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"CITY BY THE SEA"
(2002) (Robert De Niro, James Franco) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A New York City detective discovers that his estranged, drug addicted son is a murder suspect.
PLOT:
Joey (JAMES FRANCO) is a drug addict who's trying to get by and get his latest fix while living in the mostly abandoned and decrepit but once thriving coastal town of Long Beach, Long Island. When a drug deal goes bad and a dealer named Picasso (JAY BORYEA) ends up dead, Joey finds himself the target of a drug lord, Spyder (WILLIAM FORSYTHE), who wants his revenge.

Vincent LaMarca (ROBERT DE NIRO) is a NYC detective who long ago left Long Beach. Still trying to shake his association with his father's notorious life and death, Vincent is partnered with Reg Duffy (GEORGE DZUNDZA) at work, and Michelle (FRANCES McDORMAND), his downstairs neighbor, at home.

When Vincent is assigned to investigate the murder of the drug dealer, little does he realize that it will bring him back into contact with Joey, his estranged son, ex-wife Maggie (PATTI LuPONE), or the mother, Gina (ELIZA DUSHKU), of the grandson he never knew existed. With time running out as other police and Spyder close in on Tony, Vincent does what he can to find, protect and reestablish contact with his long-lost son.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of gritty cop dramas or someone in the cast, it doesn't seem very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, drug use and some violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT DE NIRO plays a New York City detective who returns to his old haunts when he discovers that his estranged son is a murder suspect. He has a problem with commitment in terms of romantic and familial relationships and uses strong profanity.
  • JAMES FRANCO plays Vincent's estranged and drug-addicted son who uses strong profanity, kills a dealer in a fight, and then tries to avoid another criminal.
  • FRANCES McDORMAND plays Vincent's downstairs lover who becomes irritated with his secrets and inability or refusal to commit further to her.
  • GEORGE DZUNDZA plays Vincent's cop partner who uses strong profanity.
  • ELIZA DUSHKU plays the mother of Joey's baby and fellow drug addict who uses strong profanity, smokes, admits to stealing money from work, and leaves her child with Vincent.
  • ANSON MOUNT plays a local cop who assists Vincent in the murder case.
  • WILLIAM FORSYTHE plays a drug dealer who isn't happy that Joey killed one of his associates and then sets out to get his revenge. He uses strong profanity and kills a person.
  • PATTI LuPONE plays Vincent's ex-wife who still holds a grudge against him for leaving the family years ago.
  • BRIAN TARANTINA plays Joey's drug associate who sells and does drugs with him and uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 60 uses of the "f" word, while many other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while a middle-aged couple is seen in bed, but nothing happens between them.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including those who deal drugs and kill others. Characters use drugs and drink or smoke, while tense family scenes involve estrangement and stories of familial strife from the past. Violence consists of several people being murdered, attempts on others' lives and/or threatening behavior, and some struggling.

    Some of those moments have somewhat bloody results and may or may not be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during an early thunderstorm scene, but it's not of the strobe-like variety.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A guy on the street has a bottle in a brown paper bag.
  • We hear that Joey is a drug-addict and then see him and Snake free-basing (after one of them appears to smoke a joint or other type of drug). The two high men then go to buy more drugs from Picasso.
  • Vincent hands a bottle of beer to a neighbor in several scenes.
  • Vincent mentions having a beer as part of his daily routine.
  • Vincent and Reg find drug paraphernalia (needles, etc.) on the floor in a run-down building.
  • Joey breaks into a veterinarian's office or animal hospital and steals various pharmaceuticals.
  • Joey asks Gina if she's staying clean and she says that she's trying.
  • Maggie pours some liquor for herself.
  • Vincent has a beer.
  • Vincent and Michelle have glasses of wine in front of them.
  • Some people have drinks at a gathering.
  • Joey goes to a drug dealer hoping to get money, but the dealer gives him a small packet of drugs in exchange for his ring instead.
  • We see Spyder conduct another on-the-street drug deal.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see that Joey's arm is rather bloody from being cut in an altercation.
  • We see a dead body that's washed up on the shore, but beyond being dead, it's not bloody or gory.
  • Blood squirts out when a man is shot and we then see some blood from his mouth.
  • Some blood squirts out when a man is shot several times.
  • A man has a little bit of blood on his clothing after being shot in the arm.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The various drug dealers have bad attitudes for their chosen line of work and/or killing or threatening others.
  • After Joey kills a dealer in a fight, he and Snake dump the body into the river.
  • Joey breaks into a veterinarian's office or animal hospital and steals various pharmaceuticals (as well as a handgun).
  • Gina admits to skimming the registers at work for extra cash.
  • Vincent admits to Michelle that he lied to her in the past about not having a son.
  • Vincent mentions his father's ill-fated plan of raising money by kidnapping a rich couple's child and holding it for ransom (during which the child suffocated in the backseat of his car - none of which is seen).
  • Gina abandons her child at Vincent's place.
  • A man shoots and kills another man.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" could also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • We see a sawed-off shotgun being aimed at Gina as she sleeps and then see that it's Spyder who gives her an ultimatum regarding Joey.
  • Reg and another cop slowly make their way through an old and dilapidated building.
  • Vincent slowly makes his way through a dark building looking for a suspect and then has a dangerous encounter with him.
  • For a while, it seems like a man might kill himself or allow the police to shoot him dead, but this doesn't happen.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knife/Handguns/Sawed-off shotgun/Switchblade/Sniper rifle: Used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I don't need a f*cking sermon," "No f*cking way," "F*cker," "I got the f*ck out of there," "I'm f*cking tired of it," "It's the middle of the f*cking night," "F*ck off," "F*ck that," "What the f*ck /are you doing here/is this?" "I'm totally f*cked," "Un-f*cking-believable," "F*cking right," "F*ck it," "I was f*cked up," "I'm just f*cking with you," "Back the f*ck off," "Don't f*cking move," "No f*cking around," "Get f*cking back," "Sh*tload," "I know I've got to stop this sh*t," "(This is) Bullsh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Don't start with that sh*t again," "Nut" (crazy person), "Where the hell have you been?" "Bastards," "Shut up," "Get the hell out of here," "You G*ddamn coward," "Just like you made a choice to be a G*ddamn bitch," "Scumbag" and "Putz."
  • A man has various tattoos on his face.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful/ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 60 "f" words (5 used with "mother"), 20 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("c*cks*cker"), 6 hells, 5 asses (2 used with "hole"), 4 uses each of "G-damn" and "Jesus" and 1 use each of "Christ," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Michelle calls Vincent saying that a T-storm woke her up. He asks if she wants company, she replies with a seductive "meow" sound, and he then goes down to her apartment and climbs into bed with her (clothed).
  • An older man says that he needed to "jerk off twice this morning just to get my heart started."
  • We see Vincent and Michelle in bed. He's shirtless and she has her head on his shoulder while wearing some sort of strapped top. As she then asks what's next for him, he rattles off his daily routine that includes "make love" to her if he's a "good boy."
  • Spyder rides up through the drive-through where Gina works and tells her that he'd like a cheeseburger and a "blow job."
  • We see that Gina lives near a peep show. We don't see anything inside it, but do see the sign, and on one occasion hear feint sexual sounds.
  • SMOKING
  • Joey smokes more than 5 times, Gina smoke several times and Maggie, Snake and Spyder each smoke once, while some miscellaneous people also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Vincent's family life is filled with past and present turmoil, including the fact that he's divorced from his wife, that he apparently beat her on one occasion, that she accuses him of walking out on her and Joey 14 years ago (they have a confrontation about all of that), and that Joey's father was executed when the boy was just 8 for killing a child.
  • We then see that Vincent has an estranged relationship with his son and that's only exacerbated by what occurs in the film.
  • Gina abandons her baby - that she was raising without Joey's help -- with Vincent.
  • We see a grieving wife and distraught daughter not long after the husband/father is killed.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The true story on which this is based and the artistic license the film has taken with that.
  • Family strife.
  • Life as a cop.
  • Drug use and addicts.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Picasso pulls a knife on Snake during a drug purchase and some struggling ensues, eventually involving Joey. He then ends up on top of Picasso and continues to struggle with him while reaching for Picasso's knife that he then uses to stab into Picasso's chest, killing him (no blood). The two then drag the body off to dump into the river (but we don't see that through to completion).
  • We later see that Joey's arm is rather bloody from being cut in the above altercation.
  • Spyder grabs Snake in such a way as to inflict some pain. He then kicks open a bathroom door.
  • Vincent briefly grabs Snake by the shirt in a menacing fashion.
  • A man shoots another man twice, killing him.
  • A drug dealer pulls a switchblade on Joey when the latter gets antsy.
  • Vincent violently sweeps some items off a counter while mad at another man.
  • Spyder drives by a motel room and fires his shotgun into several times, blowing holes in the window (but no one is hurt).
  • Vincent breaks a window in a door to gain entry into a building.
  • A man holds a gun on another man as he pushes him along.
  • A man shoots another man several times, killing him.
  • A man fires his handgun into the air several times, prompting the police to fire many shots back at him.
  • A sniper shoots and hits a man in the arm.



  • Reviewed August 9, 2002 / Posted September 6, 2002

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