Daily News from New York, New York on June 22, 1984 · 129
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Daily News from New York, New York · 129

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, June 22, 1984
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RAUCOUS 'POPE' IS PURE DELIGHT &wfrJiW&& V JV,S IliiSi litilMia - mmiimmmm lllllliillllli tiiKiiiKl BSIi ' llllllll B " . , , Ji jj L.-r.: Mickey Rourke, Daryl ft 1.1 hStSgl Hannah and Eric Roberts i,,J ; By KATHLEEN CARROLL THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE. With Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg. At the Paramount, Beekman, RKO Mth St. East, and Greenwich Village. Running time: 2 hours. Rated R. vUR MOTHERS was right," . I O Paulie gravely informs Via Charlie, his reluctant partner in crime. "You really got to stick to your own kind." Paulie is only Charlie's third cousin but, as Italians, that makes them thicker than thieves or, as one character puts it, "as close as twin brothers in an Irish family." Charlie, who's actually part Irish, doesn't have an easy time sticking to Paulie, who has an endless supply of nervy get-rich-quick schemes. The two half-baked hustlers have just been bounced from their legit jobs in a restaurant, where Charlie worked the room as the manager in one of his much-prized $500 suits, and Paulie robbed the owner by issuing fake checks as a waiter. But Paulie is still on a low roll. He has bought himself one-third of "a turrow bed," which is the way this destroyer of the English language pronounces thoroughbred. While Charlie looks understandably skeptical, Paulie explains that horse racing all boils down to "artificial inspiration" or champion "genes." "With the horse it's all in the genes," continues Paulie, beaming with pride at being able to show off his superior knowledge for once. "It's the gene that does the running. The horse has nuttin' to do with it." This comical dissertation on horse racing shows real inspiration, as does most of "The Pope of Greenwich Village." In re-shaping his zesty 1979 novel into a movie, writer Vincent Patrick has managed to maintain (with some obvious help from director Stuart Rosenberg) the raucous spirit of the book by packing the movie full of savagely funny samples of his deadly accurate, street-wise dialogue. The movie, which takes a playful swipe at not only the mobsters who keep Little Italy safe, but at the greedy Irish cops who make it even safer for the mob by accepting their tainted money, explores the same territory as Martin Scorsese's grim Italian guilt trip, "Mean Streets." But it is loaded with sassy humor which makes it easier to take. The movie is, admittedly, slow to warm up, but Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts, in their respective roles as Charlie and Paulie, soon ingratiate themselves as they swagger through the cozy streets of Little Italy, behaving with such ease that one would think it was their normal turf. Rourke fits the character of Charlie like a glove, flashing his pinkie ring with the cool confidence of a city slick Italian macho man. He has one terrific moment, a final showdown with his live-in lady, an aspiring actress (Daryl Hannah) from clean-living Maine who, having believed that Charlie was only "an inch from being a good guy," is now so disappointed in him she can only slap his face with frustration. Rourke accepts the blows with good grace and then, with a tight-lipped, all-knowing smile, he slowly puts on his dark glasses and makes a perfectly timed exit. u i ii is Roberts who dominates the movie as the juiced up Paulie, garbling his words with excitement as he rattles on about his latest success scheme and flushing pink with terror as he realizes what fate mob leader "Bedbug" Eddie (no one else but Burt Young could have played this loony, lethal-brained mobster) has in store for him for daring to rob his safe. Roberts takes incredible chances as an actor, pushing himself to the brink of over-acting, but the result is a mind-boggling performance; by the time the movie is over, Paulie emerges as a prime example of the kind of Italian dandy who thinks success is spending money with the same flair as his high-rolling idol, Frank Sinatra. Rourke and Roberts are happily surrounded by a rogue's gallery of New York's finest character actors. Kenneth MacMillan is as convincing as ever as the aging locksmith who turns crook once more in order to provide for his retarded son. Geraldine Page does a brilliant comic turn as the bereaved but boozed-up mother of a dead cop who warns two stunned detectives not to mess up her apartment or she and her brother, the priest, will do an interview on the 6 o'clock news that "would have the city in tears." "The Pope of Greenwich Village" is a rollicking, high-voltage New York movie that, in its best moments, produces tears of laughter. Psst! Top Secret' is top-notch TOP SECRET. With Val Kilmer, Omar Sharif. Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. At Loews Tower East and the Embassy 1 and 2. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Rated PG. fIM ABRAHAMS, David Zucker and Jerry I I Zucker, that fearless trio of writer-directors 4 who launched "Airplane," a dizzy spoof of Hollywood's airplane disaster flicks, are making a welcome return to the silver screen. Their latest spitfire of a comedy, "Top Secret," is a gloriously nutty take-off on World War II spy thrillers, which also manages to make fun of Elvis Presley's sugar-sweet musicals. "Top Secret" is a cheerful mess. It supposedly takes place in the 1980s, but the villains led by Jeremy Kemp, an actor who clearly relishes playing a German bully are still wearing Nazi uniforms and behaving like monsters. The Nazis have a secret plan to reunite East Germany under their rule and they are staging a cultural festival in the hope of distracting everyone from their real purpose. Having lost Leonard Bernstein, they've been forced to invite Nick Rivers, a typically blond California rock singer (Val Kilmer), as the token American guest of the festival. Rivers, as one might expect, encounters nothing but trouble in East Germany. He is required to listen politely to the national anthem in which East Germany is glowingly described as "the land of wine and grape where you'll regret any try to escape." He gets to meet the female members of the East German Olympic team, all of whom look suspiciously like male weightlifters. As for culture, the East Germans cannot resist showing off a corps de ballet composed of the most astonishingly well-endowed male dancers. Dining out in East Berlin also proves to be somewhat hazardous to Rivers health. After the waiter recommends "the pork bellies," Rivers shakes up the posh hotel dining room with his hip-swinging rendition of "Tutti Frutti" only to wind up in a Nazi torture chamber. Things become even more deliciously insane when Rivers and Hilary (Lucy Gutteridge), the winsome daughter of a kidnaped scientist, hook up with a group of French Resistance fighters who, using highly unlikely code names like Montage and Latrine, break into the Nazis' military compound by relying on such theatrical tricks as dressing up in a cow costume (easily spotted in that it is the only cow in the herd wearing tell-tale rubber boots). As Hilary says, "It all sounds like some bad movie." True enough. But boyishly handsome Kilmer happens to be an extremely appealing leading man. And although there is no question that this free-swinging spoof, which takes pot shots at such easy targets as that other New York City tabloid, runs out of steam, it is a wonderfully flaky example of what Hollywood has to offer in this traditionally silly summer season. Kathleen Carroll 'r '4 ' f A. !M !"3w - ir -rill (Val Kilmer 'Rhinestone': rocky country RHINESTONE. With Sylvester Stallone. Oolly Parton. Directed by Bob Clark. Al the Coronet and Criterion. Running time: I hour, St minutes. Rated PG. AW .HINESTONE" is a mechanically con- la! Wk trived star vehicle that has been cranked up just to exploit the distinctive talents of two of Hollywood's hottest personalities. Yup, folks, Sylvester Stallone is back and guess who has that handsome critter firmly in tow this time? Why, landsakes, if it's not Dolly Parton, the dimpled darling of country music. Stallone and Parton are surely the most curious match ever to be proposed by a high-powered Hollywood agent. Yet, while they don't exactly succeed in setting the screen on fire, they look mighty friendly as they each do their "thang" in this pre fabricated movie. The script, which is yet (Continued on page 18)

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