Jan 13, 2005

It's Dissecting Unintentionally Hilarious Movie Time! Today's subject: The Pope of Greenwich Village

OK, full disclosure. I liked this movie enough at one time (ten years ago) to buy the videotape. And, to be honest, it does have a lot to recommend it. It's got a great story, and great performances by Burt Young as a psychopath with a great name (Bedbug Eddie), and a knockout turn by Geraldine Page which earned her an Academy Award nomination.

With the right leads, it could've been a classic. With any other two leads, it would've been a better movie. And I'm not talking Pacino and DeNiro here. I'm talking Abbott and Costello. Shore and Baldwin. Kenan and Kel.

Instead, we get Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts.

Rourke is merely bad in his role as the world's whitest Italian (I realize it's seven years before Goodfellas, but come on. And between him and Scarface, was there some sort of law at the time that required inappropriate race casting?), who gets caught up in a heist that goes terribly wrong. He Marlon Brandfaux's his way through this one, tough-guy talking his way through this, but is only memorable in one scene (which I'll get to).

But it's Eric Roberts who takes this gritty action drama into the realm of high comedy.

His character is supposed to be an unbelievable loser, true, but Roberts takes this to the extreme, oozing tears in virtually every scene in a rubbery, blubbery mess. My God. The blob-vampire in Blade had more dignity.

And in what should've been the film's centerpiece, the scene where an injured Roberts makes his way back to Rourke's apartment, instead we get an overacting contest, with Roberts spewing sweat, tears, and snot and screaming "CHARRRRRRRLLLLIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!" at the top of his lungs, then Rourke following up by imitating the high-pitched mewl of a mating sperm whale. Yikes.

But don't blink, or you'll miss Beansie's cameo.