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Summer Of Sam (1999)

It Was A Time They'd Never Forget

Original Title : Summer of Sam
Director : Spike Lee
Writer : Victor Colicchio
Michael Imperioli
Spike Lee
Genre : Drama
Horror
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Jeri Carroll-Colicchio , Michael Imperioli , Jon Kilik , Spike Lee
Music : Terence Blanchard
Photography : Ellen Kuras
MPAA Rating : Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use.
IMDB ID : 0162677
Official site : http://movies.go.com/movies/S/summerofsam_1999/index.html
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poster for "Summer Of Sam" by Spike Lee (1999)
Summer Of Sam (1999) - Spike Lee
 

Starring

John Leguizamo Vinny
Mira Sorvino Dionna
Jennifer Esposito Ruby
Adrien Brody Richie
Michael Rispoli Joe T
Bebe Neuwirth Gloria
Saverio Guerra Woodstock
Patti LuPone Helen
Brian Tarantina Bobby Del Fiore
Al Palagonia Anthony
Ken Garito Brian
Joe Lisi Tony Olives
Spike Lee Reporter John Jeffries
Darielle Gilad Debbie Cadabra
Mike Starr Eddie
Anthony LaPaglia Detective Lou Petrocelli
Roger Guenveur Smith Detective Curt Atwater
Ben Gazzara Luigi
Arthur J. Nascarella Mario
James Reno Crony
John Savage Simon
Jimmy Breslin Jimmy Breslin
Michael Badalucco David Berkowitz
Lucia Grillo Chiara
Nelson Vasquez Officer Cruz
Michael Harper Raygun
Jessica Galbreath Fire
Evan Cohen Bite
George Tabb Spider
Michael Imperioli Midnight
Victor Colicchio Chickie
Peter Maloney Detective Timothy Dowd
Christopher Wynkoop Sam Carr
John Turturro Harvey the Black Dog (voice
Ernie Anastos Anchorman
Jim Jensen Anchorman (as Harold 'Jim' Jensen
Melba Tolliver Anchorwoman
Phil Rizzuto Yankee Broadcaster (voice
Reggie Jackson Himself
Danielle Burgio Woman in Car
Lisa France Woman in Car
Peter Epstein Chuckie
Jill Stokesberry Rose
Joseph Lyle Taylor Ron
Kim Director Dee
Bill Raymond Father Cadilli
Mildred Clinton Italian Woman at Murder Site
Emelise Aleandri Italian Woman at Murder Site
Michael Sorvino Bowler in Diner
Phil Campanella 2nd Bowler at Diner
William H. Burns Officer
Ernest Mingione Officer
Frank Fortunato Doorman
Dan Zappin Simon's Male Friend
Murielle Arden Simon's Female Friend (as Murielle Cohen
Christina Kolbe Simon's Female Friend
Charlotte Colavin Neighbor
Clayton J. Barber Punk
Joie Lee Bed Stuy Woman Interviewed
Rome Neal Bed Stuy Man Interviewed
Mark Breland Bed Stuy Man Interviewed
Susan Batson Bed Stuy Woman Interviewed
Evander Holyfield Man in Riot
Toneda Laiwan Dot (Atwater's Girlfriend
Janet Paparazzo Young Woman Shot by Son of Sam outside Apartment (Victim
Jodi Michelle Pynn Young Woman Shot by Son of Sam outisde Apartment (Victim
Jennifer Badger Woman in Car (Victim
Jeff DeRocker Man in Car
Nick Oddo Husband
Damien Achilles Wounded Man (Victim
Joanne Lamstein Woman in Car (Victim
Gabriel Barre Johnny Nasso
Tara McNamee Woman Victim on College Campus (Victim
John Michael Brown 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Singer
Damian Branica 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Bassist
Lorne Behrman 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Guitarist
Curtis Gove 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Guitarist
James Baggs 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Drummer
Rozie Bacchi Brian's Girlfriend
Grace DeSena Joe T's Girlfriend
Zoe Bournelis Anthony's Girlfriend
Ashleigh Gloss Princess
Frank Cadilac Patty (Man with Weird Eyes
Daniel J. Courtenay Guitar Store Owner
Michael Prozzo Rocco
Kathryn Hud Rocco's Girlfriend
Antonio Torres Man Pulled from Car
Pamela Wehner Lady at Block Party
Dionna Colicchio Girl at Block Party
Victoria Galasso Girl at Block Party
Danielle Tutelian Girl at Block Party
John Martucci Extra
Mario Macaluso Italian Chef
Andrew Lasky Officer Cruz's Partner
Richard Paul Detective with Decoy Dummy
Ray Carlson Crime Scene Cop
Alexander J. Vega Bouncer
Steven Croft Limo Driver
Mary Jo Todaro Lady in Window
Jacqueline Margolis Lady in Window
Iris Alten Lady in Car Window
Valerie Mazzonelli Lady with Dog
Hal Sherman Arresting Detective
Nicholas Brown Young Detective Petrocelli rest of cast listed alphabetically Kevin Coyle .... Protester
Jeffrey Hoffman Club Dancer
Jack Brickhouse Himself (1954 World Series Announcer
Howard Cosell Himself (1977 World Series Announcer
Keith Jackson Himself (1977 World Series Announcer
Michael J. Meyers Detective (uncredited
Michelle Rodriguez Extra (uncredited
Kevin Craig West Man in Barber Shop (uncredited
 

Plot

All of the events of the infamous New York City summer of '77 (mainly, but not exclusive to, the Son of Sam killings) are seen mostly through the eyes of Vinny, a philandering Bronx hairdresser. Until that summer, Vinny sees himself as king of the old neighborhood--he's a disco king, drives a nice car, has the respect of his old buddies, and is married to a beautiful woman who seemingly doesn't know of his affairs. However, during that important summer, his world slowly falls apart. Two things happen early on that will permanently change his life. First, he believes he had a near-fatal run-in with the Son of Sam while "parked" with his wife's cousin. Next, his old best friend Ritchie returns to the old neighborhood as, of all things, a punk rocker. As the events of that summer slowly unfold, Vinny ultimately loses his wife, his job, and the respect of his old buddies. The movie concludes with Vinny's betrayal of Ritchie, whom the other neighborhood buddies suspect is the Son of Sam.
 

Comments

intriguing disappointment Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam," like most of his films, emerges as an intriguing but, nevertheless, regrettable failure.Using as his background the long, hot summer of 1977, when the serial killer known as the Son of Sam held New York City in the grip of terror, Lee spins a tale of drug abuse, infidelity and violence among a group of Italians living in a Bronx neighborhood.Unfortunately, Lee's meandering take on the subject robs it of much of its potential drama as he searches for a focal point that will make it compelling to the audience.He only occasionally succeeds and that is when he concentrates on the two lead characters:Vinny, whose deep religious convictions and sincere devotion to his wife cannot compel him to resist his womanizing compulsions, and Dionna, his beautiful but longsuffering wife, who suspects his infidelities and desperately struggles to satisfy Vinny's strong sexual needs but who runs up against the roadblock of her husband's strange misapprehension about what exactly constitutes the extent of marital relations.Vinny, in particular, as he struggles against the demons that plague him and the guilt they impose on him, suggests a complexity of character that makes him a compelling center for this otherwise sprawling story. Unfortunately, many of the subsidiary characters, who surround these two and keep pulling us away from them, emerge as little more than ethnic and sexual stereotypes, from the neighborhood mob boss (Ben Gazarra) to the loving-father drug dealer to the punk rock iconoclast to the local flaming "fairy."Not even strong performances by a game cast can infuse these roles with the depth and humanity necessary to justify their inclusion in the film. Stylistically, this film is much less visually flashy than previous Lee works with less elaborate camerawork and only the occasional near-subliminal quick cuts (used to convey memories) to distract us.Lee should, also, have avoided at all costs the temptation to cast himself as an on-site news reporter.Even more egregiously, why oh why did Lee feel compelled to visualize literally (through animatronics) the demon dog that Berkowitz reportedly cited as the motivation for his crimes actually barking out instructions to the crazed psychopath? The risk in these docudramas is that the moviemakers will not be able to match, in their narrative, the compelling nature of the actual events upon which they are based.Lee's film is no exception, for just as the killer is captured, the fictional side of the story resolves itself in a flurry of heavy handed "Ox Bow Incident" melodramatics, scarcely credible even for a cadre of characters as lacking in common sense as these are."Summer of Sam" is notable for the performances of John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino in the central roles, its disco-drenched soundtrack and its letter-perfect recreation of a particular moment in recent American history.What a shame, then, that the film never really coheres into a satisfying whole.
 
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