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A Brooklyn nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody turns to organized crime: Will young male filmmakers never tire of the subject? Producer-writer-codirector William DeMeo stars as Angelo, an ambitious but directionless Bensonhurst native who, along with his younger, more level-headed brother, Paulie (Conor Dubin), works as a waiter at Monte's Italian restaurant....read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A Brooklyn nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody turns to organized crime: Will young male filmmakers never tire of the subject? Producer-writer-codirector William DeMeo stars as Angelo, an ambitious but directionless Bensonhurst native who, along with his younger, more level-headed brother, Paulie (Conor Dubin), works as a waiter at Monte's Italian restaurant. Angelo comes in late, slips checks past his boss and doesn't care when he and Paulie are finally fired — Angelo has his eyes set on bigger things. He gets the brilliant idea of setting up a local bookmaking operation with Paulie and their childhood friends Pete (Daniel Margotta) and Dom (John Palumbo); all they need is a customer base and $20 grand in cash to cover costs. After some scrambling and a disastrous start the illicit business begins to turn a profit, and Angelo cultivates a scary, mad dog persona in order to better convince losers to pay up. As business improves, Angelo and the boys horn in on the neighborhood numbers racket, but when Angelo attempts to expand his fledgling empire to include extortion, he finds himself treading on the toes of powerful mob kingpin Santo Minieri (Joe Viterelli). But rather than whacking Angelo, Santo takes a shine to the young entrepreneur and takes him under his wing, treating like him like a son. Unfortunately, Santo already has a son, volatile psychopath Vinny (Joseph D'Onofrio), who resents Angelo's currying favor with his father and is ready to do something about it. The whole history of gangster films, from LITTLE CAESAR to WHITE HEAT to MEAN STREETS, looms over this independent production, but DeMeo's real source of inspiration seems to be The Sopranos. But where that series acknowledged the contemporary limitations of the genre by rethinking the mob-movie as a family oriented Greek tragedy, DeMeo has few ideas on the subject. It opens with Angelo, Vinnie, Dom and Pete as kids, playing stickball on the streets of Brooklyn, and ends predictably with a bloodbath and an act of revenge. In between, DeMeo manages to squeeze in as many gangster clichés and Italian-American stereotypes as the running time will allow. That said, the film looks good, DeMeo certainly has presence and, aside from a few too many throwaway scenes involving Paulie and his girlfriend, Tammy (Sascha Knopf), it moves along at a decent clip. DeMeo is not without talent; he just needs better material.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Review: A Brooklyn nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody turns to organized crime: Will young male filmmakers never tire of the subject? Producer-writer-codirector William DeMeo stars as Angelo, an ambitious but directionless Bensonhurst native who, along with… (more)

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