Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Bronx Tale

A Bronx Tale
Showtime viewing

I don't know much about the Boogie Down Bronx. I hardly ever go there, for one thing. To get there, I'd have to either go through Manhattan or take a really long bus ride. Even if I were to go there, I wouldn't know where to go besides the spots everyone knows: the Zoo, Y-nk-- Stadium, the Botanical Gardens.

I don't have many friends who live there, either. Andi does. John used to live there, before I met him in high school. Jen is from there, too. In fact, when she first met her husband Alex, it was a bonding thing for them. He's also from the Bronx, and he's very proud of his old neighborhood.

City Island is considered part of the Bronx. You may remember I was part of a gallery exhibit there several years ago. It's nice. It's kinda like a New England fishing town. A few hours there and you can easily forget you're still in New York City. They have a great ice cream parlor, too. I wouldn't want to live there, though. It's a bit too far away from the city proper for my taste.

The Bronx of A Bronx Tale is of the 60s. I like that Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri didn't sugarcoat the period. They present the bad alongside the good. Sonny may be a mobster, a killer of men, but he cares for Calogero, in his own way. Cee's father Lorenzo may try to do right by his son, but he's not exactly comfortable with Cee dating Jane, a black girl.

Cee has to find a middle ground between these two extremes, one that works for him. In the end, he does, but at a price. Such ambiguous characters strengthen this story and make it compelling to watch.

I knew Chazz wrote the play upon which the movie, and subsequent Broadway musical, is based. I suspected it was semi-autobiographical. I did not know it was a one-man show. The idea of such performances amaze me. Does the performer converse with themselves on stage, or is it a series of extended monologues, or what? I suppose it depends on who does it and how. I wouldn't know how to write something like that. Chazz, apparently, did it without any playwriting experience. That's impressive.

De Niro has only directed one other film in his long and celebrated career, the 2006 CIA thriller The Good Shepherd. That strikes me as a bit surprising; given the caliber of directors he's worked with, plus his familiarity with the stage, he strikes me as the kind of actor who would make a good director. He is credited as co-director (with Jerry Zaks) of the Bronx Tale musical. If this interview is any indication, though, his contributions were minimal.


  1. My great-Aunt Ruby lived in the Bronx. She lived near Y-nk-- Stadium in a rent controlled first floor flat. I visited her once on a very hot summer day.

    My great-Aunt Ruby was born in Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia). She was the only girl and had four brothers, including my grandfather. At some point she declared that she was moving to NYC because the family revolved around the boys and they got everything. To Hell with that! She worked as a waitress for decades at Radio City Music Hall. She thought everybody in the Nolan family was crazy.

  2. Sounds like a hell of a character.

    1. Yes. That's her.

      When she visited Nova Scotia when I was young, she wore a fur coat winter or summer. I think it was to show how she could take care of herself.

  3. OMG. It was like 90 degrees today and I saw some chick in a light coat and wool cap like it was still 50 degrees. Ruby must've been made of sterner stuff indeed.