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.
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
Shia LeBeouf and Channing Tatum only had one day to get to know each other, despite playing childhood friends. They decided to go out and get drunk on the streets of New York City. They remain good friends to this day. See more »
In the 1980s scenes the red hand/green walking person can be clearly seen at the street crossing, but in NYC at that time the older walk/don't walk signs were being used. See more »
A Painfully Self-Conscious Movie/Montiel's Precious Reminisce of a Film
Despite how emotionally charged and rawly personal the film feels, I could not help but think cynically almost the entire time. Becoming annoyed with myself, I began to wonder why, and I realized that it was because it is only one person's movie and nobody else's: the writer/ director Dito Montiel's. It is a self-congratulating piece of self-indulgent work from a self- obsessed filmmaker. The whole movie basks in Montiel's comfort with projecting his story like another angry, organic indie film about growing up in a quasi-criminal, wild, crowded environment in New York City, constant music, a subjective camera, as if it were this generation's Mean Streets. But it is a painfully self-conscious movie. It goes for accent on structure of story and style rather than the story itself, as we are made to pity and root for people not through the story's workings but the emotional door-banging of the film itself.
Montiel's precious reminisce of a film is one triumphant paradox. I felt aggravated by its preoccupation with itself, but those feelings were undercurrents as I was truly enthralled with the film. I did care about certain characters and I felt like jumping up and saying, "Bravo," for the performances given by Robert Downey, Jr. and Rosario Dawson, despite his spare screen time, as well as Shia LeBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, and Dianne Wiest. Montiel succeeds in ending the film in a way where we're shaking the residual effect for the rest of the day, and I'm not doubting that he has talent. If he'd realize that his compulsion with drawing attention to what kind of movie it is and how it is made is actually an obstruction in the way of his story, perhaps the way he wants his film to appear will happen more naturally.
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