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Friday, January 9, 2009

Adventures In Palookaville...


There was this guy that I used to date back in the day, Thomas Monagham (very Irish, right?). I use his real name, cause if he ever happens upon this blog I would be very glad to see/hear from him.

Anyway, Thomas and I met on the subway in New York. Actually he just really mashed on me and charmed me to death in just 5 minutes (till my stop), so I just had to see him at least one more time. He was an actor, and on our first date we went to a Greta Garbo Festival. I wasn't really into it at all at first, but then I actually really enjoyed it.

Thomas was always showing me new things in film, and he was very much the actor in style and looks in the vein of the holy covenant of the Mickey Rourke (when he was hot), Gary Oldman (when he was hot), Eric Roberts (when he was hot), and Sean Penn (when he was hot) mold, and he really exposed me to the works of all four actors. So when I saw 3 movies starring each one of them over the weekend, it led me to think of him and compelled me to post about them.


First up was "State Of Grace", which I had always mistakenly thought was a military film. Not at all. It's Penn as a deep undercover cop from Hell's Kitchen who comes back to his old neighborhood, with his old gangster cronies (including Gary Oldman), and basically has to be a rat fink.

Man, Sean used to be hot to death--I could see why Madonna married him. He wasn't handsome in the traditional sense, but the way he wore his hair, the way he dressed, even the way he smoked; his bad boy swagger was off the meters. The movie was pretty much a by numbers crime story, but Oldman and Penn are so charismatic it keeps you transfixed. There is a beautiful juxtaposition at the end between NY's famous St. Patrick's Day Parade, and Penn's bad ass high-noon style showdown, all in slo-mo. Rent it just to see that sequence alone.


I also rewatched "The Pope Of Greenwich Village", which I hadn't seen in years, starring Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts. For those of you that don't know, there was actually a time when Eric Roberts was a much bigger star than his sister, Julia Roberts. How the mighty have fallen. It was a bit distracting to look at him sometimes, cause they look so much alike, but I digress.

Rourke and Roberts are cousins that get fired from a restaurant for Roberts' stealing. Roberts, though a complete and total airhead, comes up with a scheme to rob a safe, which they find out (too late) belongs to a mobster.

This movie has been a fave for many cause the characters are so memorable, and it is a real slice of New York life in the 80's. I say see it if you like films about New York, mobsters, and lovable losers.



I saved the best for last, which is Mickey Rourke as "The Wrestler". Holee sh*t this man can act. If you didn't know it was Mickey, you would swear you were watching someone's life. Since this is a Black Cinema blog, I won't go on and on the way I'd like to about this film.

Suffice it to say that between Darren Aronofsky and Rourke, there can't help to be some amazing sh*t. There is a scene where Rourke begins work as a deli worker in a supermarket, and for the couple of minutes before he starts his very first shift, it is just as taught, anxiety ridden, and fraught with anticipation as when he goes into a ring for a match. If a movie can convey that linear polarity, you know you have something very special before you on the screen.


The commonality of these films was that in the working class tribes of the Irish and Italians hoods and the Wrestling World, being loyal and working together came first and foremost. Before anything. And having dreams, and seeing them slowly die, and coming to the harsh realization that you may actually live out your days as a loser, compels people to do extraordinary and desperate things--some good, but a lot of it...not so much.

Here is the trailer for State Of Grace:



And for "The Pope Of Greenwich Village":






ps: if you don't know the term "palookaville", ask an old new yorker

16 comments:

bluebird said...

I recorded State of Grace, and it has been chillin on my DVR for about a month so I need to go ahead and watch it. Haven't seen The Wrestler yet; it doesn't come out in the Midwest until January 23, but I'm hearing wonderful things about it. I say you should do a full review, even though it isn't a Black film. I'd like to know what you think...

*And on another note, Medicine for Melancholy was nominated for a few Independent Spirit Awards which is exciting, even though I haven't seen it yet...and I'm not sure when I'll be able to see it. But it's nice to see this movie gettin some love...

Undercover Black Man said...

Nice, IW. Each of these actors, in their flaming youth, went balls-to-the-wall... even if it was sometimes too much.

If you haven't seen Eric Roberts' breakthrough performance in "Star 80" lately, check it out. Amazing.

Marvalus said...

I'd like to hear what you think of "The Wrestler"...I have it on my radar to see...

Inda Lauryn said...

Seriously, you must be even more addicted to IFC than I am. If they show MILLER'S CROSSING one more time this month when I can see it, I'm going to burst with joy.

clnmike said...

I am looking foward to this movie Mickey Rourke has always been one of my favorites.

I hope this will kick off a good year for him.

SDG said...

I love all these actors especially in their hey days. I'm going to rent "The Pope" and "State of Grace". I haven't seen Pope in ages and State is a new one for me. Gary Oldman is That Dude! They are all fascinating, compelling and talented aren't they?

Oh man NY in the 80's. What a time to come of age. There are times when I miss it badly.

charcoalink said...

I saw the Wrestler at an advance screening in London in December.

Rourke killed that film and that role. I thought he was absolutely fantastic.

Sean Penn still has something about him that induces bad thoughts in me.

boris said...

i saw the wrestler as well and byyy god did he out do himself. mickey has aaalways been a hero of mine and hes probably the deebo of white people(hard man)

i thought the supermarket bit was one of the best parts. and SMH at aronofsky makin a black woman but fried chicken. he def got into the role. hes as convincing as heath ledger was

im a huuuge fan of aronofsky and hes def on another level. 'the fountain' is my fav by him. it was toooo deep for critics

and i loved how the wrestler was soo real. all the drugs, bleeding etc is real. some wrestling companies actually uses staplers and flourescent tubes...and worse shit too. and the blading u see is what ALL wrestlers do to make themselves bleed


PS: what has rourke done to himself. hes was pretty good lookin now hes meh

boris said...

apparently hes gonna be in some superhero film, cant remember which one. is it true

Jay Wilson said...

I've been a huge fan of Mick's since I saw Angel Heart, which I think is one of his finest roles (and overall one of the most slept on flicks around). Can't wait to see him mix it up in Iron Man 2!

Invisible Woman said...

@bluebird: mom was nominated? good news :-) let me know what your thoughts are on s.o.g.

@ubm: thanks! and thanks for linking me on your blog--don't think i don't notice ;o )

i did see star 80, years ago, but was probably too young to appreciate it (all i can really remember was the chair!) i have to rewatch...

@ms m.: i dunno--if i start with that, there would be too many i've left out, so i just stick with my theme. but is was awesome, real, and amazing; please see it!

@Inda Lauryn: i go in spurts with ifc...i go thru long stretches of not watching. i noticed on your blog that you like the onibaba director; just saw that and black cat for the first time last month...

@clnmike: please see and review on your blog--i'd love to read it!

Invisible Woman said...

@sdg: i miss those dudes being hot--no one is nearly as interesting in acting these days---i guess johnny depp comes closest.

btw--where the HECK is your new blog already, missy?!

@charcoalink: rourke was without a doubt fantastic.

regarding penn: it doesn't seem to take much to get you started these days young lady--lol!

@boris: nice gravatar :-)

you are too funny about the fried chicken thing--but i loved everything about those deli scenes. i must see the fountain...i've really been meaning to--but it seems so....serious. the new film is ironman 2--can't wait!

@jay: hey boy! where ya been? the combo of RDJ, Mickey, and Sam Rockwell makes my head almost pop off--haha

SDG said...

Palookaville is for losers, has beens, never been and never wills. It's a place you never want to be because there's no going back. It's like the roach motel. You check in and you don't check out.

Jay Wilson said...

Been good, been good! Working on selling my book (writing it was the main reason for abandoning supernegro), but returning to the blogosphere in a matte of weeks--good to see you're still going stong!

msladydeborah said...

Garbo was a true screen diva and lead an interesting life.

Mickey Rourke is one helluva an actor. He has really puzzled me by some of the career moves he made. But he has a strong screen presence in films. Even when the movie is not that good.

Sean Penn has really matured into a good actor as well. He has strong presence on the screen too.
He comes across as believable and likeable.

Invisible Woman said...

@sdg: you are a new yorker for sure, haha!

@jay: is your book ready? when it is, let me know so i can post about it---congrats!

@mslady: it's a shame--none of these new actors can measure up to even half of those dudes...