I've discovered some great Independent films and the like as well as sleeper movies that should have done better at the box office. A few weekends ago, I was introduced to the film, "A Bronx Tale," which was Robert DeNiro's first crack at directing a film. This film captured me from the very beginning, it felt like I lived in that neighborhood and experienced the sights, smells and sounds of daily living in that New York borough. It was familiar and genuine to someone who grew up in southeast Texas, a world away from the type of life this film depicts.
So why was it so familiar? Intriguing? I'll tell you why; Chazz Palminteri. He is the writer of the one man play, the screenwriter for the film and leading actor for both written efforts. The story details a young boy's life during the early 1960's in the Bronx. He witnesses a murder in front of his home and becomes an unwilling witness at the scene of the crime. The murder is committed by known mobsters that rule his neighborhood with an iron fist. As the cops ask the boy to identify the mobster as the killer, he lies to protect "the bad guys". A bond is created between the mobster and that young boy that last years into his adulthood. The movie offers no-nonsense advice regarding life, destiny, friendship, fear and respect.
The most intriguing aspect of this movie is that Chazz Palminteri portrays the mobster who becomes a father figure to the young boy. In reality, Palminteri IS that young boy. This is a true story and he recreates his tale for live audiences in a one man play.
His wordsmithing is something to behold. I find myself wanting to watch the film over and over as it now rates as one of my all time favorite films. Palminteri's fleeting childhood into early adulthood could have broken some men. But, the gritty life lessons he learned were not lost and his flair for storytelling catapulted him into a rare breed of writer. His skills as a writer is something Palminteri will never be accused of wasting.
After all, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."
More Musings Later-