Brooklyn Rules is a mix of coming of age drama and typical mafia film- comparisons with such classics as Goodfellas, Once Upon A Time In America, and even The Godfather will inevitably be made. True, the film does try to be a lighter, more commercial, less complicated version of Goodfellas- with fewer characters, a simpler plot, and less violence and swearing. The opening scenes comprise of voiceovers by the main character, played by Freddie Prince Jr, as he tells us briefly about his childhood growing up in Brooklyn, his friends, and his experiences with the mafia- like Goodfellas. The movie is set in the eighties with music, clothes, and expressions of the era all handled authentically- like Goodfellas, different decade. There are sudden flashes of violence with traitors and shady characters all being punished in over the top fashion- just like Goodfellas. There is something wrong with a film with so many comparisons to Goodfellas, and this is perfectly watchable. It just feels at times that the film is not a whole- like it is a smaller part of a bigger film.
The film centres on three friends in Brooklyn, the seedy underbelly of a larger city which seems foreign to those on either side. Michael (Jr) wants to get out of Brooklyn by studying Law. Bobby (Jerry Ferrara) is an underachiever whose main concerns are saving every penny and looking after his girlfriend, all under the watchful eye of Our Lord. Carmine (Scott Cann) is enamoured with mob life, and against the advice of his friends begins to hang out with local mob king Caesar (Alec Baldwin). The acting is of high enough quality, though no-one stands out, and the only unconvincing relationship is between Michael and Mena Suvari’s character Ellen. There seems to be no reason for the pair to like each other, although the way their different backgrounds seem so alien to one another is interesting. Certain unfortunate incidents occur which unravel the story, but the ending (predictably cheesy) feels too sudden, like nothing has been resolved. Certain characters come in such a way that make the film feel rushed and unfinished.
The film is worth watching for fans of mob dramas, it is interesting, holds the attention, and is not particularly offensive. Most scenes of violence are off screen or not as brutal as other films of this kind. There are a few interesting moments and themes which could ha
ve been expanded upon, and a few characters who deserved more screen time, but overall this is a watchable smaller brother of much greater films.
Imagine Batman crossed with Johnny Depp and you’ll probably start crying. Beetlejuice has nothing to do with either of those things. It is a film starring Winny Roader, Michael Clayton, Billy Baldwin, and Macauley Culkin’s mum and of course Genie Davis. Genie and Billy have just moved into a scary looking haunted house in a small town. On the way to a shop their car is attacked by a dog and they drown. They die but as we all know when you die you become a ghost, or sometimes a zombie. It turns out though that there are rules, bureaucracy, and a whole new world (don’t you dare close your eyes!) of the undead. They are given a massive rulebook for ghosts called ‘The Unholy Bible’ which tells them their powers and responsibilities. It turns out that they can stay together, but that they are trapped within the confines of the walls of their house. If they step outside they’ll be eaten by a graboid. Where’s Steve Irwin when you need him! Just as they are getting used to this, a new family of yuppies decides to move in to the house and wreck everything. The ghosts begin to haunt, but they may need some help…
Help comes in the form of Buster Keaton. He plays a malevolent demon called Beetleguy, but if you say his name 3 times he turns into a bee and flies into your mouth. He specialises in ridding houses of pesky humeans, and will go to extreme lengths to achieve his goals such as making their trousers fall down in public. Genie and Billy give him the job but they realise he is too evil and wants to hurt the people. They have become fond of Winowner who plays their odd goth/emo/punk/metalhead/alt.country/hippy/weirdo/son/daughter, and who happens to be able to see the dead. Beetleguy wants to marry her and then do things to her so they all have to work together to stop him.
There is top class acting from everyone here, especially from Keats just one year before he dons the cape to become Clark Kent in Spiderman. He improvises many lines and shows his comedy stylings from his days as a comedian in such shows as T*A*X*I and mash. His most famous line is of course ‘Go ahead… make my day punk!’ but is also known for coming up with the popular phrase ‘I’m the ghost with some toast’. He has many monologues, talks into the camera and has a dolphin of a times, coming out with filthy gems like ‘Let’s turn on the juice and shake out our juice!’ when he sees a strip club has been built in his town. His chemistry with Winoprah is like Hydrochloric acid mixed with sulphur, but not as smelly- Betelguy: (after Lydia says his name three times) Time to playee!
Overall this is a mostly enjoyable film, but perhaps too scary for the younglings. It was certainly too scary for me. Good costumes, graphics, and music, featuring the classic Harry From Delmonte songs ‘Shake Manure Yeah’ and ‘Jump In The Lime’ as well as a useful score from long time Tim Bunion fan Danny ‘Elf’ Man.
Best Scene: When Beetleguy is annoying all the other dead guys so the voodoo lady sprinkles his head with dust until it grows and grows to the size of 8 heads. This makes me laugh every time I see it- (once)