7.0/10
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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

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2:28 | Trailer
The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, New York during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs, or in prison. He comes to believe he has been saved from their fates by various so-called saints.

Director:

Dito Montiel

Writers:

Dito Montiel (book), Dito Montiel
7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dianne Wiest ... Flori
Robert Downey Jr. ... Dito
Shia LaBeouf ... Young Dito
Melonie Diaz ... Young Laurie
Laila Liliana Garro ... Diane (as Julia Garro)
Eleonore Hendricks ... Jenny
Adam Scarimbolo ... Guiseppe
Peter Anthony Tambakis ... Young Nerf (as Peter Tambakis)
Channing Tatum ... Young Antonio
Anthony Tirado Anthony Tirado ... Street Corner Puerto Rican (credit only)
Erick Rosado Erick Rosado ... Puerto Rican Van Driver
Steve Payne Steve Payne ... Beach Chair Guy (as Steven Payne)
Chazz Palminteri ... Monty
Tibor Feldman ... Teacher
Martin Compston ... Mike O'Shea
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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Monti appears in a scene after the end credits. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Antonio beats the Reaper with a bat in the store you can see Listerine Pocketpacks breath strips which didn't come to the market until the 21st century. See more »

Quotes

Young Dito: My friend just got fucking shot. You don't know what's happening.
Monty: It's okay. It's okay. I'm your father. I love you. I'm your father.
Young Dito: [crying] When were you ever my father?
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

Native New Yorker
Written by Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer (as Sally Linzer)
Performed by Odyssey
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

User Reviews

 
"My name is Dito and I'm going to leave everyone in this film"
22 November 2006 | by Flagrant-BaronessaSee all my reviews

In this autobiographical coming-of-age piece, director Dito Montiel confronts his gritty past in Astoria, Queens. He tells the doomed story of a teenage boy who spends his days in the seedy hot crime-infested backstreets of 1980's New York City to the day when he leaves for California and does not return until twenty years later, when his father (Chazz Palminteri) is sick. The retelling is impressive and absorbing.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is bursting with the flair of a debut director, who is eager to employ a wide variety of techniques – steadicams, punctured narrative, flashbacks, script interjections, dreamlike non-chronological editing and an uneven pace. The good news is that it channels Spike Lee's criminal Queens street style with fast-paced local jargon that recycles 'fuck' in every sentence and snaps and crackles like kindling in a fireplace between its many thug-like characters. Owing to its coming-of-age format, the story often stays wildly unfocused and you get the feeling many scenes do not serve a purpose other than to get us a feel for the venality with which things were run.

Nevertheless, the characters are all absorbing, especially the young versions of Robert Downey Jr, Eric Roberts and Rosario Dawson. One of these is Antonio – a childhood friend of Dito's and local bully – who does wonderful improvisation-like raw lines. The vast contingent of American preeteen fangirls who were lusting after Channing Tatum after his cheesy teen movies had put me off this actor at first, but it cannot be denied that he gives one of the most intense performances in the film as Antonio – he is hard-edged, testosterone-fuelled and doomed. Robert Downey Jr. is remarkably toned down as the grown-up Dito, delivering sparse lines and abandoning his usual colourful style of acting.

Together the four Queens teens harass girls, beat up rival gangs, shoplift and give attitude to on-lookers and this is undoubtedly when it feels the most like Spike Lee Lite. Saints patiently crafts tension at several points in the story, and it prefers climaxes to continuity as bad events snowball into criminal messes, deaths and the final abandonment by Dito. A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is an interesting and compelling story, recreated with deft strokes by local Dito Montiel.

Sting and Trudi Styler loved the script so much they went to great lengths to support the production, and Chazz Palminteri delayed the shooting of another film of his with money out of his own pocket just to be able to play the bruised father in the film. These should serve as marks of its success and most of all the commitment with which its cast approached the film.

7.5 out of 10


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 October 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$94,784, 1 October 2006

Gross USA:

$517,809

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,035,468
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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