• Strictly Films

The King of Staten Island; Pete Davidson’s WholeSome Story Delivers Laughs and Feelings! Grade: B+

The King of Staten Island tells a story about a twenty four year old man named Scott (Pete Davidson), whom still lives with his mother (Marisa Tomei). Scott is still recovering from the tragic loss of his father, whom was a firefighter that died while on the job. Scott always has a difficulty in maintaining his focus as well. Scott hopes to one day become a tattoo artist, as he wants to one day own a tattoo parlor collaborating with a restaurant. Scott will have to handle many challenges ahead, including his mother moving on from her father as she gets involved in a relationship, and Scott handling adulthood as well.


The Cinematography was fine, none of the shots wowed me at any point as it looked like a standard studio film, but thankfully wasn’t any bad shots so that’s good. The Score was solid as a whole, I enjoyed the soundtrack selections as you can tell it was heavily influenced by Davidson’s taste. The cast as a whole, for a comedy I thought they did a really good job. Pete Davidson playing the role Scott was honestly good, he maybe playing himself, but I felt where the scenes that counted he did a nice job. I felt Scott was a relatable character, to those whom feel like their held back towards their full potential, due to memories in the past that have haunted them forever. Scott may not be your typical protagonist, however I felt sincere through the struggles he was facing in front of him. Even when Scott was hit with tough love by his mother, you always hope he found a way to get himself together. To people Scott maybe an irresponsible human being, but just remember no one exactly knows what is going inside the mind of Scott, as you only hope he gets the provided necessary help he needs, in order to grow up as a responsible individual. Bill Burr playing Ray Bishop had a wonderful performance, I enjoyed this character very much so. Ray was exactly what Scott needed, in order to provide the tools Scott needs to become his own man. There’s many other performances that I honestly enjoyed, whether they provided significance in a big or small way towards the story, or even just characters that were briefly introduced to provide a purpose in a scene.


I do have flaws with The King of Staten Island. I felt this film was a bit lengthy, I felt a good ten to fifteen minutes should’ve been cut. You can definitely feel the run time in a couple moments, as you feel like this film isn’t going to end anytime soon. Luckily I was enjoying my experience, but yeah when I watch a film of it’s run time, I never want to feel like I’m watching something that’s long once. The film introduces Scott in the beginning, as he has intentions in killing himself, as he tells his sister that he could harm himself down the road. I felt the film abandoned this part entirely, as it never once comes back to play, which I kind of don’t understand the point in introducing it at all?! Stick with it in parts, or just abandoned it completely.


So here’s an interesting story. The King of Staten Island was reportedly along with the VOD release, to be release in some Drive-In theaters and in some theaters too. The King of Staten Island back tracked so fast, as it only released in VOD. I find it a complete shame this film was not screened in some kind of theatrical release, as I felt this film was so enjoyable that would be way more appreciated on a big screen instead. Films like The King of Staten Island is what movie magic is all about, as this would bring much influence to young people struggling with getting themselves over grief, as this would’ve captured a memory they would never forget on the big screen.


I found the story to be extremely wholesome, as I can tell Pete Davidson poured his heart out towards making this story come to life. You can honestly tell it was very personal, as you felt a relatable connection towards our main character and some other characters along the way. It brings out vulnerability out of everyone. Whether it be struggling adults, adults struggling to find peace, young adults whom are on the right path to succeed but have a concern of their own, and adults whom have done everything in their power, to provide security for their child however weren’t expanding their growth as they have to let go. Almost every single character makes you feel something, as they all felt like normal human beings, dealing with issues of their own.

What I did enjoy is the accurate portrayal of Staten Island people, as Judd Apatow captures that raw energy these people display in real life. It’s a city of tough love, while the people aren’t so friendly to each other. I mean have you seen that video, of a woman in Staten Island grabbing groceries without a mask on?! These people are RUDE! I really enjoy how the story compliments the films comedy style as well. It’s a very crude comedic style, along with dark humor as this is Pete Davidson’s comedic style as I honestly enjoyed it a lot. Many of the jokes hit within this film, as there are many laugh out moments. I do want to point out though I laughed hard at that fat Kanye joke earlier, I thought the joke could’ve been better if he called him Fat Weeknd, due to the fact the character had The Weeknd’s hairstyle back in his early days, still was a good joke regardless.


I felt The King of Staten Island will not only influence those trying to sort their life out, but will provide people encouragement to lend a helping hand as well. Even if that helping hand requires one to work hard, as they can develop reasonability of their own... Any source that can provide emotional comfort and growth should always welcomed. The film will make you feel many emotions, while you bring out a few laughs of your own.


Overall, The King of Staten Island is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, definitely worth the rental purchase, gather a group of family or friends and enjoy a thoughtful wholesome film. Well during an evening on Tuesday, I checked the movie theater times as always, just to see if the theaters were operating. What do you know?! Advanced tickets on sale this upcoming Fourth of July, at our local Cinemark theaters! I plan on being their opening day, as I look forward to seeing the original Ghostbusters for the first time, so that’ll be special for a Retro Talk. This was an extremely difficult process to handle, as I look forward to returning to a place I call home. -Mitch Smietana

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