Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
Given the budget limitations ($80,000), "Spanking the Monkey" manages
to hold interest albeit with some poorly chosen scenes.
The core of the movie is the relationship between mother and son. The rest of the cast exists to point the way to the inevitable.
The philandering, materialistic, self absorbed husband/father illuminates the barren marriage.
The fumbling sexual attempts of the son with the girl next door and her contradictory accusations of his sexual attempts as either too rough or not rough enough (gay), understandably confuse the son and provide the mother with a mentoring, nurturing sexual role for her son about how to sexually succeed with women.
The mother, stumbling upon a bedroom sexual session between the son and the girl next door, reacts more in jealousy than in any maternally disproving fashion.
The mother's flirtatious ways with the male neighbors, doctors, and ultimately with the girl next door's father point out that while she may be her son's mother, she is still a very desirable woman in the eyes of the rest of the male world.
From the beginning through the end, you never believe the son and mother ever had a mother/child bonding. Both of them are intellectually superior, highly educated. The mother was young when she gave birth and she thinks of herself as her son's educational, intellectual and ultimately sexual mentor, not his mother.
The teenage son's inability to "spank his monkey" combined with the boredom, liquor and medications downed by his mother provide the explosive elements that are just waiting to be lit. The mother's seductive smile and a slight hiking of her nightgown set off the explosion.
This movie is nowhere near perfect, but it's compelling enough to let you sit through the unnecessary (e.g. stoner friends) and that's a lot more than you can say for most movies with a budget that is a thousand times greater.
We've come to expect action in our crime sagas with the bar being set
by The Godfather, Goodfellas, and more recently The Departed (set in
the same milieu and locale as The Friends of Eddie Coyle). Any viewer
bringing those expectations to this movie will be sorely disappointed.
If you can put those expectations aside, it's easier to appreciate one of Robert Mitchum's best performances, ably abetted by the supporting performances Richard Jordan, Peter Boyle, and Alex Rocco.
Boston and it's nearby environs provide authentic locations and allow viewers to observe the non-glorified day to day world of blue collar, working class, low level criminals and the equally morally nebulous law enforcement community who co-exist in their world.
Similar to The Departed, there are no "good guys" and no sympathetic bad guys to root for or against. The movie depicts a true-to-life desperate world of survival through betrayals in the lower echelons of organized crime.
If you've ever enjoyed a Robert Mitchum movie, then watch The Friends of Eddie Coyle to see perhaps his best performance.
I grew up in the Metro New York area during the do wop period in rock
and roll so I know the music well. I've also been acquainted with some
"one hit wonders" living in serene obscurity. I discovered I was living
next door to the lead singer of a do wop group with a very big hit
record for fifteen years only after another neighbor mentioned it to me
This small budget movie was written, directed and acted by people who know the territory. The cast is uniformly excellent with Armand Assante, Diane Venora, Edoardo Ballerini, Christy Carlson Romano and Joe Grifaci leading the way.
Shot on locations around Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge in Diners, Taverns, Wedding Halls and under the Verrazano Bridge, the film captures the sense of the Italian Irish Brooklyn that predominated in the late 50's and early 60's and lives on today in small enclaves.
Kenny Vance from Jay and the Americans wrote the title song and did the vocals for "Vinnie". A small quibble about the music: the big hit from the fictional Vinnie and the Dreamers was "This I Swear", a bona fide hit for the real life "Skyliners". It might have worked better if they had picked a more obscure song from that era.
One notable attribute about the "one hit wonder" from the 50's and 60's that I personally know and the way he is accurately portrayed by Armand Assante is how easily they took their "15 minutes of fame" and moved on to mundane lives as cops, teachers, bartenders, etc. The groups of that era were financially ripped off and rarely got any significant money. This is a stark contrast to today's reality show contestants who get agents and linger on the fringes as long as they can.
Bottom line: this movie was made by people who cared.
"They don't make movies like this anymore" is the usual phrase heard
about classic movies. More appropriately "They CAN'T make a movie like
this anymore" applies to "The Quiet Man".
John Ford directed John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in a number of classic unforgettable Westerns with a familiar supporting cast including Ward Bond, Victor McLaughlin, Mildred Natwick and other pros. "The Quiet Man" moves these familiar icons from the post Civil War American West to the post World War II rural Ireland.
You don't have to be Irish to appreciate the visual beauty of the Irish countryside and villages or the beauty of Maureen O'Hara, but your appreciation of the story is enhanced if you know something about the unique Irish culture.
Ireland and America have been tightly bonded from the earliest Colonial Days of America and are permanently intertwined since the Potato Famine of the 1840's sent tens of millions of immigrants to populate the vast U.S.
John Ford perfectly casts John Wayne as the Irish born, U.S. raised troubled ex-boxer returning to his birthplace and Maureen O'Hara as the Irish beauty . The rest of the lovingly assembled cast contains mostly familiar faces in supporting roles.
The script covers vast ground in a mostly light-hearted manner. The story plays like most John Ford/John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movies as one step larger than life.
It's clear that everyone appearing in this movie LOVES being in the movie. Maureen O'Hara never looked more beautiful and thrives as the woman in the middle between two warring men, her brother (Victor McLauglin) and her suitor (John Wayne).
The over-the-top village to village brawl between John Wayne and Victor McLaughlin is hilarious and ultimately warm hearted. It sums up the strange Irish notion that you have to physically pummel a man before you can have his friendship and respect.
There are big scenes and little scenes, but every scene is a delight.
This is a movie that can't and won't ever be made again. It's a movie that everyone should enjoy.
The premise the United States being invaded by conventional war in the
20th or 21st Century is fascinating. The last foreign country to invade
the United States was Britain in the War of 1812. There have been
numerous movies made about the U.S. involved in nuclear war, or invaded
by space aliens, but none have portrayed how a conventional war might
be waged on American soil by foreign countries.
"Red Dawn" is a product of it's time (1980's), depicting the enemy as Russian, Cuban and Nicaraguans. The movie itself focuses on a group of teenagers in a rural isolated area in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. The cast, including Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell are earnest enough and the action sequences are good enough to keep you watching.
From a 2004 perspective, looking forward over the next 50 years, it's possible to construct a scenario where nuclear weapons have been banned, and global warming creates food and water shortages leaving the United States ripe for a conventional invasion by hugely populated foreign countries (China, Latin America). A remake of "Red Dawn" focusing on a near future invasion by China fighting through California and urban warfare through the cities of the Northeast is a movie I'd pay to see.
In the end, "Red Dawn" gets credit for stimulating the imagination and will hopefully give birth to a similar premised movie of the future.
This is the rare golden nugget found while panning through 150 channel
steams of cable TV. No mega stars, no explosions, no big budget. It
wasn't at the multiplex and it wasn't a hot topic around the water
A 30 something auto mechanic in Columbus, Ohio is struggling to raise his 9 year old daughter several years after losing his wife in a car accident. A local legend for his baseball prowess he is struggling to tone down his macho ways to be both father and mother to his daughter.
His daughter is everything to him and his sacrifice of a promising minor league career with the Yankee Triple A Columbus Clippers to be there for her shows his priorities are in order.
A somewhat older next door spinster aching for love and family offers to provide the daughter with the lacking feminine touches. The contest between the father and the neighbor pit nice people against each other trying to help a 9 year old girl.
The neighbor picks up the slack taking care of the daughter, giving dad another shot at baseball and slowly awakening to the interest of a pretty divorced mom who idolized him in high school.
The slow evolution of father, daughter, neighbor supported by a small but significant cast and the script's warmth without wallowing make this movie work on several levels.