Movie Review: The King of Staten Island

The new movie “The King of Staten Island” is the first mainstream and highly advertised movie released since the Pandemic, that can only be seen on demand. As an avid moviegoer this is the first time I have paid 20 dollars for any newly released movie; much less seen it for the first time at home and not in a movie theater. As we have heard so many times since early March this year, these are very unusual and strange times.

The King of Staten Island stars Pete Davidson as Scott Carlin, who lost his father at age 7. Pete Davidson’s father was a fireman who died during the September 11 tragedy in 2001. This movie, directed by Judd Apatow is loosely based on Pete Davidson’s real life, with the difference in this story being that Davidson’s character wants to be a tattoo artist and his father was a fireman, but died in a fire and not on 911. Overall the acting of everybody in this film, especially Pete Davidson was outstanding. In the case of Davidson, it was very hard to realize that he was actually acting in this movie, because his time onscreen seemed so real – the best sign of a good actor. Marisa Tomei was very believable as Davidson’s mother Margie, who never married after her husband died and also has a daughter, played by Apatow’s daughter Maude Apatow. All of us wonder what it must be like to get a huge inside boost into the lucrative profession of acting, mainly because you are related to someone who is very powerful in the industry.

Even though this film is mostly a comedy there are many dark moments, mainly related to Scott’s difficulties in getting past the tragic death of his father, that is also true of Pete Davidson’s real life. There is a scene at the start of this movie, where Scott is closing his eyes while driving on the freeway, playing some kind of Russian roulette with his car. There are suggestions that Scott’s many tattoos might have to do with trying to distract himself from his emotional pain with physical pain. Davidson’s many friends, his mother and even his grandfather are in this film, making this production a large family affair – rare at this level for any mainstream movie.

The King of Staten Island is very typical of all Apatow movies with solid comedy mixed in with drama. I disagree with the 69% rating for this film, with my opinion closer to the 80% range. I recommend The King of Staten Island, even despite the high 20 dollar price tag.

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