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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Brooklyn Rules

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Judy Thorburn

"Brooklyn Rules" - Appealing Coming Of Age Drama That Befits A 'Prinze'

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"BROOKLYN RULES" - APPEALING COMING OF AGE DRAMA THAT BEFITS A 'PRINZE'

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Watching Brooklyn Rules I was reminded of that line from the Godfather movie, when Al Pacino as Michael Corleone says, and I may not have the exact quote, but it goes pretty much like this, “Every time I want to get out, they keep pulling me back in”. He was talking about his entrenched life as a Mafia kingpin. Surrounded by shady and dangerous characters, it was hard to break away from that which held a tight and controlling grip.

How does that relate to Brooklyn Rules? As the backdrop to the story, the Mob related mean streets of Brooklyn during John Gotti’s rise to power in the 1980’s comes into play as a strong and influential factor for three lifelong buddies who grew up in that environment and chose to take separate paths in life.

Scriptwriter Terrance Winter, whose resume includes visiting familiar territory in episodes he wrote for TV’s Soprano’s, gets more personal this time with a story based on himself and two of his best friends, Bobby Canzoneri and Chris Caldovino (who now an actor, is cast in this film as mob henchman Philly), although the “hardcore crime stuff” is fictionalized.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. (whose character is based on Winter) acts as the narrator and film’s anchor, a guy who aspires to get out of the hood and become a lawyer. Michael works as a meat store clerk on his home turf at night, and during the day attends college at Columbia in the city where he meets and falls for waspy Connecticut bred Ellen (Mena Suvari), a smart cookie who is attracted to Mike’s tall good looks and charming ways, but sees right through his wannabe Ivy League outward appearance to the soul of a slick con working his act.

Chubby, sweet natured, religious, and penny pinching Bobby, (Jerry Ferrara, of TVs’ Entourage) on the other hand, doesn’t have a thought about leaving the neighborhood where his parents still live. He simply wants to get a job in the post office, marry his longtime girlfriend, Ivy (Monica Keena) and settle down.

Carmine (Scott Caan, most recently seen in Oceans 13) is the vain, fashion conscious, hair obsessed, ladies man who also has no desire to leave the Brooklyn streets behind. Fascinated with mob life, he yearns to be one of the wiseguys, with the belief that it will gain him respect. With that in mind, he manages to get himself entangled with feared local mob captain, Caesar Manganaro (a scene stealing Alec Baldwin) a move that will bring about major repercussions and a tragedy involving the lives of all three friends.

What we have here are guys that appear opposite in almost every aspect, other than their Italian heritage and neighborhood upbringing. Yet, when they get together their powerful bond, shown through camaraderie, love, and respect for each other shines through, thanks to the actors’ superb chemistry and excellent performances. It is their relationship, so richly drawn with believable dialogue that is laced with wit and humor which makes their story so touching and compelling.

Freddie Prinze is the biggest surprise, deserving rightful praise for the first real dramatic role that he could sink his teeth into. I didn’t think he was capable of pulling it off. But he had me believing Mike had a mixture of street smarts and charm to be a player in a world far removed from Brooklyn. Adding more realism was the fact that his Brooklyn accent wasn’t over the top which would fit into his scheme of trying to pass as more refined, while keeping some of that edgy Brooklyn attitude.

Scott Caan is another actor who has come into his own with this part that shows his emotional depth like never before. Of course, in this role of Carmine he can’t help but evoke memories of his Dad, James’ portrayal of Sonny in the Godfather flicks. Add a pinch of Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero and Caan delivers his own defining charismatic take on Carmine.

I am not familiar with Jerry Ferrara’s role on Entourage, but his role of Bobby seems to be a natural and perfect fit for the Brooklyn born actor.

With all the crap that comes out of Hollywood, I can’t understand why this film, that finished shooting in 2004, was shelved up till now, three years later. More than the typical buddy, or gangster driven movie, Brooklyn Rules is an engaging film with lots of heart. I loved the sense of authenticity that prevails throughout the storyline. Director Michael Corrente (who helmed Federal Hill, of the same genre) stayed true to Winter’s vision with a strong connection and feel for the story, and it shows.

You don’t have to be from Brooklyn to understand deeply rooted feelings of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. The great collaboration of writer, director and the film’s stars brings it home and hits us where we all live.