Film Reviews

STATEN ISLAND SUMMER

By • Jul 30th, 2015 •

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40.6069° N, 74.1301° W: The coordinates for Staten Island, New York are far more captivating than this stinkfest. Add STATEN ISLAND SUMMER to the pile of manure that Saturday Night Live cast members are capable of defecating onto our screens. While subjecting myself to this odious cinematic waste it surfaced memories of years ago when the putrid stench of the dump known as the Fresh Kills Landfill permeated the air.

In 1967, Martin Scorsese’s directorial debut, WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR, introduced the world to the little known island that was a stranger to the other four boroughs of which it is part. With the introduction of the Verrazano – Narrows Bridge (an overpriced toll that disrespectfully misspells Giovanni da Verrazzano’s name), a mass migration to the island brought an influx of trash (people included) with little regard for planning as the “forgotten borough” became overrun with shoddy housing that once placed Staten Island as number one in the country with the worst contractors. This dumbass CADDYSHACK wannabe ripoff, STATEN ISLAND SUMMER perpetuates the lowbrow image of an island besieged and plagued. The landfill has been closed so there is no need to link any more garbage to Staten Island.

This film is only worth mentioning since it continues the somewhat unjust defamation of an island which once was home to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Antonio Meucci, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Prescott Bush, and Herman Melville. There are better stories to be told about the Dutch settlement of Staaten Eylandt. An important meeting between the British and Benjamin Franklin and John Adams took place in the area known as Tottenville. John Lennon strolled its beaches, Paul McCartney bought instruments there, and Keith Richards stayed awhile. It’s the birthplace of The New York Dolls and Wu-Tang Clan. Yet, it will be remembered for societal vermin like Mob Wives and the cast of The Jersey Shore.

However, corruption has long been synonymous with Staten Island, which is an engaging topic, notably the Mafia. Many Mafioso figures have made it their place of residence. Ironically, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano lived in the area known as Bull’s Head and the godfather of the Gambino crime family, Carlo Gambino, lived atop Todt Hill – the Dutch word for death. Francis Ford Coppola’s GODFATHER used various location including a home in Emerson Hill as Don Corleone’s residence and Mount Loretto, the church where Michael Corleone becomes godfather. Scorsese, who has family on the island, set up his cameras to shoot scenes for GOODFELLAS.

Returning to the Rhys Thomas’ film that is categorized under the genre of drivel, it is amazing that the credits list an army of crew who toiled to make such mediocrity. The question arises as to why the talents of Gina Gershon and Fred Armisen appear in this film. Is Lorne Michaels a revered man in the industry for whom actors are forever grateful and wish to offer their services no matter the critical consequences? Or is it something sinister of Illuminati proportions?

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