Brooklyn Rules 2007

This was the official website for the 2007 coming of age movie, Brooklyn Rules.
Content is from the site's archived pages and other sources including RottenTomatoes Reviews.

Rating: R (for violence, pervasive language and some sexual content)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed By: Michael Corrente
Written By: Terence Winter
In Theaters: May 18, 2007  Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Sep 18, 2007
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: City Lights Pictures

 

SYNOPSIS

Director Michael Corrente's coming-of-age comedy drama Brooklyn Rules unfurls in 1985, coincident with the early rise of John Gotti. Three young Brooklyn men of Italian-American heritage -- Michael Turner (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Carmine Mancuso (Scott Caan), and Bobby Canzoneri (Jerry Ferrara) -- make the pivotal, potentially irreversible choices that will determine their directions in life. The boys' periodic run-ins with a sadistic mobster type who rules the neighborhood, Caesar Manganaro (Alec Baldwin), suggest the ever-present option of drifting into a career of crime. On the surface, Michael courageously and doggedly bucks this choice, opting instead for the pre-law program at Columbia and a straight-laced romance with blonde-haired, blue-eyed coed Ellen (Mena Suvari), yet this path is not as antiseptic as it may seem, for he actually scammed his way into the law program. Meanwhile, Carmine idolizes Caesar, and his desire to emulate this thug not only compromises his own moral integrity, but threatens to jeopardize the stability of Michael's life as well by drawing him into a sticky web of criminal activity. While the first two men navigate these treacherous paths, the third friend, Bobby, stakes out safer ground with a low-key job at the post office and married life with his intended. Over the course of it all, the boys' bonds of friendship become stressed and strained given the divergence of their paths. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

 

REVIEWS

NEW YORK REVIEW
Among the many endlessly fascinating aspects of the message Alec Baldwin left on his daughter's cell phone (and that could only have been released to the public by someone monstrous enough to put his or her own interests far ahead of the child's) is how it sharpens our appreciation of Baldwin's acting. The man's self-absorption is titanic, and he loves—like all the great, instinctive demagogues—to generate a colossal wave of anger and then ride it on in to shore. (Had he been cast as Willie Stark in the remake of All the King's Men, the creaky parable might have taken hold.) Baldwin is so good in the coming-of-age gangster drama Brooklyn Rules that it's like watching a voodoo priest. He plays Caesar, a higher-up in the Gambino crime family circa 1985—the kind of sadist who doesn't just use a cold-cut slicer to separate a man's ear from his head, but who needs to deliver a righteous monologue while doing so. ("You're a greedy little pig!" Brrrrrrrrrr-zzzzzz-chghkch.) (Just kidding—he doesn't use those words. Bad joke. Sorry.)

The movie itself is surprisingly well done. I say surprising because scene by scene, beat by beat, it offers absolutely nothing new—even that title is a snooze. But it's directed by Michael Corrente, who's steeped in both Eye-talian angst (Federal Hill) and Mamet-y grandstanding (American Buffalo), and written by Terence Winter, who's both a Brooklyn native and a higher-up in the David Chase-Sopranos crime family. The mix of autobiographical texture and authentic mobster minutiae puts it over and then some. My fingers hesitate at the keyboard as I recount all the clichéd elements, such as the hero (Freddie Prinze Jr.) who gets into Columbia and falls for the Connecticut society blonde (Mena Suvari) who likes a bit of rough trade but is aghast at a world in which no slight goes unavenged; or the trio of bosom buddies—the brain (Prinze), the slickster hood (Scott Caan), the touching pudgy religious romantic simpleton (Jerry Ferrara)—one of whom (guess which?) is destined to take a bullet meant for someone else. Casting Scott Caan is the masterstroke. He doesn't look exactly like his dad, but the rhythm of talk, gesticulate, turn, gesticulate, talk is sofamiliar. You think, Why am I dreading the tollbooth scene?—Reviewed by David Edelstein, New York Magazine

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TOMATOMETER CRITICS 45% | AUDIENCE 51%

CRITICS REVIEWS

BROOKLYN RULES: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
On the mean streets of 1980s Brooklyn, three boyhood friends, Michael (Freddie Prinze Jr), Bobby (Jerry Ferrara) and Carmine (Scott Caan), struggle with relationships, responsibility and loyalty as John Gotti's rise to power in the Mafia triggers violence that impacts on their world.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Mafia in Brooklyn ... this is writer Terence Winter's territory (he wrote the Sopranos, for example) and this story is said to be based on his and his friends' experiences. How much of them are fantasy, though, remains in doubt. Opening sequence, for example, introduces us to the area when the boys are pre teens and running around looking to play on the water's edge. When they find a convertible parked in the grass and the driver shot to death, they steal the cigarettes and the gun from the glove-box, and walk away. All a bit too casual for basically middle class kids unused to that sort of serious gameplaying.

The story's genuinely dramatic elements are squeezed into the final third, and there is a melancholy note to the whole thing, as well as a sense of something missing. But it's not the performances.

Top cast delivers terrific characterisations, with all three leads showing deep talents, as does Mena Suvari in a small and thankless but important role. Alec Baldwin's tough guy weighs in well with a commanding screen presence, and the direction is as good as the screenplay allows. Limitations in story notwithstanding, Michael Corrente pieces together a great sense of place and time, his pacing is well accented between buddy movie and gangster thriller, and there are some stand out scenes - amidst some not so engaging ones.

The occasional violence is gritty and the tension flows and ebbs as we follow the journey of the three friends trying to figure out their individual futures in a setting that doesn't help them any.

Published February 28, 2008

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FILM CLIPS / Also Opening Today

Mick LaSalle, Ruthe Stein
Published Friday, July 13, 2007
Brooklyn Rules' Drama. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Scott Caan, Jerry Ferrara and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Michael Corrente. (R. 99 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

Capturing Manhattan's essence is easy. But capturing life inside provincial New York City -- that is, the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island -- is something that eludes most filmmakers. They get the accents wrong. They condescend to the characters. Even when they get the accents right, they get the attitude wrong. Scorsese, of course, knows this turf, and so does Edward Burns. And now add "Brooklyn Rules" to the short list of movies that get it right.

The more you know, the more you'll appreciate "Brooklyn Rules." For example, take this early scene, in which the neighborhood mafia captain -- perfectly played by Alec Baldwin -- takes a liking to a little boy and asks his name. "Carmine Mancuso," the kid answers. To which the mobster replies, "Is your mother Italian?"

 

An outsider watching that scene might be puzzled by the mobster's response. If his name is Mancuso, his father is Italian, so why mention the mother? The movie never explains his reason, but here it is: He wants to know if the kid is 100 percent Italian. If he is, he might have a mafia career someday. If he isn't, he can never become a made guy.

Directed by Michael Corrente and written by longtime "Sopranos" writer Terence Winter, "Brooklyn Rules" tells the story of three pals in their early 20s, living in Bay Ridge in 1985. Why 1985? Again, the movie leaves it to the audience to figure out. But setting a movie in Bay Ridge, 1985, is a little like setting a movie in the United States in 1963. Everyone knows the earth-shaking event that happened later that year. In 1963, it was the JFK assassination. And in 1985 -- on Dec. 16, 1985, to be exact -- Gambino family boss Paul Castellano was gunned down by John Gotti's men outside a steakhouse.

"Brooklyn Rules" is not about the mob war that followed. Throughout, the perspective remains that of three young men, who happen to have grown up in an Italian American neighborhood. Only one of them, Carmine (Scott Caan), is mob connected at all, and even then, only in a minor way. Michael (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is going to Columbia and taking pre-law classes, and Bobby (Jerry Ferrara) is studying for the post office test. Yet, the mob ethos is everywhere: in the men's understanding of masculinity, in their conception of fair play and in their approach to getting on in the world. And when the gang war starts, the reverberations have an impact on their lives.

Michael is the protagonist, but the picture juggles the stories of all three guys, and that leads to some clumsy storytelling here and there, though for no more than a minute or two at a time. In all the important ways, the movie succeeds. It never leaves us in doubt that these guys are friends, or that they're from Brooklyn. It's not just that they pronounce words with a Brooklyn inflection. More significantly, they find that odd combination of naivete and aggression, of hostility and diffidence, that's at the root of (and informs) the Brooklyn way of talking.

Prinze, who starred in every bad teen comedy at the start of his career, finally gets a role to live up to, and he does that and more. He plays especially well off of Caan, who for the first time demonstrates a charismatic and commanding presence. As the mob captain, Baldwin makes the right choices. He knows better not to play up being scary. Everybody else is scared of him -- and that makes him scary.

Most people don't know what it's like to sit in a bar and have a local mobster walk in. Here's what happens. People don't get excited. They get terrified. They look down at their drinks and don't look up, afraid to make eye contact. They start calculating what might be a safe interval after which it would be OK to leave. They know if they offend the guy -- even by accident -- they'll end up sleeping with the fishes.

Winter knows exactly what that's like. That mood and point of view are all over "Brooklyn Rules" -- an entertaining film that's true to its world.

-- Advisory: Violence and strong language.

-- Mick LaSall

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AUDIENCE REVIEWS

 

***** Cutter G July 12, 2008
I don't know if you'll ever find a better flick about friendship between men.

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*** ½  Rabia S  July 6, 2008
A nicely written tale about 3 friends. Brooklyn Rules comes down to the choices faced by three young men when the right path is not always the easiest to follow, and when being a loyal friend can mean making the ultimate sacrifice.

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*** ½  T A  July 3, 2008
Thought that the cast was great for this movie. I'm suprised it didn't receive more publicity. I thought it was a pretty good movie even though it was somewhat the same mobster type movie we've seen several times over. I was pleasantly suprised by this one.

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*** ½ Brian M  June 22, 2008
It was a well-made film, but the story doesn't seem to go anywhere.

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*** ½ Miralla K  June 21, 2008
Very pleasurable movie .. I enjoyed waching the way they presented the male-to-male firendship. But the thriller of the movie was a bit misleading

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*** ½ Evan G  June 20, 2008
Without the good dialogue and chemistry between the 3 stars of this movie, it would have been just another cliched new york mob drama. The only poorly written scenes in my opinion are the ones between Freddie Prinze and Mena Suvari, and Freddie's horrible acting didnt help out the situation. but when just the guys are on screen, it is a very entertaining sight to see.

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Private U June 17, 2008
Not bad good story line that mingles with some facts in that era of mafia ran society. 2 out of 5 joints smoked.

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*** ½ Carl M  June 12, 2008
Very good ganster movie. All about a few friends growing up with gansters all around.

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***** Vivek S June 6, 2008
a must watch with ur closest frndz.....

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** ½ Jason C  June 3, 2008
Felt like I had seen this movie before, a coming of age story for three friends in brooklyn. You can probably predict the rest of the movie from there. But I did like the chemistry between the friends, and scott caan always feels natural, probably because he always plays the same "character".

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*** Jimmy S May 29, 2008
Very middle of the road gangster film, but still a decent watch.

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** ½ Bobby B  May 28, 2008
Poor casting except for Alex Baldwin. It was really slow and a poor attempt at GoodFellas. They really didn't seem to have Brooklyn accents from being born and raised there. Very average across the bored

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* ½ Joe K May 26, 2008
The film relies too much on narration to move the story along, and doesn't manage to connect the scenes while holding my interest.
** ½ Laszlo F  May 19, 2008
Overall:
Not bad, not bad... but I've seen better mafia movies... First i thought that it was made about 10 years ago... it was a bit shocking when I saw the date... 2006???

Cast:
Alec Baldwin was really good as a mafia member, actually he was the only one who played well :) Pfff and Freddie Prinze Jr. is still one of the worse actors...

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*** Anita H May 19, 2008
An ok movie, but good acting and alright script led to at least worth a watch from this film. I liked how they centered around the friendship of the guys, and built upon that, I think that was the best part of it, and how they had their crazy adventures as well as their downsides to their lives.

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** ½ Matthew J May 7, 2008
A pretty cliche plot about three friends growing up in a tough neighbourhood. The story is pretty predictable and drags at times. Alec Baldwin gets shot... :(

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***** Michael W May 1, 2008
i was suprised by the excellent performance of freddie prince jr. good story. great acting and directing. not many movies of this caliber come along!

 

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