When jj chooses the streets of new york over his foster mother he must live by a new set of rules or risk becoming a statistic in the nypds open case files. Pursued by a street hustler he seeks shelter in central park only... more » to discover a world ruled by a frightening eccentric. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 02/06/2007 Starring: Kathleen Turner Cathy Moriarty Run time: 110 minutes Rating: Pg13« less
"Central Park" Misses But Young Frankie Nasso Scores
Karl | 06/24/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason I even stumbled across this film is because one of its young stars, Carmen Moreno who plays Sofia, was one of my students this past year. I know the film had a theatrical showing in New York, but it does not appear that it was ever picked up for national theatrical distribution. After finally seeing the film, this is not surprising; it's a film that cannot quite make up its mind what it wants to be.JJ (Frankie Nasso) lives with an abusive foster mother Mrs. Ardis (Cathy Moriarty) in present day Staten Island, NY. He dreams of finding the mother who left him, and one day he leaves Staten Island for Manhattan with hopes of finding her. In a parallel story we meet Rebecca (Kathleen Turner) and Noah (Danny Aiello) as a well-to-do Manhattan couple whose marriage is inexplicably crumbling. In JJ's journey to find his mother he also encounters The Guardian (Harvey Keitel) an eccentric New York "character" who lives under a bridge in Central Park. Along the way we also discover that JJ is a musical prodigy who can play any melody he hears, well, not only play it, but turn it into a full blown musical piece. Once JJ and Rebecca meet (she has a grand piano that nobody has played for a long time) the film heads toward its inevitable conclusion.The producers claim that "Prince of Central Park" is a modern day retelling of Huck Finn. Okay . . . There are also borrowed plot elements from such diverse sources as "Oliver Twist" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". The problem is these exemplary literary sources don't really mix very well. Consequently, the film has a patchwork feel, the sum of the parts don't really equal an engaging whole.Still, there are pleasures to be had here. Frankie Nasso gives an engaging performance as JJ. There is an inherent sweetness to his performance which goes a long way toward helping the audience get by some of the gaping holes in the plot. We come to care about this character despite some of the situations that the filmmakers throw him into. Screen stalwarts Turner, Aiello, and Moriarty give fine performances even if the script does not always support their best efforts. Harvey Keitel (admittedly not one of my favorite actors) has a harder time with a character that strains credulity to its limits. Also of note are the performances of Carmen Moreno as Sofia and Tina Holmes as JJ's mother. Both are quite affecting. The film has a nice score as well, and the New York locations are well served.The disc presents a good 1:1.85 transfer of the film, the menus are pleasingly designed and there are production notes, cast biographies, and a synopsis included. The case states that there is a trailer gallery but I sure couldn't find it.Not a classic film by any means, but "Prince of Central Park" does contain some rich performances, nice use of New York locations, and a unique musical score. I would recommend it mostly for young Frankie Nasso's performance, or for those admirers of the work of Kathleen Turner, Danny Aiello, or Cathy Moriarty."
The Prince of Central Park
Doreen Sullivan | Brick, nj United States | 02/13/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie when the title caught my attention. As a young kid growing up in a highly disfunctional family I read a book with the same title. This was my favorite book through my entire youth as well as highschool. It was my escape.The movie is loosely based on the book in the charactors and the plot. However the book was so much deeper in the respect of how JJ learns to live in the park. As soon as the Kathleen Turner charactor is shown you know exactly where this thing is going. JJ never seems to be more than a few days at summer camp sleeping in a really cool cave.He never gets sick from eating out of garbage cans. He never breaks into Taven on the Green for food. He never build a tree house using ropes because he can't hurt the tree.This book is out of print but if you can find a copy or get it at your library READ IT! You will remeber it forever."
A charming picture!
Karl | 06/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film at a senior citizens center and after the movie ended, the entire audience clapped. This has never happened before and so it might give some indication that the film is, in it's own way, a charming motion picture. Quite refreshing. The young star, Frankie Nasso gave a superb performance as JayJay. I rated it 3 1/2 stars; therefore moved it up to 4 rather than down to 3."
Oregon river bum | Oregon | 04/13/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Don't waste your money! The original book was far better than this version. So was the 70s version, one of those "Made for TV" movies.
Find the book wherever you can, and read it. It is sort of like another favorite I read over and over again as a kid: "My Side of the Mountain," by Jean George."
Prince of Central Park
Teri T. Andre | VENTURA, CA USA | 05/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very enjoyable and upbeat, which is needed in today's world. Well-known, likeable actors involved probably for altruistic purposes. I'm a native Californian, born in 1948 before the "fruits and nuts" moved in and have always admired and respected New Yorkers, most especially after 9/11. I would recommend this DVD for young people, certainly younger than me.