Piñero (2001) Poster

(2001)

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4/10
Disappointing
Theo Robertson1 August 2005
Poets ? They're a bit gay aren't they ? Usually they're middle class and middle aged and they get ripped off by scam merchants who post adverts saying " Send us your poetry submissions for our best selling anthology book of erotic poetry and don't forget to enclose $30 for administration costs " In short there's nothing less cool than poetry but Miguel Pinero made the genre cool , streetwise and sexy and he deserved a far better biopic than this

I'd never heard of the guy until I saw this movie . A remarkable life story of a man who spent time in the big house and soon achieved critical acclaim via his plays and poetry . He wrote a play called SHORT EYES set in a prison , a play that was turned into a film . Just out of curiosity I went to this site and looked it up . The phrase " short eyes " is American prison slang for a child molester the lowest of the low in any penal system . It's also a movie that IMDb reviewers have greatly praised . Now why did I have to visit this site to find out the remarkable story behind the making of the film ( Check out the trivia page on SHORT EYES - I guarantee you'll be amazed ) if I was watching a biopic on the play write behind it ?

By trying to show us how cool and streetwise the eponymous character is the director/screenwriter fails to show us anything about Miguel Pinero the man apart from that he swore and took a lot of drugs which hardly made him a unique individual . The story slips in time and space , from colour to monochrome and has characters appearing and disappearing in a haphazard manner . Miguel Pinero made poetry the new street culture and he probably deserved a better film telling his life story
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BRATT'S BEST YET
george.schmidt11 February 2002
PINERO (2001) *** Benjamin Bratt, Giancarlo Esposito, Mandy Patinkin, Talisa Soto, Michael Wright, Rita Moreno, Robert Klein, Fisher Stevens (cameo). Bratt shines as fiery Puerto Rican poet/artist/addict Miguel Pinero, whose stints behind bars led to a second life as a gadfly controversial Beat poet who became the underground artiste scene's cause celebre until his untimely yet doomed death at the age of forty to cirrhosis of the liver. (Dir: Leon Ichaso)
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4/10
Too much about too little
=G=19 July 2002
A tour de force by Bratt, "Pinero" tells the story of NYC dwelling drug addict, poet, jail bird, playwright, thief, and actor Miguel Pinero in a busy cacophony of sight and sound which trades kinetics and verve for content, clarity, and humanity. In short, the flick plays out like just another screwed up junkie artist bio which doesn't crawl into the Pinero head to flush out the questionable humanity of the enigmatic protagonist. A film with limited appeal, low entertainment value, and poor coherence. (D+)
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6/10
Seems to be missing something
rosscinema11 September 2002
As well acted as Pinero is I think their is a serious flaw in the film as we really do not find out why Pinero is so self destructive and cannot hold a job. We see in flashbacks that he was abused but thats only scratching the surface. Who was this guy? We really don't find out but Benjamin Bratt is excellent. A career changing performance. Also, I've always liked Michael Wright. He's been typecast to death and has done a lot of junk but I've never been disappointed by any performance he's given and he's good in this film as usual.
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2/10
Garbage
Cosmoeticadotcom15 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
MP, the man & the character in the film, was a loser from Day 1, who whined to be spared punishment for his sins because he was an artiste. Many gave him those breaks, which ironically just sped his path to a well-deserved oblivion, 1 this film should emulate. In fact, in the 10 or 15 minutes you've read reading this essay you probably know 10 times as much about Piñero- man & film- than the film says. While Leon Ichaso deserves a panning for his take with the film, in truth, the only vaguely interesting things about the real MP was his bad art & why it caught on (briefly & limitedly) & then disappeared- as a man he was a cipher, thus the film's worship of 'art' over humanity, not to mention its ridiculous conflation of import on MP by counterpointing the protagonist against documentary footage of celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Ayatollah Khomeini, & John Lennon). LI, however, failed to realize there was nothing to the art, to boot. Let me end this piece be reiterating that biopics need not be slavish to every dull detail of a person's life, but it cannot wantonly distort a person's life out of proportion with its reality. So, it's time someone finally told the truth about Piñero & the Nuyoricans.
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5/10
Pinero: A biographical film for those that do not suffer from epilepsy
film-critic7 April 2007
The work and art of Pinero inspired me – not this film. The confusing, and utterly diabolical frame shifts from black and white to grain to color to just about any other amateur film technique reminded me of my experience during "The Blair Witch Project". Using nonadhesive storytelling with a jumbled voice to the camera, one watching this may not make it to the end. I did, mainly due to the captivating work of one Benjamin Bratt – but I cannot give this film much more credit.

Let me state: Pinero is a genius. He work will be forever remembered. I just could not pull myself together for this film. I think over the past five years, or at least since the release of this film, the biographical film has grown to be a stronger production. Actors are willing awards for their work (i.e. Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy), and this film allowed Bratt to be better than I could have imagined, but it was the surroundings of this film that made me take a step back. To begin, the story was troubling. Pinero's life was not light, or one that will make children smile, but it did have its moments to shine. Director Leon Ichaso, I believe, understood Pinero's chaotic life, thus created a film with themes of the same chaos. The issue then becomes that it didn't translate well onto the screen. In one instance, we were captivated by Pinero's life behind bars, the next moment he is winning awards, then we are pushed back into his jail time. There was no consistency. We would have moments when we went from his accomplishments to his troubled times that happened in the past, to something in the future. This could have been a strong accomplishment to help accompany the work of Pinero, but instead what occurred was a jumbled mess of cinematic value in which our characters outside of Bratt become merely nameless shadows. Also, his poetry (due to the lacking cohesiveness) becomes less poignant. We see very little of his play "Short Eyes" and really how he drew his inspiration for this award winning work. Ichaso tried to be original with his direction, but it withdrew from Pinero, ultimately turning those casual viewers away from watching the life of a great poet.

As you watch this film, keep you eye on Bratt's honest moments. There are times that he fades in and out of Pinero, but he gives over 100% dedication to what Pinero represented. His performance is one that should have put him on a fast-track to being the next Brad Pitt, but I think what ultimately hurt his opportunity was the fuzzy direction and inconsistent camera (as discussed) of this film. He is the only character in this film. Ichaso attempts to bring the people from Pinero's life to screen, but since we jump sporadically throughout the hour and a half, we never quite know who these important assets were. The friend in the van, for example, I thought was a performer in the play. Who really was the man that he lived with? These questions could have been easily answered through dialog or perhaps an informative introduction, but instead Ichaso cut corners and just gave us names throughout the film. A possible strong opportunity again lost due to over-creativity. What really happened to Pinero and Sugar? That was a deep relationship that needed a further element – she was his muse...correct? With a straight forward bio-pic I shouldn't be asking these questions. Again, Pinero was phenomenal with his words, which wasn't accentuated enough. Ichaso could have taken lessons from a small film like "Lenny" which was able to use Bruce's words and story of his life cohesively.

The greatest element, for me, of this film was the ending. The poem about spreading his ashes through the Lower East Side made me want to read more of his poetry. It was such a powerful, yet flawed scene. I needed – wanted – to know more about the poets that were reading his work. Nonetheless, it was breathtaking. It showed the power of his words, and just a taste of how his influences now resonate throughout the hip-hop music genre. I was disappointed with this disc, because if offers nothing to really see the real Pinero. I was hoping for a bit of a "real life" biography, but nothing of the sort happened outside of Bratt speaking about how great this man was – which is not true. Pinero, as stated before, is a genius, but not a great man. His work was sometimes underscored by his addiction – imagine if he wasn't influenced by drugs ... hum ... would his work be as good?

Overall, I think this could have been a great film. I have no problems with independent cinema – or – about biographical films, but when you push too hard on one side, you sometimes loose the central focus. This was the case with "Pinero". Ichaso focused so heavily on making a cutting edge film that a good chunk of the story got muddled through the trenches. I wanted to know about Pinero, the struggling artist, not a confusing epileptic episode that was the final product. The characters got muddled in this mess, Bratt was the shining star, but that can be the only positive reaction one could have. The ending eerily reminded me of Depp's "Blow", but that could be a whole new conversation. I saw the angle that Ichaso was going, I just don't think the final product was put together very well. It seemed rushed and completely absurd at times.

Lower East Side

Grade: ** out of *****
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The music is very much a character in filmmaker Leon Ichaso's "Piñero"
ruby_fff10 February 2002
The film Piñero is poetry in itself. The film's music - the songs, the beat of the tunes, the score - is very much an integral character in the telling of the life and times of Miguel Piñero. It is really energetic in spite of the grim aspects of Piñero's life. Writer-director Leon Ichaso put together a structured montage of Piñero's biographic snapshots with his works: plays, TV dramas, poetry readings, intermingled with signs of the times of 60s, 70s news clips: Nixon stepping out of Air Force One, Reagan dodging his assassination attempt on his life, image of Ayatollah and political crowds.

A brief lifetime of 41 years (Piñero was born December 1946, died June 1988) delivered in a most artistic, poetic, and musical way with the right mix and pacing - almost too fast as Piñero himself disappeared as life ends. Yet it was probably a full life in spite of it all: had a tenacious nurturing single mother, streetwise boyhood with abuse experiences, drug addictions, a heavy smoker, a thief in and out of prison life, and a poet, playwright, actor, co-founder of the Nuyorican Poet's Café with dear friend Miguel Algarín. The film goes back and forwards between life on the streets, scenes in a prison, scenes on a stage, and poetry exchange on rooftops, to Piñero alone and with strangers (what would happen if he did get a kidney transplant?) To him, life is a stage, a play, a poem and very much vice versa.

Bravo to writer-director Leon Ichaso! Technically behind the scenes: film editor David Tedeschi - the exquisite seamless Black and White scenes immediately followed by color scenes and continuously in and out of color and B/W - it's amazing! Along with the selection of lively Latin songs and the film score by Kip Hanrahan, Claudio Chea's cinematography, no doubt, adds to this ensemble piece of work. The talented group of actors (with Giancarlo Esposito as Miguel Algarin, Talisa Soto as Sugar, Rita Moreno as Miguel's mother, Mandy Patinkin as Joe Papp) complement Benjamin Bratt's brilliant portrayal of Miguel Piñero - heart-warming in spite of the dark shades of Piñero's life. It's great to be able to see Bratt in a role that he can truly stretch and show his soulful acting.

I thoroughly appreciate the film in all its fullness - wholeness. Somehow reminds me of Clint Eastwood's "Bird" 1988 (also a brilliant portrayal by Forest Whitaker as Charlie Parker, with a memorable heart-wrenching performance from Diane Venora as Chan, Parker's wife), a hard medicine (not easy to swallow) film of a Jazz genius, also short-lived (born 1920, died 1955); 160 mins. long but worth seeing.
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4/10
"It's not like we go into the homes of the rich and we walk out with a silver ash tray. No, we go in, and we walk out with something better - their attention."
drewnes30 May 2021
This might've been too artsy for me. The story is good, but the storytelling jumps all over the place. It was cool seeing a bunch of unrecognizable actors that became big later on.
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6/10
Disappointing
bilahn22 April 2002
I had high expectatins for Pinero, being a big fan of Benjamin Pratt, and with recolations of the very good Before Night Falls, also about a HIspanic poet.

Pinero has much to recommend it, an interesting and creative cinematic style, and a no holes barred performance by Benjamin Bratt.

Unfortunately there isn't much of a story, and the Pinero character comes off as little more as a loose cannon, wise cracking motor mouth. There is very little depth here, and no real reason for me to be convinced that this guy was an important character. It just was not involving. In Before Night Falls the poetry was interwoven into an interesting narrative journey. Here it just seems like a series of poetry readings.

I am also reminded of the Bob Fosse's superb 1974 film "Lenny.", a movie so much richer in detail and story.

My own bias would dictate that more was made of Pinero's bisexuality. There is one very telling and amusing scene about this, and I did appreciate the love and affection displayed between Pinero and his friend at the end.

All in all, a worthy effort, but not all that I had hoped for.
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A really great performance by Bratt makes this gritty film one worth watching.
paul_supercala12 January 2002
Most movie-going audiences won't know who or what "Pinero" is. "Pinero" is the story of Puerto Rican-born icon Miguel Pinero, who came to fame in the 70s with his cutting edge poetry that many believe was the roots for rap and spoken word. That being said, the film is less of a biopic and more of a cut and paste story that flip-flops back and forth between different stages of the poet's life. Wonderfully portrayed by Benjamin Bratt ("Miss Congeniality"), he seems to have lived this character while filming. It may be hard for most to relate to his hard lifestyle but even with all of his faults and troubles, the character is likeable. Many people might liken Pinero to John Leguizamo, who happens to be a fan and an executive producer of the film. Many of the scenes are very intense, involving strong language, drug use, sexual content, and ideas that may shock some viewers. This is not a film for the kiddies, so don't bother bringing them. It's a very sad story, but very interesting at the same time. Director Leon Ichaso ("Hendrix") does a great job with the direction, including many standout flashback sequences. This might throw some viewers off and come across as "choppy", but really captures an artistic feel that fits the character. This promises to be one of the better films of the year and Bratt's performance deserves at least a nomination for Best Actor. As long as this sounds interesting to you, go and check this one out if you can find it somewhere. If you are offended easily, it might be best to sit this one out. Art house film lovers will eat this one up!
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Pretty good!
tbabe2918 February 2002
My sister is madly in love with Benjamin Bratt, so we high tailed it out to the city to see this flick when it finally came to our parts.

Benjamin Bratt was pretty darn good in this flick. I dug it. No complaints. It was just so sad to see how Pinero's life ended...but he seemed to want it that way. Artists seem to think that, unless they are suffering...their art is for nothing.

There might have been maybe two too obvious moments...but rather brief and not enough to ruin the honesty of the flick.
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8/10
Solid acting by Bratt et al
tommyg26 January 2002
When my friend asked after the screening, "Would you recommend this film?" I had to pause and think as my mind raced through a list of potential candidates. I ended up saying, "I really liked the film!" and reserved the answer to the question until later. This film is for the serious movie goer who has confidence to let the film pull the viewer along its path as things resolve themselves in the story. With competent direction, the characters and images mimic the story itself and add depth of our own emotion that matches that of Pinero's as he lived it.
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6/10
A great story, a great performance, an average movie.
Ham_and_Egger17 January 2006
They'd do well to replace the words 'Director's Cut' with 'Director's Slice'. I was fascinated by Miguel Piñero's life, inspired by his poems, and blown away by Benjamin Bratt's performance, but the director and editor conspired to mug an otherwise good movie.

Put simply, Leon Ichaso tried to use an "edgy" style to mimic Piñero's edgy life and it's agonizing to watch. I've come to accept the conceit of the fractured narrative, but I just can't stomach the unending jump-cuts, unnecessary camera refocusing, and worst of all the switches between professional-looking color film and the sort of push-button, digital, black & white that I associate with low-budget TV shows. If any of this was innovative I'd accept it as the director's prerogative, but even in 2001 it wasn't the least bit innovative.

As I said it is a good story and Bratt exceeded my expectations by a power of ten. I actually recommend 'Piñero' strongly, it's an enjoyable and worthwhile film that deserves to be seen. I just wonder what it could have been if MTV's shadow wasn't looming over it.
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2/10
Could see no reason...
JCBar29 March 2007
I was eager to see Pinero, liking the actor Benjamin Bratt. I thought it might be similar to other Hispanic themed films, like 'Before Night Falls', or 'The Sea Within' - both films that I enjoyed.

Unfortunately, that is not the case here. The film falls short on several levels. I thought Bratt overacted, more times coming off like a swaggering quasi-cool Hispanic Matthew McConaughey (and I don't think we need another one) rather than a 'street wise' urban poet.

His Pinero character does not have one shred of likability to him, and his art apparently does not age well, for I found the poetry he created somewhat shopworn. Like others, I could see no real reason that this guy was an important character or artist, or why exactly he was a 'New York sensation'.

The directing style was also confusing. It's probably just me, but I was sometimes not sure what decade I was in, what action was being 'staged', and what was actually happening in real time. This jump cut editing also seems a bit dated as well.

In short, I still like Benjamin Bratt (not that he needs an endorsement), but I did not find this to be a good film.
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A Well-Acted Biography, Worth Your Time
ktatlow24 July 2004
Wonderful photography and locations. Great acting performances all around, with a special shout-out to Rita Moreno. Soundtrack by Kip Hanrahan transcends all.

Whether you respect Pinero or not, it's a detailed, loving biography. I learned from it.

Would it be better in chronological sequence? So many films these days eschew chronology; I sometimes wish the DVDs would include multiple edits, including the director's edit, and a chronological edit.

If you like this, I'd strongly recommend Panic In Needle Park. PINP makes you interested in the (fictional) characters and their fate, whereas this (probably factual) film may leave you indifferent.

I saw it for free, from the public library.
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9/10
See it with an open mind
John-44227 September 2002
The critics generally were not kind to this film, but I submit that in most cases their middle class roots are showing. Anyone with a serious interest in urban America in the '70s should see it. The visual style is jagged and hyper but that fits the subject matter aptly. The effect on the viewer is you either pay attention or get lost. Also, this is clearly not a movie that's interested in creating a cardboard hero, but do we need another one of those? The filmmakers are keen on showing Puerto Rican influence on NY culture, an influence so deep that it's often ignored.

Benjamin Bratt did receive some kudos for his acting, but he deserved nominations. In the short documentary on the DVD, he mentions that in his teens he saw the film of "Short Eyes" and was frightened by the subject matter. He also mentions fear when offered the Pinero role, because he would be playing a real person. This must be one of the notable cases where an actor overcame some fear to turn in an astonishing portrait.

I hope I've suggested a few of the reasons to see this film. Among other things, it casts doubt on the mainstream as we've come to know it. Pinero would have liked that about it....
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Good Movie, not in a hollywood kind of way, though.
tylerbliss20 July 2002
This movie is a wonderful depiction of the artist. While I see how some could see him as a shallow a**hole, I think this actually gives his character more depth. While the hollywood frame work for great guys doesnt fit him, it does fit the more Kerouacesque model of post WWII existential fatalism. The shots were nice and the editting good in a pomo kind of way. While this movie isnt for anyone who saw titanic more than once, it is a wonderful retrospective of an artist and his face to face, 24/7 battle with death imbodied in love, for his people, his place, his friends, but unfortunatly not for his self.
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9/10
a genius
Pinbison1 May 2005
As a person of color who is also a SLAM Poet, i went to see this movie simply because Pinero was so very influential for the art form. His work is beautiful and truthful and often it is that which is killing us that inspires us to write. Bratt does a good job...initially it takes time to warm to his portrayal (his supermodel good looks)....but he does well. Well directed. Great badge of authenticity with other actors who lived through the time. A commendable attempt at production by John Leguizamo and company. If you really want to hear some beautiful, raw and real words, then this is the movie for you. If you are middle America, and unwilling to open your eyes to this world that is so very real and part of the fabric of America, then perhaps you should forget about it.
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3/10
Just not buying it!
method20025 March 2002
While I had the pleasure of seeing this film mere blocks away from the Nuyorican Cafe, I was crawling to escape the theater!

Benjamin Bratt certainly acts his heart out, and I applaud him for that, but it is hard to picture the supermodel-esque Bratt as the late poet/junkie/ex-con. This is a minor point, though. I was very disappointed with the music video style fast cuts and looping of time sequences. Often the camera never pauses long enough to leave an impact and let a character develop.

Also, I must confess, it is hard for me to separate the movie from my lack of respect for the "struggle" this man endured. Comments like "all people see us as is doormen, etc." is repeated a few times. While this can be true, how is that different than any other major immigrant group in history (each starts on the bottom and crawls up)? I think the scene in San Juan where a Puerto Rican man stands up and questions his "so-called" struggle says it all. Pinero's (movie) response is very weak.

I feel like parallels are being drawn to comparable figures in black-American history - it isn't apples-to-apples. Pinero was a troubled and gifted man, and was given opportunities that he squandered away. While the film mildly acknowledges that from time to time - the romantic "struggle" theme quickly swoops in and obliterates it!

I agree that every people needs a voice and Pinero was a very fascinating and influential one, but he should have been shown raw and non-romanticized, unlike this drivel. See "Short Eyes" if you want Pinero straight! See "Before Night Falls" if you want an un-romanticized struggle for artistic and political freedom.
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10/10
the best bio-pic I've ever seen
brunogerber14 December 2001
Benjamin Bratt shows great courage playing Puerto Rican poet Miguel Piñero with all the dark aspects of his character but managed to convince me with his brighter side as well. The movie is itself a piece of art, almost a poem, following the life of Piñero at New York's Lower East Side during the seventies and eighties. Piñero's poetry and writing made him famous - his plays were commercially successful and he wrote and acted for "Miami Vice" - and was essential for the rise of the "Nuyorican" culture. The cast is fabulous all the way, especially Giancarlo Esposito and Rita Moreno come across as tremendously warm hearted best friend and mother who won't give up on Miguel despite his difficult personality and way of life. The film was entirely shot in digital video, giving it a street style appearance and a great touch of reality. The time structure is challenging and the use of both black&white and color make it a visual treat. A MUST SEE and my favorite for next year's best actor academy award.
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10/10
His essence was beyond his worldly capabilities and he suffered for it.
pjlazic2 June 2004
I think Pinero (the film) is a credit to the filmmaker and a testament to Pinero himself. I did not know of him before I saw the film but was quickly drawn in to the world of a man suffering from the collective guilt of humanity. He is depicted as being every kind of being one could be, most importantly a truthful one. From this I believe he died. Not from drug use but by using himself as an example, with the results being painful enough for him to go to drugs in the first place. He had extreme vision and let people see it through sincere eyes, the trademark of a great artist. I see some reviews where people think the film goes off in all directions without covering the heart of who Pinero was. To this I do not agree. I think the film leaves a lot to the imagination while covering his vast personality (an excellent technique to keep the audience thinking). A mix between who he was, and what he wanted. Perfect for someone to be introduced to for the first time. Which is what I think Leon Ichase was trying to do, introduce Pinero to me. Thanks Leon. One of my favorite and most inspirational films.
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10/10
my top five movies of the year
daniella-310 December 2001
Pinero definitely makes it to my top five movies of the year 2001. It's one of the best movies I have seen. I completely dived into the story of this multifaceted artist who lived his live with drugs and poems, success and the streets of the Lower East Side.

Benjamin Bratt gives an astonishing performance - far off the "nice" characters he used to play. I completely bought into him being Pinero. I did not for one second think about him as Benjamin Bratt - he is Pinero with all his might.
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10/10
In a time when Hollywood's creations are lagging, Pinero is a refreshing change.
doughboy74225 February 2002
Pinero is, to put it quite simply, a brilliant film. The representation of the poet's tortured life by Leon Ichaso is nothing short of breath-taking. The disjointed chronology, the flashbacks, the constant juxtaposition of black and white and color film make this film really bring out the essence of the Pinero's life. Bratt does an excellent job of imitating the man, right down the New Yorkan accent, and I must say I'm a little disappointed that this film, and Bratt specifically, were not recognized more in the recent nominations. The "Search for a Cause" scene on the rooftop is one of the film's best, and really encapsulates the attitude and the general ambiance of the film. In a time when Hollywood's creations are lagging in creativity and spirit, this is a refreshing change. Thank you Ichaso, Bratt, and especially Miguel Pinero.
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1/10
Fragmented, favorable glorification of drug use and prison life.
ferndock27 July 2002
The film distractingly switches between black and white and color, as well as time. It goes from the present to the past, and back a number of times through the feature. We are shown how several individuals live in the drug environment(ending up in prison), getting the feeling we are to be sorry for the way they have lived their lives.

The dialogue is filled with four letter words. Maybe that's the language that is used in this community, but it seems to add little to the content of the story of this man's life.

If there is a message in this film, it's the wrong one. Drugs and prisons seem glorified and accepted as a way of life. We all have choices. The people depicted in this film, for the most part, made the wrong ones.
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Focuses on the less interesting part of the whole story.
janierocks26 February 2004
I'm not an expert on Pinero or even on the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. However, what I do know is that the Poets Cafe was the first place for Nuyoricans to really celebrate their experiences--of being caught between worlds, or traveling between them. Sure, the experience on the "Loisaida" often include the down and out, but the spirit of protest is a strong element in much of the poetry of this time, adding depth to the shopping lists of ways to survive on the street. Not all the poets had pathetic lives such as Pinero, either. This side of the Poets Cafe, and the poetry movement of the 70s/80s, is not evident in the film.

This said, the movie isn't really about the Poets Cafe. It's about Pinero. But if you're going to do a biography on someone who was so passionate, you're going to be tying together their personal conflicts and struggles with what they stood for, and I couldn't find much of this element in the movie. Instead, Pinero seems to undermine the fighting cause, if there is one presented here, with his attitude, which is most often driven by the search for (or coming down from) drugs. Okay, so he needs a liver, too, and his mother died. At least the film stops short of having him point fingers at those events as responsible for his behavior. Instead, he does the most damage to himself. But, as other commenters point out, you're left wondering why the tragedy was story-worthy, especially if you don't know the story of the Poets Cafe and how influential and popular it still is. If you know the story of his life, then I suppose it's nice to see it honored formally, but I think the movie cheapened it. If the failures of his life were a function of being nuyorican, tell us so. If they don't have anything to do with it, tell us how being nuyorican, or starting the poets cafe, didn't save him from his human weaknesses.

Excellent acting, strange production, nicely juxtaposed story line--though it jumps back and forth in time, it feels like a poem, and you experience the gist. It's the story that grated on me and left me curious--how DID he ever get the place started if he was such a "bad boy"?
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