Skip to main content

The King of Staten Island

Perhaps I can save you twenty dollars. This is my second review of a Pete Davidson film in a month. And I have a feeling that when I think back I’ll get the two confused. This one is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Davidson has already been typecast as a twenty-something stoner who lacks desire and direction. His current movie could be a sequel to his role in Big Time Adolescence, though that film ended lacking a sense of closure when it came to his main character. You mean he stays that way?

Yet I can’t help admiring his wit and real life achievements. How does an emotionally damaged, sickly looking twenty year old become a regular on Saturday Night Live? He has an endearing quality and an openness about his problems that makes you worry about him. Perhaps Ariana Grande thought she could fix him when they were briefly a couple.

Those qualities factor heavily into the character that has emerged in his two films to date. The latest, produced by Judd Apatow, who gave us Bridesmaids, Knocked Up, The Forty Year Old Virgin, Superbad and The Big Sick brought a level of raunchiness to modern movies that now seems normal.

Davidson plays Scott, an aspiring tattoo artist whose own body could be a sample book for tats. His fireman father died seventeen years earlier. It becomes clear that he draws his identity from that loss and has never fully grieved or moved on. Little sister is headed off to college, the pride of her family, and mother Marisa Tomei is left grieving and stuck in a home that is part shrine to the late husband and shelter for her floundering twenty-four year old son. When Mom begins dating again, the new family mobile is sent jangling and Scott is sent packing.

Scott’s delayed coming of age takes up the remainder of this overly long movie. Staten Island features prominently, both in the movie’s title and in conversation among the film’s desperate Millennials. But Scott is lost, chronologically and geographically, and in that respect the title is a misnomer.

There are some good laughs, Davidson style, throughout the film. There are also lots of uncomfortable moments thanks to Scott’s excessive truthfulness. But the film ends suddenly, as if to say, ok everything is better now, aaaannnd cut!

 

The King of Staten Island (2020) runs 2 hours, 16 minutes and is rated R.

Should I see this movie?  

Popular posts from this blog

Parasite

Honestly, are you at all reluctant to see movies with subtitles? I have to be in the right mood. They require a certain amount of mental work and you can’t look down at your popcorn for even a few seconds for fear of missing something. Our viewing of  Parasite  was at noon on a Saturday, since our very un-art-house Regal 16 apparently felt that two hours of precious screen time early in the day was all that could be spared for a film that doesn’t have star power, explosions or talking animals. And if  Parasite  had not been nominated for Best Picture it’s unlikely we would have been given any chance to see it at all. Metaphors abound, or are at least proclaimed to be in abundance by numerous characters in the opening scenes of  Parasite . One particular “Scholar’s Rock” continues to make appearances like the monolith in  2001: A Space Odyssey . It is a gift to the Kim family from Min, a friend of son “Kevin” who asks for a favor that sets the entire plot of the movie in motion.

1917

We have now seen the best movie of the year. It is April 6, 1917. The “War to end all wars” will rage on until the Treaty of Versailles is signed on November 11, 1918. Armistice Day commemorated that event until it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. This is a uniquely effective, immersive film, due to being filmed in a continuous single camera shot (technically, listed as edited to appear as one shot). Only at one point at about the mid point did the screen go black, allowing for a reset, but then continued on in single camera fashion to the end. The difficulty of doing this, both from a cinematography perspective, performance by the actors, staging, lighting and set construction are hard to conceive, but Sam Mendes pulled it all together in the best war movie since  Saving Private Ryan .  And perhaps this could have been called  Saving Lieutenant Blake . 1917  was filmed in the UK on April 1, 2019. Imagine rehearsing the entire two hour journey of two young British soldiers

Fantasy Island

Ultimately, this is the “Tattoo” origin story. It just takes far too long to find that out. This is a low budget reimagining of the 1978 TV show by the same name that ran for an unbelievable six years. Launching off of the even more unbelievable success of  The Love Boat’s  eventual ten years at sea, this represents a dry period in the history of television, despite the vast waters that surrounded each show. Both ran concurrently with the long-running comedy game show  Hollywood Squares . These were simpler times, and the shows all provided a home for minor celebrities of the day.   Mister Roarke is back, but instead of the suave and sophisticated Ricardo Montalban, we now have the rather sleepy and thuggish looking Michael Peña who has played Ponch in the movie version of CHIPS and Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena in the Netflix series Narcos. He does an adequate job with the script but is unconvincing as the docent of a living island with magical powers. He is clearly bored and