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
Robert Downey, Jr. had originally planned to direct the film himself. But in the four years of pre-production, he became busy with various other projects. Eventually Dito Montiel decided to direct, despite having only made a couple of short films beforehand. Robert Downey, Jr. remained on as a Producer. See more »
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 »
I liked the direction and acting better than the screenplay, although Dito Montiel has written a very moving story. His use of different styles and techniques- most of which came from him just experimenting or not really knowing what "to do"- are at first somewhat jarring, but grow to fit the fractured lives of his characters perfectly. This movie is not for everybody, but should be seen by anyone who is despairing of the state of American Independent movies. And the cast- truly brilliant. Pros like Dianne Weist (she can truly do no wrong, and her character would be so weak in a lesser actor's hands) and Chazz Palminteri are mixed with relative newcomers and complete unknowns that Montiel picked up in casting sessions out in Queens. For me, the whole movie was worth seeing Channing Tatum, however. He is heartbreaking and scary and full of explosive energy. The screen can barely contain him. One of the best movies I've seen in quite awhile.
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