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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
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Index 87 reviews in total 

A modern American Graffiti

8/10
Author: tecnodata from Bhutan
15 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't really feel like a need to add a summary here. All the people who have seen the movie know the story already but I believe that there is a deeper meaning to it. Much as James Joyce's Ulysses has the same story as the Odyssey but it is adapted to early 20th century Dublin with a more syncopated, modern, staccato style so this modern days American Graffiti is based in Astoria in the '80s. I don't know if anybody read the movie the same way. It is basically the same story: some young boys dreaming of leaving the oppression of a place with no future. But only one will leave, the others will be condemned to a bleak, boring future of drugs and joblessness. Give or take something and allow for changes in time, attitude,culture and place this really is a modern days American Graffiti. Great movie. Intense and absorbing if not technically accomplished. it speaks even to people who don't know where Astoria is because it talks of problems we all are familiar with.

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our life walk with us

10/10
Author: Melissa Mendelson from United States
1 November 2009

The story of our lives begins in youth, and no matter how far we walk into time, those moments of our life walk with us. And hard choices will be made and never taken back, and we will struggle ahead, never knowing what lies down the road. And we will always look back to remember the ones that touched our lives, filled our soul with inspiration, and gave us the strength to continue on.

And the door to the past swings open, and we are led into the life of Dito Montiel. And through his pen do we witness a dramatic story of one living on the hard streets of Astoria, Queens, and as the camera rolls, we follow his journey from past to future. And with heart and soul do the actors bring characters to life, memories of those carried forever, and the depth of one revealing the fabric of his being, his definition echoes deep through the talented Robert Downey Jr . and Shia Labeouf. And inspiration meets us in the end, and love, friendship touches our heart. And the bitter sweetness of life are the tears that slide down our skin and fall like shooting stars across the night, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

no, no...sorry...it's just not what it shoulda' been...

5/10
Author: Sir Vertual (sirvertual) from ...waiting on the A-Train...In the rain...
21 January 2009

It's easy to see what they were shooting for and it coulda' been successful...BUT, it just fell short in several areas...several areas that when added up, make it a failure for the movie it was, coulda' been...a various mixture of issues...not just a single issue or even a couple, but several that definitely combine to throw this film a bit off track...and results in a theatre experience that leaves you with a series of let downs....too bad too...as it really could have been a good film experience...I almost feel like there may have been a little too much 'power' left to the actors, versus being directed to a cohesive finished product with a story told by one story-teller's view (an accomplished director)...instead, I feel like I was seeing each actors take on the film...without the direction that would have brought this film into a solid cohesive project...needless to say, I left feeling a bit underwhelmed at a story that was a bit too 'disjointed' to make it the success it really could have been...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ill-remembered youth

7/10
Author: paul2001sw-1 (paul2001sw@yahoo.co.uk) from Saffron Walden, UK
23 September 2008

Dito Montiel's semi-autobiographical film about growing up in the rough New York neighbourhood of Astoria is interestingly constructed, catching the flavour of remembered youth with a mixture of sentiment and revulsion. For those of us who have been unfortunate enough to see 'Transformers', the film offers the surprise discovery that Shia La Beouf can act; Chazz Palminteri, a mainstay of films of this sort, here resembles Richard Nixon, while there's also an authentic Glaswegian in the cast. The movie isn't bad, but watching it mostly made me glad of my own safe, middle-class upbringing, far away from the city's mean streets.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great movie, sure it was a great book!

8/10
Author: Molly from United States
20 July 2008

I enjoyed all of it (until the very end - and my only complaint then is the miscasting of Eric Roberts). Superb acting by all involved. Great role for Robert Downey Jr. and a nice grown-up role for Shia LaBeouf. It was a very true to life depiction of life in the city. Nice to see that all the families weren't "Beaver Cleaver" families. The character of Guiseppe was so sad and I saw his character's fate coming a mile away, at least some version of it. I thought Eric Roberts was miscast in the older version of Antonio. I thought that Antonio was only about 3 years oder than Dito, and there was only supposed to have been about 15 years that had passed. For such a small part, they should have done more age appropriate casting than Eric Roberts (or at least dyed his hair!) All in all, I thought it was a gritty, wonderful movie!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A film to make you think emotionally whether you like it or dislike it

5/10
Author: blairgallop7 from Australia
11 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A film that is gritty in nature and one that I may not have understood or fully appreciated,A Guide to Recognising Your Saints is a drama based on the self help book of the same name written by Dito Montiel who directed and written the screenplay to this film.It basically tells the story of Dito Montiel(played by rising star Shia Labeouf(Transformers and Disturbia) who plays the younger version and Robert Downey Jr.(Kiss Kiss,Bang Bang and Zodiac) who plays the adult version).He basically moved to Los Angeles for fifteen years after incidents that occur in Astoria,New York that affect Dito.Other cast members include Martin Compston who plays Dito's friend,Mike,Channing Tatum(Step Up,She's The Man) who plays Antonio,Dianne Wiest who plays Dito's mother,Flori and Chazz Palminteri who plays Dito's father,Monty. Though it is a film that makes me think about what happened in the film with emotion,there were a couple of moments that annoyed me.When Antonio's brother,Giuseppe(Adam Scarimbolo) is on the train tracks and doesn't move,I found the scene utterly stupid and when younger Dito is explaining that his friend,Mike, was murdered his father appeared to ignore him and not give a damn.A film that I like because it made me thing with emotion and dislike depending on scenes,cast members,etc.Still a good film in terms of writing and directing.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprising.. !

9/10
Author: Nick Willems from Netherlands
12 April 2008

I rented this movie and didn't expect anything of it, but the movie fascinated me right from the start. I was really impressed by this movie, most of all because of the great 80's raw & dirty atmosphere. The gritty streets and the typical cheap decor of Dito's parents' apartment. The sweaty characters with their dirty and cheap cloths. Touching sensitive moments as well as hard fighting scenes. The misunderstandings between Dito and his father.. Great casting, Shia LaBeouf is the prefect actor for Dito Jr. It reminded me of the "Kids" movie, but this time WITH a storyline. Right after I've seen this movie I went to IMDb website and I was quite surprised that the score for this movie was only a 7 out of 10. I think it's a great movie, I'm going to buy the DVD for sure!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gripping street struggle in the heart of Queens.

Author: Thomas Gill (t6tommy@aol.com) from United States
11 February 2008

Loved the movie and related to almost every character portrayed in it. I Agree with others that Channing Tatum who played Antonio was the finest of a cast of superb actors.

The movie is about escaping your environment or being swallowed up by it. Violence and racial tension were everyday components of this section of Queens in the 80's. Most of the time, people will not leave what is familiar to them. They grow comfortable with their surroundings, regardless of the destruction that goes on around them.

The hero of this film does leave. He goes to California and becomes apparently a successful writer. He doesn't return to Queens until nearly two decades later, to make peace with his ailing father. He also pays a visit to the penitentiary to visit his childhood friend Antonio.

If you like tough street kids coming of age movies, you must watch this one. If its not a classic, it certainly should be considered as one.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Very Good

8/10
Author: Michael Margetis (pmargetis@cox.net) from United States
21 November 2007

Dito: In the end - just like I said - I left everything, and everyone. But no one, no one has ever left me.

The story isn't groundbreaking or original, but it's well-written and interesting through-out. the acting is absolutely brilliant, everyone involved gives a first-rate performance. The biggest surprise is that the two best performances of the film co...(read more)me from Shia LeBeouf and Channing Tatum. Tatum is frightening as the incredibly racist and violent Antonio, and Shia LeBeouf gives what is without a doubt his best screen performance to date as Dito, the main character. I've always appreciated LeBeouf as an actor, but hated the films he was in. Holes, Battle of Shaker Heights, Disturbia? Come on, he's better than that! I recommend it if you don't mind kind of a sad but painfully realistic story and the f-word being spewed every three seconds. Literally, I don't think I've ever seen a movie with the f-word used as pervasively as it was in this. Grade: B+

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A surprise that blew me away

9/10
Author: shalevroy from United Kingdom
11 November 2007

Well...I picked up this film by accident in the DVD rentals. Never heard of it, didn't really feel like watching it, popped it in the DVD machine and BAM!!! I was blown away...

It's been so many years since I last enjoyed Robrt Downey Jr. in a movie that knowing he was in this film gave me all the more reasons to expect another flop.

But from the "get go" Robert was back to his best form as the older "Dito" and along with the rest of the perfectly selected cast they deliver the atmosphere, the sounds, the feel and almost the smell of Astoria N.Y in the 80's.

The most outstanding of the cast for me would have to be Chazz Palminteri, "Dito's" father. his portrayal of the very lonely, very simple and highly affectionate "Monty" is nothing short of brilliant.

A very dynamic, very rattling great movie, well worth your time!

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