Mambo Italiano=go see it!!!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by CraigL, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Saw this movie last night and the audience applauded at the end. People were rolling in the aisles and it's a damn great movie. Obviously the comparisons between it and "Big Fat Annoying Overhyped Movie" are inevitable but this one has a ton of heart and a group of loveable characters and very good actors.

    Go and see it...have a blast. It's a damn fun 90 minutes.
     
  2. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    Why some people have to tout their movie by putting down another (that many people really really liked) I'll never understand.

    Flies...honey...you know?
     
  3. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Umm...i'm confused.
    Exactly WHY aren't you going to see it?

    And i put down the other movie because I simply did not like it, DARLING. Guess i was mistaken in thinking this was a place to voice opinion.
     
  4. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  5. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the heads up, Craig! Wasn't even aware of this film.

    And thanks for the point of reference...I was also disappointed with MBFGW, so your comments give my interest in the foreign comedy/romance genre renewed vigor.

    I'll look forward to seeing this when it opens here in the Twin Cities on Oct. 3rd at the Uptown theatre.
     
  6. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Hey cool! There's already a thread for this movie! [​IMG]

    Short story, then you can stick around for my review if you like. [​IMG]

    I see a good percentage of my screenings with James Berardinelli sitting to my left. Please don't think I'm just dropping the name, cuz I ain't.

    So we're sitting there before a show a few months back and he asks me if I'd like to participate in a program called Talk Cinema. It's a program that travels from state to state and offers members the opportunity to see several foreign/indie movies a few weeks before their release. The screening is then followed by a presentation from a local film critic and a Q&A / Group Discussion about the movie.

    (Check out the website if it sounds like something you'd enjoy: www.talkcinema.com - It's the brainchild of Harlan Jacobson, who's a much more highly-respected film critic than I am.) [​IMG]

    Anyway, obviously I was interested in participating. So a few weeks back James tells me the movie we'll be watching/discussing is Bollywood/Hollywood. Hey, no prob! I saw that flick at the Philly Film Fest! But wait...I gotta fill 15 minutes before the "discussion portion"? Ruh-roh.

    Knowing next to nothing about Bollywood, I spent a whole lotta time researching and writing a speech. So then I show up yesterday morning all ready to roll, a bit nervous but also raring to go...and it's not Bollywood/Hollywood. We'll be watching Mambo Italiano! Someone's wires done got crossed and woe is Scott and his swanky speech!

    Now...realize that I spent probably 20-some hours working on that speech. And now I have 90 minutes to prepare something new. On a film I saw only 8 hours earlier. (I'd received a screener of the film...not knowing that the package had come from Harlan! How fortunate it was that I couldn't sleep the night before my presentation (yeah, a bit of nerves [​IMG] ) and decided to pop Mambo Italiano into my VCR!! With hindsight...WHEW!)

    So yeah...I scrabbled together a bunch of "presentation topics" and kinda flew by the seat of my pants. I have a little bit of experience speaking in front of groups, and once I got rolling with my patented Movie Blather, things were good.

    Moral of the Story: Never study, never prepare and never stress over assignments. The best work is always done under pressure. Maybe. That Bollywood/Hollywood speech was GOLDEN...and nobody will ever hear it. [​IMG]

    Fin.

    So I lied at the beginning; it wasn't at all a SHORT story. I hope that those who read this thread (all four of you) got a chuckle out of it. It was a fun stressful experience.
     
  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Mambo Italiano [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of 5


    Pundits claim that there's nothing new under the sun; that there are a relatively finite number of stories out there worth telling, and we've long since told them all by now. If this theory holds true, then the best that moviegoers can hope for is some simple breath of fresh life with each successive retelling. And that's pretty much what Mambo Italiano has to offer: a whole lot of familiar pieces, all glued together quite neatly and delivered in a funny, breezy package.

    Take the "insular and exaggerated culture clash" schpiel that was apparently (and rather mysteriously) so popular in last year's My Big Fat Greek Wedding and combine it with an indie-style "gay men dealing with the closet" comedy; whip 'em both into a fine paste and throw in a big dash of Franco-Canadianism...and this is the result: Mambo Italiano, a film that coasts over its shortcomings through sheer force of goodwill and a director who thankfully knows how to frame a gag.

    Our hero is Angelo, an charming-yet-nerdly Italian/Canadian guy who (in his early 20s) is coming to terms with his homosexuality. Aside from the manic and handwringing protests from his old-school-Italian Mama and Papa, Angelo seems to be acclimating to his discovery quite easily. That Angelo finds himself in a lusty affair with bestest childhood buddy Nino (the same guy who ignored Angelo all through high school) makes the transition even more comfortable...except for Mama & Papa and those goshdarned old-fashioned cultural values.

    Angelo's sister is quite helpful and somewhat understanding, but when the parents start devising a collection of schemes intended to turn him "straight" (with the canoodling assistance of Nino's keening mother), things go from sunshine to thundercloud in short order.

    Second feature from Emile Goudreault (Wedding Night) and based on Steve Galluccio's popular stage play, Mambo Italiano is to be commended for the light and refreshingly matter-of-fact tone it applies to the plight of culturally-beleaguered homosexuals. Plus it's quite funny. Much can be said for any film that tries to shine some mainstream light onto a subject generally discussed in hushed tones, but what's most impressive is that the filmmakers seem to be going for Romantic Comedy first - and Topical Issue Flick second or third. Much like last year's excellent Kissing Jessica Stein, Goudreault's comedy is not content to be pigeonholed as a "gay flick" but simply aspires to keep an audience laughing...while addressing its own agenda in the broadest and most accessible fashion.

    Luke Kirby (Lost and Delirious) is great as Angelo, bringing a Neighborhood Drinking Buddy attitude to a role that's trickier to pull off than the film's fluffy nature might imply. As Angelo's long-suffering Sicilian Mom & Pop, Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) and Mary Walsh (New Waterford Girl) are simply a whole lot of fun. Sure, Sorvino's accent wavers between the apt and the absurd at various points, but Mambo Italiano is so packed to the gills with intentionally broad caricatures that the lovable old guy fits right in. Walsh comes off like a funny Italian version of Joan Plowright while stealing a handful of scenes for her very own.

    It would be easy to dismiss Mambo Italiano as simply a Greek Wedding/Gay Issue/Italian Family amalgam - and in many ways that's obviously a fair assessment. But if you're going to offer the masses something that feels a whole lot like a bunch of other flicks out there, you should try to do it with some care, some craftsmanship and some sincerity. Despite its often-familiar trappings, Mambo Italiano delivers all three with impressive consistency.
     
  8. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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  9. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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  10. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Oddly enough, the song "Mambo Italiano" is (to the best of my recollection) not in the movie! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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