Wednesday, April 06, 2005

"A little whisky is good for the system."

I finally worked out a way of watching the Region 1 DVD in my Region 2 world, which involved borrowing a laptop, downloading drivers, hooking up speakers etc. But it was well worth it. It was well, well worth it.

Because now I've seen The Pope of Greenwich Village.

I'd never heard of this film. I used to like Mickey Rourke (before he kind of disappeared), but I didn't know about this one. Maybe it wasn't released in the UK for some reason. Mind you, I could be wrong. I was a bit young in 1984, and more interested in watching things like BMX Bandits and Beat Street. But you'd think I would have heard of such a great movie as this. It's crime, it's mafia, it's Mickey Rourke. It's got a great cast of character actors, and is full of the kind of dialogue that'll make you want to learn the whole thing by heart. It fits right into that tradition of New York stories. All these are things that should bring it to wider attention. But no - maybe it was just me, but I missed it.

Until Charlie Stella stepped in (and the Region 1/2 saga began).

Charlie (Rourke's character, not Mr Stella or myself), is trying to get by in NY, burdened by his fuck-up cousin Paulie (played by Eric Roberts. Why have I never heard of this amazing actor? Is there some kind of conspiracy going on?) Paulie helps Charlie lose his job, then comes up with a sure-thing race-horse scam, which means robbing 150k from somewhere. Cue the real movie, which is all about the relationship between these two guys.

But forget the story. This movie is not about story. It's about dialogue (this, I believe, is why Stella is such a fan). Check this out:

Paulie: See where it says F? F - that means filly. They call the girl horses fillys, and if you see a G, Charlie, that means gelding. That's when they whack the horse's dick off. baboom - it's a memory...
Charlie: [rubbing temples] Balls, balls.
P: The balls?
C: Balls.
P: The dick, man.
C: They whack the balls off, they don't whack the dick
P: [pause] Yeah, OK. Um...
Paulie is one of those characters I love. Dumb, head in the clouds, fragile, dangerous, but ultimately good. Reminds me in some ways of the John Turturro character in Miller's Crossing, though Bernie Berbaum is ultimately bad. The two films are otherwise v.different. (Trivia: M.Emmett Walsh plays a cop in THE POPE... and starred in Coen brothers' debut BLOOD SIMPLE the same year.)

Anyone read the novel (by Vincent Patrick)? has a great user review: "Not vry gd bk bcs it about criminol". Makes you wonder, don't it? You know, about people.

Many thanks to the wonderful Charlie "Chaloots" Stella.


Ray said...

Please tell me you're joking about Eric Roberts. I can't think of more than one decent turn he's had (maybe The Man in SPUN - but that was Rourke too). Or BEST OF THE BEST.

Charlie Williams said...

Eric Roberts is bad? I dunno, THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE is the only thing I know him from, and he is fucking superb in it. Have you seen POPE?

Looking at Roberts on IMDB I can see a lot of apparent dross. Looks like it all went wrong for him.

Anonymous said...


The book 'The Pope of Greenich Village' is great, definetley worth ordering. It is very much like the movie, I think they took a lot of the dialogue right from the book. The scenes at the horse track were filmed at Monmouth Park, a horse track that I grew up near, where I occasionally still go to bet. It hasn't changed in the twenty plus years since the filming.

Pat Lambe

Charlie Williams said...

Cheers Pat. I'll definitely get the book.

I just found this quote from Rourke about the movie, which probably explains why I never heard of it:

'I loved that movie, but they didn't do any P and R for it,' he says, with a sigh. 'There was a regime change at the studio and they let the picture fall in the toilet.' of the interview:,6737,1091011,00.html

Anonymous said...

You may not have heard of Eric becaue his sister has the spotlight most of the time. That and maybe you don't go to fansites, Charlie. Like your own. *sigh*

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