Saturday, October 01, 2005

"Carlito?" "Hello Gayle."

While looking through the New York Times, I saw an ad for a new movie. It was for Carlito's Way: Rise To Power (2005). I was really excited for about four hours. Reading up on it later that evening revealed that a lot of critics were placing it as average at best. And these were critics like me, critics who loved Carlito's Way (1993).

I had just broken up with a girlfriend and was looking for a way to busy my mind with anything but her. So to the movies I went. I saw that Al Pacino was in one of the choices and that was all that I needed. Paying my four or five bucks, I sat down to the story of Carlito Brigante. And I loved it. It was written by writer and Judge Edwin Torres. Brian DePalma directed and Al Pacino and Art Garfunkel, I mean Sean Penn starred.

It took care of my pain and took me to a world I am glad I only know through cinema. Drug dealers and murderers, people caught in a cycle of loyalty to miscreants. Pacino was the bad guy trying to go good. Freed from prison on a technicality, with the aid of his lawyer, Art Garfunkel, I mean Sean Penn, all he wanted to do was hustle up enough money to buy a car rental company in paradise. But Edwin Torres knew the reality all too well. Some people just aren't born into a life where you can just choose peace. Not if you want to live.

So anyway, I have loved this movie since its release. It's sexy, dangerous, and cool. And DePalma made what was probably an average movie into something that was fresh and fun. Now, the producer and longtime friend of Pacino has directed this prequel. From what I read, it's not all that great. Except for a limited run in a few big city theaters, it's straight to DVD. I'll catch it anyway, but the initial excitement has passed. And that could be the thing that saves it. My expectations have dropped, and now I am ready to be pleasantly surprised. Just the way the 1993 release became so much more than I required of it.

Oh, and since people tend to write about what they are listening to when blogging, I'll add that Yahoo Launchcast is now playing "Say Yes" by Elliott Smith. Nice surprise there, too. I haven't heard that song since the last time I saw Good Will Hunting. Man, I love that song!


Kleinheider said...

It's really amazing how good that movie is considering that Pacino looked and spoke about as Puerto Rican as me.

Scarface is a much better film but no Cuban in the world has ever talked like that, either. It's a testament to Pacino's acting that he can be so authentic while being, well, inauthentic.

Sean Penn's contribution was more than folks realize. Without Penn the movie could've come off real bad.

"You're not a lawyer anymore. You a gangster now. You on the other side. Whole new ball game. But you can't learn about it in school -- and you can't get a late start."

--Carlito Brigante

Chez Bez said...

Good point on the not-so-Puerto-Rican accent. Other actors must just go around shaking their heads saying, "that Pacino gets away with everything."

And I also noticed that I flubbed the quote in the title. Gayle calls him Charlie, not Carlito.

That reminds me of the Val Kilmer-Meg Ryan movie, The Doors. At one point in the movie, she turns to Val Kilmer's Jim Morrison and calls him Val instead of Jim. And it made the final cut. Good stuff.