The new movie “Somewhere in Queens” stars Ray Romano who has now directed his first movie. Romano also co-wrote this very good story with screenwriter Mark Stegemann. In my experience of seeing romantic-comedy-type movies, the story in this film is something I have never seen before. “An extremely shy high school senior, who they call Sticks, played by newcomer, Jacob Ward has developed some impressive basketball skills – and much to the surprise of his parents he also has an extremely attractive girlfriend named Dani, played by Sadie Stanley. Stick’s father, Leo Russo, played by Romano works for this father’s construction company and is extremely proud of his son, who is a standout high school basketball player”.
Things start to happen for Sticks, with some real possibilities of getting a full basketball scholarship to Drexel University – but the problem is – Sticks is deeply in love with Dani and then makes a huge mistake with her. He lets his feelings known too soon, scaring Dani off – a fundamental error many of us make when we are overcome by emotion too early in a relationship. Now Sticks is too depressed to take advantage of the biggest break in his life, and there is an upcoming tryout with Drexel. This is the point of the movie which has a very unusual and highly emotional storyline. Leo does something to help his son with his extreme depression that is going to ruin his tryout with Drexel, but this idea eventually backfires. Some would think this is a noble idea, but so often when we try to help someone with a lie, that lie is almost always revealed and makes everything worse. This is the central and best part of this story and has some Shakespearian overtones. The scenes of love, loss, and the pain of being rejected are all very well done in this film.
One flaw in this movie is Leo’s wife, Angela, played by Laurie Metcalf – who is angry just about the entire movie. Her nonstop yelling, rudeness, and anger in my opinion brought the overall story down, despite some of the funny scenes that involved Angela hating her son dating anyone and him thinking of leaving her for college. The plan was always to have Sticks work for the family’s construction business after high school. Other characters in this very good story include Frank Russo, Leo’s brother played by Sebastian Maniscalco, and Leo’s father Pops Russo, played by Tony Lo Bianco.
This is another old-style movie, like the recent movie AIR, reviewed in this blog, and a refreshing return to the way movies are supposed to be, sadly missing last year. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a very high 89%, with my rating 95% and a strong recommendation for this outstanding film.