ever from Palminteri, Wiest, Downey, Dawson, Tatum, Roberts and LaBoeuf.

For those who have read Montiel's book by the same name, the time Dito spent in East Village and his fame as a Calvin Klein underwear model will seem painfully missing. But Montiel has extracted the essence of a boy growing out of his environment with the help of his unknown saints, condensed the action, and told the story in a magical way - a way that is sure to drive into the gut and heart of every sensitive viewer. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp


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