Monday, January 25, 2021

“The Irishman” and His Story of Painting Houses

Slip on your sweats and get comfy cause this movie is a LONG one. Beginning in an old folks home, we are introduced to Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro). Wheelchair bound with hard-to-miss bling, he tells his story of how he became a “house painter.”

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As an ordinary father and truck driver, Frank meets Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) by chance, changing the course of his life. As Frank develops relationships with many and murders twice that, he draws a parallel that it is no different than his time in the military, “just like the army, you follow orders, do the right thing, and get rewarded.” Fear and family are the biggest motivators. But Frank seems to lose himself in the idea that what he is doing is helping his family, never thinking about how he his actions are simultaneously hurting them.

The movie has many subtleties, a nod to how perceptive the director, Martin Scorsese, challenges his audience to be. Flashing periodically between Frank’s past and present tells the story well without being unnecessarily confusing or causing audience whiplash. Often, one judges a gangster in a black and white way, but Frank’s story shows the slippery slope he unexpectedly finds himself on, humanizing the notorious hitman. Moments of audience laughter is genuine and nothing felt like a lead.

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Ray Romano is Bill Bufalino, the lawyer spending decades to keep Frank out of jail. Believable but not overly involved, he plays as secondary cast nicely, allowing the trifecta of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci to fill the screen. The film is long and elaborate, all scenes providing content and interest to the story line and the audience in general. A few scenes show famous gangsters, a still frame, and a quick sentence about their (usually untimely) death. The film also dips its toe into the Kennedy assassination.

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Martin Scorsese at an event for The Irishman (2019)

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Moviegoer Greg shares, “I really liked it! I enjoyed seeing De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci all together. Those are are all the main actors from the gangster story period. They did really well de-aging the actors in their flashbacks. I also felt like Scorsese was showing all those other directors how you do it. It was a well thought out film.” Everything from costumes, accents, and old fashion gangster manners (timeliness!) were implemented to represent the period authentically.

Seeing the Netflix film on the big screen is something special, but make yourself comfortable for the nearly three and a half hours. Currently the film is in one of the smaller theaters at Village Theatre and was sold out, so go early and get your popcorn ahead of time.

Movie times: click here

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

Run Time: 3 hours and 29 minutes

Directors: Martin Scorsese

Actors: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci

Rating: Rated R for pervasive language and strong violence

Fun Fact: At three hours and thirty minutes, this is the longest film Martin Scorsese has directed, and the longest mainstream film released in over twenty years.

Fun Fact 2 (there are so many!): According to Deadline, before accepting taking on the role of Russell Bufalino, Joe Pesci refused multiple times to come out of retirement in order to appear in this film. Some sources say the actual number of refusals was fifty.

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Alyssa K. Burns
Alyssa is a graduate of Coronado High School and was in the founding broadcast journalism class at CHS. She earned her BA in Communication from CSU East Bay and completed her MBA from CSU San Marcos. Her passion for writing and interest in the behind the scenes of business, leads her to write frequently about Coronado businesses. You can find Alyssa walking around the ferry landing with her husband and shih-tzu terrier or enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Coronado's favorite cafes.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: