Release Date: September 29th, 2006 by First Look Media.
The Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, Melonie Diaz ,Martin Compston, Rosario Dawson, Eric Roberts, Adam Scarimbolo, Julia Garro, Peter Tambakis, Scott Campbell, Anthony De Sando, Eleonore Hendricks, George Di Cenzo.
Directed by Dito Montiel.
BASIC PREMISE: Dito (Downey, Jr.) recalls his rough childhood growing up in Astoria, New York in the 1980’s.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The film opens in 2005 when Dito gets a call from his mother (Wiest) to take care of his terminally-ill father (Palminteri) whom he hasn’t spoken to in 15 years. Back in the summer of 1986, Dito hangs out with local buddies Antonio (Tatum), Mike (Compston), Nerf (Tambakis) and Giuseppe (Scarimbolo). He falls in love with Laurie (Diaz) who reminds him to stay out of trouble, but he and his buddies occasionally end up in altercations with a violent Puerto Rican gang. All the performances are convincing, especially Shia LaBeouf as the young Dito. Dito loses touch with Laurie, but when they see each other 15 years later, she’s married with a son. At the same time, he tries to bond with his mother. Although it has tension, these 2005 scenes could have easily been in a separate movie because there’s enough going on in Dito’s childhood. This non-linear structure seems a bit distracting. Basically, it’s easier to care about Dito as a teenager than Dito as an adult. A scene when Dito’s father has a heart attack feels a bit awkwardly paced. Fortunately, the screenplay by writer/director Dito Montiel includes well-written dialogue so that the individual scenes feel natural. Also, convincing performances from each actor—young and old—help to make this a mildly engaging film that could have been more powerful.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The basic message is that at some point, you will have to come to terms with your past to move on with your life. Some people take a while to grow up and to learn to cherish their parents no matter what—that’s what unconditional love is all about in the first place.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A distracting non-linear structure.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Natural dialogue and convincing performances, but with a non-linear, unfocused plot structure.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (Matinee)
The "G" Menu